James Bamford, the NRO, and 9/11


“The big motion covers the little motion.”  That’s how the magicians put it when they’re among themselves, explaining how the audience is misdirected from what is actually happening on the stage.  It’s where the “little motion” is that the really important things are going on.  These days it seems that all we hear about among the government’s clandestine organizations is the National Security Agency, the NSA.  At the other end of the spook spectrum, we hear next to nothing about the massive super-secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  Might that fact not suggest, considering the magicians’ dictum, that we ought to be directing our attention toward the NRO if we want to know where the really important action is?


The NRO did make the news in 2002.   Roughly a year after the event, it came to light that they had been planning to conduct a drill on September 11, 2001, at their headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, near Dulles Airport that was eerily similar to what actually took place in New York City at almost exactly the same time.   In the drill, an airplane from Dulles Airport was to have been “flown” into one of the buildings of the NRO complex. When the actual incident happened, the drill was canceled, but nearly all the NRO employees were sent home for the day.  According to Christopher Bollyn writing for the American Free Press, the story of the drill disappeared from most national news organs’ websites shortly after it appeared.


Something else of importance occurred at that NRO headquarters building some eight years before, on November 6, 1993, even before the building was open for business.  Young security guard Tina Ricca was mysteriously murdered.  The murder has not been solved to this day.  That incident interested the mainstream press even less than did the strange coincidence of the NRO drill on 9/11.  After all, the story still believed by everyone at that time was that the new buildings—as announced by signs by the property—were the property of the Rockwell International Corporation, a major military contractor.  Only a year later did it come to light that, in fact, the buildings were the new headquarters of the top secret NRO.  At that point, one would have thought that a re-examination of the Ricca murder was in order.  As it happened, the only re-examination appeared in a short article in a local free weekly newspaper, the CentreView, which has since gone out of business:


The Tina Ricca Murder

by Bonnie Hobbs. excerpted from the CentreView (Centreville, Va.) 8/11/94

Right from the start, said John Ricca, the investigation into his daughter's Nov. 6 murder at the construction site of the Rockwell International building 
in Westfields was "shrouded in secrecy."

He received little information about how she died and nine months after her murder the police have still not found her killer. 

Now, says Ricca, it all makes sense. 

It was revealed this week that the Rockwell site where his daughter Tina worked as a security guard was actually a front for the headquarters of the 
super-secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The CIA and the Defense Department jointly oversee the NRO—which manages America's spy satellites—and its existence was kept top secret until two years ago. 

On Monday, President Clinton declassified the NRO headquarters' existence, after many senators complained no one had told them of the project's 
magnitude and cost. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was upset to discover the building was estimated to cost $350 million—nearly twice what they'd been told it would. 

Ricca has little sympathy for them, saying they "only lost money—I lost a daughter."

Fairfax County Police Lt. Dennis Wilson with the homicide squad said Ricca's body was found in a temporary construction trailer not part of the NRO 
complex. He said police didn't know then that the complex was anything but a Rockwell facility, but said that fact has no bearing on the investigation. 

But to Ricca, of Falls Church, it does have bearing, and "makes it even more believable why things have gone the way they have. It's making more sense by the minute why I haven't gotten any information."

Tina Ricca, 27, was employed as a security guard by Vance International of Oakton and had worked at the Rockwell site on Chantilly's Lee Road almost two years. She'd just been offered a job by Rockwell in Australia and was looking forward to beginning it. 

She'd already finished her own eight-hour shift and was filling in for a co-worker away on National Guard duty when her life was ended by a bullet to the upper part of her body. 

Police decline to reveal the type or caliber of weapon used or specify exactly where she was shot. But she wasn't wearing the bullet proof vest she usually 
wore, and both her gun and radio were missing. 

Police have not ascribed a motive for her murder, but the ClA's involvement in the building, Ricca said, brings possible scenarios to mind. Perhaps, he
 said, his daughter saw something she shouldn't have. It also might explain, he said, why there was an approximately 2 1/2-hour gap between the time she 
was shot and the time Vance reported it. 

"It gave the CIA plenty of time to destroy whatever evidence there was before the police got on the scene," said Ricca.

