Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Remember the Other Shoe?

Well, it just dropped. Big time. It's nice to link to a NYT story that, for once, actually advances the ball on a story. It used to be a great paper, and some echos linger:
A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

To Lt. Col. Shaffer I say two things: First, thank you for coming forward -- it probably took as many guts to do this as to stand in a firefight, if not more. Second, don't worry, a great big mess of us have got your back.

See the NutHouse's valuable Able Danger posts (this one, too) and Austin Bay weighs in arguing that "[i]t’s time for the President to make a statement about Able Danger, even something as simple as 'the lieutenant-colonel’s statements require further investigation.' Then, let’s investigate, with presidential authority." Check out the terrific Able Danger round up at the Strata-Sphere for the latest.

See also: State apparently warned Clinton to prevent bin Laden's Afghani adventure before it began (via Captain Ed).

The Captain also comments on another Mary Jo White memo that was buried by the 9-11 Commission, concluding that, far from fulfilling its responsibilities, the Commission was "a dangerous cover-your-ass effort by bureaucrats who made national security an almost impossible task for operational units." Unfortunately, the Captain is not speaking in hyperbole. Had White's cry from the wilderness been heeded, September 11, 2001 might have just been a beautiful -- and unremarkable -- fall-like morning. Instead, (and, no, Ms. Gorelick, we will not forget) the ridiculous Wall may wind up being directly responsible for the failure to prevent: