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Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?
Government Security News ^ | 8/9/05 | Jacob Goodwin

Posted on 08/10/2005 4:56:36 PM PDT by philo

Did DoD lawyers blow the chance to nab Atta?

In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as “Able Danger,” identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to “take out that cell,” according to Rep. Curt Weldon, a longtime Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who is currently vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security and House Armed Services Committees.

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. That’s because Mohammed Atta possessed a “green card” at the time and Defense Department lawyers did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues last June 27 during a little-noticed speech, known as a “special order,” which he delivered on the House floor.

Details of the origins and efforts of Able Danger were corroborated in a telephone interview by GSN with a former defense intelligence officer who said he worked closely with that program. That intelligence officer, who spoke to GSN while sitting in Rep. Weldon’s Capitol Hill office, requested anonymity for fear that his current efforts to help re-start a similar intelligence-gathering operation might be hampered if his identity becomes known.

The intelligence officer recalled carrying documents to the offices of Able Danger, which was being run by the Special Operations Command, headquartered in Tampa, FL. The documents included a photo of Mohammed Atta supplied by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and described Atta’s relationship with Osama bin Laden. The officer was very disappointed when lawyers working for Special Ops decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen. Thus, the information Able Danger had amassed about the only terrorist cell they had located inside the United States could not be shared with the FBI, the lawyers concluded.

“We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn’t exist,” the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau’s disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.

“So now, Mr. Speaker,” Weldon said on the House floor last June, “for the first time I can tell our colleagues that one of our agencies not only identified the New York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the terrorists, but actually made a recommendation to bring the FBI in to take out that cell.”

Weldon has developed a reputation for making bold pronouncements and, occasionally, ruffling the feathers of some of his colleagues. His recent non-fiction book, “Countdown to Terror,” which draws on information from an Iranian expatriate source Weldon has dubbed “Ali,” has drawn criticism from the CIA, others in the intelligence community and some congressional colleagues.

A longtime champion of firefighters and first responders, Weldon has a particular interest in this subject because he has been openly and actively pushing since 1999 for the establishment of an integrated government-wide center that could consolidate, analyze and act upon intelligence gathered by dozens of U.S. agencies, armed services and departments.

Weldon’s proposal was based on the innovative intelligence gathering capabilities he had witnessed at the U.S. Army’s Information Dominance Center, based at Fort Belvoir, VA, (which was formerly known as the Land Information Warfare Assessment Center.) This Army center had employed data mining, profiling and data collaboration techniques before several other intelligence agencies, and was using such cutting edge software tools as Starlight (developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Spires.

For years, the CIA resisted the congressman’s recommendation, Weldon told GSN in a telephone interview on August 1, claiming that his plan to integrate dozens of discrete and classified intelligence streams was both unworkable and unnecessary. Weldon had dubbed his proposed organization the National Operations and Analysis Hub, nicknamed NOAH, because the center was intended “to protect our nation from the flood of threats,” he explained.

Sixteen months after 9/11, such a “data fusion center,” named the Terrorism Threat Integration Center (TTIC) was indeed established by the Bush Administration.

At the urging of the 9/11 Commission, the TTIC has since been restructured and renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC).

Weldon is pleased that steps have been taken to unify the nation’s intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities, now headed by a newly established Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Negroponte, but Weldon remains concerned that the “stovepipe” mentalities that plagued the intelligence community in the past continue to inhibit true information sharing between intelligence agencies.

He is also extremely frustrated by the fact that so little official attention seems to have been paid to the intelligence failure related to the Mohammed Atta cell in Brooklyn. Weldon contends that few in the Bush Administration seem interested in investigating that missed opportunity.

“If we had had that [military intelligence] system in 1999 and 2000, which the military had already developed as a prototype, and if we had followed the lead of the military entity that identified the Al Qaeda cell of Mohammed Atta, then perhaps, Mr. Speaker, 9/11 would never have occurred,” Weldon said during his special order remarks.

According to Weldon, staff members of the 9/11 Commission were briefed on the capabilities of the Able Danger intelligence unit within the Special Operations Command, which had been set up by General Pete Schoomaker, who headed Special Ops at the time, on the orders of General Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Staffers at the 9/11 Commission staffers were also told about the specific recommendation to break up the Mohammed Atta cell. However, those commission staff members apparently did not choose to brief the commission’s members on these sensitive matters.

Weldon said he was told specifically by commission members, Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana; and John Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy; that they had never been briefed on the Able Danger unit within Special Ops or on the unit’s evidence of a terrorist cell in Brooklyn.

