Skip to comments.DID THE BERGEN RECORD BREAK SOMETHING HERE? (Able Danger Member Interview)
Posted on 08/14/2005 8:03:47 PM PDT by NathanBookman
Mike Kelly, a columnist for the Bergen Record of New Jersey, had Curt Weldons staff arrange an interview with a member of Able Danger.
He uncovers a few tidbits we haven't heard before:
For a year before the 9/11 attacks, the Wayne Inn was home to Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaida mastermind behind the hijacking plot that killed almost 3,000 people...
A former member of the military intelligence team told me in an interview that it had enough data to raise suspicions. "But we were blocked from passing it to the FBI."
The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That's how close all this was - to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops.
The story begins a year before the attacks. A top-secret team of Pentagon military counter-terror computer sleuths, who worked for a special operations commando group, was well into a project to monitor al-Qaida operations.
The 11-person group called itself "Project Able Danger." Think of them as a super-secret Delta Force or SEAL team. But instead of guns, they relied on advanced math training as their key weapons. And instead of traditional spying methods or bust-down-the-door commando tactics, the Able Danger group booted up a set of high-speed, super-computers and collected vast amounts of data.
The technique is called "data mining." The Able Danger team swept together information from al-Qaida chat rooms, news accounts, Web sites and financial records. Then they connected the dots, comparing the information with visa applications by foreign tourists and other government records.
From there, the computer sleuths noticed four names - Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
All four turned out to be hijackers. Atta and al-Shehhi took a room at the Wayne Inn. They rented a Wayne mail drop, too, and even went to Willowbrook Mall. Al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi took rooms at a motel on Route 46 in South Hackensack.
What is interesting about this information now is that a CIA team, working separately from the Able Danger Team, had set its sights on al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi. The two were already on a CIA terror watch list and still had managed to obtain U.S. visas.
The CIA feared al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi might try to slip into the United States. But the CIA lost track of them after they left a terror meeting in Malaysia in early 2000 for Bangkok. Worse, the CIA waited until the summer of 2001 to tell the FBI that two suspected terrorists had visas to enter the United States - and might be here
By mid-2000, the Able Danger team knew it had important information about a possible terrorist plot. Because of a peculiar series of computer links that went through Brooklyn, the team began referring to the four future hijackers as the "Brooklyn cell." Their movements and communications were raising too many suspicions.
But theres an interesting wrinkle at the end:
Perhaps just as alarming, even the Able Danger team understood its limits. When lawyers blocked Able Danger's request to approach the FBI, the team simply went back to its work and kept quiet - even after the 9/11 attacks occurred.
Why? If the Able Danger team was so concerned about U.S. security, why didn't it approach Congress or even the press to sound an alarm?
When I posed that question in my interview with the Able Danger team member, he fell silent. Listening on a speaker phone, a congressional staffer interrupted: "Have you ever seen what happens to whistleblowers?"
Again, the Able Danger member had no answer.
Back in my wire service days, I used to cover Washington for the Bergen Record. I never dealt with Kelly, but my understanding is that hes been at the paper for nearly three decades, and been a columnist about half that time. Hes no green rookie. And I can say from my experience with the Record that the editors were not lackadaisical. The North Jersey communities they cover were hard hit by 9/11. I doubt the editors would permit a columnist to quote an unnamed source, throwing out allegations as explosive as this, if they didnt find him credible. If he gave off any whiff of nuttiness, I have a feeling this column would have been written quite differently.
In my previous post, I had stated that the accounts of Weldons guy and the 9/11 Commission were so different that this cant be a simple misunderstanding somebodys lying. And an account with a lot of details (like the Commissions Friday release) tends to seem more plausible than a vague one. Well, this account offers a lot of details. Anybody in North Jersey want to contact the Wayne Inn? They remember anybody who looked like Atta staying a year? Do they still have their pre-2001 guest records?
It still would be helpful if any one of these eleven guys in Able Danger could come forward and answer these questions publicly, not just with print reporters. I realize they have careers to think of, but as the tag line for Patriot Games said, Truth needs a soldier.
[Posted 08/14 05:52 PM]
Fire up old sparky for Gorelicker.
I am sure the NYT will come out against any whistleblowing going on with ADanger. After all, wouldn't they be whistleblowing on federal employees and to reveal what they were doing would constitute a violation of national security. Cough.
AlQaida found places it could hide where they were not readily differentiated from the general population.
So a Commission staffer threatened them if they spoke up. Interesting.
Sandy Burger must have been after some pretty damning stuff.
I hope the Republicans don't drop this ball. After 3000+ people are dead, the people deserve to hear the whole story, and not just the Clinton democrats side of it.
Can someone tell me the location of this Wayne Inn?
" I hope the Republicans don't drop this ball."
The Republicans seem to fumble all too often.
Not this time, it is the 2 minute warning, 4th and 10.
And Billy and the Beast and the Sasquatch, Janet.
And all of the scumbag lawyers who were protecting the terrorist scum.
Do we know what documents Sandy Burger stole from the top secret files?
Type "Wayne, NJ" into Google, and click on the map link and zoom out. There's Wayne, New Jersey right next to Paterson. I imagine the Wayne Inn is the Wayne Wellesley Inn in that town, though I could be wrong.
Id like to see Ben Veniste light up like an X-mas tree.
535 State Route 23
Wayne, NJ 07470
535 State Route 23
Wayne, NJ 07470-6817
Wayne Wellesley Inn is on Rte. 23 per that LGF post. That's gotta be it.
From Little Green Footballs, a couple years ago:
6/20/2003: Atta Lived in Jersey
Mohammed Atta, the demon who led the September 11 hijackers, lived for a year in a motel in Wayne, New Jersey: State police tie Sept. 11 leader to Wayne inn. (Hat tip: Michael S.)
The revelation - the first time authorities have placed Atta in the motel - came after state police Superintendent Joseph R. Fuentes testifed Thursday afternoon before the Assembly Homeland Security Committee about his agency's efforts to combat terrorism.
In his testimony, Fuentes confirmed what officials had said previously: New Jersey was one of the launching points for the Sept. 11 attacks and that some of the 19 hijackers moved through New Jersey hotels and used New Jersey-based criminal networks to obtain identification documents.
Fuentes would not go into detail, but Sgt. Kevin Rehmann, a state police spokesman, later said Fuentes was referring to Atta. Rehmann said Atta had lived in the Wayne Motor Inn on Route 23 for a year. Atta is thought to have been the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks and was on American Airlines Flight 11, which slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Rehmann could not provide dates for Atta's stay or say whether other hijackers stayed at the motel. He said the matter was still under investigation.
Im not saying theres a connection, but its a curious coincidence: Ive noticed that a lot of the hate email I receive from Islamists seems to trace back to ISPs in New Jersey.
posted by Charles at 8:17 AM PST
Time Magazine tried to smear Weldon today, and Podhoretz at NRO's the Corner bought it hook, line and sinker.
It could be first and goal, down by six, and our republicans would try a field goal; too little with no real purpose or drive.
I hope I'm wrong.
Google search on "Wayne Inn, Wayne, NJ"
535 State Route 23
Wayne, NJ 07470
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