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August 11, 2005

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Ripclawe

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Sept-11-Hijackers.html?hp&ex=1123819200&en=75c8bf9eafed684c&ei=5094&partner=homepage>AP runs with able danger this afternoon.

"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."


That sounds like a shaky defense.

boris

Sounds to me like a number of agenda flaks locked into their own story of when and where Atta was at all times in order to maximally discredit the administration.

Specifically - NO 911 TIES TO IRAQ ... EVER !!!

Allowing that their solid intelligence was suspect would be pulling the plug on a really big big big talking point.

Forbes

TM: I left a response to your comment over at MacRanger's site correcting a personnel issue (I believe) FYI.

Ripclawe

"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."

Now some enterprising person can start a whole Sandy Berger conspiracy plot out of this.

hello hello

Here is a question for the Gorelick crowd:

Exactly how in Earth is it possible to say that an internal decision made by SOCOM at DOD over whether to share this information is in any way related to Gorelick's role with respect to the already existing wall between the intelligence side of the FBI and the law enforcement side of the FBI?


Leaving aside the question of who constructed the wall (i.e. did it exist before or after Gorelick) DOD lawyers seem to have made the decision to share based on their own regulations having nothing to do with FBI regs.

I'm not saying that there isn't a story here, but nibbling at Gorelick's ankles isn't going to get you anywhere. If you accept that everything that Weldon says is true, even he says it was an internal DOD decision at SOCOM not to share the info.

Appalled Moderate

Weldon himself is the right questions:

"#1) What lawyers in the Department of Defense made the decision in late 2000 not to pass the information from Able Danger to the FBI?

#2) Why did the 9-11 Commission staff not find it necessary to pass this information to the Commissioners, and why did the 9-11 Commission staff not request full documentation of Able Danger from the team member that volunteered the information?"

Weldon also makes some additional charges I am not seeing in the news coverage:

"The 9-11 Commission staff received not one but two briefings on Able Danger from former team members, yet did not pursue the matter. Furthermore, commissioners never returned calls from a defense intelligence official that had made contact with them to discuss this issue as a follow on to a previous meeting.

What bothers me is not, so much, that this was not in the report, but that the 9-11 commission investigators did not seem to see the need to actually look into this project after being told about it. The lack of any follow-up is pretty amazing in a group tasked to find out what went wrong.

BumperStickerist

This CSM article goes into the mid-90s FBI/Military efforts regarding Al-Qaeda. It was published in 1998.

Al Qaeda - The Early Years

fwiw - searching UseNet Groups via google using the 'date range' functions might be useful for clarifying Gorelick's actions relative to the 'wall' dividing the intelligence agencies.

Notably, there's some contemporaneous discussion among the militia set circa 1995/96 that identifies them as ur-members of the 'reality-based' crowd.

"Mark Koernke - I'd like you to meet Duncan, Matt , Olivers, and Markos

Gentlemen - Mark will be joining you for the remainder of this journey."

There's also some discussion of Iraq/Al-Qaeda (though the spelling of 'Qaidah' is used sometimes amongst the chattering class before Bush and his putrescent ilk slimed their way to DC.

Some dumbass US Grand Jury was clearly duped. In NYC no less.

-----------------------------------
Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.

In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of
Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

This Grand Jury indictment was written up in 1998 - prior to Rove's Chtulustian powers reaching their peak.USIA Nov 12 1998, 4:00 am show options


From: USIA -
Date: 1998/11/12
Subject: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN
USIS Washington File
06 November 1998

TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN
(Bin Laden linked to attacks on US facilities overseas) (2260)

-------------------------------

AJStrata

In case you are interested in the 'mood' of the times and a strange connection between Bergler and Clarke I never paid attention to I have this new post.

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/497

I think people need to understand what Able Danger was - a prototype program. I also address the same problems with data mining in my post, but I think they would have found Atta and Co fairly easily since they were so damn sloppy, as we now know.

Black Jack

Why were Clinton and crew so unconcerned about Atta and the possibility of a terrorist attack? There had already been several attacks both at home and abroad, and little of consequence had resulted in direct harm to Clinton.

Perhaps one aspect of the answer is that since Clinton got a big bump in the polls after the Oklahoma bombing, his administration wasn't overly concerned about the possibility of an event which they thought would give them another boost.