“I personally talked with [Philip] Zelikow [executive director of the 9/11 Commission] about this,” recalled the intelligence officer. “For whatever bizarre reasons, he didn’t pass on the information.”

The State Department, where Zelikow now works as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said he was traveling and unavailable for comment.

“Why did the 9/11 Commission not investigate this entire situation?” asked Weldon on June 27. “Why did the 9/11 Commission not ask the question about the military’s recommendation against the Mohammed Atta cell?”

Weldon is also disappointed with himself for not pushing harder against the intelligence bureaucracy that he saw as resisting his proposal to set up a more integrated intelligence-gathering operation. But he saves some of his greatest ire for the lawyers within the Department of Defense -- he is not sure if they were working within the Special Operations Command or higher up the organizational chart, within the Office of the Secretary of Defense -- for their unwillingness to allow Able Danger to send to the FBI its evidence and its recommendation for immediate action.

“Obviously, if we had taken out that cell, 9/11 would not have occurred and, certainly, taking out those three principal players in that cell would have severely crippled, if not totally stopped, the operation that killed 3,000 people in America,” said Weldon.

Shining a spotlight on this intelligence gaffe has not been easy. Russ Caso, Weldon’s chief of staff, explained to GSN the steps his boss has taken to shed light on the situation.

Weldon spoke with Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, about conversations he has had with several members of the Able Danger intelligence unit. Weldon has urged Hoekstra to investigate the reasons why Able Danger’s revelations were not shared with the FBI. Hoekstra looked into the matter at the Pentagon, but after several days of fruitless inquiries, was unable to find anyone at the Defense Department who seemed to know anything about Able Danger or would acknowledge the intelligence unit had ever existed, explained Caso in a telephone interview with GSN.

Unwilling to let the matter drop, Weldon arranged for a face-to-face meeting in late July between Hoekstra, himself and the former intelligence officer who had worked with Able Danger, and who outlined his former unit’s evidence and recommendations for Hoekstra.

“Congressman Weldon has met with several people who were working on Able Danger to identify where Al Qaeda was set up around the world,” said Caso. “They made the suggestion that this information be passed to the FBI, and lawyers within the Defense Department -- whether within Special Ops or within OSD, we don’t know -- and the lawyers said, ‘No’.”

A report about some of these events appeared last June 19 in The Times Herald newspaper, of Norristown, PA, which is located in the Philadelphia suburbs that Rep. Weldon represents in Congress.


TOPICS: Extended News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; 911commission; abledanger; atta; clintonfailures; clintonlegacy; clintonscandals; gorelick; gorelickmemo; hillaryknew; jamiegorelick; sandyberger; sept11; weldon
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This Is the original story that the major media networks have picked up
1 posted on 08/10/2005 4:56:37 PM PDT by philo
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To: philo

This guy was just on Savage Nation - awesome!


2 posted on 08/10/2005 4:57:13 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: philo

I thought Weldon has said that he wasn't sure if the lawyers involved were DOD lawyers, or lawyers from some other branch of the gov't?


3 posted on 08/10/2005 4:58:09 PM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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.


4 posted on 08/10/2005 4:59:15 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: philo

bump


5 posted on 08/10/2005 5:03:36 PM PDT by GEC
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To: philo

Did DoD Lawyers Miss a Chance to Nail Atta?"

No. Clintons' justice dept. would not allow it. They were too busy shipping innocent children to island prisons and just outright burning others to death to worry about terrorists.


6 posted on 08/10/2005 5:04:02 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (If you think that's tough, try losing a testicle in a knife fight with your mother!)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: philo
Thanks for the posting...I am playing catch-up on this story...I heard Rush talk about it today but have not seen any news reports....has this made it to the lame-stream yet?

Looks like we are going to need a new 9/11 commission huh?
8 posted on 08/10/2005 5:04:33 PM PDT by JediForce (DON'T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THE CURTAINS THEY ARE WEARING ON THEIR HEADS !)
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To: philo

Another reason to hate lawyers.


9 posted on 08/10/2005 5:04:57 PM PDT by Califelephant (Liberals: "We've always been soft on criminals, but now we're soft on terrorists too.")
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To: philo

September 2000..... Now who was President at that point?


10 posted on 08/10/2005 5:05:27 PM PDT by b4its2late (Liberals are good examples of why some animals eat their young.)
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To: philo

If David Koresh only had a green card, that regrettable incident need never have happened.


