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August 11, 2005


Tommy V

Just what we needed - another only semi-useful investigative commission.

To have something so explosive disregarded (the non-conspiracy term for what they did) like this makes other alleged cover-ups seem a lot more plausible now.

Tom, I was with you, this seemed pretty far-fetched a few days ago simply because it was so explosive and how could not have been included?

That's how we fight off most conspiracy theories. "Really? Something that huge and the investigation didn't mention it in the report? Something THAT huge? Come on. that's pretty far fetched!"

Jim Rockford

I suspect:

This was buried because it suited both Bush and Clinton, someone on Bush's team probably argued along the lines of Sandy Burglar that the problem was not serious and civil rights trumped anti-terror issues.

Now it's in the NY Times. Why? Obviously part of the Dean-o and Kerry "stop Hillary at all costs" campaign. This comes out and Hillary's 08 campaign comes to a dead screeching halt and a lonely nation turns its eyes to ... Kerry and Dean?

NY Times would not give Weldon the time of day, wrong Party, and certainly not after l'affair Plame. Dean-o and Kerry? Yeah.

Sounds like the usual bipartisan mess that characterizes Washington.

jack risko


Please note the quite specific lies about the "wall" that Gorelick told in 2004. Back then, they seemed wrong, but without specific import for the study of 9-11. Now they appear much more sinister.



Jack Risko


Well, well, well, well. How come it has taken a year for this to come out. Obviously, someone at the Pentagon knew they were holding explosive testimony. Is it a tribute to the non-politicized nature of out military that it took a year for this information to be used for political effect? Can it be that the politicians on the commission didn't become aware of the power of this information?

Something just doesn't add up.


A etne erg was J ere J saw green tea.


Mad at Atta, Ta Dam.


Re Mad at Atta - as a colleague of mine once said, "A man, a plan, a canal - eerie!"

Good job by Jack Risko on Gorelick and the wall.

I haven't really considered the Times to be anti-Hillary. At this moment, I am so non-plussed that I am actually pondering the possibility that the Times is, like, breaking news. Agenda free, let the chips fall, etc.


There will be no Congressional hearings-secure a grip.

World's greatest palindrome:

My girlfriend has a weird name: Enam Driewasahdneirflrigym.

Appalled moderate

The problem with having Gorelick on commission comes home to roost. It doesn't matter if this was an innocent mistake, or the mistake of a bunch of staffers who couldn't cope with "information that...did not mesh with other conclusions that we were drawing", or the natural reaction of ivy league staffers to a really stupidly nmaed project. This omission now begins to smell bad.

I think, to get to the bottom of this one, we need to know what other conclusions the Able Danger folks came to, but did not pass on. If they insisted, theough mining, we should also arrest George Bush Sr because of his frequent conversations with Saudi officials, there might be a problem with taking the recommendations seriously.


Okay, they dismissed the Atta info because he couldn't "possibly" have been in the country at the time in question... well, ONE of the times in question so let's give 'em a break and ignore the other. My question is, just how sound was there info on Atta's travels? Was it "unimpeachable"? To dismiss something like this out of hand it would have to be. Presumably the info on Atta's whereabouts are from similar sources; documents, testimony and other physical evidence. Is this what passes for an investigation? Hmm, this NEW info contradicts the OLD info but we LIKE the old info so flush the new. If so, it is boggling incompetence. Far more plausible is a cover-up. Gorelick by her very presence in her obviously compromised position is the proper focus. Berger's bergleries certainly don't help the political defense. If the media were serious about their alleged ethics and responsibilities we would have had a full scrub of both these figures long ago. And just what was Ben-Veniste's qualifications for serving anyhow? That whole commission was a travesty from the get and not a few folks said so.


Give Clinton his due - he wanted a law enforcement approach to dealing with terrorism, one which had an overarching concern with admissibilities of evidence and criminal procedure ... at the expense of an approach that was 'reality-based' on the concept of 'bad people want to do horrible things to us, let's first stop them' ... and Clinton through Gorelick got one.

I know get the feeling that the US was caught in the equivalent of a driveby shooting done by people in the witness protection program.


More likely even is more than one person was running around calling themselves Mohammed Atta. Any speculation on that count opens up a Pandora's Box of goodies for conspiracy nuts.

Lurking Observer


An amusing observation.

So, "reality-based" means dismissing certain types of info out of hand b/c it doesn't mesh w/ your (undoubtedly "reality-based") preconceptions, eh?

And "reality-based" means that concerns about not offending certain groups trumps actual warnings about threats, eh? [Note that data-mining of open-source information need not involve warrants or clandestine operations at all, since the information is already in the public domain.]

One wonders where this will leave the "reality-based" community....