A very real possibility is that a terrorist attack wasn't on their radar screen because they didn't expect it could directly damage them. No harm, no foul. And, they could always try to blame it on people talking on the radio. That's a big plus. So what, if a few folks got butchered, so long as Clinton could dodge responsibility, and maybe lay a guilt trip on Rush Limbaugh.

TM

Good point by Boris about the political importance of pinning down Atta's travel schedule - was he or was he not in Prague in April to meet with one of Saddam's men?

RedState is on this (and AJ Strata is there!).

Tommy V

"Perhaps one aspect of the answer is that since Clinton got a big bump in the polls after the Oklahoma bombing, his administration wasn't overly concerned about the possibility of an event which they thought would give them another boost."

That's just silly.

Clinton was a poll seeker but he wasn't a lunatic. There was no desire to see anything like that happen at all.

The Clinton administration tended to follow the wants of the public. If the public wasn't overly concerned with terrorism neither were they. At that point foreign terrorist were seen as pretty incompetent and not too much of a threat. The original bombers of the WTC were frickin morons and almost laughable how easy it was to track them down. I'm afraid the stop of the millenium bomber at the Canadian didn't help.

We thought they would screw up long before they hit us that bad. The whole country was pretty arrogant about that, and I think hindsight makes it all look so obvious. But it really wasn't then.

That does not explain the attempt to crush information since then. I don't know how you explain that. While conservatives have been pretty hard on the Clinton administration, the Bush administration has been very careful not to criticize them for hardly anything.

But if they're willing to cover-up bits of information it makes me really wonder how accurate the stories of Waco and OK are.

kim

Militias need regulation for public and fire safety. Is making a right safe infringing it?
===================================================

Forbes

TM: Here's an interesting commentary--
http://taciturncommentary.blogspot.com/
Aug. 11 post. FYI

peapies

ut oh...shit...hitting...fan....

Headline:
9/11 Panel Decided to Omit a Reference to Atta

http://nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Sept-11-Hijackers.html?hp&ex=1123819200&en=75c8bf9eafed684c&ei=5094&partner=homepage

opening taste

"...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, spokesman for the commission's follow-up project called the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, had said earlier this week that 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.

The information did not make it into the final report because it was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks, Felzenberg said...."

Forbes

"The information did not make it into the final report because it was not consistent with what the commission knew about Atta's whereabouts before the attacks, Felzenberg said...."

If the facts don't fit the conclusions, just omit the facts!

MaDr

Maybe if enough pressure is applied, one of the 9-11 Commissioners might crack, and admit all the Clinton damaging material that was omitted, in the spirit of bipartisanship!

Seven Machos

Okay, my fellow Righties, go surf around the more ridiculous Lefty discussion groups (e.g., the ones where opposing views are banned). You'll find some weird stuff including two September 11 schools of thought that have their own acronyms: LIHOP (Bush Let It Happen On Purpose) and MIHOP (Bush Made It Happen On Purpose). Of course, neither is true, and people who suggest as much should be shamed, ridiculed, and verbally beaten.

We Righties don't want to be That Guy. We don't want to be conspiracy nuts. It's bad form. It's embarrassing. So, while the Clinton administration was a bunch of foreign policy ninnies who wasted eight years reveling in their do-gooderness and who failed utterly to confront obvious problems, and while Clinton himself dithered (literally, into a sink) and took a goofy terrorism-is-crime-by-poor-people view, we must not accuse a former president of knowing that terrorists could strike but not acting for political reasons.

1. It isn't true. Bill Clinton is a deeply flawed man, but a good man, and he cares about the United States.

2. Even if it were true, people who say it's true still look like a bunch of kooks.

Mike C.

Good advice 7M. I think we need to avoid attributing this to sinister motives on behalf of Clinton and his administration while he was in office.

However, the 9/11 Commission is another story. I think that the best that can be said for it is there was a lot of CYA after the fact by those such as Gorelick and Berger who realized that decisions they made and actions they took inadvertently made preventing the attacks impossible. At worst, there was a deliberate cover-up of facts that would have made the Clinton administration and, by extension, Democrats in general look bad in the run up to the election. Or support any contention that al Qaeda and Saddam may have had connections.

TM

Good point by 7 Machos. Look, I love conspiracy theories, and I don't love Wild Bill, but, as Seven said, "Bill Clinton is a deeply flawed man, but a good man, and he cares about the United States."

j.foster

seven- good points and better advice. but there is no harm in looking at the atta story. it's good to know. it's not small change if true . i'm not saying dust off the chair , but we can learn to be better prepared.

