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August 14, 2005



TM Did you notice that the "former intelligence defense official" quoted in the Norristown Times-Herald August 13, 2005 article appears to be the "Anon" who responded to Jon Holdaway at IntelDump?

Both the "former intelligence defense official" and "Anon" claimed to have tried to broker meetings between Special Operations and the FBI, but "SOCOM's lawyers squashed it."

Funny little coincidence, no?


Actually, yes, I did notice that.

I'll probably have a longish UPDATE today - there was more in that I wanted to point out. Zelikow, for instance, was at the Oct 2003 briefing and led the follow-up - since he ended up in Bush's State Dept, I don't see (offhand) how we paint him into a Gorelick-led cover-up.

With a bit more research I learn that he was believed to be too close to the Bush team, especially Rice - he coauthored a book with her, worked on the Clinton-Bush transition on terror issues, and led the way in demoting Richard Clarke.

But with more research, I find myself wondering again - he was recruited for the transition *by the Admin*; and this seems like a wide open area of interest:

Before heading up the 9-11 Commission, Zelikow was the Executive Director of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age (2002-2003). This task force investigated ways of developing an information network to prevent terrorism while protecting citizens' civil liberties.

Hmm, so what was his view on data-mining and civil liberties, one wonders?

And here is the Markle Foundation report. Co-chairs are Zoe Baird (we love her, but also rememebr her ill-fated appointment by Bill Clinton) and James Barksdale, once at Netscape, politics unknown.

M. Simon

What interests me is that the DOD could not pass on open source information.


Some speculate that had the information moved action would have been required. And what would the Republicans in Congress have said of any such move when they were so busy wagging the dick? "Wag the dog".


As far as the wall, I'm thinking it would be exceedingly difficult to define what info could be shared because its 'open sourced' vs info that couldn't be shared because it wasn't. Not knowing any more about it than I do I suspect they just didn't allow sharing of any sort between DoD, CIA, and FBI.

Look at it from a legal perspective. If a search is deemed illegal everything that flows from that development is inadmissable. I'm guessing their attitude was that likewise, if DoD learned of so-and-so's movements via, say, satellite communications intercept, then learned more via open source developments, they wouldn't share anything because the initial info came from non-open sources.

I'm probably wrong though, just my impression. Lawyers are pretty anal about this stuff. And imagine how open to abuse a 'wall' would be where such a trivial distinction was made, how subject to 'abuse' (as defined under pre-Patriot Act law) such a slippery arrangement would be.


RE: "Wag the dog" - Clinton only said a million times that the impeachment drama did not distract from his job conduct.

Besides, check your timeline - the impeachment trial was over by what, Feb 99? Able Danger only coughed up names in the summer of 2000.

Now, if you want to argue that the war in Kosovo was a useless distraction during 1999, go for it.

Jiminy - are these the Dem talking points? Sit down and relax, I'll write some myself...

M. Simon

BTW the bias against action goes back to the Marines in Beiruit. Reagan.

In the end we get the government we deserve.

M. Simon

Yeah, sure the impeachment didn't affect his job performance.

Once bitten twice shy.

Every time Clinton said Osama, I said, "yeah, right" (sarcastically).

It wasn't just Congress. It was the American people.

M. Simon

Dem talking points? I never voted for Clinton.

I did vote for Bush.

M. Simon

Osama's #1 problem pre 9/11 was that no one (well almost no one) thought he was significant.


He may well have been a one trick pony and AQ now a dwindling herd. But the sun still shines on the pasture.


And they still don't think he's significant. Go dredge up Bush's "I'm not concerned about him' quote.

Worst president ever.


On further reflection, the sun still shines but the pasture has long since been eroded, silted out in the delta, and buried.

I said on another post, Martin, that bin Laden is functionally imprisoned by the US, Pakistani, and Afghani armies. AQ's communications are sundered. What more do you want?

Bush, a president whose place in history won't be static; his value will be increasingly appreciated as time goes by. Rice's too.

M. Simon

Re: Dem talking points.

I think that that point is in a nutshell what is wrong with the country. People caring more about scoring points than fixing what is wrong.

Doesn't any one know there is a fookin war on?

Before 9/11 there was a bias against action in this country. Left, right, middle.

