Chris's Rants

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Enabling Danger (part one)

Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow, writes about the implications of the Able Danger story in this must-read post (emphasis mine):
Did Able Danger exist? And, if so, where is the chart that supposedly identifies Atta?

If the Able Danger chart exists, I think our government and its intelligence agencies had best locate it. It would seem that the chart might hold the names of other terrorists bent on murdering Americans. Why would such a chart go missing? Why wouldn’t our intelligence agencies want to utilize the wealth of information contained in that chart? In other words, shouldn’t we want to follow up on the other names listed on the chart? I know I would feel a lot better if I knew as a fact that every name on the chart was investigated, wouldn’t you? Or, if we do have the chart, I wonder if any of the other names on the Able Danger chart match any of the individuals’ identities in Gitmo? Why hasn’t anyone in our government given an accounting of where this chart is and whether the information held within the chart has been properly capitalized upon? Where is the urgency to locate this valuable document that contains another approximately 200 terrorists’ names? (As an aside, I find our entire government’s handling of this issue extremely uncomfortable. If the chart did not exist, then a clear, emphatic statement should have been issued by each entity: the Pentagon, the 9/11 Commission, and the Administration. Think about it. If you genuinely know that something never existed, then you can flatly deny its existence. Unless, it turns up, and then you're on the record denying its existence. It seems to me, that the deafening silence and hedging comments made by all those involved—comments along the lines of "well, if it turns out the chart exists, then…"— are very suspicious and quite disturbing. Its like nobody wants to get caught lying to the American public, but yet, nobody wants to confirm the Able Danger chart’s existence because the implications of the existence of such a chart is so damning. So now we have all of our government leaders and experts clamming up and acting like a bunch of potential criminal teenage boys in Aruba.)

Additionally, some questions have been raised about the ability of DIA to label or "identify" Atta as an al Qaeda operative as early as 2000. To me, it would seem logical that DIA was able to do so, after all, in 2000 Atta was living in Hamburg, Germany and having regular contacts with other known al Qaeda operatives namely Ramzi Binalshibh, Said Bahaji, Zakariya Essabar, Muhammed Zammar, Mounir Motassadeq, Abdelghani Mzoudi, and Mamoun Darkazanli. We know that the German government had Atta’s cell—the Hamburg cell—under surveillance and we also know that our CIA was conducting parallel surveillance during the same time period. Information surrounding the Hamburg cell and the surveillance is documented throughout the German trials of Mzoudi and Mottasedeq—two of the al Qaeda operatives that were prosecuted for their ties to the 9/11 attacks but eventually released after the United States refused to cooperate with the German courts by sharing intelligence evidence linking the men to the 9/11 plot. (Both men are walking the streets of Germany today as free men because our government refused to share evidence linking them to the 9/11 plot—something that frustrates many of the 9/11 families since we have yet to hold one terrorist accountable for the 9/11 attacks.) The surveillance of the Hamburg cell is also mentioned in overseas news reports from both London and Germany. One account even goes so far as to say that the CIA attempted to "flip" one of Atta’s comrades (Darkazanli) into being an informant for the CIA. Clearly, by December 2000, the CIA knew at least that Atta was a person of interest, so why should it seem so hard for the agency and others in our government to understand how DIA was able to do so, too?

Surveillance of the Hijackers—the proof.

The speed by which our government was able to accumulate such a vast amount of information immediately following the 9/11 attacks (in less than 24 hours) is the most persuasive proof that our government had the hijackers under its surveillance. FBI agents descended upon the very flight schools (out of the thousands of flight schools in our country) that the hijackers attended within two hours of the attacks. They were seen removing files from the flight schools buildings. Furthermore, photos of the hijackers and details about their activities in the final days before the attacks were also immediately presented to the American people. I mean you are talking about an intelligence apparatus that according to official accounts was completely in the dark about the plotting and planning of the 9/11 attacks. They — our intelligence agencies — knew nothing about the operatives living in this country—the operatives that were fully imbedded and openly training in our flight schools, partaking in practice flights across this country, receiving wire transfers from al Qaeda sources, and repeatedly traveling in and out of this country to visit other terrorists and terrorist facilities. Yet, for a group of agencies caught completely flat-footed on the day of 9/11, they certainly were able to get their act together at a time when most—if not all-- of this nation’s citizens were brought to their knees.

Additionally, when one carefully reads the 9/11 chronology and information provided in the public record, it becomes increasingly clear that the CIA’s repeated failure to share information with the FBI about two of the 9/11 hijackers—al Mihdhar and al Hazmi-- was purposeful. There exists at least seven instances between January 2000 and September 11th, 2001, that the CIA withheld vital information from the FBI about these two hijackers who were inside this country training for the attacks. Once, twice, maybe even three times could be considered merely careless oversights. But at least seven documented times? To me, that suggests something else. (To read about these instances, I suggest you read 9/11 materials relating to the "watchlisting issue" involving al Mihdhar and al Hazmi which is a story so detailed, that it deserves its own lengthy blog.)

The 9/11 Commission

At a bare minimum, the 9/11 Commission is not being honest with the American people. First, the Commission feigned total ignorance about Able Danger. Then, they admitted that they remembered hearing something about it. Next, they acknowledged that they were briefed about the program but found a discrepancy in the dates provided by the Able Danger informant, and therefore decided that the information was irrelevant to their investigation. Convenient excuses. But, wrong. Because, I happen to be one of the 9/11 widows that received personal commitments from each of the 9/11 Commissioners that they would track down every lead, and turn over every rock so as to provide the most thorough and definitive account of the 9/11 attacks to the American people. Last week’s revelations about Able Danger prove that the Commission has not been above-board with their investigation. Nor has their investigation been anywhere near exhaustive.

Now, legally speaking, the 9/11 Commissioners were mandated to provide a full accounting of the 9/11 attacks to the American people. If the Able Danger operation and its accompanying information turn out to be true, then necessarily each Commissioner has broken the law in that they failed to fulfill their legislative mandate in providing a full and just accounting of the 9/11 attacks to the American people. However, if we also come to learn that Atta’s or any of the other hijackers names were mentioned in the Able Danger chart, I think this nation will have bigger problems to deal with than accusing the 9/11 Commission of not following their mandate in providing a full accounting to the American people. As with most things in life, only time will tell.
Seriously, you need to read the whole post. Frankly, she's right. There has never been a credible explanation as to how we were able to know, with such certainty, who the 9/11 hijackers were so damned quickly.


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