Jim Rockford

What puzzles me is the Bush Admin attitude towards the 9/11 Commission and a lot of things relating to 9/11 and the conduct of the War.

It's almost as if they simply don't care at times, or don't bother to correct info they know is wrong. My own personal opinion is that Bush figures the Media will slant anything he does so he simply doesn't bother any more.

As for the 9/11 Commission, it seems that Bush went out of his way to protect Clinton's rep, and allow others to perform Sandy Burglar type stuff without much consequence. This had to be IMHO deliberate and likely due to Bush's own exposure somehow in a similar way. Nothing else makes sense to me.

Good points 7m. I don't think there was anything deliberate in the conduct of either Bush or Clinton to allow any attack to unfold (competence and judgement is another matter) but the 9/11 Commission is another matter. There seems to me strongly a suggestion of mutual CYA.

What is making this story break IMHO is Hillary's rivals seeking to prevent her from sewing up the nomination. I don't think Weldon on his own could get any traction. Wes Clark, Kerry, and Dean-o together telling folks to look at the story?

Yes.

j.foster

jim r. thats a nice twist. but that the deal almost any of it could be true. i agree with you and the others , about bush and clinton. but we should all want to know , why on the 12th we had a complete rundown on atta. right ? i mean tape from the airport in me. where he lived , his status , school ties and of course his lap dance hangout. someone had the info before the attack. but who? and why?

JJ

Ah, I still ponder what I, as an assessor of terrorist threats, would have done or said if someone had told me, "We suspect several peeps of wanting to fly jetliners into tall buildings!" What would/could you say to the messenger?

How about "Do what?"

However, the point here is that persons do have the greatest potential for lethal damage no matter what the scheme. Should someone have watched Atta more closely?

...without broaching civil liberties...

boris

911 or something like it might not have been preventable. The state of awareness before 911 was such that any team of suitably trained suicide terrorists could take over an airliner using simple weapons, kill the crew and fly it into a building. The change in that state of awareness occured on flight 93.

The true importance of this revelation is that intelligence assertions of the anti Iraq invasion bunch have now been called into question because they've been caught red handed "fixing" and "de-sexing" their claims.

Excuses and spin aside, the finger pointers now have a strong motive to disavow finger pointing in general.

Lurking Observer

A couple of blasts from the past:

1. Anyone remember the whole Rockefeller memo? The one where the Democrats were purportedly going to politicize any hearings into slams on the Administration?

The original memo can be found here:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102258,00.html

Does that seem relevant, perhaps, here?

2. Remember the outrage over the term "fixed" in the Downing Street Memo(s) (DSM)?

One wonders whether Democratic outrage might, perhaps, be because they are familiar with what "fixed" means in their worldview---perhaps a bit of projection, eh?

More to the point, would it still be "fixed" intelligence, if it was correcting for past efforts such as deliberately ignoring intelligence that contradicted the consensus?

Or, to phrase it slightly differently, if Bush Administration refusal to listen to alternative viewpoints constituted "lying," would the 9-11 Commission be equally guilty of "lying" for deliberately refusing to even consider contradictory evidence? Or does "lying" depend on one's political stripery?

TexasToast

I must admit to being somewhat entertained reading the right wing posters on this bit-o-news/”proof” of conspiracy by the VLWC. Sounds like a lot of folks are real tired of playing defense.

Lets not stick our neck out too far. We know less about this than we do about Fitz’s grand jury – but I can already see the meme building as people take positions they will find it very difficult to back down from (as if).

Lessee what we’ve got so far (on this blog alone)…

a) Sandy Burger was destroying Able Danger info
b) The commission staff (headed by Robert Zoelnick?????) has been caught red handed!
c) Atta really was in Prague.
d) Saddam was behind 9/11
e) It’s the “wall’s (read Goerlick’s) fault”
f) Clinton was responsible for 9/11 “It all leads back to Clinton”
g) DOD (headed by Rumsfeld??????) sat on this info after the 9/11 commission report because Goerlick made them!
h) Clinton almost invited 9/11 because he got a “bump” in the polls after Oklahoma City

But most of all …….

Finally! We can change the subject! Something other than our side leaking national security secrets and car bombs in Baghdad!

AM

From what I’ve read, we are only talking staff to this point – not commission members.


PS Does anyone know what Andrea Mitchell said about this in the "crosstalk"?

Lurking Observer

TT:

Considering some of the inanities you've been posting, I'd venture that perhaps a few things are hitting close to home.

