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Four in 9/11 Plot Are Called Tied to Qaeda in '00
NY Times ^ | August 9, 2005 | DOUGLAS JEHL

Posted on 08/08/2005 8:31:46 PM PDT by neverdem

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 - More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

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.

A 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.

Mr. Weldon first spoke publicly about the episode in June, in a little-noticed speech on the House floor and in an interview with The Times-Herald in Norristown, Pa. The matter...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Pennsylvania; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; 911hijackers; abledanger; alqaeda; atta; classified; clintonfailures; clintonlegacy; clintonscandals; curtweldon; fbi; highlyclassified; intelligencefailures; louisfreeh; mohammedatta; sept11; sleepercells; terrorism; weldon

1 posted on 08/08/2005 8:31:50 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Bu....I mean, Clinton's fault.


2 posted on 08/08/2005 8:34:25 PM PDT by michaelt
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To: neverdem
More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

Let's see... the summer of 2000... okay, that would be during the tenures of The Bent One, Janet Sterno and Screwy Louis Freeh.

3 posted on 08/08/2005 8:35:03 PM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: neverdem

The inability of the different intelligence agencies to talk to each other is what made 9/11 possible. That's why the Patriot Act is important.


4 posted on 08/08/2005 8:35:45 PM PDT by denydenydeny ("As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist"--Sheikh Omar Brooks, quoted in the London Times 8/7/05)
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To: neverdem

> ... the information was not shared ...

No mention of the Clintonian info walls, of course.


5 posted on 08/08/2005 8:36:05 PM PDT by Boundless
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To: neverdem
So, it was all planed and plotted on Bubba and company's watch.
6 posted on 08/08/2005 8:37:12 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: neverdem
Col. Samuel Taylor, a spokesman for the military's Special Operations Command, said no one at the command now had any knowledge of the Able Danger program, its mission or its findings. If the program existed, Colonel Taylor said, it was probably a highly classified "special access program" on which only a few military personnel would have been briefed.

Maybe this is what Sandy Burglar was trying to keep out of the light of day.

7 posted on 08/08/2005 8:44:13 PM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: neverdem

So there were many missed signals... Big deal. Missed them for Pearl Harbor too. You can dig back in history, especially in the information age) and find pre-cursors to any event with perfect 20-20 hind sight.

There are probably 100s of these reports that DID NOT PAN OUT, which those that delight in finding these loose ends don't point out.


8 posted on 08/08/2005 8:46:12 PM PDT by konaice
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To: neverdem

Funny thing for the NYT, there's no way to harm Bush.


9 posted on 08/08/2005 8:52:25 PM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: Boundless
No mention of the Clintonian info walls, of course.

I don't care to do favors for the bent one, but IIRC, those walls go back to the mid 1970s and the Church committee hearings. Besides that, when the CIA shared intel with the FBI, it can come back to bite you. IIRC, during the prosecutions for the African embassy bombings, it came out that we were monitoring Al Qaeda satellite telephones. Since that came out they stopped using them.

10 posted on 08/08/2005 9:10:53 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: ncountylee
Funny thing for the NYT, there's no way to harm Bush.

See, they were already plotting in 2000, because they KNEW that the Governor of Texas would plot with his brother, the Governor of Florida, and his Daddy's Supreme Court to become President. And they KNEW that the Governor would be doing Israel's bidding once he stole the election, in contrast to the then-curren Administration, whose First Lady once kissed Mrs. Arafat in public.

Liberalism is so intellectually bankrupt, that a sleep-deprived conservative can mock their adherents at will.

11 posted on 08/08/2005 9:14:53 PM PDT by GoBucks2002 (http://yankeered.blog.com - Coverage of the OH-2 Race to Replace Rob)
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To: All
He said the [data-mining operations] 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.

I'm glad to see that someone was minding the store. Clinton / Reno's FBI was busy putting together Project Megiddo with lots of help from the SPLC and the ADL.

Clinton / Reno's FBI was ready for them evil white Christians when they came out of their church compounds shooting at 0001 hours on 1 Jan., 2000.

"Al Qaeda?" asked a puzzled Attorney General Reno. "Is that an extremist Christian racist, right-wing, anti-women's rights groups, you know, against abortion? Is it a right-wing political group saying bad things about the President."

"No General it's. . . ."

