Skip to comments.New Pre-9/11 Intel Questions
Posted on 08/10/2005 7:14:22 AM PDT by YaYa123
(CBS/AP) Sept. 11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers were identified by defense intelligence officials more than a year before the attacks, but information about possible al Qaeda connections never was sent to law enforcement, Rep. Curt Weldon said Tuesday.
The 9/11 Commission will investigate the claim. Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said that Weldon's information warrants a review. Hamilton says the commission "did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell."
Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, said the hijackers were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as Able Danger, which determined they could be members of an al Qaeda cell.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
Able Danger, the 9/11 Commission & the Strange (But Now Explainable) Actions of Sandy Berger
By Sean Osborne, Senior Analyst & Military Affairs Expert
& Douglas J. Hagmann,Director
10 August 2005: Hey America do you remember the strange actions of President Clintons national security adviser Sandy Berger during the 9/11 Commission investigation when he removed highly classified terrorism documents that should have been turned over to that independent commission? Did you ever wonder what Berger was attempting to hide and even more importantly, why? Did you also wonder why, even though he committed a felony, he received nothing more than a slap on the wrist while various political and intelligence officials played down his actions, wanting them to disappear as quickly as possible? It appears that we just might have discovered the answers to these and other troubling questions: Able Danger.
Able Danger is the code name of a secret team of U.S. Army military intelligence operatives created in 1999 under a directive signed by General Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about al Qaeda networks around the world. In mid-2000, the Able Danger team discovered the existence of the key 9/11 terror cell of Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawar al-Hamzi inside the U.S. and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to take out that cell, according to Representative Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania House member and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. That information was presented in the summer of 2000 in the form of a chart complete with photographs of the terrorists to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida. Our intelligence was dead-on accurate, but was not acted upon a full year before the 9/11 attacks.
In fact, Representative Weldon said Able Danger members had recommended that the information they uncovered be shared with the FBI, but the idea was rejected and they were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didnt exist.
Despite the findings of Able Danger, absolutely no action was pursued to take out the cell during the weeks leading up to the 2000 presidential election, said Weldon. The reason? Mohammed Atta possessed a green card at the time. Under the rules of the Clinton Justice Department, lawyers working for Special Operations decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen. They did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues on June 27, 2005 during a speech, known as a special order, which he delivered on the House floor. Defense Department lawyers were also said to be reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureaus disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, Texas.
Read Curt Weldons June 27, 2005 Testimony
This week, Representative Weldon and a former defense intelligence official said they had spoken with three Able Danger team members, all still working in the government, including two in the military, and that they were consistent in asserting that Mohammed Atta's affiliation with a Qaeda terrorism cell in the United States was known within the Defense Department by mid-2000 but was not acted upon. Further and after the fact, the 9-11 Commission was reportedly never told about Able Danger or its findings.
Enter Sandy Berger During the 9/11 Commission
While the investigation by the 9/11 Commission was in progress, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, who served as Clinton's national security adviser for all of President's Clintons second term, was caught removing documents from the national Archives the very same documents that should have been turned over to the independent commission probing the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Berger ultimately admitted to intentionally taking and destroying various classified documents relating to terrorism collected under the Clinton administration. Berger and his lawyer said on July 19, 2004 that he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. Those documents reportedly included an assessment of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports, something very relevant to Able Dangers findings and key to the 9/11 attacks. What Sandy Berger did was a felony, yet was allowed a generous plea agreement of a fine and a three-year suspension of his security clearance.
Under the prism of Able Danger, we are now able to make sense out of the previously curious actions of Sandy Berger.
Able Danger & the Saga of the 9/11 Commission; Warren Commission Redux
According to Weldon, staff members of the 9/11 Commission were briefed on the findings of the Able Danger intelligence unit within the Special Operations Command and about the specific recommendation to break up the Mohammed Atta cell, yet those members reportedly decided not to brief the commissions members on those matters. Why not?
Clearer now is the conflict of interest of having Jamie Gorelick, the Assistant Attorney General under Bill Clinton serving on the 9/11 Commission. Ms. Gorelick worked directly for Janet Reno and was directly involved in matters that were under review by the 9/11 Commission.
