“It’s starting to look as if the 9/11 Commission turned a blind eye to key questions that could embarrass one of its own members, Jamie Gorelick. This week brought the stunning revelation that elite military spies pinpointed Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers as a terror cell more than one year before 9/11. But they were barred from alerting lawmen to try to lock ’em up. A prime reason why that warning never came is that Gorelick issued a 1995 order creating a wall that blocked intelligence on terrorists from being shared with law enforcement. Commission staffers had first denied knowing that the elite military unit known as Able Danger even existed, but later admitted that they were briefed twice that Atta was specifically named.” Still it was conveniently left out of the 9/11 report. Do you know why? Because the 9/11 report already had its agenda. The 9/11 report already had its story. Here came some conflicting information. “Oh, it’s too late for this. We don’t want this now,” and I think part of what’s going on here, folks, is the Clinton administration didn’t want to deal with the fact that there was a terrorist cell on American soil. They wanted to roll the dice that nothing would happen. They didn’t want to have to do something about it. That’s one of the reasons for the wall and I’m sure you could probably come up with many others, but they just didn’t want to do anything about it. They didn’t want the hassle. The last thing Clinton needed was that while he’s dealing with impeachment and Lewinsky and trying to rehab a legacy and so forth — which is also ironic, too, because, of course, after 9/11 happened, the same people that tried to shield Clinton and everybody in that administration from any terrorism then lamented the fact that the event had not occurred when Clinton was president, thereby affording him an opportunity to be a great president by dealing with a serious crisis.
Remember that? After 9/11 happened on the Bush watch, you had some anonymous Clinton people out there saying, “Oh, why couldn’t this have this happened with us? Why did this happen to Bush? We were there for eight years.” Well, they didn’t want to deal with stuff like this. That’s one of the reasons why the wall existed. But here’s the thing: it gets worse than even that. “Gorelick’s defenders might argue that hindsight is 20/20, but that excuse doesn’t work in this case because Jamie Gorelick was warned way back then when the-see-no-evil-wall was created. That warning came right from the front line in the war on terror. The current, at that time, Manhattan US Mary Jo White who headed up key terror investigations like the prosecutions for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Mary Jo White, who was a Clinton appointee, wrote directly to Janet Reno that the wall was a big mistake. ‘It’s hard to be totally comfortable with instructions to the FBI prohibiting contact with the United States attorney’s offices when such prohibitions are not legally required,’ Mary Jo White wrote in June of 1995 to Jamie Gorelick and to Janet Reno. ‘The most effective way to combat terrorism is with as few labels and walls as possible, so that wherever permissible the right and left hands are communicating.'” This is June 13th, 1995, and the US attorney is decrying and lamenting the existence of this wall! That memo surfaced during the 9/11 hearings, by the way, this memo I just read to you, but the New York Post has learned that Mary Jo White “was so upset that she bitterly protested with another memo, a scathing one, after Reno and Gorelick refused to tear down the wall. With eerie foresight Mary Jo White warned that the Reno-Gorelick wall ‘hindered law enforcement and could cost lives’ according to forces familiar with the memo.”
This memo still secret, by the way. “The 9/11 Commission got that White memo, the Post was told, but omitted any mention of it from its much publicized report, nor does the report include the transcript of its staff interview with Mary Jo White, who no doubt told the staff all of this.” So it’s not just Curt Weldon coming in after the scene and revealing information. We now know that Mary Jo White was begging the Clinton administration justice department to tear down the wall and that she testified about all this with a memo that still remains secret to the staff of the 9/11 Commission. “White yesterday declined comment via her spokesman. The 9/11 Commission spokesman, Al Felzenberg, didn’t respond to repeated phone calls, either. At the time that the first White memo surfaced it was a hypothetical question. The wall could have prevented intelligence from getting through to stop 9/11 if there had been any intelligence, but now that the 9/11 staff acknowledges that there was intelligence about an Atta cell more than a year before the terror attacks, it’s fair to ask if the attacks might have been stopped were it not for the Reno-Gorelick wall. The CIA may have failed to detect the hijackers, but it appears that military intelligence did better. Maybe the real problem wasn’t an intelligence failure after all, as the 9/11 Commission concluded. Maybe it is the Reno-Gorelick wall.” That’s Deborah Orin today in the New York Post — and I want to take you back to April 17th of 2004 when we were smack-dab in the middle of the 9/11 Commission hearings. Writing in National Review Online, our legal analyst here and the leader of our legal division, F. Lee Levin, noted that the 9/11 Commission “is sitting on a damaging post-millennium plot report that chronicles the impact of Gorelick’s terrorist-friendly terrorist directive which Attorney General John Ashcroft alluded to during his Wednesday testimony.”
Remember when Ashcroft alluded to the memo written by one of the members of the committee? This is just to revive your memory here. “Ashcroft said the report, dubbed the Millennium After-Action Review by the Clinton National Security Council, chronicles how Al-Qaeda’s role in the millennium plot was nearly missed because Gorelick’s guidelines blinded US prosecutors to critical intelligence in the case. Though a hunch by an alert Washington state customs agent led to the capture of the would be millennium bomber Ahmed Rassam, when he was turned over to the justice department for interrogation, they didn’t have a clue who he was Ashcroft told the commission. It took a French magistrate with full access to his own country’s counterterrorism files to tip US probers to the fact that they had nabbed one of Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous operatives. Ultimately because of Gorelick’s directive the French magistrate had to travel to the United States and testify for seven hours to lay out Ahmed Rassam’s Al-Qaeda connection,” and remember the Clinton administration was taking a lot of credit for stopping the millennium bomber, because of their policies, and it wasn’t that at all. Their policies almost allowed the guy through customs, down to LA to do his dirty deed at LAX, which is where he was aimed, but it was an alert customs agent not executing any policy simply just, you know, being a good investigator, good cop, if you will, who discovered this person. So all of this stuff now is coming back in droves, and yet there is a veritable, for all practical matters and intents, silence on this at major news outlets. You don’t see anybody focusing on this. Cindy Sheehan is too sympathetic, and the NARAL ad is too big a story.
