"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

ABLE DANGER--revised and updated

There have been many conflicting stories about what was involved in Able Danger. It is hard to believe that Al Qaeda and many foreign intelligence agencies do not have almost complete information on the project. Why are American citizens kept in the dark?

We already knew that US intelligence people had been tracking the future highjackers in Hamburg, Germany for years, and that Al Qaeda Cells in Brooklyn and in the west had also long been in the sights of the FBI. With the revelation of the Able Danger project, it becomes almost impossible to escape the conclusion that the federal government had more than enough information to prevent 9-11. The 9-ll 1 either was not told about Able Danger or it chose to ignore the information because it would have derailed its major conclusions. Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said the conclusions would have been different had they known about Able Danger, but he is the man who presided over what seemed to be a clumsy cover up of an October 19, 1980 deal with Iran to hold 52 hostages until after the U.S. election.
In 1999, the Pentagon Special Operations Command established Able-Danger, a secret program, to gather information on Al Qaeda. In that year, it had identified Mohammed Atta, the architect of 9-11, and three others as members of the cell that attacked the World Trade complex in 1993. .Atta would mastermind the 9-11, and the other three were also among the hijackers.
Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who worked at the DIA, became aware of Atta and his three colleagues in mid-2000. Shaffer informed the FBI of what was known about these four Al Quada operatives. He urged the arrest of Atta, but Pentagon lawyers became involved to prevent the arrest. The lawyers claimed they had problems recommending action against someone holding a green card. But Atta did not have a green card or a valid entry visa. He came to the US three times on a visitor’s visa. The Pentagon is now denying that it knew anything about these people before 9-11. There is mounting evidence that Able Danger was much more than an anti-terrorist operation, and the Pentagon should not be faulted with keeping quiet about those aspects that involved highly sophisticated electronic surveillance of foreign targets outside the US.

When the Kean Commission came into being, Shaffer personally informed its executive director, Dr. Philip Zelikow, about Able-Danger and what was known about Atta and the three other hijackers. Zelikow did not give this information to the commission and did not include it in the document. Zelikow said it was "not historically relevant."1 Zeliknow had been on loan from the White House National Security Office and is now special counsellor to his friend, Secretary of State Rice.

Eventually the Army destroyed the Able Danger files on Atta claiming this was necessary because he was a "US person" under the meaning of legislation that said the military could only retain intelligence information on US persons for 90 days. It has been reported that some of the destroyed information involved ties between prominent Americans and the Chinese military The data also showed that several Al Quaeda operatives rented rooms in a New Jersey hotel and that a cell met there.

. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were briefed on what the Able Danger information-mining task force had learned. In February and March of 2001, Able Danger was shut down by the Defense Department, only to be reactivated later. Shaffer, a Bronze medal winner, lost his security clearance as well as his DIA job.Shaffer claimed that when the Bush administration replaced his top superior General Schoomaker, that all hope of using the knowledge gained was gone.Navy Captain Scott Philpott, hade of the team, said they identified Atta as a member of the Brooklyn cell, but the US had certain knowledge Atta was in Hamburg at the time Philpott gave. However, J.D. Smith, a civilian contractor, has said he was "absolutely positive" Atta was in Brooklyn at that time. . Shaffer was forbidden to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, this decision was later reversed.

The DIA is moving to take Shaffer off its payroll, and an unidentified DIA representative told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Shaffer was having an affair with one of Congressman Curt Weldon’s staffers. The Congressman answered that the colonel did not know anyone on his staff. Some other members of the Able Danger team are represented by Shaffer’s lawyer and are now saying Other members of the data-mining task force do not support his claim that they knew Atta was physically in the United States. The colonel must be under enormous pressure to modify his story.

While in Afghanistan, Shaffer told what he knew to Dr. Philip Zelikow, then US ambassador there. Zelikow expressed great interest in the information but avoided seeing Shaffer when the colonel attempted to contact him in Washington.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh has used this to sell his book, claiming the Clintons kept him from hunting Al Qaeda. Of course, he is a very partisan Republican and has never explained why three good leads within his agency were quashed or why he did not stand by John O’Neill, the best terrorist hunter we have had to date.

