Skip to comments.Was Mohammed Atta Overlooked?
Posted on 08/14/2005 11:22:47 AM PDT by george76
New questions about whether the U.S. had information about the 9/11 mastermind years before the attacks
Just how damning are allegations by Congressman Curt Weldon that a secret Pentagon intelligence operation pegged hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat nearly two years before he led the 9/11 attacks? When Weldon first made the charge in a new book and in a June speech on the House floor, it met with little attention, but perhaps due to the August heat or the approaching fourth anniversary of the attacks, the accusation ignited controversy last week.
The question is whether it has any substance. Weldon says a data-mining exercise, called Able Danger, spotted Atta and other hijackers in 1999, but Pentagon lawyers in September 2000 blocked officials running the program from handing the tip to the FBI.
Weldons further allegation that the 9/11 commission was alerted to the alleged oversight but ignored it prompted the defunct panel to conduct an investigation last week before issuing a statement late Friday saying members had received only an 11th-hour mention of Atta that was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation.
Meanwhile, at Weldons request, House intelligence committee chairman Peter Hoekstra told TIME he is investigating the matter...
Pentagon officials are playing down any controversy. They say they can find nothing produced by the Able Danger program...
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
Anonymous sources say, "Able Danger, who he?".
Overlooked?? Hardly. He was deliberately ignored...
Pulizer prize awaiting the first leftist carreer "journalist" that wants to sneak behind their editors desk.
Have they looked in Sandy Burgalar's pants?
Why not explain this little detail further, TIME?
spin/obfuscation cycle about to go into full gear.
Well, maybe they wrote this before the Commission's latest report and 4 page apologia. Weldon may be wrong, but Captain's Quarters blog is right, there's a lot of 'splainin for them to do before this is over.
Not one word about the "wall" imposed by Jamie Gorelick and the Clinton Administration. The MSM continues its practice of telling only half the story - the half that makes the Demo-RATS scapegoat de jour look bad, either the Department of Defense or the Bush Administration.
Exactly. It's not even about Mohammad Atta specifically.
If the whole program was examined and it's results could have been passed to the FBI, then we may have prevented the attack. So why didn't the 9/11 Commission tell us?
Time does not bother to explain how Able Danger was conducted. So, I will:
The researchers in this project never had to leave their cubicles. They gathered "open source" information, meaning publicly available speeches, articles, broadcasts, from many nations and in many languages. They entered all this data into a huge computer (perhaps a Cray), and asked the computer to identify and quantify all connections between data points.
The results of this were the identification of five of the hijackers (including the 20th one, who was prevented from entering the US at a Florida airport) and the identification of several cells, including one in Brooklyn and one in Hamburg (where we now know the main planning for 9/11 took place).
For anyone in the military to dismiss the value of this breakthrough analysis is as stupid as the Army Air Corps officers who court-martialed Billy Mitchell for his assertions that air power would become essential in warfare. It is as dumb as the Secretary of the Army who referred in his 1933 annual report to "the tried and proven horse."
It is impossible to tell from this Time magazine story whether the three writers had a clue of what Able Danger did, and how it did it. It is clear that they were predisposed to reject this as an important story.
Posted by Peach to george76
On News/Activism 08/14/2005 2:15:42 PM EDT · 25 of 37
This article states that apparently Able Danger puts Atta in Prague with an Iraqi intel officer.
Has anyone heard Weldon or anyone else state that Able Danger can place Atta in Prague? If we can do this, it will virtually kill the left and their mantra that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
No. Mohammad Atta was being protected by people at the highest levels of power.
And, wouldn't you know, it all happened at the same time the Chinese were stealing the plans for the W88 nuclear warhead and buying off the Leftist swine, Billy Boy Clinton.
Is it time to start the Gore-licker death count.
Who knew that Clinton's China Gate scandal would blowback into the hobbling of our national defense to the extent that it did. What other type of administration would even think to block off cooperation between the FBI and the CIA?
Carter may have enabled Islamofascism in Iran, but Clinton put a knife into the backs of the American people.
I used to find Michael Savage a little over the top, but he has been so right on talking about the leftists lawyers hobbling this country, partucularly Jamie Gorelicker, WHO WAS ABLE TO REMAIN ON THE 911 COMMISSION, even though she was a bad actor in the events that led up to it.