And look at us now. The bias in favor of action is quite small.

Think Pearl Harbor. There were some indicatons. Policy was that Japan should not be provoked. (Germany was being provoked in the Atlantic). Info was ignored because it did not match the desired outcome (delay of America's official entry into the war at least until spring and preferably a one front war - Germany only).

Policy too often drives perception.

This is not the first time.


Pearl Harbor, let's see now. Wasn't that when a coterie of fanatics gained access to a state's power and resented the US's interference in their 'Sphere' of influence?


Mark Steyn notes that the US border is semi-permeable, and that Atta could well have been in the US without generating an INS trail.

But, hey, let's not have a philosophical discussion, let's keep it practical: There was "no way" that Atta could have been in the United States except when the official INS record says he was? No INS paper trail, "no way" he could have got in?

Here's one way just for a start. Forget the southern border, insofar as there is such a thing. Fact: On America's northern border, no record is kept of individual visitors to the United States. All that happens is that a photo scanner snaps your rear license plate. The scanner is said to be state-of-the-art, which is to say, as one Customs & Border official told me, it's "officially" 75 percent accurate. On the one occasion my own license plate was queried, it turned out the scanner had misread it. So, just for a start, without any particular difficulty, a friend of Mohammed Atta could have rented a car for him in Montreal and driven him down to New York -- and there would be never be any record to connect him to the vehicle anywhere in the United States or Canada.

Would al-Qaida types have such contacts in Montreal? Absolutely. The city's a hotbed of Islamist cells and sympathizers.

Fact: The only Islamist terrorist attack prevented by the U.S. government in the period before 9/11 was the attempt to blow up LAX by Ahmed Ressam, a Montrealer caught on the Washington/British Columbia frontier by an alert official who happened to notice he seemed to be a little sweaty. A different guard, a cooler Islamist, and it might just have been yet another routine unrecorded border crossing.

So, when the 9/11 Commission starts saying that there's "no way" something can happen when it happens every single day of the week, you start to wonder what exactly is the point of an official investigation so locked in to pre-set conclusions.

For example, they seemed oddly determined to fix June 3, 2000, as the official date of Atta's first landing on American soil -- even though there were several alleged sightings of him before that date, including a bizarre story that he'd trained at Maxwell/Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Atta was a very mobile guy in the years before 9/11, shuttling between Germany, Spain, Afghanistan, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the Philippines with effortless ease. I've no hard evidence of where he was in, say, April 2000. The period between late 1999 and May 2000 is, in many ways, a big blur. He might have been in Germany, he might have been in Florida, attempting to get a U.S. Farm Service Agency loan for the world's biggest cropduster, as reported by USDA official Johnell Bryant.

But I do know it's absurd to suggest he was never in the United States until June 3, 2000, simply because that's what the INS says -- especially when U.S. military intelligence says something quite different.

Charlie (Colorado)

Worst president ever.

Martin, I think you're being really unfair to Clinton. He certainly had his flaws, but worst ever? Nah.

(After all, you couldn't mean Bush, since he wasn't President until after the Able Danger stuff had already happened.)


I'ma madda atta thatta thanna madda atta Atta.


You make interesting observations BUT I'd like to point out that it is the 9/11 commissioners and the 9/11 commissioners only who can get into the "secret" archives and make determinations. I am of the opinion that Jamie Gorelik should have been a witness and had no business on the commission; I still think that. I have no faith in the commission at all. I think Kean is paddling up river in a leaking canoe and has "lost it." I think Lee Atwater isn't as sharp as he used to be either. SOMETHING is going on with Able Danger; are we to believe that all the details are made up? Somebody besides the commisison members should have access to the archives.


What did they now and when did they know it and how did they hide it, and where, and why?


I'm not really that interested in whether the Commission, in the years following 9/11, missed this or covered it up.

The problem is the policy, and bringing to light the Able Danger revelations that demonstrate clearly Bill Clinton's culpability in 9/11 -- as the Executive whose staff (including Gorelick) kept the vital information on Atta from law enforcement, and otherwise took no action to nip the 9/11 threat in the bud.


Just curious-Did Bush and Cheney know about Able Danger?

If yes-why didn't they discuss it with the Commission in their joiint interview?