"Don't bother me then. I've got work to do fighting terrorists," the Attorney-General said as she waved the man out of her office. Isn't Al a Vice-President or something? she asked herself.

12 posted on 08/08/2005 9:46:51 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (Hillary is the she in shenanigans.)
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To: neverdem
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

And who was Commander and Chief of the Military at this time ? Perhaps Clinton was too busy admiring his great generalship in the Balkans, where as Commander in Chief he helped Albanian Muslim Drug Running Terrorist takeover Kosovo. Ah yes. I remember those patriotic Albanian Americans in New York volunteering to fight in Kosovo ! Supposedly a lot of Al Queda's funding right now is being derived from said Kosovo Drug Runners. Who ironically are running drugs into Europe. And who does the left conspiratorially blame the problem on ? Someone who was still governing Texas while all this was occurring. Someone who was denied concession the night he won the Presidency. Someone the left stated was not 'elected' but 'selected'. Someone who was dealt the worse possible hand from leftist who were dealing from the bottom of the deck.

Even with that horrible poker hand, Bush has played a real fine game.

13 posted on 08/09/2005 1:42:59 AM PDT by justa-hairyape
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To: neverdem

What did the Hildabeast know and when did she know it?


14 posted on 08/09/2005 1:55:40 AM PDT by MrBambaLaMamba (Buy 'Allah' brand urinal cakes - If you can't kill the enemy at least you can piss on their god)
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To: Prince Charles
Let's see... the summer of 2000... okay, that would be during the tenures of The Bent One, Janet Sterno and Screwy Louis Freeh.

And most importantly, Bubba, the husband of Mrs. Bubba.

15 posted on 08/09/2005 3:45:54 AM PDT by scannell
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To: Boundless

"No mention of the Clintonian info walls, of course."

Jamie Gorelick is the one to thank for this.


16 posted on 08/09/2005 5:04:43 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: neverdem

Bump.


17 posted on 08/09/2005 5:13:58 AM PDT by aculeus (Ceci n'est pas une tag line.)
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To: neverdem

Could this be what Berger was trying to steal from the National Archives?


18 posted on 08/09/2005 5:27:03 AM PDT by nuffsenuff
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To: neverdem

Lest anyone forget, here's the reason why this occurred:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/mccarthy200404130845.asp


19 posted on 08/09/2005 5:30:06 AM PDT by ChuckShick (He's clerking for me...)
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To: GoBucks2002
"Funny thing for the NYT, there's no way to harm Bush."

You notice, however, that those evil Republicans are mentioned in the first sentence. And the Clinton's "Gorelick Wall" is conspicuously absent from comment.

20 posted on 08/09/2005 6:26:38 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage
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To: neverdem

Someone should e-mail this thread (when complete) to the 9-11 Breitweiser (sp.?) Ghoul Group....


21 posted on 08/09/2005 7:27:10 AM PDT by eureka! (Hey Lefties: Only 3 and 1/2 more years of W. Hehehehe....)
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To: neverdem

But wait. Clinton wasn't distracted from his Presidential duties by his many scandals. And anyway David Pryor assured us that he could do no harm in the short period he had left in his term. He could compartmentalize, right? And all those pardons were business as usual, right? And now you say that the Clinton administration had pictures of the 9/11 fiends and did nothing about it. Can't be.


22 posted on 08/09/2005 8:21:33 AM PDT by Inwoodian
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To: Prince Charles

....not to mention Jamie Gorelick who really ran the Clinton/Reno Dept. of Justice and was placed on the 9/11 Commission to protect the Clinton administration from honest inquiries..... that she could have written the 1995 memo strengthening "the wall" between FBI and CIA, and yet be one of the 9/11 Commissioners assessing and whitewashing her own work, is one of the great scandals of the past decade.


23 posted on 08/09/2005 9:19:33 AM PDT by Enchante (Kerry's mere nuisances: Marine Barracks '83, WTC '93, Khobar Towers, Embassy Bombs '98, USS Cole!!!)
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To: ChuckShick

Thanks for the link!


24 posted on 08/09/2005 10:12:46 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: scannell
And most importantly, Bubba, the husband of Mrs. Bubba.

Uh, he would be the aforementioned Bent One.

25 posted on 08/09/2005 11:26:01 AM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: Enchante

Yes, Gorelick is one of the legions of clintonian apparatchiks who helped undermine the national security.