11 posted on 08/10/2005 5:07:06 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Free Michael Graham!)
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To: midogwood; Neets
Stop what you're doing and write or call your Congressman and Senator and demand the truth.

Would do me now good and a total waste of time and effort. My congress critter is too busy peddling the Downing Street Memo to care about this small, insignificant tidbit and my senators suck......

12 posted on 08/10/2005 5:07:24 PM PDT by b4its2late (Liberals are good examples of why some animals eat their young.)
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To: philo
Legacy
13 posted on 08/10/2005 5:07:43 PM PDT by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: philo
“Why did the 9/11 Commission not investigate this entire situation?” asked Weldon on June 27. “Why did the 9/11 Commission not ask the question about the military’s recommendation against the Mohammed Atta cell?”

Why did Sandy BERG-lar stuff documents down his boxers on his way out of the Nat'l Archives and why was Ms Jaime Gore-licker sitting ON the commission instead of IN FRONT OF it????? HHMMMMMM..........I think the answers to some of these questions will provide answers to the others!!!!

14 posted on 08/10/2005 5:09:18 PM PDT by soozla (Some people bring happiness when they enter the room and others........when they leave it.)
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To: mewzilla
"I thought Weldon has said that he wasn't sure if the lawyers involved were DOD lawyers, or lawyers from some other branch of the gov't?"

Clinton's DOJ and White House Lawyers..."Gore-Lick", Hillary and Girly-Men Crew are all behind this.

Tall-Tree Time.
15 posted on 08/10/2005 5:09:34 PM PDT by CaptSkip
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To: philo
Forget Rove... bring on Reno! (and her puppet masters)
16 posted on 08/10/2005 5:09:47 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup (JFK once referred to Teddy as "the gay illiterate.")
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To: midogwood

I dunno about negligent homicide. The lid is blown: some heat will come by the way of the lawyers who shooed people away from looking into the matter.


17 posted on 08/10/2005 5:09:54 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: SmithL
The rank and fetid aroma of the clintons once again wafts up from the bowels of death and destruction. This air is their legacy, but unfortunately, we are the ones left to inhale it.
18 posted on 08/10/2005 5:14:37 PM PDT by pipecorp (Let's have a CRUSADE! , the muslim half has already started. ps. I need more cowbell!)
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To: philo

I forget. Which admninistration was in charge leading up to the 2000 Presidential Election?


19 posted on 08/10/2005 5:17:20 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: philo

Thanks for posting this interesting article.


20 posted on 08/10/2005 5:18:24 PM PDT by syriacus (Embryos -- Special enough that researchers want a lot of them; not special enough to deserve to live)
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To: HitmanNY
I heard him. Savage is all over it he has their number. A huge cover up by the bubba adm.They are blaming it on the lawyers but something that big was probably done by bubba himself.
21 posted on 08/10/2005 5:19:54 PM PDT by keysguy (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU)
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To: CaptSkip

Yeah...and before Gorelick was busy setting up her "wall" at the DOJ, she had a stint as chief counsel for the DoD. This is where she helped set up a bureaucracy which gave lawyers a greater say over military matters.

From the refusal to kill UBL when we had a clean shot...to the failure to extradite him from Sudan--because according to the lawyers we didn't have enough for an indictment--Gorelick helped lay much of the foundation for the failures during the Clinton administration.


22 posted on 08/10/2005 5:22:47 PM PDT by cwb (Liberalism is the opiate of the *asses.)
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To: keysguy

We have seen hints of this for months: Jamie Gorelick on the 9-11 Commission, Sandy Berger stuffing documents in his panties, etc.

Wait and see. Nice to see the beloved NY Post ran with the story.

See if it has legs...


23 posted on 08/10/2005 5:24:38 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: HitmanNY

Savage is awesome today.


24 posted on 08/10/2005 5:24:51 PM PDT by Ben Chad
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To: Ben Chad

Savage is awesome almost every day! ;-)


25 posted on 08/10/2005 5:25:18 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: philo

We should demand names of these bozos, who caused the attack on 9/11 to go forward. They are responsible for stonewalling and we need to know who they are and why they did it. It's way past time that someone pays for this horrible blunder.


26 posted on 08/10/2005 5:27:29 PM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: mewzilla
Can't you see it now. Even now AFTER 9/11 the left is screeching about civil rights and how dare we question people, let alone arrest them.

Without them having committed a crime, on what grounds were we going to hold them?

Recently someone in Europe was caught with hundreds of false identification papers and he was let go.

