Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Kean and Hamilton on Meet the Press

UPDATE: Russert did indeed ask about the Able Danger controversy. I hope Weldon was sitting down if he was watching, because their response was enough to make anyone familiar with the Able Danger story angry. And we know Weldon is not one to control his temper. This from Hamilton in particular is a bold faced lie, "They were not involved in the analysis of it themselves. Their recollections in some respects--for example, the whereabouts of Mohamed Atta--simply are not accurate."

We have had five different people come forward! Tony Shaffer, Scott Phillpott, Eileen Preisser, J.D. Smith, and Bob Johnson. This is half of the ten to twelve person Able Danger team. Phillpott and Johnson were the leaders of the team. They were all involved in the analysis work, and they never said Mohamed Atta was here before June 2000. They only said they had connected him to other terrorists through links to a mosque in Brooklyn by February 2000. Not that he was physically in Brooklyn at the time. No one has ever said that he was.

Then for Kean to suggest that if the Able Danger story is true, then there must have been a "monstrous conspiracy" to cover it up, is rather disingenuous. After all, who let Dieter Snell take the notes for all the related testimony and then write the section of the 9/11 Report that dealt with the 9/11 plot, despite his own conflicts of interest? You can't blame the administration for that one, unless you include Zelikow, who hired Dieter Snell as a 9/11 Commission staffer in the first place.

Anyway, here is the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: A few weeks ago I had the former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, on this program, and he was very pointed on some comments about your commission. And he wrote this piece for The Wall Street Journal. Let me walk you through it: "Why Did the 9-11 Commission Ignore `Able Danger'? Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named `Able Danger' have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name (and maybe by photograph) as an al-Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents, even though appointments had been made to do so. Why?...

"Was Able Danger intelligence provided to the 9-11 Commission prior to the finalization of its report, and, if so, why was it not explored? In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it? ...the 9-11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it `was not historically significant.' This astounding conclusion--in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings--raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself."

MR. HAMILTON: Well, that's a big "if" on the end there. Look, we looked at Able Danger very, very carefully. We do not think there was anything there of great significance. Now, something could come out in the future. I don't know. But in Mr. Freeh's article he did not present any new evidence at all. Our investigators were informed about Able Danger. We requested all of the documents relating to Able Danger. We reviewed these documents. We had investigators meet with some of these people in Afghanistan and other places. The bottom line is that they can furnish no documentary evidence to support their charges that they had a chart, for example, with Mohamed Atta's name on it. It is...

MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Weldon of Pennsylvania says he gave that chart to the national security advisor.

MR. HAMILTON: And the national security advisor denied that he ever got it. That was the assistant, Stephen Hadley, not Condi Rice, at the time. We have not seen that chart. We have not seen Mohamed Atta's name in any documentation prior to 9/11. Believe me, we know the name of Atta and we would have been alert to it. We just need evidence to support these charges. We don't accuse anyone here of bad intentions. But the people that have brought forward this information have not given us any documentation. They were not involved in the analysis of it themselves. Their recollections in some respects--for example, the whereabouts of Mohamed Atta--simply are not accurate. We have documentation to show that. So we need to have more evidence, and Mr. Freeh's article simply did not bring forward any new evidence. We concluded--the staff concluded, not the commission--that this information was not valid, that there was too much doubt about it.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you agree with that?

MR. KEAN: Yeah. We had an awful lot of people coming forward, 50 or 60, saying they saw Mohamed Atta here, they saw Mohamed Atta there; they had this and that. There was absolutely no evidence to back this up. There still isn't any evidence to back it up. If people want to look into it, they're welcome to. We still haven't seen the evidence to indicate it. We saw every file. The Pentagon denies it. They say they haven't gotten any information. The White House...

MR. HAMILTON: White House denies it.

MR. KEAN: White House denies it. Nobody brought the congressional investigation any information. Nobody gave any information to the 9/11 Commission to back this up. If this is true in any way, it's a monstrous conspiracy. I haven't seen any evidence to back it up.

Al Rodgers at Daily Kos asked:

I wonder if Melon Head will pressure them on the brewing "Able Danger" scandal.