If no-please explain the conspiracy that kept them from knowledge of it.


Oh forget it-even Podhorwretch from NRO is backpedaling. yawn.


Excellent question, Martin, but why assume conspiracy instead of some other reason. The congressman even claims to only understanding the significance, lately.

I've already asked why it took the Pentagon officials who sent the last-minute witness to the 9/11 Commission a year to further publicize these obviously, incredibly, important facts.

Side question: How many of the other 50 or so people identified by AD were innocent of any wrongdoing? How can we ever know?


Kim-I'm too cynical now to ever believe anyone in D.C. is interested in telling us the truth-Dem or Repub. Sad but true.

jack risko


Whether the Commission staff thought the military officer was particularly credible or not, it was absolutely trivial to check out his story, and they did not make the simple, single phone call to do so. Whether the staff's conclusions were correct or not, they were, in my view, negligent in their performance in this instance.



Jack Risko


The 9/11 commission sure backtracked from their orginal 'never heard of Able Danger' statements to a very detailed memo describing how they had heard of Able Danger. Further, they conveniently released this very detailed statement late Friday afternoon. Do they need more time to wind-up their spin machine?

That said, seems to me that placing Jamie Gorelik on the 9/11 Commission is a little like the NYTimes's Judith Miller sitting in jail on behalf of defendng her source.

In any case, people in high positions of power have ways of making things disappear if they need to cover-up their nasty mistakes.


With Zelikow and Gorelick aboard it certainly helps explain why the Commission steered through waters safe to both administrations, and, oh so cleverly avoided the real reefs and rusting hulks lying here and there which gave evidence of dereliction of duty by both parties.

I'm not really that interested in whether the Commission, in the years following 9/11, missed this or covered it up.
The problem is the policy...

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. We are a democracy. We elected Bill Clinton, twice. If you knew anything about the people that he was bringing into his administration, you should not be in the least bit surprised that they wanted to erect a strong barrier between law enforcement and intelligence. The arguments in favor of The Wall are not unreasonable. Neither of the losing candidates made a big deal about the wall being a bad idea, and remember, the first candidate Clinton beat is a former CIA director. It is very clear to me that this is a democracy, we elected these people, they made no secret of what they thought were the right policies to have. Ultimately, we are responsible for The Wall.

On the other hand, the explicit mission of the 9/11 Commission was to analyze what went wrong and what went right so that we could stop doing the former and continue the latter. It was not about historical analysis or even assigning blame -- those things can't be done properly until a lot more time has passed. What it was about was making good policy changes right now that can't wait so that we can better protect the US from terrorists right now and going forward.

Look, the 3000 people who died on 9/11 are dead. Assigning blame corrctly won't bring them back to life, nor will assigning blame bady make them any more dead. This isn't about them. The accusation that the Commission sabatoged its analysis is about the people who will be killed in the future by the bad policies which come about from the bad analysis.

I think you are dead wrong -- ultimately The Wall is our fault because this is a democracy and we were Dept. AG Jamie Gorelick's bosses and the responsibility goes to the top. However if Commisioner Jamie Gorelick lied to us and so prevented us from making the right policy decisions to protect people in the present and the future, that is a far more serious act. Pretty close to "aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war" if not over that line.

cathy :-)


Yeah, and what did Berger hide?


I am beginning to join the skeptics a bit...

Just putting a toe in.

I found some items that make the Weldon charges weak, not to mention the fact the more I look at the timeframe the less likely I am to believe this news would be squashed



I look at this ABLE DANGER conundrum as a snarled skein of yarn yet to be untangled. The untangling process must start at one end or the other. Perhaps I've missed the explanation, but I am curious as to who made the decision to end the program and why.

I am beginning to join the skeptics a bit... snip ... I found some items that make the Weldon charges weak, not to mention the fact the more I look at the timeframe the less likely I am to believe this news would be squashed.


Don't allow the razzle dazzle of the right hand to distract you from the action of the left, AJStrata. The "blame the messenger" game has no place when our national security is at state. Uncovering mistakes that should not be repeated is the goal.

