Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When little boys and girls grow up to be big boys and girls...

Little boys and girls who don't grow up and learn how to share become big boys and girls who selfishly secret away intelligence information that could prevent terrorist attacks.

The NY Times reported yesterday that members of a military intelligence group, "Able Danger," held on tightly to their own little piece of vital intelligence, apparently afraid that if they gave it away they might not have been included to play war games with it. Sadly, their little cowboys and Indians game may have contributed to the deaths of over 3000 people:

More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared....

The F.B.I. was not warned about them until the spring of 2001, and no efforts to track them were made until August 2001.

What if?

What would have happened if the Able Danger group had alerted the FBI sooner? What if Mohammed Atta and the other known Al Qaeda operatives were put on watch lists?

Once again, all the information needed to prevent 9/11 was there. All that was missing was the urgency of sharing information.

Or...maybe they did share the information with the Bush administration, but duhbya didn't do diddly with it because, instead of playing catchup for his well-known pathetic lack of preparation for the most important leadership office in the world, he was too busy taking vacations in the first nine months of his adminstration.

Oh well. It all works out in the end. September 11 fit nicely into the Bush administration's plans to invade Iraq. Maybe it was worth it after all.


At 8/12/2005 09:00:00 AM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

Here is what really happened: the intelligence officials knew Atta and others were trouble, but they couldn't (which means they were not allowed/permitted to) tell the FBI about it because of the rules (the so-called "wall" between federal agencies) set up by Jamie Gorelick.

You've heard of her, right?

She was a deputy attorney general under the CLINTON administration.

Oh yeah, she was also on the 9-11 commission.

I wonder if her role in both had anything to do with the commission failing to investigate this fully the first time.

At 8/12/2005 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

What? Jamie Gorelick set up the "wall.", I never had heard that gnat boy. Thanks for enlightening me.

Right! Allow me to enlighten you.

Check your facts. It's sloppy grammar or just mindless blather to suggest that Jamie Gorelick "set up" the "wall." Jamie Gorelick didn't author the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - the "wall" between domestic and foreign intelligence. That act was written - and necessarily so - because the FBI and CIA had gone so far over the line in violation of American's civil liberties.

I'm talkin' Constitution man. That's not just a piece of paper we use after we're finished on the john. I'm talkin' domestic spies eavesdropping on the private conversations of American citizens doing what the best of Americans do - exercise their freedoms - to keep files on them and blackmail them somewhere down the road.

Does the name J. Edgar Hoover mean anything to you? Do you really want a ruthless bastard with the authority to federally prosecute you for anything he can conjure up - a guy who (it must be noted) was himself vocally homophobic but who secretly wore dresses at home and had gay affairs - in charge of your personal secrets file?

By not doing what they were supposed to be doing, the FBI and CIA created the mess we're trying to clean up now.

Sure, Jamie Gorelick did her job and protected the rights of American citizens from unjustifiably intrusive searches of freedom-loving Americans, and she kept the CIA from peeping in our back yard. Actually, in a post I'm about to do today, you can read about how that "wall" actually really never existed, but that's another story altogether. My point is that Jamie Gorelick didn't cause 9/11, nor did she do anything that prevented people from knowing what they needed to know.

The bottom line here is that if you want to tell somebody something important, you *can* get it done. The Bush administration knows this better than any other. Whether it's personal secrets or vital intelligence secrets, the Bush administration is loose with the security of that information, especially when it wants to assault the reputation of its enemies.

Furthermore, as we know from, what I agree is a pathetic study of 9/11, the Bush administration already had the facts on the table. Hell gnat boy, Bush's CIA director was running around Washington with "his hair on fire" trying to get anyone to understand his concern that "something is going to happen."

Bush's response - he had more important things to do, like clearing more brush on the ranch. 3000 people died on his watch.

Nothing prevented the Able Danger group from doing what it was obliged to do in sharing that intelligence information with the FBI. After all, there was a concern about domestic terrorism - an issue that the FBI has a right to investigate. Able Danger should have immediately shared what they knew, and taken themselves off the case - as, in fact, they finally did in the spring of 2001.

The whole purpose of the post, and the news story that inspired it, was to point out how these little microcosmic little groups get this critical information and hold it close to their chests so that they get all the glory. Well, they can take the glory of 9/11, because in their own little way, they helped it to happen.


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