Thursday, August 11, 2005

Able Danger? You're kidding...

Righties are touting the "Able Danger" story as proof that See! 9/11 was Clinton's Fault!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Sept. 11 commission knew military intelligence officials had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida who might be part of U.S.-based terror cell more than a year before the terror attacks but decided not to include that in its final report, a spokesman acknowledged Thursday.

Al Felzenberg, who had been the commission's chief spokesman, said Tuesday the panel was unaware of intelligence specifically naming Atta. But he said subsequent information provided Wednesday confirmed that the commission had been aware of the intelligence.

It did not make it into the final report because the information was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks, Felzenberg said. The commission has gone out of existence, although a follow-up organization called the 9/11 Public Discourse Project continues to follow closely the Bush administration's progress in implementing their recommendations.

...According to [ Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees] a classified military intelligence unit called ''Able Danger'' identified Atta and three other hijackers in 1999 as potential members of a terrorist cell in Brooklyn, N.Y. Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the unit's recommendation that the information be turned over to the FBI in 2000.

According to Pentagon documents, the information was not shared because of concerns about pursuing information on ''U.S. persons,'' a legal term that includes U.S. citizens as well as foreigners legally admitted to the country.

Felzenberg said an unidentified person working with Weldon came forward Wednesday and described a meeting 10 days before the panel's report was issued last July. During it, a military official urged commission staffers to include a reference to the intelligence on Atta in the final report.

Felzenberg said checks were made and the details of the July 12, 2004, meeting were confirmed. Previous to that, Felzenberg said it was believed commission staffers knew about Able Danger from a meeting with military officials in Afghanistan during which no mention was made of Atta or the other three hijackers.

Staff members now are searching documents in the National Archives to look for notes from the meeting in Afghanistan and any other possible references to Atta and Able Danger, Felzenberg said.

He sought to minimize the significance of the new information.

''Even if it were valid, it would've joined the lists of dozens of other instances where information was not shared,'' Felzenberg said. ''There was a major problem with intelligence sharing.''

Er, ummm... if you didn't already know it the 9/11 Commission report was a whitewash:

The most momentous subject before the 9/11 Commission was: What did President Bush know about the Al Qaeda threat to the United States, when did he know it, and if he knew little, why so? The Commission reports that on several occasions in the spring and summer of 2001 the President had “asked his briefers whether any of the threats pointed to the United States.” The Commission further reports the President saying that “if his advisers had told him there was a [terrorist] cell in the United States, they would have moved to take care of it.” Facing his questioners in April 2004, the President said he had not been informed that terrorists were in this country.

Conceivably it was at or near the moment when Bush took this position that the members of the Commission who heard him grasped that casting useful light on the relation between official conduct and national unpreparedness would be impossible. The reason? The President’s claim was untrue. It was a lie, and the Commissioners realized they couldn’t allow it to be seen as a lie. Numberless officials had appeared before the whole body of the Commission or before its aides, had been sworn in, and had thereafter provided circumstantial detail about their attempts—beginning with pre-election campaign briefings in September, through November 2000, and continuing straight through the subsequent months—to educate Bush as candidate, then as president-elect, then as commander in chief, about the threat from terrorists on our shores. The news these officials brought was spelled out in pithy papers both short and long; the documentation supplied was in every respect impressive.[2]

Nevertheless the chief executive, seated before the Commission, declared: Nobody told me. And challenging the chief executive as a liar entailed an unthinkable cost—the possible rending of the nation’s social and political fabric.

This stuff isn't going to be forgotten, even if there were snafus in the Clinton era.

No comments: