August 12, 2005

"They put stickies on the face of Mohammed Atta."

I wrote this over on Instapundit:
"MAKES YOU WONDER WHAT ELSE THEY TOSSED OUT." Betsy Newmark on the 9/11 report, commenting on the news of omissions about Mohammed Atta. Here's the very harsh Investor's Business Daily editorial:
[Curt Weldon, R-Pa. said] "They put stickies on the face of Mohammed Atta on the chart that the military intelligence unit had completed, and they said you can't talk to Atta because he's here on a green card."

Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9-11 commission, said the commission "did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9-11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell . . . Had we learned of it, obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

But they did learn of it. The New York Times reports that the 9-11 commission staff had the Able Danger data but decided not to share it with the panel members because the information sounded inconsistent with what they thought they knew about Atta.

Commission staffers plan a trip to the National Archives to retrieve their notes on Able Danger's findings. Yes, the same National Archives where Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger was caught stuffing classified documents about terrorist threats down his pants, presumably to remove them from public scrutiny.

And this is the same commission that included one Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department. She's also architect of the policy that established a wall between intel and law enforcement, making "connecting the dots" before 9-11 a virtual impossibility.

Are these not truly shocking revelations?


Gerry said...

I feel the beginnings of an earthquake.

AJ Lynch said...

The truth does not matter anymore- a cynic would guess this could involve maintaining that Clinton legacy. If so, the American people are going to get crazy re partisanship in govt- and a 3rd party could find a real opening.

Saganashkee said...

Does the word "treason" sound appropriate? Does this kind of tell us why there was a rush to plead out Sandy Berger on the lost documents from the stocking stuffing story? Earthquake Gerry? This could be like the ancient mega-volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park coming abruptly awake with all its fallout (of ash).

Goesh said...

As shocking as having been able to arrest bin laden way back then but not doing so. We need to stay focused on the past and forget about Iran developing nuclear weapons, after all, the UN can put Iran back on the straight and narrow just like they did saddam hussein. Debates for imposing sanctions against Iran are slated for 11/09, and the Security Council will take up the issue in 6/10.

Gerry said...

Saganashkee, your metaphor is much better. An erupting volcano does shake things up, but it also fills the sky with ash and smoke-- if things continue to be revealed along the lines it looks like they may be, then it is going to become really hard to see exactly what is going on. There will be a lot of confusion, a lot of noxious gas in the air, and a whole lot of heat.

knoxgirl said...

I never understood how the whole Berger incident got swept under the rug so had all the makings of a huge national security scandal when it first came out. He was totally given a free pass, at least by the media--especially in comparison to all the Rove/Plame b.s. that's been pounded relentlessly into the ground.

John A said...

A very small nitpick: Jamie Gorelick did not establish the wall between agencies, but did alter it from a three-foot chicken-wire affair to a twelve-foot concrete edifice topped with razor-wire.

Red Chicagoan said...


Your linking to Betsy's Page, at your vacation blog, drew out a troll that said all this proved that it was even more Bush and Condi's fault. Too funny! I offered him a napkin to clean up the egg on his face.

Chrees said...

I'm with AJ. Yes, this should be huge. But I have a feeling it will get swept under the rug as partisan theatrics. Which is exactly what the 9/11 commission has been shown to be.

I expect this to get the Swift Boat treatment from the press: ignored as much as possible, then later mentioned as unsubstaniated (without, you know, ever having been done so).

Sloanasaurus said...

I am waiting for more details becaus the whole incident seems very hard to believe. We can understand the political motivations behind certain actions and ommissions, but the whole point of the commission was to avoid these political issues. That is why you had both republicans and democrats on the committee. Why would members of the commission just blatently ignore these revelations?

leeontheroad said...

I've been wondering when Weldon's critique was-- if ever-- going to make into MSM-- or even mainline blogs.

The years 1999 and 2000 are in question, so surely there's plenty of reson for both left and right to go after whatever is "fact": in 1999, the Clinton administration can be said to have been asleep on this issue. So it's a good question whether Berger was removing documents that would cast him or Clinton as directing the information swept under the rug. That woudl look bad, and Berger surely wouldn't want that.

What does the left have to gain? Well, William Cohen, a Republican, was Secretary of Defense-- and the folks who had concerns were members of military intelligence. DCI was constant from Clinton through Bush, as was Richard Clark.

Did all these folks not know the information, and, if so, why not?

We may or may not ever learn what was in 2000 Presidential intelligence briefings you can and should tell the President "what you've got," regardless of whether or not you send the FBI out to track a green card holder.

For all the rest of us, that is, not on the extremes, I think the question is what's the truth? why did a bipartisan Commission initially opposed but popularly supported leave out the info? And is the information about which we're talking made most clear by 20-20 hindsight? or was the big IT there all along? (I mean, "links to AQ" can be of greater and lesser strength and of differing provenance)

Sloanasaurus said...

After thinking about it, I now have a good argument as to why the commission would hide this fact. I will write later tonight when I have more time.

Robert said...

I think one of the most telling things is that, after the 9/11 Commission finally got around to admitting they did indeed have the Able Danger data, the stated reason for excluding it from the report was that it didn't match the information they had already accepted as fact. That's a pretty sorry way to run an investigation. If you get news facts that challenge the old ones and default to ignoring them, your chances of learning anything are small. I think that one admission tells you everything you need to know (if you didn't already).

dick said...

The part I read said that the staff of the commission had the information, not the commission itself. The question to ask is at what point did the staff let the commissioners know this, which commissioners if any were told, and then why did those commissioners make that decision. It strikes me that the staff of fhte commission is the only one who got this message. I am sure that if the rest of the commission had learned of it, it would have garnered at least one question as to whether this was true or not. Since it did not, my guess is that it was filtered before it got to the commission itself.

As to Jamie Gorelick, I am still p*ssed that she was even on that commission to start with!!

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with Jamie Gorelick is really what we call the "appearance of impropriety". This is why, for example, judges recuse themselves when there is a chance that they might be seen as biased.

We are left with the (strong on the right) suspicion that the 9/11 investigation did not really investigate the "Wall" because of her presence on the commission. I think that there is also a suspicion now that the Able Baker information was potentially suppressed, or at least not fully investigated, because of her and the "Wall".

In the end, her refusal to recuse herself has, I believe, reduced the credability in the 9/11 commission report.

I should also add that the prosecuturial zeal of both Ben-Veniste and her also put into question the objectivity of the Commission. With the zeal they showed in going after Republicans, we are also left with the feeling that the conclusions of the Report are a political compromise, as opposed to an actual attempt at finding the truth.

Elizabeth said...

Time magazine is casting doubt on Curt Weldon's claim. Weldon himself seems to be hedging, and can't produce evidence to support his claim. Y'all have any problem with that?