Remember the reason the findings of Able Danger were not acted upon? In his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Attorney General John Ashcroft stated the following:
"In 1995, the Justice Department embraced flawed legal reasoning, imposing a series of restrictions on the FBI that went beyond what the law required," he said. "The 1995 Guidelines and the procedures developed around them imposed draconian barriers to communications between the law enforcement and intelligence communities. The wall left intelligence agents afraid to talk with criminal prosecutors or agents. In 1995, the Justice Department designed a system destined to fail."
Continuing his testimony, Ashcroft stated:
"Somebody built this wall. Ashcroft added: "The basic architecture for the wall . . . was contained in a classified memorandum entitled 'Instructions on Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations. Full disclosure compels me to inform you that its author is a member of this Commission."
Ashcroft was referring to Jamie Gorelick, who served as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration as well as general counsel at the Department of Defense. Both jobs put her at the very center of the former administration's anti-terrorism efforts. Consequently, her actions, as well as those of her superiors, were the subject of review by the very commission on which she is a member. Most assuredly, that is a huge conflict of interest. In her position at the Justice Department, Gorelick wrote a memo that provides a picture of the role she played setting policy for intelligence gathering and sharing during the Clinton Administration. The memo stemmed from the Justice Department's prosecution of the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Gorelick wrote in 1995:
During the course of those investigations, significant counterintelligence information has been developed related to the activities and plans of agents of foreign powers operating in this country and overseas, including previously unknown connections between separate terrorist groups." We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation."
And therein is the framework for the legal conundrum faced by Able Danger, and why Atta and his minions were free to hijack 4 airliners on 9/11.
Oh, MSM is getting on this.
The NY Times will run a piece on Weldon tomorrow saying he is a right wing extremist.
Oh, MSM is getting on this.
The NY Times will run a piece on Weldon tomorrow saying he is a right wing extremist.
We should start a commission to study how the commission failed to gather this information. maybe get some old party hacks to run it. Is Tom Kean available? We'll call it the 9-11 Commission Commission. We'll get the wives of 9-11 Commission members to form a coffee clatch. It'll be great fun.
This might explain Berger AND THE AGREEMENT THAT BUBBA WILL NEVER BE PROSECUTED FOR ANY CRIME AFTER HE LEAVES OFFICE.
And will it be possible for the 9/11 Commission bury it?
This could get interesting.
After watching Weldon this morning on FOX & Friends, what made the biggest impression on me was his explanation of how totally bogus it is to claim the information gathered by the Able Danger unit couldn't be shared with intelligence agencies. Here's a snippet of Weldon's remarks on FOX & Friends this morning.
""Lawyers within the administration and we're talking about the Clinton administration, not the Bush administration ... said 'you can't do it,'" and put post-its over Atta's face, Weldon said. "They said they were concerned about the political fallout that occurred after Waco ... and the Branch Davidians."
But Able Danger was largely using open-source information that was available on the Internet and other public mediums, Weldon said, adding that there was no law prohibiting such information from being passed on to law enforcement."
Neither will Sandy Burglar. The fix is in.
There's the link to Weldon's comments on Fox & Friends
How can this not be the number one question going on in the minds of journalists? Why doesn't FOX news have a daily update for its viewers regarding this matter?
Interesting. And don't forget, GW could make an issue of this -- if he wanted to. He won't. They're all one big happy family in DC.
James Gorelick? ..sorry, Jamie Gorlick.
The CBS report that were aired and repeated last night. is named Wyatt Andrews. I was impressed. Of course, none of us should hold our collective breaths until the 9-11 Commission finally gets around to discovering Jamie Gorelick's purpose on that committee was more "CCA" than anything else.
She (Gorelick) was the plant from the Clinton administration, to control the commissions outcome.
Gee....I think this is the same time period that Linda Tripp was at the Pentagon and at the height of "Monica".
Fox reported around 10:15 that the Pentagon sent information about this matter to the 9/11 Commission in 2003.
So either staffers didn't pass it on, or everyone on that commission is a liar.