27 posted on 08/10/2005 5:31:44 PM PDT by OldFriend (MERCY TO THE GUILTY IS CRUELTY TO THE INNOCENT ~ Adam Smith)
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To: philo
Savage barely touched on the key point. He kept repeating over and over that the DOD lawyers were treasonous. I hate to defend lawyers, but the lawyers were following the rules set forth by their superiors and Ms. Gorelick ... there are thousands of dangerous nut jobs in America and most of these dangerous nut jobs will never kill anyone leave alone thousands of people at a time.

Gorelick is a different matter. She has some serious explaining to do in terms of her willingness to serve on the 911 Commission when she was well aware that she had been instrumental in frustrating intelligence sharing that might have averted that mass murder. Her actions are obviously unethical and hopefully what she did was provably unlawful.

28 posted on 08/10/2005 5:34:53 PM PDT by R W Reactionairy
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To: cwb
I did not know the details of Gore-lick in your #22.

Klintons_AlGore_Reno_Gore-lick_NotBright_Burglar...and throw in Carter as well...all have worked very hard to destroy us all.
29 posted on 08/10/2005 5:40:23 PM PDT by CaptSkip
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: trubluolyguy
No. Clinton's' justice dept. would not allow it. They were too busy shipping innocent children to island prisons and just outright burning others to death to worry about terrorists.

You forgot the Ruby Ridge murders and the blue dress distraction...etc.

31 posted on 08/10/2005 6:06:27 PM PDT by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.....)
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To: CaptSkip

Oh, yeah...right from her biography:

"Prior to joining Fannie Mae in May 1997, Gorelick was deputy attorney general of the United States, a position she assumed in March 1994. From May 1993 until she joined the Justice Department, Gorelick served as general counsel of the Department of Defense..."

It would appear that before she got busy building her "wall" with the DOJ, she was attempting to do something similar at DoD. The Clinton's fascination with treating terrorism as a "legal matter" came right out of all this manuevering.

This was an attempt to give lawyers the final say, even when it came to military decisions. And this was further exposed when you look at those operations that were nixed because lawyers got involved. Whether it was the cancelled operation to kill UBL when a drone spotted him, or the refusal to extradite him from Sudan--supposedly because they couldn't get an indictment--these decisions were all made by lawyers.

Even this latest story was a result of Reno/Gorelick policy that refused to even LOOK at Arabs for fear of being accused of racism or profiling. And all of this was also an extension of Clinton's Mid-East Peace legacy were he didn't want to appear biased against Arabs as he dealt with Isreal and Palestine. Yet, even with all this appeasement throughout the 1990's, we were still attacked on 9/11.


32 posted on 08/10/2005 6:14:42 PM PDT by cwb (Liberalism is the opiate of the *asses.)
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To: midogwood

Relax. The next few days will determine if this has legs or not. I hope it has legs, not so much to apportion blame, but to change the policy for the future.

Stay cool.


33 posted on 08/10/2005 6:15:12 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: HitmanNY

The guy Savage was interviewing, the author of this article I think, said the slimes ran this story on the front page. And then another piece on page 13 of course. They(the slimes) know when their people are in harms way.


34 posted on 08/10/2005 6:17:50 PM PDT by rodguy911 (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU and all Mosques in the US,UK.)
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To: OldFriend
You are proving a major point OldFriend. We can't successfully fight a PC war. It has to be no holds barred.
35 posted on 08/10/2005 6:20:48 PM PDT by rodguy911 (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU and all Mosques in the US,UK.)
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To: philo

Well, it seems the FR has not even significantly picked this up. Look at the threads that are being bumped.


36 posted on 08/10/2005 6:25:05 PM PDT by Stew Padasso ("That boy is nuttier than a squirrel turd.")
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To: R W Reactionairy

The bottom line is that Savage ,IMHO, has been right about "some" lawyers (he calls them "diaper, doper babies,") all along. Some lawyers are creating havoc in the country and this is a perfect example. PC rules were observed before the welfare of the country. And the result was 911 That's BS.


37 posted on 08/10/2005 6:30:23 PM PDT by rodguy911 (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU and all Mosques in the US,UK.)
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To: philo
Why is Mrs. Gorelick still a member of the 9-11 committee and not a witness?

She is the one who wrote the infamous memo prohibiting the CIA from passing along information to the FBI. I would be very surprised if she wasn't leading the stone wall defense to prevent Able Danger information from being more widely disseminated.

Gorelick as a committee member is even a more blatant "in your face" insult to the American people than was Sandy Burger's lack of punishment for the violation of our national archives.

