Skip to comments.Able Danger, the 9/11 Commission & the Strange (But Now Explainable) Actions of Sandy Berger
Posted on 08/14/2005 2:12:36 PM PDT by cgk
Able Danger, the 9/11 Commission & the Strange (But Now Explainable) Actions of Sandy Berger
Friday August 12, 2005
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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.
Thanks for the disclaimer.
11 August 2005: As we reported yesterday, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) delivered to his peers in Congress on 27 June, 2005 revelations and evidence gained by a secret military intelligence entity, Code Name: Able Danger a full year prior to the events of September 11, 2001. (See article below). According to Congressman Weldon, and as reported by FoxNews yesterday, "Lawyers within the administration and we're talking about the Clinton administration, not the Bush administration said 'you can't do it'" when referencing the taking out of a known terrorist cell that would be the main component of the 9/11 attacks. These lawyers then placed 3M Post-It brand stickers over Mohammed Atta's face. In my professional opinion, the words and actions taken by these lawyers were the beginning of a literal, real-world cover-up which would result in the deaths of 2,819 innocent human beings.
This situation begs for Congressional inquiry into exactly who these lawyers are- their names, where are they today and additionally, where is the evidence of any legal oversight of their actions - which appear to be demonstrably illegal, incompetent, negligent and possibly conducted with the highest degree of malfeasance.. Furthermore, additional questions for a Congressional inquiry are: (1) under whose specific direction did they act, and (2) under what legal authority did they act? In general, why did they NOT share information with our intelligence agencies to allow Atta and his fellow terrorists to be stopped when there was ample legal ability to do so?
There is a very salient and critical point virtually every reporting media outlet has been remiss in identifying regarding intelligence collection activities by the United States Department of Defense. It is this: ALL US Department of Defense intelligence activities, just like US SOCOM's "Able Danger," ARE NOT derived from, emanate from or promulgated by US law and Congressional legislation. They arise specifically from Executive Order 12333 (signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981) and all the authority resides and has resided since that time with the President of the United States who is the military Commander-In-Chief as well as the chief constitutional law enforcement officer of the land.
Details of E.O. 12333 can be found here.
Specifically, as found section 1.11, line items (d), (f) and (k) Presidential Executive Order 12333 gives direction to the Secretary of Defense as follows:
(d) Conduct counterintelligence activities in support of Department of Defense components outside the United States in coordination with the CIA, and within the United States in coordination with the FBI pursuant to procedures agreed upon by the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General;
(f) Provide for the timely transmission of critical intelligence, as defined by the Director of Central Intelligence, within the United States Government;
(k) Conduct such administrative and technical support activities within and outside the United States as are necessary to perform the functions described in sections (a) through (j) above.
Section 1.12, line item (d) states the following:
The foreign intelligence and counterintelligence elements of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps,
Whose responsibilities shall include: (1) Collection, production and dissemination of military and military-related foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, and information on the foreign aspects of narcotics production and trafficking. When collection is conducted in response to national foreign intelligence requirements, it will be conducted in accordance with guidance from the Director of Central Intelligence. Collection of national foreign intelligence, not otherwise obtainable, outside the United States shall be coordinated with the CIA, and such collection within the United States shall be coordinated with the FBI;
Additionally, EO 12333 concludes with the following:
Agencies within the Intelligence Community are authorized to:
(b) Unless otherwise precluded by law or this Order, participate in law enforcement activities to investigate or prevent clandestine intelligence activities by foreign powers, or international terrorist or narcotics activities;
Finally we come to the strawman legal argument which came from the administration lawyers as related by Congressman Weldon regarding the possession of green cards. The facts are these: Mohammed Atta and his terrorist cohorts were clearly and factually established as Al-Qaeda functionaries of a foreign government [Taliban of Afghanistan] with Al-Qaeda itself being a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (DFTO). Designated terrorists do not receive and retain "green card" status, and any card so previously attained would have to be considered a priori fraudulent, null and void.
These are the salient facts regarding the intelligence collected by Able Danger. What remains is the also overlooked Congressional oversight of intelligence activities as delineated in EO 12333. The now defunct blue-ribbon 9/11 Commission having dropped the ball once is excused from further inquiry, and we call for a full-scale Congressional investigation which must reveal the truth of the matter to the American people. This is what we taxpayers pay them to do. It what our tax dollars paid Able Danger to do, and what EO-12333 signed by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981 directed them to do on our behalf.
You're welcome. I think.
Probably the best and most concise explanation of the entire Able Danger debacle I have read so far.
Congress Critter Billy Bob, perhaps you can lend you fine analysis to this thread and what are the chances of a "real" investigation by Congress into this matter.
These are the salient facts regarding the intelligence collected by Able Danger. What remains is the also overlooked Congressional oversight of intelligence activities as delineated in EO 12333. The now defunct blue-ribbon 9/11 Commission having dropped the ball once is excused from further inquiry, and we call for a full-scale Congressional investigation which must reveal the truth of the matter to the American people. This is what we taxpayers pay them to do. It what our tax dollars paid Able Danger to do, and what EO-12333 signed by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981 directed them to do on our behalf
Why isn't Sandy the Burglar in prison where he belongs?
Abxolutely. We need a full congressional investigation of all matters related to intelligence about Al Queda and other matters not reported in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Berger is not in jail but some people should go to jail because of this.
cgk wrote '(1) under whose specific direction did they act, and (2) under what legal authority did they act? '
Excellent post. This is the heart of the matter. The survivors of 9/11 and the families of the victims should be screaming for answers. Although I think it will become quite apparent that the lawyers were wrong, the question that I hope gets answered is why in the world they would want to protect foreigners from F.B.I. scrutiny.
I think the answer is and always has been the link between campaign donations for technology transfer between the Clinton organizatiom the the Communist Chinese.
This is a post I made on the Net in response to an article in Time magazine:
Was Mohammed Atta Overlooked? TIME ^ | Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005 | BRIAN BENNETT, TIMOTHY J. BURGER AND DOUGLAS WALLER
Here's the Net addy for that story: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1093694,00.html
Here's my take on this story:
Here's part of the spin in this story. It says that "the Able Danger program,... involved fewer than half a dozen intelligence analysts...." Given how Able Danger was conducted, it could have been done by one computer geek and an unlimited supply of pizza and coffee.
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 or a Cray clone), 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.
Now, as to your question on whether there will be a no-holds-barred congressional hearing on this subject, that depends in part on how effectively we in the blogosphere can force the issue into the MSM. Think Rather. Think Jordan. Think Gorelick and Berger under oath and under the TV lights.
classic cover up PING
Yes, I remember, however the memory is a vague one washed out by the numerous memories of the whole of the Clinton tenure and the many cover ups created in 8 years of his tenure as King.
Only to be topped off with the vivid memory of numerous computers missing the letter "W" in the White house and the President and First Lady having to dine on paper plates on Air Force 1.
Let alone what Dubya' must be thinking when he uses the restroom in the Oval Office.