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Saturday, August 13, 2005
Able Danger Stories Popping

Uber-blogger Lucianne has some great links on her home page:

To this story about a woman who claimed to have been approached by Atta to get a small business loan to purchase a crop-dusting plane.

Her claims were ignored in last year's 9/11 commission report on the events leading up to the terrorist attacks. The commission accepted the advice of US immigration authorities that Atta did not arrive until June 2000.

But revelations that a military intelligence unit known as Able Danger believed Atta had actually arrived in the US in late 1999, or at the latest very early in 2000, have lent new credibility to Ms Bryant's claims, while at the same time raising questions about the exchange of intelligence between US security agencies.

Can I say the obvious here? Able Danger reportedly did data mining to reach its conclusion. Obviously they had some datum that indicated Atta was in the US. Well, what is it?

Spokesman Al Felzenberg admitted this week the commission had been sceptical when an Able Danger officer briefed it in July last year and said Atta had been in the US in late 1999 or early 2000. The investigators knew this was impossible, Mr Felzenberg said, since travel records confirmed he had not entered until June 2000.

"The information that (the officer) provided us did not mesh with other conclusions that we were drawing," he said. "There was no way that Atta could have been in the US at that time."

But British columnist Mark Steyn, who wrote an opinion article for The Australian last month describing Ms Bryant's meeting with Atta as "the defining encounter of the age", claims US immigration did not keep then -- and still does not keep now -- reliable and comprehensive records of entry by foreigners.

"It (US immigration) cannot authoritatively state the date of Atta's first visit to the US," Steyn said. "If you choose to believe June 3, 2000, as the definitive date of his first visit, that's basically an act of faith. There were a number of sightings of Atta in the US before that time, in Florida and elsewhere."

The commission is admitting that they did hear the tie to Atta at least once in July 2004 (it is claimed by others that they heard it in October of 2003), but they didn't consider it "historically significant", heh!

The Sept. 11 commission concluded that an intelligence program known as Able Danger "did not turn out to be historically significant," despite hearing a claim that the program had identified the future plot leader Mohammed Atta as a potential terrorist threat more than a year before the 2001 attacks, the commission's former leaders said in a statement on Friday evening.

Let me guess, they can round up a panel of 2500 historians to sign a letter saying in their opinion it was less significant than Enron? You know what this is, folks? It's butt-covering. They got caught and now they're trying to save their "masterpiece" as I believe the New Yorker called it.


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