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August 18, 2005

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syn

Of course Kean will blame The Pentagon, as will the Media. I blame the Trojan Horse hiding those actually responsible.

Martin

Not sure about the Caribbean thing-but it's a known fact that Philippino authorities uncovered an al-Qaida plot to fly a plane into CIA headquarters in 1995. (One of the plotters: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.) They published the interrogation transcripts in Harper's.

Let's drop the partisanship in this inquiry. The federal government- period- let us down.

TM

Eric Umansky digs up Lt. Col. Shaffer's interview with Soledad O'Brien of CNN.

TomT

No hits on Mohammed Atta that I can find in Lexis/Nexis between 1998 and 2000. Although there are a lot of search combinations and I might have missed one, or there may be spelling issues.

Hayek

Atta was a a known terrorist before Sep. 11 and had been arrested by the FBI before.

Atlanta Journal and Constitution (GA)
January 28, 1991
WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST: TERRORISM Q & A LOGISTICS MAKE TERRORISM UNLIKELY IN\U.S., EXPERT SAYS

***

There was a report on "60 Minutes" in which an expert said that Abu Nidal cells were in the United States. Is that true?

Yes, In New York, Dearborn (a Michigan city with a large Arab population) and Los Angeles. But that doesn't mean they're terrorists. They're support groups, and for the FBI to uncover enough about them and to go through the business of trying to deport them is a long and difficult matter that is not at all easy to accomplish. In 1987, the FBI arrested an Abu Nidal organization member (Mohammed Atta) in New York on an Israeli warrant charging him with participating in an attack on a bus carrying civilians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 1986. They're around.

cathyf
...fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center...

This is I think quite important -- the image evoked by this description is of putting large amounts of dynamite or c4 or plastique on an airplane and crashing into the WTC, which requires either smuggling the explosives on the plane, or loading the plane in some remote location and smuggling it into US airspace. So evaluating this risk would make you think about your protections against getting that much explosive on a plane undetected, and think about your air defense systems.

The piece that we "knew" but didn't really know is that "explosive" also includes full tanks of jet fuel. The reason that we didn't think about that aspect is because it was a brilliant piece of tactical imagination on the part of our enemies. I certainly can't fault our intelligence analysts or our politicians for not thinking of this, and if anyone suggests that this is proof of their incompentence, then I will come vigorously to their defense.

cathy :-)

Ranger

"The piece that we "knew" but didn't really know is that "explosive" also includes full tanks of jet fuel. The reason that we didn't think about that aspect is because it was a brilliant piece of tactical imagination on the part of our enemies. I certainly can't fault our intelligence analysts or our politicians for not thinking of this, and if anyone suggests that this is proof of their incompentence, then I will come vigorously to their defense.

cathy :-)"

Well, pretty much anyone in aviation knows that a large commercial ariliner is a flying bomb, especially after that 747 blew up in flight off the east coast due to a short in the electrical wiring next to one of the fule tanks.

Ultimately, the failure was not recognizing that this is a real war. What was missing in the 1990s (and may still be missing) was the kind of "OPFOR" training teams that the US developed during the cold war. Some of these teams traveled around the world training us commanders by engaging in computer based war games. Others, notably at the NTC and JRTC engaged in field training excersizes.

If the US Government had treated the AQ threat as a real war threat, they would have developed an OPFOR team and given them the mission of developing scenarios for known and possible AQ objectives (such as destroying the WTC) using known and unknown, but workable, tactics (such as flying aircraft into buildings). It would have taken such a group a short amount of time to come to the conclusion that there was no need to smuggle explosives onto a larg aircraft because the fule itself would produce a huge explosive force. Such a team would also have probably figured out what kinds of weapons could be taken on board an aircraft without a problem and how many people it would take the effectively take over an aircraft. They probably also would have figured out that the group would need someone who could fly the plane because you could probably not force the pilot to fly into your intended target (as the Algerians learned when they tried it in France).

A group of retired Ranger/Special Forces/Delta Force personel could have figured this out if they had been given the mission, but no one had the foresight to give them the job of thinking like the enemy.

There was a lot of "Risk Assesment" going on, but not much proactive threat analysis.

BurbankErnie

Martin is absolutely correct.
The Government (read Dems and Repubs) are covering their political asses, and it started with that joke of a 9/11 Commission.

All of Washington is trying to save the Body Politic, and unfortunately for us, it will succeed and life will go on.

Too bad National Security is trumped by the Political Sytem being played by both sides of the aisle.

Disgusting. I could say more but why.

And I cannot believe I agree with Martin ;-)

Mark Amerman

BurbankErnie,

Seems to me it's the media covering up. Not just on this story but
actually a great many others. Every month in Washington is like a comedy
of dunces with staggering sums misused and throw away. The Washington
Post and other national news organisations live in an enviromnent
where there are easy stories of greed and incompetence all around
them. Somehow these are rarely persued. Now why that should be
I do not know. It would make for dramatic and amusing journalism.
One paranoid thought I have is that the government agencies might
be exerting pressure on these news organizations not to report these
stories. And then again it might be the socialist dream. Reporting
on government incomptence definitely undermines the idea that centralizing
more and more power in the government would improve our lives.