"This article states that apparently Able Danger puts Atta in Prague with an Iraqi intel officer..."
You have an excellent point.
I enjoy your comments.
I will continue to look deeper into this to find more information, as we all are.
34 posted on 08/14/2005 11:36:51 AM PDT by george76
Now we know why the Sunday talk shows downplayed AD, e.g., Krauthammer, Kristol, Wallace, etc.
Some commentators have said that the Commission rejected the report because it didn't fit a pre-set timeline and connected this to its too easy dismissal of the Atta in Prague report. Kelly's statement, not sources, may be a sloppy iteration of this argument. If it isn't--if there is in fact Able Danger corroboration of that trip--the Commission Report is toilet paper.
That these same complicit individuals are still drawing a paycheck and/or lucrative government pension is the worst travesty of all and shows us how corrupt the system really is. Who are they? Let us know their names. And where are they? We will picket their homes and at least let decent citizens know who and where they are, just as we do with sexual predators who are also lawbreakers.
NEWSFLASH: The 9-11 Commission Report has been flushed down a toilet at GITMO. Where's the outrage?
Remember thr endless claims that there was no connection between Saddam and OBL and Iraq and terror? How could these idiots be so sure about the proof of a negative? They couldn't be! But, siad often enough and loud enough, they assumed that the sheep would accept it as fact.
Willie's buddy, Marc Rich, and many others made a fortune from Saddam's oil vouchers. Rich paid Willie for his pardon with Iraqi oil money.
Just as there was a major conspiracy to cover the Whitewater dishonesty, Willie, the dems and the ultra-left wing have manipulated evidence so as to divery attention from Willie's role in the 9/11 attack.
Overlooked? Nonsense!! Berger stole evidence of Willie's involvement; the Commission hid/ignored evidence of Willie's involvement!!!
Ole BJ Clinton was too busy unzipping his pants to pay attention to stuff like this.
OTOH, the only one saying this is TIME, so I'd take that, too, with a grain of salt.
Whether or not Weldon's report is completely accurate the Commission put out about 3 different, all conflicting, versions of what they knew, in a matter of about 3 days..So I would not reject his report out of hand. (See Captain's Quarters blog.com for the best analysis and factual recitation of all of this.)
After having first denied that staff had been briefed on Able Danger, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said no reference was made to it in the final report because "it was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks," the AP reported.
The only dispute over Atta's whereabouts is whether he was in Prague on April 9, 2001, to meet with Samir al Ani, an Iraqi intelligence officer. Czech intelligence insists he was. Able Danger, apparently, had information supporting the Czechs."
with Mark Steyn's take on the same statement:
"If you want to know everything wrong with the 9/11 Commission in a single sound bite, consider this from Al Felzenberg, its official spokesman, speaking Wednesday:
''There was no way that Atta could have been in the United States at that time, which is why the staff didn't give this tremendous weight when they were writing the report. This information was not meshing with the other information that we had.''
Later on in the article it is made clear that the time frame they are talking about is pre-2000. Able Danger put Atta in the USA way before the Commission's time line.
I think Mark Steyn's interpretation sounds the more plausible one. That of course does not mean that Able Danger did not have any information on a possible Prague meeting, or that we (us FReepers) should stop looking for new clues.
Yes. I thinkSteyn is and has been more correct about this. Check out an article posted here a day or so ago entitled "Able Danger and the jiggered timeline" to see how Steyn's view and the detailed analysis by edwardjayepstein mesh.
Good job comparing those two statements like that. Thanks for doing that. And yes, we'll keep looking.
If as many suspect, the purpose of the "wall" was to hide the extent of "Chinagate", the date of Gorelick's letter shutting the door on cooperation between the FBI, CIA and DOD is relevant because the illegal fundraising began directly following the 1994 election. I believe that the Traitor-in-Chief had a meeting in early December 1994 that began the technology for money exchange with China.
If you go through backhoe's collected links you'll find what you are looking for.
I remember I collected some of those dates when the story first broke - and there were a number of private meetings between the Clinton's and the Chinese just before the wall slammed shut!