CIA spokeswoman Suzanne Wheeler Klein said Wednesday, "We don't have any information and don't have any comment on it."

There's also a question whether the FBI was involved in the murder investigation. Although FBI officials have denied they're a part of it, Ricca said he understands the FBI was on the scene before the police and later questioned some possible suspects. After the murder, he said, both the police and Vance had difficulty getting into the site. 

If you've got the CIA and a real top-secret thing like the NRO," he said, "why in the world did they have one guard out there? There was only one guard 
on duty besides her, and there was supposed to be four. They should have had more." He also plans to contact the Senate, Congress and President Clinton,
 but doubts if, ultimately it'll get him anywhere.

Ricca said "If [the CIA] doesn't want Congress and the Ways and Means Committee to know what happened," he said, "they're surely not going to tell
 me─especially if they're involved in it."

Although police are saying the slain guard’s body was found in a construction trailer, Ricca said they told him she was actually found in a blue, modular 
building. If she was in the trailer, he said, the other guard would have been with her.

He also said the room she was in had working computers in it, and he believes, "at the very minimum, those computers contained the drawings of the building, and that was top secret." Yet, he said, police told him when the FBI let them in, there was nothing on the computers. 

To get through each day, he focuses on his job (ironically, he's a general manager for a construction company that's a prime contractor to the federal government)….

The building complex, by the way, has a quite high, secure fence around it. It 
would not have been easy for an intruder to make it in over the fence.  The evidence that it was an inside job is simply overwhelming.

Living in the CentreView reading area, I was one of those people who had seen the article, but at that point I was not even online and there was little I could do with the information.  The mainstream press ignored it, and I filed it away.  The next time the information saw the light of day was when I posted the excerpt above on September 26, 1998.  The CentreView had had no follow-up.

My next opportunity to make use of the information came sometime later, the exact date of which I cannot recall.  Here is a slightly revised version of how I reported it on my web site on May 20, 2002:

    A few years ago the Fund for Constitutional Government organized a panel discussion in a large room of the Capitol Building of a book whose late author they had partially funded. The book was Secrets, the CIA's War at Home, by the deceased Angus MacKenzie and David Weir, who finished it up for him. On the panel were Bob Woodward of Watergate fame; Scott Armstrong, his co-author of The Brethren and founder of The National Security Archive; Tim Weiner, who writes on spook matters for The New York Times, and Bill Clinton's first National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake. I would estimate that 100 or so people were in attendance, virtually all of whom were spooks and/or "journalists." I had been given a heads-up about the program by its organizer and my friend at the Fund, Ernest Fitzgerald. (The days when regular citizens like me can just show up at a gathering in the Capitol Building, alas, appear to be long gone.) I was told later that when they opened the floor for questions, the first person recognized was the stooge standing next to me in the back of the room. I conveniently thought they were recognizing me and beat the stooge to the punch with my question. I asked Woodward why his Washington Post had never written anything about the unsolved murder of the young female security guard at the super secret National Reconnaissance Office complex shortly before the purpose of the new buildings was revealed. I'm sure the panel was made uncomfortable by the question, and Woodward looked more pained than usual. He pleaded ignorance and asked me to fill him in after the meeting. I did so, giving him by mail later the clipping that is excerpted as the "Tina Ricca Murder."


I asked Woodward to alert me when The Post did its own story, but I'm still waiting. Interestingly, of the large number of writers and journalists present, the only one to approach me afterward and ask for more details was James Bamford. To my knowledge, he never wrote anything about the murder and apparent cover-up either. Upon reflection, I think it's a very good thing for me that the only information I had about the Ricca case was already out in the public arena. It has become clear to me that the role of these supposed journalistic critics of the spook world is not that of a watchdog on these agencies but that of a bird dog on the citizenry, pointing out to the corrupt authorities the ones they might have a problem with. * After all, suppose I had some private information that pointed to, say, the CIA as the culprits. Who would I go to, the FBI, the local cops? Carol Valentine speculates that convicted FBI agent Robert Hanssen might have gone to rotten FBI higher-ups with advance warning of 9-11. Maybe his friend, the “investigative reporter,” Bamford was among those he went to, and that was his big mistake. The odd cozy relationship they had reminds me of the cozy relationship between the Washington Post's CIA-beat reporter, Walter Pincus, and the late Vincent Foster. Pincus' revelations about Foster, as I point out in part 1 of my "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster," represented "the first instance of anyone publicly saying that he noticed any behavior in Foster that one might describe as, at most, agitated." As such, it played a very large role in planting in the public mind the notion that Foster had been "depressed" enough to commit suicide. These are the kinds of friends our journalists make these days.