26 posted on 08/09/2005 11:29:44 AM PDT by Prince Charles
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To: Prince Charles
Uh, he would be the aforementioned Bent One.

Oh Yeah, but MOST importantly and currently relevant is Mrs. Bubba Bent One.

27 posted on 08/09/2005 12:57:18 PM PDT by scannell
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To: Senator Kunte Klinte
9/11 Cell Identified In 2000 (Updates)


Today's New York Times reveals that military intelligence had identified the core of the 9/11 cell more than a year before the attacks that killed 3,000 people. Mohammed Atta and three of the other hijackers remained unknown to the FBI, however, thanks to the working policy at the time which forbade intelligence services from sharing information with the FBI and other law-enforcement officials:

More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.
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.

A 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.


The reason for the inability to share information with the FBI, information that might have led them to "connect the dots", in the parlance of the 9/11 Commission, was the wall between intelligence and law-enforcement operations constructed in large part by the Clinton Administration. While FISA, the legislation governing the use of law-enforcement resources for intelligence work, has existed since the 1970s, the 1990s saw a major reinterpretation of that law within the executive branch, prompted by Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick. As Andrew McCarthy noted last year, that reinterpretation had the practical effect of cutting off all communication between the two groups responsible for American security:

Commissioner Gorelick, as deputy attorney general — the number two official in the Department of Justice — for three years beginning in 1994, was an architect of the government's self-imposed procedural wall, intentionally erected to prevent intelligence agents from pooling information with their law-enforcement counterparts. That is not partisan carping. That is a matter of objective fact. That wall was not only a deliberate and unnecessary impediment to information sharing; it bred a culture of intelligence dysfunction. It told national-security agents in the field that there were other values, higher interests, that transcended connecting the dots and getting it right. It set them up to fail.
Now we have more proof of that in this report. One might wonder what the 9/11 Commission made of this information. Not much; in fact, the Commission never even heard about it. Farther down in the Times report, we find out that the intelligence official corroborating Curt Weldon tried to tell the 9/11 Commission about the Able Danger operation and its findings:

The former intelligence official said the first Able Danger report identified all four men as members of a "Brooklyn" cell, and was produced within two months after Mr. Atta arrived in the United States. The former intelligence official said he was among a group that briefed Mr. Zelikow and at least three other members of the Sept. 11 commission staff about Able Danger when they visited the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in October 2003.
The official said he had explicitly mentioned Mr. Atta as a member of a Qaeda cell in the United States. He said the staff encouraged him to call the commission when he returned to Washington at the end of the year. When he did so, the ex-official said, the calls were not returned.

Mr. Felzenberg, the former Sept. 11 commission spokesman, said on Monday that he had talked with some of the former staff members who participated in the briefing.

"They all say that they were not told anything about a Brooklyn cell," Mr. Felzenberg said. "They were told about the Pentagon operation. They were not told about the Brooklyn cell. They said that if the briefers had mentioned anything that startling, it would have gotten their attention."


The sensitivity of the data-mining aspects of Able Danger are obvious. The fact that the military had enough information to cull that they could identify potential terrorists, and ultimately so accurately, would have caused an outcry before 9/11 and probably in the bitter partisan atmosphere of the Commission as well. The cautiousness of the agent came from his desire to keep the program from a deluge of criticism and publicity that would have spelled an end to it. However, he and Weldon both assert that the Commission had been told of its existence and its results -- and yet the Commission completely disregarded it.

Why? Could it be that the Commission didn't want to provide any further embarrassment to one of its members -- the same Jamie S. Gorelick whose actions created the obstacles that kept military intelligence from coordinating with the FBI? It would have made crystal clear the damage done to the national-security effort through the hostility of the Clinton Administration towards intelligence efforts. It also would have shown the foolishness of including Gorelick on the 9/11 Commission, an objection made by CQ during the hearings last year, and for the same reasons.

This new information undermines the notion that the 9/11 Commission report provides a comprehensive look at the attacks. It considered the primary reason for the attacks' success as an intelligence failure, while this shows that at least one intelligence agency had it right. It found itself handcuffed by a political policy that forbade them from doing anything constructive with the intelligence they had.

