If WikiLeaks were around in 2001, it might have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks, argue Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic in the LA Times. “There were a lot of us in the run-up to 9/11 who had seen warning signs,” they explain. “But we worked for ossified bureaucracies incapable of acting quickly. … Things might have been different if there had been a quick, confidential way to get information out.” Rowley, for example, worked closely with the Minneapolis FBI team that arrested Zacarias Moussaoui on immigration charges less than a month before the attack.
The agents quickly realized something was wrong, but Washington FBI officials refused to let them search Moussaoui’s laptop and effects. One supervisor pleaded that he was “trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center,” but to no avail. Dzakovic, meanwhile, co-led the FAA’s “Red Team,” which was tasked with finding airport security defects. It found many egregious ones, but was ordered not to write reports on them. Dzakovic says that, had WikiLeaks existed, he likely would have “gone to it as a last resort” to reveal his findings.