According to the argument made by Valentine, who was among the very first people on the Net to voice suspicions about the 9/11 incident and to offer a plausible explanation as to how it might have been pulled off, Bamford is one of the biggest creators of the magicians “big motion” that anyone is ever likely to see.  He is probably best known for having “unearthed” the extraordinarily incriminating Operation Northwoods memorandum of March 13, 1962, in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed the creation of a series of false flag incidents that would serve as a pretext for attacking Cuba.  Valentine finds Bamford’s story—not to mention Bamford himself—questionable as to how he came upon this document.  She might have gone further and questioned the likelihood that the things proposed would have ever been put into writing in the first place.  Her biggest reason for simply declaring the document a counterfeit, though, revolves around a remarkable discovery she made while reading it carefully.  The memo contains a British expression that Americans simply do not use.

... create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela.  The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba.  The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

People don’t “go off on a holiday” in this country.  They take vacations.  As Valentine observes, it would never have occurred to an American to write it that way, and if by some fluke he had, the construction would never have survived the organizational editing process. 

So what’s with this shocking revelation of the proposed Operation Northwoods, made public by Bamford some four months before 9/11 and publicized by the mainstream news media?  This is Valentine’s take on it:

Here is a professional NSA flack currying favor for the NSA by blowing the whistle on the Pentagon with counterfeit documents.  The documents, presented as authentic, certainly put the Pentagon in a terrible light.


Of course we know that elements with the FAA and the US Air Force worked in cooperation with the terrorists.  The failure of NORAD to intercept the errant planes on September 11, and the continued cover-up, proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.


But the Northwoods documents suggest that if 911 was an inside job -- and it had to be -- then the Pentagon was the ARCHITECT.  The Northwoods expose was ready and waiting for the inevitable 9-11 skeptics to show up, seize upon the plan, and point the finger of suspicion at the Pentagon.  However, the Northwoods British-isms show that another hand, not an American hand, was guiding those planes into the WTC towers, and that the Operation Northwoods documents are a misdirector.


Northwoods was doubtlessly hatched by a foreign intelligence service and inserted into US national records.  The discovery of the Northwoods documents reminds one of the incident in "Wag The Dog" when a newly composed song was inserted into the Library of Congress records to give the impression it had been written decades earlier; then the song, "Old Shoe," was conveniently "discovered" and popularized at the right time.  Rent "Wag The Dog" at your local video store and watch it happen.


Let's see now ... What nation is peopled by masters of deception? Who has been using the US military as a cat's paw? Using 9-11 as a pretext, whose enemies is the US annihilating right now?  Lemme think ...

Let’s think a little more about the NRO as well.  The coincidence of its 9/11 drill is really quite a large load to swallow.  What is more likely is that it was up to its eyeballs in the whole sorry business.  Many years of planning go into such things.  Who knows what Tina Ricca might have stumbled upon that got her killed, but her murder certainly suggests that the NRO with its huge budget and staff is into lots more than interpreting the information obtained by observation satellites.  The complete lack of interest in the “little motion” of Ricca’s unsolved murder also speaks volumes.  Maybe it’s more than a coincidence, as well, that the Bilderberg conference has been held more than once at the Westfields Marriott, which is just a short walk from the NRO complex, or perhaps even that the home of the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, is only about a mile away.

*Pat Tillman, as it turns out, before he was very suspiciously killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan, had turned strongly against the war and had been in touch with “government critic” Noam Chomsky.  See the addendum to “Chomsky, the Fraud, on 9/11.

David Martin

November 8, 2013




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