Able Danger Blog

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New article by Rory O'Connor

Posted at and

Another 9/11 Coverup in the Making?

Despite the best efforts of the Pentagon to keep the lid on, the story of Able Danger -- the controversial secret military intelligence program that purportedly identified five active al-Qaeda cells and four of the 9/11 hijackers more than a year before the worst terror attacks ever on American soil -- continues to make news.

The latest wrinkle is a nasty public spat between the National Geographic Channel, which plans to broadcast "Triple Cross: Bin Laden's Spy in America" on Aug. 28, and author Peter Lance, whose new book forms the basis of the documentary.

Lance is an Emmy-winning former reporter-producer for ABC News. His book, "Triple Cross," which will be released in September, accuses law enforcement officials of negligence in tracking down Ali Mohamed, an alleged al-Qaeda agent in the United States for years before Sept. 11. The book says Mohamed was hired by the CIA and worked for the FBI, all the while providing information to the terrorists. The book also contains, according to Lance, "a major new insight" into why the Pentagon killed the Able Danger operation in April 2000.

It involves the discovery by Able Danger operatives that Ali Mohamed was a member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle. Mohamed turned up in FBI surveillance photos as early as 1989, training radical Muslims who would go on to assassinate Jewish militant Meir Kahane and detonate a truck bomb at the World Trade Center. He not only avoided arrest, but managed to become an FBI informant while smuggling bin Laden in and out of Afghanistan, writing most of the al-Qaeda terrorist manual and helping plan attacks on American troops in Somalia and U.S. embassies in Africa. Finally arrested in 1998, Mohamed cut a deal with the Justice Department, and his whereabouts remain shrouded, unknown.

''The FBI allowed the chief spy for al-Qaeda to operate right under their noses,'' Lance said. ''They let him plan the bombings of the embassies in Africa right under their noses. Two hundred twenty-four people were killed and more than 4,000 wounded because of their negligence."

Lance contends that when Pentagon officials realized how embarrassing it would be if it were revealed that bin Laden's spy had stolen top-secret intelligence (including the positions of all Green Beret and SEAL units worldwide), they decided to bury the entire Able Danger program. Lance further states that his book also contains evidence that Patrick Fitzgerald (of later Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame fame) covered up key al-Qaeda intelligence in 1996, when he was then an assistant U.S. attorney in New York. To Lance, Fitzgerald was "one of the principal players in the government's negligence, who engaged in an affirmative coverup of key al-Qaeda-related intelligence in 1996."

Lance believes "Fitzgerald was hopelessly outgunned by Mohamed, a hardened al-Qaeda spy, who was bin Laden's personal security advisor." Despite two face-to-face meetings with Mohamed, whom Fitzgerald called "the most dangerous man I've ever met," he left him on the street, which allowed Mohamed -- who actually planned the surveillance for the African Embassy bombings -- to help pull off that simultaneous act of terror in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998, in which 224 died and more than 4,000 were injured....