It's so funny how the DUmmies and Michael Moore won't touch this issue. A quick glance at DU shows 60% of the threads about this nutcase Sheehan.
This is partially repeated from above and expanded...
" What is speculation, but is interesting speculation: "
* " The 9/11 Commission staffers who felt the information about Able Danger wasnt worth mentioning to their bosses could, conceivably, be imbeciles. Perhaps, more plausible, is that they had a particular view they wished the report to express, and the Able Danger revelations contradicted that view. Another possibility: These staffers in question didnt tell Kean, Hamilton, Roemer, or Lehman, but they did tell another member or other members of the Commission, who instructed them to leave it out of the briefings, summaries, and reports given to Kean, Hamilton, Roemer, Lehman, and/or other members. (COUGH gorelick COUGH)"
* " No one has concretely tied this new information to the strange, felonious behavior of Sandy Berger, smuggling documents out of the National Archives. But boy, if the document in question related to Able Dangers warning and the decision to not act upon it, his actions would make a lot more sense, wouldnt they? "
* The mystery of Atta in Prague is a third.
It is good that we all are looking for new clues.
Mark Steyn: "Mugged by reality?" is also worth reading again...
Thank you for your good work.
Why haven't we heard more of the connection made so well by Mylroie? I'm certain there are many logical and plausible arguments to be made. Here's mine. Intelligence is not math. It is analysis made of a number of difficult to prove and often contradictory bits and pieces. I think Blair and Bush believed this information pointed to a state sponsor(Iraq) but (a) it can't be proven like a math theorem*; and (b) snakes in the Dept of State and CIA establishment have consistently been dribbling out the contrary bits which cannot be refuted without reference to secret info and without giving away secret methods and sources of gathering that info.
*That's why state sponsors use false flag operations. And that seems to be what the Brits are dealing with in their bombing investigations. They know who carried the bombs; know they didn't do it alone; can't find out who masterminding, coordinated and financed it.
That is an absolutely excellent observation, and one I had never previously considered, ScaniaBoy.
There will be a lot more to this story.
Captain's quarters blog.com has some very interesting stuff about te Hamburg cell (Friday or Saturday's posts) indicating that it was broken up on tips from our CIA and FBI. He connects it to the Able Danger story.
While Hanjour and Hazmi were settling in New Jersey, Atta and Shehhi were returning to southern Florida. We have examined the allegation that Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague on April 9. Based on the evidence available--including investigation by Czech and U.S. authorities plus detainee reporting-- we do not believe that such a meeting occurred. The FBI's investigation places him in Virginia as of April 4, as evidenced by this bank surveillance camera shot of Atta withdrawing $8,000 from his account. Atta was back in Florida by April 11, if not before. Indeed, investigation has established that, on April 6, 9, 10, and 11, Atta's cellular telephone was used numerous times to call Florida phone numbers from cell sites within Florida. We have seen no evidence that Atta ventured overseas again or re-entered the United States before July, when he traveled to Spain and back under his true name.This is from a June, 2004 NRO interview with Stephen Hayes:
NRO: Did Mohammed Atta meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague multiple times? Hayes: I wish we knew. Atta was in Prague under very strange circumstances in May 2000. What's unclear is whether he returned, as initially reported, in April 2001. If he did, it wasn't under his own name. But news reports claiming that the meeting couldn't have taken place because U.S. intelligence has documentation placing him in the U.S. are not accurate. One of the things I report in the book is that both George Tenet and Condoleezza Rice say privately that they believe the April 2001 meeting took place.
The Czechs neverbacktracked on the claim--that was a lie. Tenet's last statement on this was the matter was inconclusive and the Czechs still insist the story is true.
No one saw Atta in the US on that date, and the FBI's sole contrary evidence is that his cellphone was used in FLorida when he was reported to be in Prague.
The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.
