Aug 08 2005
It has long been known that the ‘wall’ between local law enforcement and the intelligence agency that 9-11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick established while working for Bill Clinton was an obstacle to finding terrorists in our midst pre 9-11.
But now the NYTimes, of all MSM sources, has a story that ties Gorelick’s actions to bar coordination between intelligence and law enforcement probably led to 9-11 being successful, as opposed to stopped:
In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military’s Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.
The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies. That protection does not extend to visa holders, but Mr. Weldon and the former intelligence official said it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before Sept. 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.
What this means is simple. Gorelick’s actions were so intense, so strident, that protections where expanded beyong the legal requirement to include visa holders – aka, the 9-11 terrorists. I think the commission needs to re-open the role of their commision member who was directly responsible for the law, and the resulting tone in law enforcement circles that led a positive lead to be squashed on the alter of political correctness.
former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, Al Felzenberg, confirmed that members of its staff, including Philip Zelikow, the executive director, were told about the program on an overseas trip in October 2003 that included stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Mr. Felzenberg said the briefers did not mention Mr. Atta’s name.
The report produced by the commission last year does not mention the episode.
Did Gorelick withhold critical information from the Commission? How is it that a group in the DoD was able to identify Atta as a risk well ahead of 9-11 and this not be in the final commission report?
The account is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks. Among the 19 hijackers, only Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi had been identified as potential threats by the Central Intelligence Agency before the summer of 2000, and information about them was not provided to the F.B.I. until the spring of 2001
This is the same CIA leaking about Saddam’s nuclear intentions in Niger prior to the his removal. What is it with these people? They get all exercised about 16 words in a speech but cannot see a threat right under their noses? When did the become obssessed with national politics and take their eyes of our enemies?
He said the team had been established by the Special Operations Command in 1999, under a classified directive issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about Al Qaeda networks around the world.
“Ultimately, Able Danger was going to give decision makers options for taking out Al Qaeda targets,” the former defense intelligence official said.
He said that he delivered the chart in summer 2000 to the Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and said that it had been based on information from unclassified sources and government records, including those of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“We knew these were bad guys, and we wanted to do something about them,” the former intelligence official said.
Sorry, but Jamie Gorelick decided that was not ‘proper’. Better not to inconvenience visa holders than worry about losing a few thousand American lives.
More here, where it is surprising that the cell Atta came from, and which Able Danger wanted to eliminate, was based in New York.
The recommendation to bring down that New York City cell — in which two other Al Qaeda terrorists were also active — was not pursued during the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, said Weldon.
Note to Dick Clark: This was under your’s and Clinton’s watch. You also need to be back in front of Congress and doing some ‘splaining.
DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureauâ€™s disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.
That was the problem with Clinton. He and his team were so inept (Somalia, Waco) they became parallelized and impotent. The MSM better get serious and get on Gorelick and Dick Clark for their efforts in assisting Atta when he was in our cross hairs.
Food for thought: Was this information on the documents Sandy Burger heisted from the National Archives and destroyed? Was “Able Danger” a phrase written in the margins of those documents?
UPDATE, 8:20 AM Eastern, Aug 9th:
Of course this would be big news. Captain Ed has a good post on the historical calls on Gorelick’s conflict of interest. Mark Coffey is rightfully infuriated (and the guy is rarely infuriated from what I can tell).