TM

I am fascinated by the news that Atta was in the news for having attacked a bus in Israel in 1986.

Turns out, per Snopes, it was a *DIFFERENT* Atta.

Now, here is a long-shot - could our Able Danger folks have gotten similarly confused?

spongeworthy

Martin thinks this is no issue for partisan bickering. Convenient timing, no? Just about the time you break out the stick that beats the Clintons a smidge harder than the Bushes, then it's time to drop the politics.

Doesn't make him wrong, just convenient.

spongeworthy

I have said many times that more than one Mohammed Atta answers a lot of questions. Unfortunately, it opens even more, including some that fuel the wackiest conspiracy theories.

martin

Spongeworthy you are an idiot.

If you would stop and think about it -this makes the Bush administration look even worse.
As anticipated by TM who just said why is not being called a (Bush) Pentagon coverup?

Oh yeah, "think", my bad. Nevermind.

martin

A little garbled there.

I meant TM just fpp-ed a query as to why this isn't being called a Pentagon coverup?
He's right-ultimelately Able Danger is bad for Bush-if you want to stay partisan.

If it is as it stands-the Bush pentagon withheld key facts from the 9-11 commission.

Furthermore-at Intel Dump-the latest is the SOCOM were too scared of the grief they were getting over Waco to share the info.

And who was spearheading the Waco criticism at the time?

Wolfman

If it is as it stands-the Bush pentagon withheld key facts from the 9-11 commission.

This is not necessarily true, though it might be.

Any administration's "people" at the Pentagon - or any bureaucracy - represents just a fraction of the organization. Administrations come and go; bureaucrats stay and stay.

As of now, we have no idea who knew what within the Pentagon about Able Danger, particulary those "people" there who would have loyalties to the Clinton or Bush administrations.

Thomas Jackson

Given the commissions failure to give a coherent explanation of ABle Danger's information and their retractions of their earlier explanations Keane's story has all the hallmarks of a Washington CYA. So the Pentagon is to blame?

The issue remains why were security and intelligence agencies so restricted that they couldn't give each other potentially vital information and why is DC ruled not by common sense but by lawyers?

j.foster

there was no cofusion about atta , when they tied his background info to his photo at the maine airport.

antimedia

The Atta who shows up in the 80's and 90's is Mahmoud Atta, not Mohammed Atta. Lexis-Nexis shows 11 hits on his name between 1990 and 2001.

Mohammed Atta doesn't have a single hit before 2001, and quite a few after that, but only AFTER 9/11. None before.

Mahmoud Atta was a Palestinian-American. Mohammed Atta was an Egyptian citizen. Obviously two different people, and I find it difficult to believe that intelligence officers would confuse the two, even AFTER hanging out at the local pub.

antimedia

On 7/29/2000 the Saudi Gazette had a short piece about construction at the airport in Riyadh. It includes this sentence - "The expansion work will be carried out by the Saudi Bin Ladin Group at a total cost of SR18 million, said Abdul Fattah Bin Mohammed Atta, director of the airport."

Mohammed Atta's (the 9/11 hijacker) father's name is Mohamed al-Amir al-Sayed Awad Atta. He's a lawyer in Cairo.

antimedia

Correction -the work was in Madina, not Riyadh.

antimedia

On 7/28/91 the Atlanta Constitution printed a story about terrorism that included this paragraph - "Yes, In New York, Dearborn a Michigan city with a large Arab population and Los Angeles. But that doesn't mean they're terrorists. They're support groups, and for the FBI to uncover enough about them and to go through the business of trying to deport them is a long and difficult matter that is not at all easy to accomplish. In 1987, the FBI arrested an Abu Nidal organization member Mohammed Atta in New York on an Israeli warrant charging him with participating in an attack on a bus carrying civilians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 1986. They're around."

But that is Mahmoud Atta, not Mohammed Atta the highjacker.

antimedia

On 11/1/1990, WaPo carried the story of Atta, but they got his name right - "A U.S. citizen accused of being a Palestinian terrorist was extradited to Israel Tuesday night in the wake of precautionary State Department warnings that the move could trigger terrorist retaliation, possibly on a passenger ship in the eastern Mediterranean.

The suspect, Mahmoud Atta, 37, was transferred to Israeli custody in New York Tuesday evening "and departed the United States immediately thereafter on a flight to Israel," the State Department said.

Jailed in New York's Metropolitan Correction Center since his arrest three years ago, Atta faces trial in Jerusalem on charges of taking part in an April 1986 machine gun attack on an Israeli bus traveling through the occupied West Bank."

antimedia

WRT Kay Nehm and the Iraqi intelligence agents - 3/1/2001 - Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France Presse, AFX European Focus; 3/2/2001 - The Guardian, BBC Monitoring Europe

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