Fears of backlash kept pre-9/11 data from FBI�- The Washington Times

Moonie Times is still peddling the story...

Fears of backlash kept pre-9/11 data from FBI

By Audrey Hudson
August 16, 2005

Pentagon lawyers, fearing a public-relations "blow back," blocked a military intelligence unit from sharing information with the FBI that four suspected al Qaeda terrorists were in the country prior to the September 11 attacks, after determining they were here legally, a former Defense Department intelligence official says.
Members of an intelligence unit known as Able Danger were shut out of the September 11 commission investigation and final report, the official said, despite briefing commission staff members on two occasions about the Mohamed Atta-led terrorist cell and telling them of a lockdown of information between the Defense Department and the FBI.
The intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Pentagon lawyers "were afraid of a blow back" -- similar to the public's response to the FBI-led assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, which left more than 70 people dead -- and decided to withhold the information from the FBI.
The official said the decision was made at the Army's Special Operations Command (SoCom) headquarters in Tampa, Fla.,which concluded that Atta, the ringleader of the September 11 hijackers, and the others were in the country legally and thus had the same legal protections as U.S. citizens.
"If something went wrong, SoCom felt it could get blamed," the official said.
But Pentagon officials have said they have uncovered no specific intelligence data from the Able Danger unit concerning an Atta-led terrorist cell, other than a few intelligence analyses that mention his name, and September 11 commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chairman Lee H. Hamilton disputed the source of the information.

Fears of backlash kept pre-9/11 data from FBI�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper


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