I understand your skepticism, and sometimes it is hard to distinguish between political scoundrels protecting each other, and the very legitimate issue of a President showing respect for his predecessors, and properly respecting the office.
Rather than attribute scurrilous motives to President Bush, I believe he has bent over backwards to respect the office itself. Yes, it's been maddening at times, we wanted payback, we wanted Bush to expose all the Clinton mistakes, embarrassments, crimes and misdemeanors, but it did not happen. Bush is thinking long term. What's best for the country, and no fool, he knows he will be a "presidentical predecessor one day too.
Head line news:
In a made up newspaper: Dateline: 8-10-05; Somewhere USA
The Government is getting ready to impeach the Clinton, Clinton and Gore administration. They will also be calling Sandy Berger; Jamie Gorelick.
It was revealed that the Clinton, Clinton, Gore Administration knew about 9-11 before it happened. They knew that there was a cell in Washington D.C. and one in New York and did nothing.
It was also noted that while the 9-11 commission was in session earlier, Sandy Berger took documents from a History Insitute and stuffed them down his pants.
Also revealed, Jamie Gorelick was a member of the 9-11 commission and was there to make sure that this information did not become a part of the commission, hoping that the Bush Adminstration would lose the Presidental Bid.
It should be noted that Bush won, Kerry lost, and hopefully when this investigation is over, Clinton, Clinton and Gore will be found guilty and detained at Gitmo along with Berger and Gorelick.
"On September 11, 2001, the FBI was limited in several areas critical to an effective preventive counterterrorism strategy. Those working counterterrorism matters did so despite limited intelligence collection and strategic analysis capabilities, a limited capacity to share information both internally and externally, insufficient training, perceived legal barriers to sharing information, and inadequate resources."
What jumped out at me is "perceived legal barriers". In other words, the Pentagon misinterpreted it's guidance from Gorelick and Clinton's Justice Dept.
I don't know if you heard Weldon this morning on FNC, but it was one of the best interviews I've heard on this matter, ever.
Weldon said that in addition to the Wall and the barriers (real or perceived) presented to law enforcement, he was told that after Ruby Ridge, the FBI was reluctant to go after people who were here legally.
I know, I know. One has nothing to do with the other. And Weldon thought it was a ridiculous excuse too, I can assure you.
It ALL calls for an investigation.
Freepers knew, based on conservative reporting posted on FR, primarily from The Weekly Standard, that the FBI had their sites on Atta and others pre 9/11.
If WE knew, it's inexcusable that the 9/11 Commission members now claim they didn't know.
Someone needs to ask Felzenberg, under oath, why they were "aware of Able Danger", but not the information Able Danger obtained. It doesn't make sense. And it wouldn't hurt to ask him if the 9-ll investigators purposely kept info on Able Danger from reaching the Commission members.
This morning, Catherine Harridge of FNC reported that a Pentagon spokesman told her that they sent the information to the 9/11 Commission in 2003.
Either some staffer on that commission deliberately withheld the information, or the commission members are themselves liars.
Remember when Ashcroft gave testimony to the commission and dropped the bomb that it was The Wall that Gorelick created that stopped the information flow between intel agencies? We all thought she'd be forced to resign.
Instead they all, Republican members included, circled the wagons around her. That was the final confirmation that the entire commission was nothing but butt covering time for Clinton. Big time.
And Sandy Berger confirmed it when he got caught stealing docs from the National Archives.
I have wondered about the dilligence of the F.B.I.for some time.My wife and I had been staying in the Panther motel in Deerfield Beach,Florida just prior to 9/11. Just after 9/11,my brother showed me a New York Daily News story which said Mohammed Atta had been staying at the same motel at the same time.We never got 1 call from the F>B.I. This was a very small motel.
It's sickening how these jerks(both sides of the aisle) cover for each other. Ashcroft was a good man. I see why he resigned.
This disclosure sheds even more light on why we needed Gitmo to contain the terrorists. GWB realized that what he inheirited vis s vis....the prior administration's wall to even share terror info....let alone act on it!
" Remember when Ashcroft gave testimony to the commission and dropped the bomb that it was The Wall that Gorelick created that stopped the information flow between intel agencies?"
Thanks for your # 28. Great clarity of thought.
