Friday, August 26, 2005

Third time's a charm

A third man who worked on the Able Danger project has now come forth to validate claims that the government knew about Sept. 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta in 2000 through their data mining efforts. J.D. Smith, who worked as an defense contractor with the unit, says that he recalls seeing charts which identified Atta by name (along with several aliases he used).

"I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City," Smith said.

Smith said data was gathered from a variety of sources, including about 30 or 40 individuals. He said they all had strong Middle Eastern connections and were paid for their information. Smith said Able Danger's photo of Atta was obtained from overseas.

Hmmmmmm... a photo? This seems to throw water on the "multiple Atta" theory that has been circulating around the media and internet. Now we have a name AND a picture.

Certain factions of the Pentagon (along with the media) would like for this story to go away but they face one very formidable opponent:

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., arranged the media roundtable with Smith. Weldon drew attention to Able Danger by speaking about it on the House floor months ago and has publicly called for the Sept. 11 commission to explain why the intelligence information wasn't detailed in its final report.

Besides Smith, Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Navy Captain Scott Philpott have also gone on the record, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the time.

"This story needs to be told. The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," Weldon told FOX News this week.

I have heard this guy speak and he is awesome! His "bulldog" tenacity reminds me of Bobb Barr from the mid 90's but Weldon displays more raw passion.

Shaffer and Philpott claim that in October 2003, they told Sept. 11 commission staffers of the presence of Al Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000 yet little was included in the panel's final report about those conversations.

During Friday's roundtable with Smith, he was asked by reporters about Atta, who was using another name during 1999-2000. Smith said the charts Able Danger was using had identified him through a number of name variations, one being "Atta."

Two sources familiar with Able Danger told FOX News that part of its investigative work focused on mosques and the religious ties between known terrorist operatives such as Omar Abdul Rahman, who was part of the first World Trade Center bombing plot in 1993.

An independent terrorism analyst pointed out to FOX News that German intelligence had no record of Atta before the Sept. 11 attack; that's significant because Atta headed up the Sept. 11 Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg. The analyst also questioned how Atta could be connected to Rahman, who was in prison by the mid-1990s.

I'm going to wager that the reason Germany wasn't familiar with Atta was because their intelligence gathering technology was not as advanced as ours. Also Germany didn't feel the pressing urgency that our country did to root out terror cells because they had not yet been directly threatened by al Qaeda as we had.

As for Atta's connection to Rahman, we have to remember that most major attacks carried out by al Qaeda have been years in the planning. It is not inconceivable that Atta could have met Rahman 6 or 7 years prior to Sept. 11.

It is getting increasingly more difficult for the Pentagon to keep denying this information. As Weldon makes abundantly clear, this matter is far from over:

"There's something very sinister going on here that really troubles me," Weldon told FOX News on Thursday, blasting the Sept. 11 commission (search) for not taking the claims more seriously. He said some panel members were trying to smear Shaffer and Able Danger.

"What's the Sept. 11 commission got to hide?" Weldon asked. "The commission is trying to spin this because they're embarrassed about what's coming out. In two weeks with two staffers, I've uncovered more in this regard than they did with 80 staffers and $15 million of taxpayer money."

Sept. 11 commission Chairman Thomas Kean recently told FOX News that the panel is waiting for a response from the Pentagon. Until then, the commission has stood by its work, maintaining that no documents they received from the military backed up the Atta claims.

Weldon added that at least five people on the federal payroll will testify under oath about the validity of the Able Danger intelligence.

"When this is over, the Sept. 11 commission is going to have egg all over their face," he said.

HUAH!! We need a few more in congress like this guy.

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