Saturday, August 13, 2005

9/11: Able Danger

This week:
More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared ... The account is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks.
See also this article in the St. Petersburg Times.

Naturally, the Commission's first thought was to deny and try to cover-up the story:
Al Felzenberg, who had been the commission's chief spokesman, said Tuesday the panel was unaware of intelligence specifically naming Atta. But subsequent information provided Wednesday confirmed that the commission had been aware of the intelligence, he said.

However, the Times shows its ignorance (or worse) in stating that this is "the first assertion" that Atta "was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat."

According to
In fact, such assertions date back to German press reports of September 2001 and October 2002, when several German newspapers reported that the CIA had Atta under observation during the first six months of 2000, while he was still living in Germany.

According to the German reports of Sept. 2001, the CIA in 2000 watched as Atta "bought chemicals" in Frankfurt and later tracked him to Berlin, where he received an entry visa from the US consulate in May 2000.

(According to official US timelines of his activities, Atta entered the United States for the first time in June 2000, although witness accounts reported in local papers after 9/11 place him in Florida months earlier.)
The more you read, it becomes increasingly apparent that Atta and many of the 19 hijackers were under surveillance by both US and foreign government agencies, both in the US and abroad. ... And the differences in timelines is also quite common. There is clear evidence, such as signed leases, of some of the hijackers living in the US months before the FBI say they arrived.

Daniel Hopsicker -- whose investigative work in Florida on the hijackers is unmatched -- writes:
The importance of this week's revelation that an Army intelligence unit was tracking Mohamed Atta's movements in the US during 1999 and 2000 is so mind-boggling that it seems nobody quite gets it yet ...

9/11 Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg on Thursday excused the Commission's decision to withhold from their Report any mention of the Army Able Danger intelligence unit in Tampa [because] information provided to them by military officers in the unit did not agree with the FBI's timeline concerning Atta's arrival in the US ...

Here's the big question nobody seems to be ready to ask: Upon what basis did the 9/11 Commission conclude that the FBI's timeline was correct and that an elite Army Intel unit was mistaken in saying they were tracking Mohamed Atta roaming freely across America during 1999 and 2000?
Don't miss Justin Raimondo.

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