Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More light on Able-Danger, Atta, 9/11 and liberals

I wrote a column in mid-August about Able-Danger, a unit in the Pentagon that identified Mohamed Atta as an Al Qaeda operative a year before 9/11. It appeared in the O.C. Register and Human Events (http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=8610).

In the piece, I linked how the prevailing liberal attitude that took hold in the 60s and 70s led directly to the deaths of Americans in 9/11 through the left’s suppressing of our legitimate right to defend ourselves.

I then wrote about the recent arrests in California of Islamic militants who were plotting to blow up National Guard armories, the Israeli consulate in L.A. and synagogues. Next, I tied all of this to the actions of O.C. Sen. Joe Dunn in his attempt to show that the National Guard was illegally spying on Americans – using Sen. Dunn’s attitude as an example of local anti-military liberal bias and how that impacts our ability for self-protection.

In response, some anonymous critics tried to ridicule the early Able-Danger stories and my contention that the Clinton Administration suppressed Able-Danger’s attempt to alert the FBI as well as the apparent cover up of this by the September 11th Commission so as to cover for the Clinton Administration's failures.

Well, to my critics I commend these two articles that appeared Wednesday. They are from the Chicago Tribune.

Atta known to Pentagon before 9/11
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/chi-0509280150sep28,0,1493600.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

`Here is this gaunt figure' in 2000 photo
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/chi-0509280149sep28,0,4573800.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

Key excerpts:

WASHINGTON -- Four years after the nation's deadliest terror attack, evidence is accumulating that a super-secret Pentagon intelligence unit identified the organizer of the Sept. 11 hijackings, Mohamed Atta, as an Al Qaeda operative months before he entered the U.S.

Had the FBI been alerted to what the Pentagon purportedly knew in early 2000, Atta's name could have been put on a list that would have tagged him as someone to be watched the moment he stepped off a plane in Newark, N.J., in June of that year.

Anthony Shaffer, a civilian Pentagon employee, says he was asked in the summer of 2000 by a Navy captain, Scott Phillpott, to arrange a meeting between the FBI and representatives of the Pentagon intelligence program, code-named Able/Danger.

But he said the meeting was canceled after Pentagon lawyers concluded that information on suspected Al Qaeda operatives with ties to the U.S. might violate Pentagon prohibitions on retaining information on "U.S. persons," a term that includes U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens.

Asked by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at a hearing last week whether Atta, who lived for 15 months in Florida under a temporary student visa, was a "U.S. person," a senior Pentagon official answered, "No, he was not."

The official, William Dugan, was asked why the Pentagon had not given the Able/Danger data to the FBI.

"We're a lot smarter now than we were in 1999 and 2000," replied Dugan, who testified that the Pentagon instead destroyed the huge volume of material gathered by Able/Danger, which was disbanded in late 2000. (Note: By the Clinton Administration.)

Erik Kleinsmith, a former Army major who worked with Able/Danger, testified at the hearing that he continued to wonder whether, if Able/Danger "had not been shut down, [whether] we would have been able to assist the United States in some way" to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kleinsmith, who is no longer affiliated with the Pentagon, testified that he was ordered by a Defense Department lawyer to comply with Pentagon regulations by destroying the Able/Danger data.

All of this kind of makes you wonder about liberal lawyers, doesn't it?