Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The poor bastards. They were going to enjoy Able Danger so much. Everyone on the Bushista (and Clinton-hating) Right was feeling a surge of anticipatory ecstasy as the moment approached when all liberals and Democrats (and defenders of top Clinton Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick) would have to eat crow and reluctantly acknowledge the awesome power of Able Danger. Consider Fox News:

Fox, August 12, 2005:

'Able Danger' Could Rewrite History

The federal commission that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was told twice about "Able Danger," a military intelligence unit that had identified Mohamed Atta and other hijackers a year before the attacks, a congressman close to the investigation said Wednesday....

John Gibson, Fox, August 12, 2005:

I'm like a lot of my e-mailers: I think this business about the "Able Danger" unit at the Pentagon -- the people who had their eye on Mohammad Atta way before 9/11 -- is now going to come home to roost with the 9/11 commission itself.

The reason is simple. One of the 9/11 commissioners should have been in the witness chair during the entire hearings.

She was Jamie Gorelick, who was in the Justice Department making up the rules before 9/11.

She was the one who ruled that the spies and military analysts couldn't tell the FBI things about people like Atta they had found information on.

This is the so-called wall -- civil liberties, you know -- that protected you from the evil old feds investigating you here at home in the land of the free and home of the brave. And under this thinking, a guy like Atta could be in the crosshairs of the spooks but wander around free as a bird because the spooks had been told they couldn't tell the feds charged with tracking terrorists that they had one on the radar.

This is not to say 9/11 is Jamie Gorelick's fault....

Fox, August 23, 2005:

A second military officer has publicly backed claims by a military intelligence officer that a Pentagon unit named "Able Danger" identified lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta in early 2000 as a security risk....

Fox, August 28, 2005:

A third person has now come forward to verify claims made by a military intelligence unit that a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it had information showing that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and other terrorists were identified as being in the United States....

Whoops! Sorry -- never mind:

Late one night in June, Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) stood up in a largely empty House chamber and made an incendiary charge.

With dramatic rhetorical flourish, he said that a secret military intelligence program called Able Danger fingered Mohamed Atta and two other al-Qaeda hijackers before the 9/11 attacks -- and that the government had failed to act....

But Weldon's story, which unleashed a wave of national media attention as well as probes and congressional hearings, is unraveling.

He now says that he's not sure the chart had a picture of Atta, as he has sometimes maintained, and that he has been relying on the memory of an intelligence analyst who helped produce it.

Meanwhile, other key players in the story ... contradict Weldon, saying they never saw Atta's picture. Moreover, several government investigations have failed to find any documentation so far that the program had identified hijackers before the attacks, and Weldon has begun to allow that there are parts of his story that may not be proven....

Here's my favorite part of this:

...Weldon has said Rep. Dan Burton (R., Ind.) went with him to Hadley's office to discuss the Able Danger program and to deliver the chart produced by the Able Danger team.

But a spokesman for Burton said that while he was at the meeting, he does not recall seeing Atta's name or picture on the chart....

Man, if Dan Burton won't back your right-wing conspiracy theory, you've got problems.

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