And the commentary:CIA can confirm two Atta visits to Prague--in Dec. 1994 and in June 2000; data surrounding the other two--on 26 Oct 1999 and 9 April 2001--is complicated and sometimes contradictory and CIA and FBI cannot confirm Atta met with the IIS. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross continues to stand by his information.It's not just Gross who stands by the information. Five high-ranking members of the Czech government have publicly confirmed meetings between Atta and al Ani. The meeting that has gotten the most press attention--April 9, 2001--is also the most widely disputed. Even some of the most hawkish Bush administration officials are privately skeptical that Atta met al Ani on that occasion. They believe that reports of the alleged meeting, said to have taken place in public, outside the headquarters of the U.S.-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, suggest a level of sloppiness that doesn't fit the pattern of previous high-level Iraq-al Qaeda contacts.
Whether or not that specific meeting occurred, the report by Czech counterintelligence that al Ani ordered the Iraqi Intelligence Service officer to provide IIS funds to Atta might help explain the lead hijacker's determination to reach Prague, despite significant obstacles, in the spring 2000. (Note that the report stops short of confirming that the funds were transferred. It claims only that the IIS officer requested the transfer.) Recall that Atta flew to Prague from Germany on May 30, 2000, but was denied entry because he did not have a valid visa. Rather than simply return to Germany and fly directly to the United States, his ultimate destination, Atta took pains to get to Prague. After he was refused entry the first time, he traveled back to Germany, obtained the proper paperwork, and caught a bus back to Prague. He left for the United States the day after arriving in Prague for the second time.
In Washington, the FBI moved to quiet the Prague connection by telling journalists that it had car rentals and records that put Atta in Virginia Beach, Va., and Florida close to, if not during, the period when he was supposed to be in Prague. The New York Times , citing information provided by "federal law enforcement officials," reported that Atta was in Virginia Beach on April 2, 2001, and by April 11, "Atta was back in Florida, renting a car."
Newsweek reported that, "the FBI pointed out Atta was traveling at the time [in early April 2001] between Florida and Virginia Beach, Va.," adding, "The bureau had his rental car and hotel receipts." And intelligence expert James Bamford, after quoting FBI Director Robert Mueller as saying that the FBI "ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on," reported in USA Today , "The records revealed that Atta was in Virginia Beach during the time he supposedly met the Iraqi in Prague."
All these reports attributed to the FBI were, as it turns out, erroneous. There were no car rental records in Virginia, Florida, or anywhere else in April 2001 for Mohamed Atta, since he had not yet obtained his Florida license.
His international license was at his father's home in Cairo, Egypt (where his roommate Marwan al-Shehhi picked it up in late April).
Nor were there other records in the hands of the FBI that put Atta in the United States at the time. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2002, "It is possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias" to "meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague." Clearly, it was not beyond the capabilities of the 9/11 hijackers to use aliases.
Yup. Epstein has covered this better than anyone. And to my knowledge he is the only one to have noted that INS records show Atta entered the US twice on the same date at the same point of entry with teo different visas.
Atta had fake passports, too, and could have easily used them to fakeout the INS.
Well, we know he had fake travel docs on his last trip to Prague; we know Ramzi Yousef used a fake passport to get to Iraq gfrom NYC after the WTC bombing. Why in the world would anyone give this much weight to the absence of INS records showing Atta here in 2000 after all that?(And as Steyn observes we DO have 11 million aliens in the US for whom INS has no valid records.)
Exactly so. What was it Donald Rumsfeld said; something like the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
The 9/11 Commission was able to track Atta and his cell and the other 9/11 co-conspirators after the fact.
They have extensive timelines, know who and where the attacks were planned: basically everything.
So, why wouldn't Able Danger be able to find out enough information before the attacks.
All any intelligence agency would have needed is the names of people to watch out for, which Able Danger had. I once crossed the border from Canada and the border guards knew every purchase I made with my credit card on that very same day.
What I want to know is if the 9/11 Commission did any investigating on their own, or did they rely solely on information coming into them.
If Able Danger was able to track Atta to the Brooklyn cell and perhaps, according to the Pittsburg Gazette today, to meeting with an Iraqi intel officer in Prague before 9/11, using open sources, why couldn't the 9/11 Commission do the same?
Also, why was the woman who created The Wall which didn't let intelligence agencies talk to each other, given responsibility on the 9/11 Commission to decide what information got sent to the full Commission, which was itself in chargae of determining why intelligence agencies didn't talk to each other?
It's the most senseless exercise I've ever seen.