9/11 Revisionism, Revisited- by Justin Raimondo

Something about this doesn't quite ring true: none [.pdf] of the hijackers had a green card. Most came in on tourist visas: some had made easily detectable false statements on their visa applications, and might have been legally deported.

9/11 Revisionism, Revisited
The mystery of 'Able Danger'
by Justin Raimondo

In January of this year, Rep. Curt Weldon made a speech to the House of Representatives – a speech which no one took notice of, and which hardly anyone heard, except maybe inveterate C-SPAN watchers – in which he made a number of extraordinary assertions:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise because information has come to my attention over the past several months that is very disturbing. I have learned that, in fact, one of our Federal agencies had, in fact, identified the major New York cell of Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11; and I have learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000, that Federal agency actually was prepared to bring the FBI in and prepared to work with the FBI to take down the cell that Mohamed Atta was involved in in New York City, along with two of the other terrorists.

"I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that when that recommendation was discussed within that Federal agency, the lawyers in the administration at that time said, you cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card, and we are fearful of the fallout from the Waco incident. So we did not allow that Federal agency to proceed.

Something about this doesn't quite ring true: none [.pdf] of the hijackers had a green card. Most came in on tourist visas: some had made easily detectable false statements on their visa applications, and might have been legally deported.

And what does Waco have to do with anything? The connection seems tenuous, at best. However, let us pass over that, for the moment, and concentrate on Rep. Weldon's further remarks... two weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, his "friends" at the Army's Information Dominance Center – "in cooperation with special ops" – brought him a chart that had been created by a secret military unit known as "Able Danger": using "data-mining" techniques, this top secret military intelligence unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three of the hijackers as being part of an Al Qaeda cell in the U.S. This chart, with a visa photo of Mohammed Atta at its center, was created a year before 9/11. Weldon says he took the chart to Stephen Hadley, at the National Security Council, who said he had never seen any such chart, and that he would bring it to "the man" – i.e., the President.

Now it isn't all that surprising that neither Hadley, nor the President, had any inkling of Operation "Able Danger." What's truly startling, however, is that when Weldon talked to those who made the chart, he discovered that not only had they identified the New York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the other terrorists, but also that a recommendation had been made to take out the cell – and it had been vetoed. By whom – and why? As Weldon put it in his speech:

"That is a question that needs to be answered, Mr. Speaker. I have to ask, Mr. Speaker, with all the good work that the 9/11 Commission did, why is there nothing in their report about able danger? Why is there no mention of the work that able danger did against al Qaeda? Why is there no mention, Mr. Speaker, of a recommendation in September of 2000 to take out Mohammed Atta's cell which would have detained three of the terrorists who struck us?"

A good question, one that was thoroughly ignored for months, until something called the "Government Security News" picked up the story, and this was followed by a piece in the New York Times by Douglas Jehl, and one this [Thursday] morning, that basically confirmed the outlines of Weldon's story...

Jehl reported on Wednesday that, according to Felzenberg, who had talked to former staff members of the Commission,

"They all say that they were not told anything about a Brooklyn cell. They were told about the Pentagon operation. They were not told about the Brooklyn cell. They said that if the briefers had mentioned anything that startling, it would have gotten their attention."

The next day, however, the former Commission staffers were singing a different tune. In their follow-up story, Jehl and Philip Shenon report the Commission staff was indeed briefed in a meeting held on July 12, 2004, at which Atta's name figured prominently, and that this has been acknowledged by the same officials who were denying everything 24 hours earlier. The briefing had been discounted, these officials now claim, because the information offered didn't "mesh" with what they thought they already knew, and, besides, the 9/11 Commission report was all ready to go to the printer. The addition of a piece of information that would have substantially altered the content was apparently not considered important enough to tell the printer to wait..

..In the aftermath [of 9/11], many lamented the fact that, if only some version of the PATRIOT Act had been in place prior to 9/11, the attacks might have been prevented. ... [this] "Sounds superficially plausible, except when one considers that there was plenty of actionable intelligence about the 9/11 plotters: there were warnings galore, as we are beginning to discover, not only from foreign intelligence agencies but from our own agents and analysts..

It is interesting to note that the Commission staffer who received – and discounted – the "Able Danger" information, Dietrich L. Snell, is the prosecutor who convicted Abdul Hakim Murad in the "Bojinka" terrorist conspiracy case, a 1995 plot to crash airplanes into several U.S. landmark buildings, including the Pentagon and the World Trade Center – a scheme that later morphed into the 9/11 conspiracy. Murad offered to cooperate with investigators in return for a sentence reduction, but prosecutors, led by Snell, turned him down......

In the case of the "Able Danger" operation, although the authorities had the legal means at their disposal, they were supposedly restrained by the recent memory of … Waco. This seems not at all credible: is there really any comparison between the figures of David Koresh and Osama bin Laden, either in terms of impact or importance?..

We're supposed to believe that, if only we'd passed the PATRIOT Act before 9/11, and subjected ourselves to a regime of total surveillance, giving up such remnants of our civil liberties as still existed, we might have escaped the wiles of Bin Laden and his fellow Islamist supermen, who single-handedly pulled off a spectacular terrorist act that changed the course of history. Now, according to this all-too-familiar refrain, we'll just have to get used to having our email read, our phones tapped, and our every movement kept under close surveillance by our beneficent and all-knowing government. The only alternative is living at the mercy of terrorists.

As we are beginning to learn, however, that is lie, and a rather self-serving one to boot. It wasn't the lack of information, or an inability to detect the death cultists in our midst, that prevented us from stopping the plot dead in its tracks. Rather, it was a persistent obstructionism coming from some quarters. As Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who blew the whistle on the efforts of the FBI's Washington office to quash the investigation into Al Qaeda, put it:

"I know I shouldn't be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert Hansen, who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis' effort."..

9/11 Revisionism, Revisited- by Justin Raimondo


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