38 posted on 08/10/2005 6:49:45 PM PDT by StopGlobalWhining (Only 3 1/2-5% of atmospheric CO2 is the result of human activities. 95-96.5% is from natural sources)
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To: soozla
Why did Sandy BERG-lar stuff documents down his boxers on his way out of the Nat'l Archives and why was Ms Jaime Gore-licker sitting ON the commission instead of IN FRONT OF it????? HHMMMMMM..........I think the answers to some of these questions will provide answers to the others!!!!

See the dots. Connect the dots.

39 posted on 08/10/2005 6:52:37 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten (Is your problem ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.)
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To: Stew Padasso; All
I can't believe there are not a dozen threads on this on fr right now. This is the whole ball game. The rats have been caught with their PC, BS mentality causing 911. It does not get any more culpable than that. Someone needs to hang.
40 posted on 08/10/2005 6:53:34 PM PDT by rodguy911 (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU and all Mosques in the US,UK.)
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To: philo
lawyers working for Special Ops decided that anyone holding a green card had to be granted essentially the same legal protections as any U.S. citizen.

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

41 posted on 08/10/2005 6:55:05 PM PDT by Marine Inspector (Customs & Border Protection Officer)
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To: rodguy911

FR has such an impact on these type of events. Without a groundswell on FR demanding an investigation, it will be swept under the rug with minimal consequence.


42 posted on 08/10/2005 6:58:36 PM PDT by Stew Padasso ("That boy is nuttier than a squirrel turd.")
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To: midogwood

As I said on the other thread, May visions of collapsing towers and falling bodies dance in their heads for eternity. At least now that the truth is out these scum can no longer hide behind their rationalizations. "I was only doing my job. I was following the law."

No you caused 3000 Americans to be murdered.


43 posted on 08/10/2005 7:00:13 PM PDT by mercy (never again a patsy for Bill Gates - spyware and viri free for over a year now)
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To: Marine Inspector

"The lawyers for Special Ops should be disbarred!"

They should be jailed, and if we find out that Berglar was swiping documents surrounding Atta, he should get the death penalty.


44 posted on 08/10/2005 7:00:16 PM PDT by Stew Padasso ("That boy is nuttier than a squirrel turd.")
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To: R W Reactionairy

Still even if they had green cards, if they were found to be in the states by LYING on their application: would you not want them to be questioned?


45 posted on 08/10/2005 7:06:26 PM PDT by thebaron512
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To: philo

In September 2000, one year before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, a U.S. Army military intelligence program, known as “Able Danger,” identified a terrorist cell based in Brooklyn, NY, one of whose members was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta, and recommended to their military superiors that the FBI be called in to “take out that cell,” according to Rep. Curt Weldon, a longtime Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who is currently vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security and House Armed Services Committees.


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. That’s because Mohammed Atta possessed a “green card” at the time and Defense Department lawyers did not want to recommend that the FBI go after someone holding a green card, Weldon told his House colleagues last June 27 during a little-noticed speech, known as a “special order,” which he delivered on the House floor.



Who were the folks in the White House then?

THE DUMBORATS.

Funny that this didn't hightlight the 911 commission. I guess this guy didn't have a book coming out.


46 posted on 08/10/2005 7:11:49 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: mewzilla

This guy Weldon, he seems to always be around important national securtiy issues. Whats his chances for moving up to the White House. Has he served in the military? ProLife?


47 posted on 08/10/2005 7:13:29 PM PDT by TomasUSMC (FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.)
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To: philo

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1460271/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1460536/posts


48 posted on 08/10/2005 7:13:43 PM PDT by Andy from Beaverton (I only vote Republican to stop the Democrats)
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To: Stew Padasso
I don't think this will be swept under the rug. It's too important. Besides we already have our counterparts of the New Media on the job. Rush and Savage have already chimed in and hopefully it won't be a one day story. Heads need to roll and they need to start with Jamie Gorelick and her wall. What PC/BS I swear!!
49 posted on 08/10/2005 7:18:06 PM PDT by rodguy911 (Time to get rid of the UN and the ACLU and all Mosques in the US,UK.)
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To: Stew Padasso

"Without a groundswell on FR demanding an investigation, it will be swept under the rug with minimal consequence".

Weldon stated on FoxNews (this AM), that there are several investigations ON-GOING within the House Of Representatives. Delay is ALL over this. Sit back and watch the masters land this big-one!

LLS


50 posted on 08/10/2005 7:23:08 PM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Preserve America... kill terrorists... destroy dims!)
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