What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

An article published yesterday in the St. Petersburg Times raises more questions about just exactly what was going on before the 9/11 attacks, reporting that, as a result of information provided by the Republican vice-chair of the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, both Congress and the 9/11 Commission have launched investigations.
The fast-paced developments were in response to information provided by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. Weldon said a secret military unit known as "Able Danger" discovered a year before the attacks that ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers were in the United States. Weldon said the unit - created at SOCom under a classified directive in 1999 to take out al-Qaida targets - identified Atta and the others as likely members of the organization.

In fall 2000, the unit recommended SOCom share the information with the FBI, Weldon said in an interview Tuesday. But lawyers at either the Pentagon or SOCom determined the men were in the country legally, Weldon said. He said he based his information on intelligence sources. When members of Able Danger made their presentation at command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Weldon said, the legal team "put stickies on the faces of Mohammed Atta on the chart," to reinforce that he was off-limits. "They said, "You can't talk to Atta because he's here on a green card,"' Weldon said.


SOCom is responsible for the nation's secret commando units, and has played a central role in the war on terror since 9/11.

A former spokesman for the Sept. 11 Commission said that members of its staff were told about the program but that the briefers did not mention Atta's name. The commission report produced last year did not mention Able Danger's findings.
Couldn’t talk to a suspected al Qaida member because he had a green card? That makes no sense. I mean, long before 9/11, even an American-born citizen suspected of planning a terrorist act could have been pulled in and questioned, so why would a green card-holding, foreign-born terror suspect be afforded a “hands-off” policy? And why was this never mentioned before? Considering that even the most egregious offenses at the highest levels of government (August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing: Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US) were dismissed under the umbrella excuse of “communications failures,” I’m not sure why previous investigations examining Able Danger’s actions failed to unearth this information. Or mention it, if they had.

Very odd. Thoughts?

(Thanks to Shaker Deborah for the pointer.)

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