But let's hop into the Wayback Machine and see what we're really talking about.

1. That the intelligence community (writ large) was operating under self-imposed limitations that ultimately were ill-serving the cause of US national security.

Several of these limitations were imposed during the Clinton Administration.

Does this make 9-11 the fault of the Clintons? Nope.

But it does raise the question of just why Jamie Gorelick, a key architect of "the wall" was doing as a commissioner, rather than as a witness.

2. Military intelligence ("Able Danger") may have been aware of elements of the 9-11 conspirators, but were prevented from passing said information to relevant agents.

This is an enormous failing of the system, and needs to be corrected. Which means determining whether "the wall" is still in place, and if so, tearing it down.

3. Members of the 9-11 Commission staff apparently refused to pass along information about "Able Danger" to the Commission members themselves.

Which staffers did this? On the basis that it didn't line up with their interpretation of the facts? What justified that sort of peremptory authority on the part of staff?

4. It is unclear whether the Commission members themselves knew about "Able Danger," both before 9-11 (e.g., Gorelick) and after. If the Commission did find out about "Able Danger" before the release of the report, did they choose to ignore it as well? Why?


None of this means that Saddam knew about 9-11, but it does raise questions of motive. Exactly why would the staff (and Commission members?) be so certain that Atta had nothing to do with 9-11?

Now, keep this in mind, TT. If the argument is that their preconceived notions and/or evaluation that certain information (claims of Atta's cell phone being used or absence of evidence that he had left the country) are sufficient to conclude that vital data should be ignored, that just gutted the Left's argument that Bush "fixed" the intelligence because he was subject to preconcieved notion or "lied" because he evaluated certain inforamtion as more credible than others.


Finally, as to Sandy Berger and "Able Danger," the questions that have not been resolved (but which is part of why there is such speculation) include:

1. What documents did he destroy? (And let me be blunt---clear violations of national security by removing and destroying documents trump "possible" violations. When Fitzgerald indicts Rove or Libby, I'll want their heads as much as I want Berger's. But Berger is known to have broken the law, in a manner that was utterly egregious for those who've worked the field.)

2. What was he trying to do?

3. Why was he trying to do it?

The big difference between Rove and Berger? Rove is being subjected to close scrutiny by the MSM, whereas Berger's crimes have been dealt with almost entirely below the radar.

BumperStickerist

Well, TT -

As a first person account giver and not a member of any Rovian organization of the "I Heard Andrea Say ..." story, I'll make a stab at some first-hand reporting.

I emailed the Imus show the following:

I'm trying to find the dates that Andrea Mitchell appeared on the 'Imus in the Morning' show and if there are transcripts regarding her appearances.

The reason for this request is I would like to confirm my recollection that Ms. Mitchell said during the course of one of her appearances on the show that it was known that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.

She didn't make this statement directly but, again, I think, she answered 'yes' to a question put to her by Don Imus about the press having an awareness that Valerie worked at the CIA, even if it was not generally known that Valerie was a former undercover operative.

Any help you can provide regarding this would be greatly appreciated. That includes telling me that I'm dead wrong on this and that Andrea Mitchell said no such thing.

Thanks

If I don't hear back in a week or so, I'll fly out to New Mexico, sneak into Readers Digest and start eviscerating cattle. One a night, until I get a 'yes/no' answer.

Because Karl Rove would it that way.


TexasToast

Inanities?

Better than willfully ignorant! I’ll agree that the Wayback Machine does seem to be a popular place to be.

That the intelligence community (writ large) was operating under self-imposed limitations that ultimately were ill-serving the cause of US national security. Several of these limitations were imposed during the Clinton Administration.

There is a legitimate difference of opinion about domestic spying – civil liberties vs. security. Its all about line drawing about who one perceives as the greater threat - the watchers or the watched. Post Watergate, the libertarian interest was ascendant. Post 9/11, the security interest became politically ascendant. I suspect that line will move several more times in our lifetime.

But it does raise the question of just why Jamie Gorelick, a key architect of "the wall" was doing as a commissioner, rather than as a witness.

I don’t agree with this, because I don’t see that she has any more conflict of interest about this than any official with a long career in Washington. I also don’t think Judge Roberts has a conflict of interest because his wife happened to be an officer of a right to life group. That may be a reason to oppose him – but it does not disqualify him.