Two conclusions are inescapable. (1) There was great reluctance on the part of the Pentagon, under both Clinton and Bush, to act on the knowledge it had about Atta and his three friends.( 2) Now it is clear to all, that it is busy denying it had this knowledge, and it was mightily assisted in this cover-up by the executive director of the 9-11 commission.
Republicans note it was the Clinton Pentagon that failed to act on information about these terrorists. However, it was under Freeh, a very partisan Republican, that the FBI repeatedly failed to act on information that could have been used to stop terrorists. Moreover, it is clear that the FBI had knowledge of the movements of Atta and two others in Venice, Florida before 9-11.

James Woolsey, former CIA director and neocon who detested Clinton, is now working closely with Pa. Republican Congressman Curt Weldon to give the story a strong anti-Clinton spin. It is expected that Weldon will hold hearings to counterbalance those chaired by Specter in the Senate.

What is known is that Atta attended a flight school in Venice. The DEA confiscated and auctioned a private jet owned by one of the owners of the school. The agency found 43 pounds of heroin. No action was ever taken against the Venezuelan pilot or the owner Wally Hilliard. The same jet had made 39 weekly milk runs to Venezuela before the DEA acted. The school’s co-owner was Rudi Dekkers, a native of Holland who owed his government $3,000,000. There was a second flight school at that airport owned by another native of Holland, Arne Kruithof. The two Hollanders bought flight schools within months of one another. Dekkers claimed he did not know her, but they both used ascal Schreier, a German, to recruit Arab students.
Dekkers said Atta was a terrible person, an incompetent pilot who left school December 20, 2000 and did not return.. Others claim Atta was there in 2001 and that he and the operator were friendly. In August, two of the other hijackers were with Atta, and Atta’s attorney father visited from Egypt. The three younger men were said to hire a Yellow Cab in the evenings which was driven by a retired Navy Seal, who left soon after they left Venice.Another driver reported that the two were oin very friendly terms and that they shared a cab to a Sarasota night spot in August, 2001. Atta was apparently a hard drinker. ``Following the lead of the FBI, the 9-11 commission did not discuss the schools.

The Knight Rider papers, the Washington Post, and Newsweek reported a week after 9-11 that five of the hijackers had been trained at US military facilities at one time or another. This did not involve Atta’s brief employment much earlier in Hamburg, before he experienced a religious conversion in Egypt. It was said that Atta was at the International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Abdulaziz Alomari was at the Areospace Medical School in Texas.
The Sarasota Herald-Times discovered that Atta lived for more than two months at the Sandpiper Apartments in Venice in March and April of 2001 with a part-time stripper and longerie model. She reported that the FBI urged her to keep quiet.
Soon after 9-11, FBI agents were in Venice asking questions that made it clear they knew about Atta’s movements there. They questioned another cabbie about their nocturnal rides with the other driver. They seized a pharmacy’s security tape for the day Atta and his father were there and excised that part of the tape. It develops in an odd coincidence that the woman who helped one of the hijackers find an apartment was the wife of Michael Irish, the senior National Enquirer editor who received an anthrax letter. Irish also used that aifield.
There were rumors that the flight schools had a CIA connection, and that their records were removed on September 12, 2001. . The limited action taken after the biggest drug seizure in central Florida history led to speculation about some kind of a protected drug trade. For years there have been rumors about CIA and DIA drug trading; and those who have written about this have had their careers ruined. There will probably never be enough evidence to prove why the Pentagon did not want to move against Atta and now claims it knew nothing about him. One employee said Atta and others moved on to a school in Pompano Beach to learn to fly big jets via simulator. He added that he did not think this approach could be successful.

Fired FBI translator Sibel Edmunds was asked if she came across evidence that there was any evidence of a connection between drug trading and 9-11. She is now under a very tough gag orders, and she only offered a sort of "nondenial-denial." Don’t look for solid answers anytime soon.

There is compelling evidence that the FBI was keeping track of Atta’s movements in Venice, Florida in 9-11. It has also been suggested that he had been involved in a protected heroin smuggling operation and that this accounts for the Pentagon’s reluctance to pursue him earlier.
Below is info of CIA surveillance abroad from the cooperative research operation called Complete 911 Timeline

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!