Patrick R. Sullivan

While Weldon was clearly wrong to say that Atta and friends had 'green cards', and were thus 'US persons' under FISA, the FBI was gun shy about infringing on anyone's (inside the USA) privacy rights. It could be that some, or even most, of the group that Atta was identified with WERE resident aliens, and thus covered as 'US persons'.

Remember that Colleen Rowley's request for a search of the guy in Minnesota's computer was turned down by FBI HQ because they felt she didn't have probable cause.

Even after 9-11-01, Patrick Leahy was defending FISA, such as in these remarks:


The most significant legislative result of the Church Committee investigation was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 which required court orders for national security electronic surveillance in the United States. No longer did the Executive branch have exclusive control over the vast powers of U.S. intelligence to conduct wiretapping, bugging, and other communications monitoring in this country. Surveillance was limited to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers, and the statutory probable cause standard for targeting an American as an "agent of a foreign power" required a showing of clandestine intelligence activities, sabotage, or international terrorist activities on behalf of a foreign power. Americans could not be targeted solely on the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment. Surveillance of Americans under FISA was limited to counterintelligence purposes to defend the nation against foreign spying and terrorism. Americans could not be considered "agents of a foreign power" on the basis of their lawful business or political relationships with foreign governments or organizations.

The Congress has been cautious in the decades following the revelations of the Church Committee about allowing use of criminal justice information for other purposes and, specifically, on sharing such information with intelligence agencies. In 1979 Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights that the guidelines for "any dissemination outside the Bureau...will have to be very, very specific. We will have to be very certain the dissemination is lawful, meets the same standards of certainty, of intent, which is the basic reason for the collection of the information and the investigation...."

On the issue of FBI sharing with the CIA, Attorney General Civiletti said "you have to be extremely careful in working out, pursuant to the law, the information which is being exchanged, what its purpose is, how it was obtained and collected, so that you are not inadvertently, out of a sense of cooperation or efficiency, perverting or corrupting the fact that the CIA’s main duty is foreign intelligence, and they have no charter, no responsibility, and not duty performance, no mission to investigate criminal acts in the United States."

The Man Sans Q was all over this in May-June 2002. As were Mickey Kaus, Ann Coulter, and Stuart Taylor Jr.


LO -

I think 'reality-based' in the sense of understanding the value of humint and the need to have the CIA work with potentially 'bad' people - beyond Chalabi.

Also, there's this:
And "reality-based" means that concerns about not offending certain groups trumps actual warnings about threats, eh? [Note that data-mining of open-source information need not involve warrants or clandestine operations at all, since the information is already in the public domain.]

The FBI was, iirc, precluded from using google or other public domain information on the internet for conducting investigations.

Unlike bloggers, the FBI couldn't fact check your ass using the internet. They needed warrants, probable cause, et cetera.

One wonders where this will leave the "reality-based" community....

I'm not sure if there's irony here or not, so I'll address both:

if, by 'reality-based' you're being ironic and mean neo-con Iraq war supporters who ignore events on the ground to justify the status quo ... well, then -

if, by 'reality-based' you mean the Reality-Based Community that runs the spectrum from Willis to Yglesias - well, they're a remarkably resilient lot. I'm sure that the case can be made that the UN inspectors, given time, a now really, really, really, I mean it 'c'mon in' cooperative Saddam Hussein, a sudden reversal of the Oil for Food program, and - let's see - a standing army of 100,000 troops on the border with Iraq to show that we really, really, really insist that you let those inspectors in.

Speaking of which:

One thing left off the 'Cost of the War' calculations is the differential cost between the Blitzkrieg and the cost of Sitzkrieg.

A hot war/occupation that costs us $5Billion per month and which has produced regime change, freed millions, cost the lives of nearly 2,000 soldies et cetera et cetera needs to be compared against the likely cost of 100,000+ stationed in Kuwait for the same period of time which would have produced neither the regime change or freed 25,000,000 (that's 25 m-m-m-million)people.

Since the terrorists are not too picky about borders, and the US presence in the Middle East would be a provocation let's figure that the soldier deaths due to IEDs would be about the same over the length of time needed for the UN team to verify that Saddam does not have any WMDs or programs that can quickly reconstitute said weapons.

There would, perhaps, be a lower frequency of deaths, but- since the troops would be in a more fixed location there could be a higher intensity of casualties per incident(e.g. one mortar round lands in cafeteria, killing dozens)

I don't know what the probable number would be ... but it's worth considering what would be necessary to ensure that Hussein complied with the UN regulations dating back a dozen years and what that would cost, both in terms of money and in terms of soldier's lives --- surely those who walk among the reality-based see the reality of that.