2. Military intelligence ("Able Danger") may have been aware of elements of the 9-11 conspirators, but were prevented from passing said information to relevant agents. This is an enormous failing of the system, and needs to be corrected. Which means determining whether "the wall" is still in place, and if so, tearing it down.

If this is shown to be true, ISTM to be more a failing of the bureaucracy than anything else. It’s a huge jump to pin the “failure to pass along” information from a prototype experimental data-mining program to a policy. It could be the DOD itself didn’t trust these “findings”. We don’t know any of this yet.

3. Members of the 9-11 Commission staff apparently refused to pass along information about "Able Danger" to the Commission members themselves.

“Refused?” How about, for a yet to be determined reason, “failed”?

Which staffers did this? On the basis that it didn't line up with their interpretation of the facts? What justified that sort of peremptory authority on the part of staff?

All staff edits what information their superiors receive. That is what staff does. Just what exactly is the point of the PDB, for example? How is this nefarious?

4. It is unclear whether the Commission members themselves knew about "Able Danger," both before 9-11 (e.g., Gorelick) and after. If the Commission did find out about "Able Danger" before the release of the report, did they choose to ignore it as well? Why?

Tin foil.

None of this means that Saddam knew about 9-11, but it does raise questions of motive. Exactly why would the staff (and Commission members?) be so certain that Atta had nothing to do with 9-11?

More tin foil.

Now, keep this in mind, TT. If the argument is that their preconceived notions and/or evaluation that certain information (claims of Atta's cell phone being used or absence of evidence that he had left the country) are sufficient to conclude that vital data should be ignored, that just gutted the Left's argument that Bush "fixed" the intelligence because he was subject to preconcieved notion or "lied" because he evaluated certain inforamtion as more credible than others.

You are making determinations of the “state of mind” of staff members based on this? Can you leap to tall conclusions at a single bound? It sure sounds like it.

Burger

Speculation close to slander – thank goodness he is a public figure.

The big difference between Rove and Berger?

Rove is Deputy Chief of Staff. He works for us. Burger no longer does.

TexasToast

Bumper

Mooooooo! :)

boris

Burger no longer does

So who was Burgler working for when he stole documents relevant to the 911 investigation?

spongeworthy

But it does raise the question of just why Jamie Gorelick, a key architect of "the wall" was doing as a commissioner, rather than as a witness.

TT: I don’t agree with this, because I don’t see that she has any more conflict of interest about this than any official with a long career in Washington.


TT, this has to be one of the dumbest things I have seen posted in these comments. Are you sure Gorelicks standing on this issue is no different than any other DC official? Seriously?

You're either ignorant of Gorelick's role in defining the "wall" or your blindly partisan and can't make the required separation here. Are you sure you wouldn't like to take another crack at that?

TexasToast

TT, this has to be one of the dumbest things I have seen posted in these comments.

This is the highest standard yet!

I googled "Gorelick" and "wall" and Voila! - Right wing blog after right wing blog. Just because it's a right wing talking point does not make it a conflict of interest.

spongeworthy

Is it your point that Gorelick had nothing to do with the "wall"? That this is all a creation of the loony Right?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but you'd have to have some pretty compelling evidence to sell it here.

Incidentally, one thing that sort of grabbed me on that issue is that it doesn't seem like a JD official could codify something like that. Seems like she'd be explaining her understanding of standing case law or something rather than actually making a rule herself about something so potentially grave.

But even if that were so, I think we'd be entitled to some clarification from her and it would speak against her appointment to the Commission at any rate.

Gerry

Minuteman,

"I do want to know a bit more about whether Mr. Snell might have been a Gorelick crony"

Would it possibly be significant if Mr. Snell is a crony of a Gorelick crony?

kim

My God, even with Gorelick on the Commission the consensus was that something was wrong with the wall. Even with her real conflict of interest(which should have disqualified her as soon as she realized the wall was flawed) it made no difference.

Ignorant question here in follow-up to a prev. poster. What is the 'wall'? I assume it is codified by act of Congress. If not just, what is it and just how was it put in place?

Berger claimed he was working on answers for the 9/11 Commission, meanwhile destroying items likely relevant to their inquiry. He may also have had a formal postion within the Kerry campaign. His is a scandal that really gives me a lot of resentment. There is almost no doubt that what he did was deliberate. What he claims is missing(no originals) isn't worth deliberately committing a crime for. Hence, we don't know what he took, and what he took is probably vital for our future protection. Any other time or place and he would be hanging by his thumbs until we knew what he is hiding.
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