Republicans spun the Able Danger story as an illustration of the failures of the Clinton administration. They noted that the Clinton Pentagon failed to act on information about these terrorists. The Able Danger story can better be grasped in the context of what was known about Mohamed Atta and the BrooklynCell.
James Woolsey, former CIA director and neocon who detested Clinton, worked closely with Pa. Republican Congressman Curt Weldon to give the story a strong anti-Clinton spin. Weldon claimed before the House that Shaffer and civilian contractor James D. Smith told him the Able Danger project had warned the Navy not to refuel the Cole in Yemen in 2000. Former FBI director Louis Freeh has used Able Danger this to sell his book, claiming the Clintons kept him from hunting Al Qaeda. But the fact was that Able Danger was shut down under Bush, and no one has said that Able Danger had stopped tracking Al Qaeda cells outside the US before the project ceased operation. Freeh, 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 Freeh's greatest failure was not acting on information that it had about the Al Qaeda cell in Brooklyn. The FBI knew a great deal about the Brooklyn cell, which was involved in the 1993 bombing. It was led by the blind sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman. The cell=s chief trainer was Ali Mohamed, a former Egyptian army officer who had taught Green Berets at Fort Bragg.
The strange relationship of the FBI and Ali Mohamed raises many questions.The FBI has a thick file on the target shooting activities of Ali Mohamed and other men from his mosque at Calverton. They apparently went shooting after mosque services in Brooklyn. According to Investigators Tom Hennigan and Peter Lance, he was a triple agent, loyal in the end If they were wrong, the other reasonable conclusion was that the FBI was somehow complicit in his dangerous activities. A somewhat similar situation existed in relationship to Mohammed Atta. Various government agencies knew quite a bit about Atta=s doings. It seems to come down to a matter of incredible incompetence or some degree of complicity.
Ali Mohamed had been the chief security advisor to Osama bin Laden and had trained the terrorist leaders=s security detail. He worked briefly for the CIA in the early eighties. The agency claims it found him unreliable and placed him on a watch list to prevent entry to the United States. Yet he obtained a visa, according to one account through a secret CIA program, and became a US citizen in 1986. At Fort Bragg, he was an instructor in Islamic culture. While there, he frequently traveled to New York, where he trained young Muslims in the use of explosive and fire arms. Ne student bled the head off Rabbi Meyer Kahane. The FBI said he was a Alone gunman.@ Another became involved in a scheme to blow up the United Nations. A third student was convicted in the plot to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993. He also spent time training Islamic fighters in Afghanistan and the CIA has 1989 footage of him training terrorists. It is also known he taught them how to seize an airplane. Ali was detained in a Canadian airport in 1993 when he was found to be carrying two fake Saudi passports. He was released after Royal Canadian Mounted Police called his American handler, John Zent.(Toronto Globe and Mail, 11/22/01)]
In the 1990s, he did surveillance on the US consulate in Nairobi, Kenya and other places in north Africa. One wonders how he explained his frequent absences to his FBI employers and whether they ever doubted his explanations. The 9/11 report ( page 68) bluntly states that he led those who plotted to attack the embassy in Kenya.
In 1989, Ali Mohamed settled in California where he soon helped Ayman al-Zawahiri raise money. Again, in 1994 he helped al Zawahiri. His neighbors were certain he was an intermediary between the CIA and the Afghan rebels , arranging for the movement of arms. By the 1990s, he infiltrated the FBI and became involved in its super-secret Division Five. The agency admitted using him but claimed it was just to track down illegal immigrants, and it did not admit linking him with terrorists. At that time, he somehow obtained the complete list of unindicted coconspirators, which included himself, and faxed it to bin Laden. The FBI held him on a John Doe warrant for 9 months to keep him away from the press and prevent his testimony in the trial of the 1993 bombers. His name came up frequently in the trial and defense lawyers demanded that he be produced as a witness because they knew he worked for the FBI and perhaps also the CIA. In 1996, he was helping Al Qaeda move from Sudan to Afghanistan. Yet, in the late 1990s, he was also in some kind of FBI custody for considerable periods.
As late as 2000, he worked in the bureau's Sacramento office, was briefly detained after that, and then released. Then he was indicted for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings and entered a guilty plea. The people who produced the National Geographic special on him claim that after 9/11 he was able to explain to federal interviewers all the ins and outs of the 9/11 plot.(Peter Lance, "Triple Cross: National Geographic Channel's Whitewash of the Ali Mohamed Story," Huffington Post, 8/29/06, http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20060829/cm_huffpost/028270. )CBS reported in October, 2001 that he was awaiting sentencing, but he then disappeared from the federal criminal justice system.
Next: More on what the US knew about Mohammed Atta
"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.
- Sherman De Brosse
- 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!