"the FBI was gun shy about infringing on anyone's (inside the USA) privacy rights"


"Colleen Rowley's request for a search of the guy in Minnesota's computer was turned down by FBI HQ because they felt she didn't have probable cause."

I think the second statement is the determining factor, not the first. The FBI only takes cases they know they can prosecute, it adds to their reputation. They're not gun shy about anything except their reputation for 'getting their man'.

For Pete's sake, the FBI won't even send a marksman to an interagency shooting range contest unless they know he will win.

I kind of brushed this whole thing off in the beginning, not because I doubted it occurred, but because, to me, it was just another example of the whole wall thang and the impossible odds we faced because of it, to prevent the deaths on 9/11.

But thanks to persistence, by the NYTimes and Tom, I'm really really getting worked up over the fact the info was dismissed.

Doesn't fit the facts we have? Then re-evaluate your facts. Like good scientists do.

Too late to change now, time to go to print? Bureaucracy at its finest.

This really goes to the heart of our problem in balancing the civil rights of our citizens against the threats we face. The Church commission overreacted against prior abuses of power, now will we overreact the other way?

Our civil rights are not absolute and have ebbed and flowed many times over our history. I think the only way we can truly protect ourselves is to recognize this fact.


bleh, forgot to close the tag


Megapotamus, the fact that Atta was not in the US was a "slam-dunk" so nobody disbelieved it.




Not sure I follow you on how this stops Hill in her tracks. Could you enlighten me on that?

I guess the NYT could be covering this because it's news. They could be covering this without an agenda. Rumor is that they used to do that. I'm not convinced they know how to do that anymore.


Could it have been Able Danger that Berger was stuffing down his pants?


They keep closer and closer to the info in Jayna Davis' book "The Third Terrorist". The Clinton administration did not want to deal with Islamists. We sustained terror attack after terror attack and yet, other than sending a few cruise missiles they did nothing but run from Islamists. The FBI didn't want to hear it from anyone listed in the book and the Pentagon was banned from sharing it. Who is at the center of all of this??

Three people.

First, the Democrat-appointed 911 commissioner Jamie Gorelick (who wrote the laws banning intel agencies from sharing info. Funny they put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Second Janet Reno, who was Gorelick's boss and who appointed her to the justice department and let her run the FBI.

Third, Hillary who pushed for Reno. These three spent their time chasing the terrible threat - (armed) white guys and (armed) religious groups.

They were willing to send in snipers to take out the nuts in Ruby Ridge. They sent in the swat team to send a child back to Fidel Castro. They could have arrested Koresh when he was walking thru the streets of Waco but a better lesson for those who oppose the CAUSE was for them to send in tanks and burn the place down.

Funny, I thought "Posse Comitatas" banned using the military for law inforcement. But the only place the Clinton administration was ever willing to put troops on the ground was against our own citizens.

Not one of them wanted to hear anything about foreign terrorists. Nope not a problem.

But white guys with guns and armed Chistian groups create trouble for the CAUSE (world-wide socialism).


Could it have been Able Danger that Berger was stuffing down his pants?

Nope. I'ts a little known fact that Able Danger was the man on the grassy knoll who was edited out of the Zapruder film that Oliver Stone tried to expose until the VLWC got to him because they found out that he knew Ahmed Chalubi was Rush's supplier of the Oxycontin.


someone knew about atta. on the 12th we had a complete report on him and his travels and of course the trips to the pole dance.


Dr. Sanity...


speculates this might (admittedly- a loose association) shed light on Sandy Berger's "doc in socks" theft.


"... this could possibly have been the motive behind former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy "docs in his socks" Berger's inexplicable actions in removing classified documents at the National Archives at about the same time as the 9/11 Commission was reviewing documents associated with terrorism.

I know this is a loose association on my part, but it seems to me that if anyone in the Clinton adminsitration knew about Able Danger, it would have been Mr. Berger as National Security Advisor. A revelation that he was behind the decision not to allow military intelligence to pass on information to law enforcement officials about a terror cell that included Atta and other 9/11 murderers provides the first, possibly significant motive for Berger's bizarre behavior in spring of 2004. It would have to be something sensational like this to have made the Clinton official do something that egregiously antithetical to his professional reputation. His actions in stuffing documents into his clothing were those of a person in a state of panic, or high emotion (e.g. fear)..."


TToast: Excellent!


If Richard Clark had had any prior knowledge of the Able Danger intel, his apology at the 911 hearings certainly seems more sincere to me now than it did at the time. (wiggling eyebrows)

The American Public is a forgiving one. Just tell us what went wrong and why, and then let's figure out how to fix it. That IS the American Way. But don't lie to us and don't cover things up because that we cannot forgive.


Thanks Forbes. I actually heard that from Andrea Mitchell. It was all over town.


TT: Where can I get a copy of the transcript?

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