UPDATE: Slate's Eric Umansky offers a healthy dose of skepticism:

As Times mentions in passing, Weldon has a reputation for relying on iffy sources. He recently wrote a much-panned book alleging all sorts of Iranian plots, including that Tehran is hosting Bin Laden. The book relied on one source—a source one CIA official told the Times "was a waste of my time and resources." A "fabricator" recalled another former spook. (The American Prospect has more on Weldon's source troubles.)
As for the former unnamed defense official, he talked to the NYT while "in Mr. Weldon's office." And given the allegations being made, the Times offers a loopy explanation for why the former official isn't named: "He did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly." (If his accusations are true, how would his being named undercut future data-mining efforts?)

So, what we have in the NYT are allegations by a congressman known to make wildly dubious claims, and one former defense official who backs up the congressman but for some reason declines to put his good name to the ... facts. On the other side, you have—as the Times mentions up high but only details in, oh, the 29th paragraph—the 9/11 commission insisting that they did look into the program and found nothing.


I suspect that he meant he didn't want data-mining to get too much of a public profile. The program generated a lot of controversy when first proposed in the 90s, and then again after 9/11. Furthermore, if one actually does a search through the entire 9/11 Commission Report, the phrase "Able Danger" appears nowhere. On the subject of data mining, the only reference made to the concept appears on pages 388-9 (emphasis mine):

Inspectors adjudicating entries of the 9/11 hijackers lacked adequate information and knowledge of the rules. All points in the border system—from consular offices to immigration services offices—will need appropriate electronic access to an individual’s file. Scattered units at Homeland Security and the State Department perform screening and data mining: instead, a government-wide team of border and transportation officials should be working together. A modern border and immigration system should combine a biometric entry-exit system with accessible files on visitors and immigrants, along with intelligence on indicators of terrorist travel.
So perhaps the sourcing on Weldon and the Times' corroboration may seem slim to Umansky, but the 9/11 Commission appears to have no credibility at all on Able Danger or data mining. Indeed, they acknowledge that some had been done -- without noting the results -- and recommend that more of it be undertaken. Their claim that they "looked into the program and found nothing" doesn't match at all with their official report. If they found nothing as a result of data mining, why recommend more of it with better coordination? Someone isn't telling the truth -- and so far, I still suspect that the 9/11 Commission has more to lose than Curt Weldon and his corroborating source.

UPDATE II, BUMP to TOP: There's nothing wrong with skepticism, but I would suggest that the Commission has earned just as much of it as Weldon. Just as a further investigation into the credibility into the Commission's response on this point, I searched the 9/11 Commission report again for the phrase "military intelligence". I expected a ream of hits; I got 13. They referenced:

* Pakistani military intelligence (7 refs)
* A demand for coordination between allied & Pakistani MI (p 331)
* A recommendation to keep the DoD's JMIP and TIARA programs as is (p 429, 2 refs)
* A recommendation to disclose overall budgets for MI (p 433)
* A note explaining a recommendation using MI as an analogy (p 566)

Based on this "data mining" of the Commission report, it not only looks like they found nothing, it seems like they didn't ask around about American military intelligence at all. They had more to say about Pakistani military intelligence than our own. Does that sound comprehensive to you?

-- Captain Ed, captainsquartersblog.com/mt/
28 posted on 08/09/2005 2:49:42 PM PDT by OESY
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To: neverdem

It's OK, Clinton was still president so by definition this could not be a colossal security failure that allowed 9/11 terrorists to proceed with their evil plot...... must've been the fault of BUSH, who did not wave a magic wand and retroactively correct all of Clinton's failings on Jan. 21, 2001.


29 posted on 08/09/2005 7:21:11 PM PDT by Enchante (Kerry's mere nuisances: Marine Barracks '83, WTC '93, Khobar Towers, Embassy Bombs '98, USS Cole!!!)
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To: neverdem

And Bill Clinton skates? And Hillary Clinton skates. And worse yet, the guy who covered up all of this BS, Sandy Berger skates? Only in America!!!


30 posted on 08/09/2005 7:23:48 PM PDT by eeriegeno
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To: eeriegeno

Why don't we have Bill Cohen testify as to why Able Danger was ignored, and why their intelligence wasn't passed on to the Bush administration as highly relevant?


31 posted on 08/10/2005 12:46:19 PM PDT by zendari
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To: neverdem
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.

Atta did not have a green card, he had a visa. Also green card holders don not have the same legal protections as U.S. Citizens. The lawyers for Special Ops should be disbarred!

32 posted on 08/10/2005 6:58:51 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Customs & Border Protection Officer)
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