Fact is ABLE DANGER, an operation dedicated solely to AQ cell activity in the US, existed. Considering that investigations of terrorist cell activity in our country was the Commission's prime objective, I am wondering why they so lightly dismissed the incomplete information about this important operation. Why weren't more officials in power during it's active operational period not pressed for more indepth details and missing documentation?

Keep the focus. Don't get caught up on the dizzy'ing spin.


Scoring the prize fight between the Gorelick commission and the dataminers is fine as far as it goes, interesting stuff and all. But when it comes to what matters now, I'm with Steyn that busting the skeptic lock on the Atta timeline is more important than who's to blame for shortcomings in the commission report.

The Gorelick commission always was a joke through and through. If missing the Atta connection was their fault then they were really a sick joke. Big deal. And if the miscommunication was not their fault? So what.

''There was no way that Atta could have been in the United States at that time, which is why the staff didn't give this tremendous weight when they were writing the report. This information was not meshing with the other information that we had.''
This is the kind of 20/20 Blindsight that needs to be cracked, and it's a bigger problem than just the Gorelick commission.

Crew v1.0

Instead of writing yet another weekly acid job denouncing Bush, or hyping the treasonous outing of Valerie Maiden Name, I am oh-so-pleased to report that Frank Rich dazzles and amazes today in his NY Times opinion piece. It's a sort of Sister Souljah moment for Frank, who plays against type and shares with his immense readership his heartfelt disappointment at Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula, poster boy for progressives and among the most strident critics of the liberation of Iraq, is immersed in a corruption scandal in Brazil that has more tentacles than you can count at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Frank Rich lays it all out on the line, saying that Lula has not merely let down the millions of poor Brazilians who trusted him with their votes and their most sincere idealism, but that he also has harmed the progressive-left everywhere. It's one of those moments where you realize that Frank Rich isn't just some worthless hack who dumps on Bush out of a sense of offended style. No, Rich is the real deal, a true progressive with a wide panoramic lens, capable of rooting out hypocrisy and exposing it whenever and wherever. I highly recommend the article; I found it to be searing, searing.

If anyone is having trouble finding it, let me know, and I'll gladly provide the link.


depressing story of that cooperation that never took place

If this is true, when you add this story to that of the FBI agent in Phoenix who got curious about those attending flight school and was stymied in his efforts to find out more or the 20th hijacker's computer that coudn't be looked into because of some technicality or the names not being flagged for visa purposes - it's all thoroughly depressing.



Not to worry - all is clear and I am definitely out of the skeptics circle again. It is hard to do with the honorable MinuteMan on the inside making some good arguments.

But then I went through the material posted here and found some interesting holes of my own!



Posse Comitatus. What's that, we, the people? Fancy name for hoi polloi?


Well, the silver-lining is that we are going to get a good 21st century national discussion of just how privacy may by ignored in the maintenance of public order. Can we have someone besides Gorelick and Zelikow lead the discussion?


In case you are interested


Looks like the Able Danger story hung together - now what does it mean?


I wondered about Berger also, calling it a far-fetched idea. Why would stuff about AD be in the same rooms as Berger was in? Do we know where he wandered in there?

I've said in a prev. post, but it bears repeating: We don't know what Berger took. What he claims he took(nothing original) is not worth committing a crime and risking shame for. Hence, what he took is something that we should know in order to protect ourselves in the future. In any other time or place, Berger would be hanging from his thumbs until we knew what he took.


This is too bizarre.

If the DOD operation, (en)able danger, is the source of Cheney believing in the Atta meeting in Prague, it is creating a stronger 'nexus' between Saddam and 9/11.

So the press will go after Cheney for knowing about some of the facts from Able Danger, but the facts that he used will be ones that confirmed his belief in a connection between Iraq and 9/11.

Two options-Cheney had access to the reporting of the DOD-connecting Saddam to 9/11, and didn't tell us or chose to cite the report.


maybe he did, and chose not to source it.

Of all the agencies that Cheney uses, the FBI, the CIA, NSA, or the DOD...which group do you think he trusts most? (The one with Rummy in charge, I'd suspect.)


The reason the CIA doesnt want Able Danger to be investigated is because Atta and the other terrorists were trained at the Huffman Aviation School in Venice, FL , a company owned by Wally Hilliard, who had one of his planes seized for heroin trafficking check it out !

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