I have a family reunion coming up soon. It's the first one that didn't involve a death in some time, and I'm really looking forward to it. It won't be huge - mostly descendants of my late paternal grandmother and their families. I'll be startled if there's as many as 50 of us there. But I'll probably get to see some people I haven't seen in 30 years plus.
Now suppose I'd recruited a bunch of goons and they'd just succeeded in flying airplanes into buildings killing thousands of innocent people. The FBI springs into action, rounding up those relatives and inlaws, and puts the screws to them. How much information would they get?
Hmm. There's no point in asking for my family tree, because it can be constructed from public records. Since I'm on the road almost constantly, only about half a dozen of them would be able to say anything about my associations at all, I have plenty of associations which no one in the family knows about for totally innocent reasons (the staff where I live, people I know socially, etc.), and if it suited me to hide associations actively it wouldn't be difficult.
Do they know if I go to church, or where? You're back to the core. Do they know how I make a living? - maybe a couple dozen know I'm an engineer, but don't know where I am now or that I'm doing IT work nowadays. About a dozen of them might know something about my politics, and it typically takes only about 5 minutes of exposure for that to come out.
They want to see how my mind works? Out of that 50, you're back down to the core again. But although they could probably tell you I have multiple web sites, they probably couldn't help you find them any better than Google can. If they know I have a blog, I'll bet they don't know the name or have never read it. (It's not a secret, it's just not something most of them are interested in and I don't promote it.) So interrogate them all you want - they either don't know anything or can't give you anything you don't already know.
Michael Moore's crockumentary has revived the old nonsense about Osama Bin Laden's family. It seems that a lot of them were flown out of the country after September 13, with the blessing of the US govt. I suppose that sounds sinister if you can't think of any good reasons why Arabs, particularly Osama Bin Laden's family, might have wanted to leave the US about right then.
The implication was that they were given special favors, and that some crucial information is now beyond investigators' reach. Well, the planes were flying again by 9/13, and the blessing for OBL's people to leave came from none other than Richard Clarke, who became a hero to the left for spreading so many innuendoes about the Bush Administration's handling of 9/11. Aw, shucks, it's not so interesting anymore.
But every last one of the relatives should have been getting the third degree, right? Why? The FBI did grill about 30 of them, which is substantially more than would have been useful in my case as noted above. And that's of the relatives that lived abroad. OBL was from a very large family - he might well have had brothers and sisters who couldn't tell you jack about him beyond his being a black sheep, and it's not as if he had never been investigated prior to 9/11.
I'm not a professional investigator and I'm in no position to evaluate the adequacy of the FBI's investigation.
But neither is Michael Moore, who nevertheless doesn't let his profound ignorance deter his spreading of anti-Bush nonsense.