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"Able Danger": dividing the outrage.

"The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," insists Congressman Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), regarding the revelation that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and several of his comrades were being tracked in the U.S. by military intelligence two years before the attack.

The military intelligence unit, code-named "Able Danger," had connected Atta to Omar Abdel Rahman, the radical cleric at the center of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Two members of the task force, Army Reserve Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer and retired Navy Captain Scott Phillpott, claim that military lawyers, acting under guidelines written by Clinton-Reno Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick (a member of the 9/11 Commission), prohibited them from sharing their information with the FBI.

However, it's not as if the FBI was dependent on the Pentagon for advance intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot. "The FBI has had access to this information since at least 1997," one former FBI counterterrorism agent told us in comments published in our March 11, 2002 cover story. "There's got to be more to this than we can see--high-level people whose careers are at stake, and don't want the truth coming out.... What agenda is someone following? Obviously, people had to know--there had to be people who knew this information was being circulated. People like [the Black Tuesday terrorists] don't just move in and out of the country undetected. If somebody in D.C. is taking this information and burying it--and it's very easy to control things from D.C.--then this problem goes much, much deeper.... It's terrible to think this, but this must have been allowed to happen as part of some other agenda."

Congressman Weldon is most likely sincere in his desire to learn why the intelligence collected by "Able Danger" was not used to prevent the attack. But these latest revelations of official foreknowledge of 9/11 are not being used to demand accountability; they are being used as part of a smear campaign against Democrats and the 9/11 Commission. "When this is over," Weldon told Fox News, "the September 11 Commission is going to have egg all over their face."

In fact, the purpose of that commission, as we reported shortly after its creation was announced ("Burying the Truth," December 30, 2002), was to protect the bipartisan establishment by deflecting serious inquiries into what has been called the pre-9/11 "intelligence failure." "The White House is setting this [commission] up for a whitewash," Stephen Push, director of the group Families of September 11, complained to The NEW AMERICAN in that cover story. "The most important question is one that the ... commission is designed to avoid: Did President Bush have detailed advance warning of the 9-11 attack?"

For years, Democratic politicians and partisans have upbraided President Bush for ignoring an August 6, 2001 intelligence brief predicting al-Qaeda attacks in the United States. The Able Danger disclosures are now being used by GOP-aligned activists to implicate the Clinton administration in similar fashion. In this manner, outrage is kept divided along neatly partisan lines, instead of coalescing into a nonpartisan demand for full accountability from everyone in our bipartisan ruling Establishment.
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Title Annotation:World Trade Center attacks, prior warnings, intelligence failure
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 19, 2005
Previous Article:Judicial folly.
Next Article:States continue to resist NCLB.

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