Friday, August 12, 2005

9/11 Commission Coverup?

In recent days, it has come to light that there was an elite military group, Able Danger, looking into possible terrorists, most notably Mohammed Atta, and how they might try and attack the US and US interests. In the days following this revelation, it has also come to light that the 9/11 Commission may have ignored the existence of Able Danger and failed to look into how the "wall" memo, created by 9/11 Commission member, Jamie Gorelick, might have prevented this intelligence from being forwarded from the Able Danger group to the appropriate civilian law enforcement agencies. Deborah Orin looks into a possible coverup in her article.

'A prime reason why that warning never came is that Gorelick -- as top deputy to then-Attorney General Janet Reno -- issued a 1995 order creating a "wall" that blocked intelligence on terrorists from being shared with law enforcement.

Commission staffers at first denied knowing about the elite military unit known as Able Danger, but later admitted they were briefed -- twice -- and Atta was specifically named. Still, it was conveniently left out of the 9/11 report.

It gets worse. Gorelick's defenders might argue that hindsight is 20-20. But that excuse doesn't work in this case, because she was warned way back then -- when the see-no-evil wall was created.

That warning came right from the front line in the War on Terror -- from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who headed up key terror probes like the prosecutions for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

White -- herself a Clinton appointee -- wrote directly to Reno that the wall was a big mistake.

"It is hard to be totally comfortable with instructions to the FBI prohibiting contact with the United States Attorney's Offices when such prohibitions are not legally required," White wrote on June 13, 1995.

"The most effective way to combat terrorism is with as few labels and walls as possible so that wherever permissible, the right and left hands are communicating."

That memo surfaced during the 9/11 hearings. But The Post has learned that White was so upset that she bitterly protested with another memo -- a scathing one -- after Reno and Gorelick refused to tear down the wall.

With eerie foresight, White warned that the Reno-Gorelick wall hindered law enforcement and could cost lives, according to sources familiar with the memo -- which is still secret.

The 9/11 Commission got that White memo, The Post was told -- but omitted any mention of it from its much-publicized report. Nor does the report include the transcript of its staff interview with White.'

Jamie Gorelick should never have been appointed to the 9/11 Commission. I have posted that here several times. Instead, Gorelick should have been in front of the 9/11 Commission testifying. This also makes one wonder what hand written notes were on those documents that Sandy Berger stole and destroyed. The question becomes, why did the Clinton Justice Department not want intelligence on potential terrorists and terrorist activity shared between the military and civilian law enforcement? Also, why has the 9/11 Commission gone into such machinations over their knowledge of the Able Danger group?

'The CIA may have failed to detect the hijackers, but it appears that military intelligence did better. Maybe the real problem wasn't an intelligence failure -- as the 9/11 Commission concluded -- but, rather, the Reno-Gorelick wall.

The latest revelations show that skeptics like Sens. Jon Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) were right to demand that Gorelick testify publicly about the wall -- a demand that the 9/11 Commission flatly rejected last year.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) -- who revealed how the Able Danger military spies tried to sound the alarm -- yesterday accused the commission of ignoring inconvenient facts.

"The commission's refusal to investigate Able Danger after being notified of its existence, and its recent efforts to feign ignorance of the project while blaming others for supposedly withholding information on it, brings shame on the commissioners," he wrote.

Or, as a frustrated Cornyn said in 2004: "[Gorelick] is a person with knowledge of relevant facts. Either the commission wants the whole truth or it does not."

It's about time that the 9/11 Commission faced that question.'

Indeed it is time for some one to face that question, whether it be the 9/11 Commission or another body. It is also time for Jamie Gorelick to come clean with what she knows and when she knew it This is a huge potential scandal. We need to know what went wrong, so those issues can be addressed. The intentional omission of the Able Danger information and how it was impacted by this "wall" does not bode well for the 9/11 Commission and prevents the truth from being known. Captain Ed over at Captian's Quarters, has been on top of this, as he usually is on the big stories, since the very first revelation in the New York times. Head on over to his blog for the latest. I will, as always, try and keep abreast of this issue and post any new information as it becomes available. - Sailor

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