Respectfully, YaYa, "what's best for the country" is to expose and prosecute malfeasance of government officials, NOT to sweep it under the carpet. And, please..........the left has so demonized this President, regardless of his "new tone" pledge, the idea that they will show him any deference, let alone respect, once he leaves office, is laughable.
YaYa has a good one here.
thanks for your reply, enabling me to agree with you on every point. Bush has turned the other cheek so often, it's a wonder he has any butt left at all. and like I said, it's been maddening to those of us still wanting revenge from the Clinton years.
I shouldn't have used the phrase, "what's best for the country". I should have said, "what's best for the presidency". This is another case of Bush following through with his words. He said he would restore honor to the presidency, and he has. I firmly believe one way he has fulfilled that pledge is not to engage in gutter politics, not to launch personal attacks from the Oval Office, not to go after Clinton, even as Clinton and his wife continue to malign and attack him.
As proof Bush is taking the correct historical path, I offer the growing, sterling legacy of Ronald Reagan. Bush is getting no worse attack from the left than Reagan did.
Don't we just hope we're alive when the history books are written about what REALLY happened :-)
Harriage's reports are excellent, prompting me to go to Foxnews.com to read their latest: It follows, and it's excellent:
"""WASHINGTON Lee Hamilton co-chairman of the now-disbanded Sept. 11 commission, wants to know whether U.S. defense intelligence officials knew that four of the hijackers were part of an Al Qaeda cell but failed to tell law enforcement.
Hamilton said members of the commission could issue a statement by the end of the week after reviewing claims that more than a year before the 2001 attacks defense intelligence officials had identified ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers who were inside the United States.
"The Sept. 11 commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "Had we learned of it obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."
Hamilton's remarks Tuesday came after the findings of Rep. Curt Weldon a Pennsylvania Republican who serves as vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, made front-page news.
In June, Weldon displayed charts on the floor of the U.S. Senate showing that a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger " identified the men in 1999. That unit repeatedly asked for the information to be forwarded to the FBI but apparently to no avail. Various news outlets picked up on the story this week.
Weldon told FOX News on Wednesday that staff members of the Sept. 11 commission were briefed at least once by officials with Able Danger but that he does not believe the message was sent to the commissioners themselves. He also said some phone calls made by military officials with Able Danger to the commission staff went unreturned.
"Why weren't they briefed? Was there some deliberate attempt at the staff level of the 9/11 commission to steer the commissioners away of Able Danger because of where it might lead?" Weldon asked. "Why was there no mention of Able Danger?"
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Sept. 11 commission looked into the matter during its investigation of government missteps leading to the attacks and chose not to include it in the final report.
The commission's report on the terrorist attacks, released last year, traced government mistakes that allowed the hijackers to succeed. Among the problems the commission cited was a lack of coordination across intelligence agencies.
With the Sept. 11 commission disbanded for a year under provisions of the legislation that created it, some of the panel's members have said congressional committees should investigate Weldon's assertions.
Weldon told FOX News on Wednesday that several committees are investigating what happened.
"I can tell you right now, there are investigations going on right now trying to get answers," Weldon said.
According to Weldon, Able Danger identified Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi =Khalid al-Mihdar (search) and Nawaf al-Hazmi = as members of a cell the unit code-named "Brooklyn" because of some loose connections to New York City.
Weldon said that in September 2000, Able Danger recommended on three separate occasions that its information on the hijackers be given to the FBI "so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists." However, Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation because they said Atta and the others were in the country legally, so information on them could not be shared with law enforcement.
"Lawyers within the administration and we're talking about the Clinton administration, not the Bush administration ... said 'you can't do it,'" and put post-its over Atta's face, Weldon said. "They said they were concerned about the political fallout that occurred after Waco ... and the Branch Davidians."
But Able Danger was largely using open-source information that was available on the Internet and other public mediums, Weldon said, adding that there was no law prohibiting such information from being passed on to law enforcement.
Weldon did not provide details on how the intelligence officials identified the future hijackers and determined they might be part of a terrorist cell.
Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told FOX News on Wednesday that Congress not only needs to investigate the Able Danger claims but also needs to investigate other related issues, such as how German intelligence agencies alerted the United States that members of the Hamburg Al Qaeda cell were coming to America. What also needs to be investigated further, Graham said, is how two Sept. 11 terrorists were living in a building in San Diego where their landlord was actually an FBI informant. The FBI is not saying what the informant told the agency about those terrorists, he said.
"I anticipate they'll [Congress] be getting on to their job with a great deal of commitment and expertise in this area. I hope it doesn't end with this one instance of why we didn't know about Atta," said Graham, author of "Intelligence Matters."
"There's not just one mystery here there's a series of mysteries about why we didn't learn about this plot early enough to break it up," he added.
Defense Department documents shown to an Associated Press reporter Tuesday said the Able Danger team was set up in 1999 to identify potential Al Qaeda operatives for U.S. Special Operations Command. At some point, information provided to the team by the Army's Information Dominance Center pointed to a possible Al Qaeda cell in Brooklyn, the documents said.
However, because of concerns about pursuing information on "U.S. persons" a legal term that includes U.S. citizens as well as foreigners admitted to the country for permanent residence Special Operations Command did not provide the Army information to the FBI. It is unclear whether the Army provided the information to anyone else.
The command instead turned its focus to overseas threats.
The documents provided no information on whether the team identified anyone connected to the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.
If the team did identify Atta and the others, it's unclear why the information wasn't forwarded. The prohibition against sharing intelligence on "U.S. persons" should not have applied since they were in the country on visas and did not have permanent resident status.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he was unaware of the intelligence until the latest reports surfaced. But Weldon said Able Danger was disbanded shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Hamilton said commission staff members learned of Able Danger during a meeting with military personnel in October 2003 in Afghanistan, but that the staff members do not recall learning of a connection between Able Danger and any of the four terrorists Weldon mentioned.
FOXNews.com's Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report."""
Does anyone have a definitive answer whether the documents the Burgler took were copies or originals? This point was never formally addressed and answered as the politcal hacks fought it out on television (BTW, what are the qualifications for becoming a party "Strategist," just wondering?)
If the Burgler just took copies (which I can't see a man of his position putting his credentials on the line and not knowing there were other copies of the documents), does anyone have an idea of what documents were taken by him?
Thank you so much for including that article on this thread, YaYa.
The only thing missing that I heard Weldon mention is that two FBI men told him that the reluctance seemed to stem, at least in part, from what happened at Ruby Ridge.
Neither Weldon nor I were able to fully understand that particular excuse. LOL
Rush is going to discuss this next segment!
I almost clapped and danced when Rush said he would get to this next. Maybe someone will start a Rush thread
CBS is the only big three network covering this story. It's no surpise to see it on Fox, but it is good to see the CBS may be willing to cover other angles. What if a coupld of them started to cover the earlier Cindy Sheehan quotes from her 10 minute visit with President Bush one year ago. We would think the snowball had melted.
Rush reads AP take on this, which by omission, implies the Pentagon intentionally withheld the Able Danger information from the 9-ll Commission. Rush explains, as the AP didn't, that Jamie Gorelick's "Wall" prevented the pentagon from passing the info along.
Then Rush describes the New York Times as also blaming the Pentagon.
Neither AP or the NYT made mention of why the pentagon didn't share it's information, protecting Jamie Gorelick.
Rush is nailing this by reminding us how quickly the US knew about Atta so quickly after 9-11...by the next day in fact, info on Atta was made public. It's obvious, isn't it, this quickly dessiminated information came from Able Danger files.
Rush goes on to discuss Curt Weldon's appearance with Wolf Blitzer yesterday on CNN. How odd....I can't find the Blitzer CNN transcript from yesterday.
Thanks for the ping, McGruff. I'm listening.
I LOVE FOXNews replacing ABC Radio news on Atlanta's WGST Radio,
Catherine Harriage reports staffers from the 9-11 Commission are heading to the National Archives to check their notes to see if they were briefed on Atta from Able Danger. HAHAHH LOL! We have to hope their notes weren't Bergerized!
Turn on those surveillance cameras, folks, in case they find anything that Sandy Bergler missed.