RUSH: This is from the New York Sun today: “The recent disclosure that a Pentagon unit experimenting with data mining technologies apparently linked the ringleader, Mohamed [sic] Atta, of the September 1, 2001, attacks, to a Brooklyn-based terror cell more than a year before the strikes is prompting new questions about whether the Pentagon and Congress acted too hastily when they publicly disavowed such database intensive research in 2003.” Now, this is another key factor, because what we’ve learned here is that the way this Able Danger group found out about Atta was simply reading. They simply read text. There was no investigation; there was no denial of somebody’s civil rights; there were no search warrants — none of this. It was just something called Total Information Awareness. That’s what data mining technology is, Total Information Awareness, and Total Information Awareness has a little bit of a history. “At some point in mid-2000, while the unit [the Able Danger Unit] was running data-mining experiments, the computer produced Mohammed Atta’s name along with a suggestion he was linked to other suspected Al Qaeda operatives. ‘Those connections led back to a Brooklyn cell, and that Brooklyn cell contained four of the terrorists,’ Mr. Weldon said yesterday. While the ‘Able Danger’ project was little discussed until recently, a broader Pentagon data-mining effort, known originally by the Orwellian name, ‘Total Information Awareness,’ was shuttered in 2003 after an outcry from privacy advocates. Some who were critics of that program say the recent developments suggest that the data-intensive technologies now deserve a second look. ‘We did dismiss it too quickly,’ said Sonia Arrison, the director of technology studies at a San Francisco think tank, the Pacific Research Institute. ‘I was really against TIA when it first came out’….
“Mr. Weldon said the Total Information Awareness program was hamstrung by several factors, including the association of its director, Admiral John Poindexter, with the Iran-Contra scandal. ‘We put the wrong person in and put the wrong spin on it,’ the congressman said. ‘Somehow, it became a massive, ‘Big Brother’ spying effort on the American people. That perception killed what was a necessary effort.'” I read this today, and the memories of that came flooding back. I remember specifically now when they put Poindexter in charge of this effort, Total Information Awareness, which basically was just going to be mining as much data as they possibly could and there was an outcry from all over the country: “They’re going to be spying on Americans with a supercomputer! You can’t do that!” so they shut it down and they shut it down because Poindexter arrived with a tainted image because of the Iran-Contra scandal, so it died. But they were still experimenting with it in 2003, the Able Danger group was — and lo and behold, it was Total Information Awareness, or data mining, that led them to the discovery. Now, the important thing about that is, that doesn’t make any of it illegal. It’s no different than if you go scanning websites and find out something. You have done nothing illegal. Able Danger did nothing illegal, and that means there was no prohibition on sharing it with anybody. There was no violation of the law if Able Danger had shared this with anybody, because it had not been developed during a criminal investigation, and that’s what the wall was there for. The wall was to protect information from going one segment of law enforcement to another because the Clinton administration was dealing with terrorism as a criminal matter with indictments and grand juries.
Grand jury testimony is secret. So once an investigative agency comes up with information and they take it to the grand jury, it stops there. Nobody else entitled to know what goes on. The wall was designed to create that effect. There has to be other reasons for the wall, too, folks, and I don’t know what they were. We could all just speculate. You know, your guess would be as good as mine, but obviously this wall was to cover something up. There’s no question to me. Ronald Reagan said, “Tear down this wall.” Bill Clinton said, “Cover up this wall.” You can just fill in the blanks yourself as to what they were trying to cover up or what they were trying to protect or what have you. But the real irony is now, that had the Able Danger group shared the information with the FBI, it would not have been illegal. It would be no different if you learned of it and decided to pass it on to law enforcement authorities. There was no criminal investigation going on, and as such, there was no prohibition against passing this information along. So you have to look: “Okay, why wasn’t it passed along? Why was nobody interested in it?” and it takes me back to something. I’m throwing it up a against the wall here hoping it will stick, but I bet this is a pretty educated guess. I think it’s because the Clinton administration didn’t want to deal with it; they didn’t want to know if there were terrorists and terrorist cells on our shores. They weren’t interested in it. They would have to deal with it if that were learned, if that were discovered — and remember, the entirety of the Clinton administration in the nineties was to shelve all the big ideas and to focus on little accomplishments and little things and build them up and make them sound like big things and try to promote this whole mentality of the “peace dividend.” The Cold War was over. “We don’t face danger anymore. We can take the peace dividend and we can put it into schools and we can spend it here; we can spend it there, whatever we want to do! We have the roaring economy,” and everybody just wanted to be hunky-dory and fine.
Nobody even cared to learn that Clinton was doing what he was doing. The impeachment was not even all that popular. They were probably also afraid of another reaction after Waco. You know, the Waco invasion where Janet Reno ended up torching the Branch Davidian compound. That was not all that big a PR venture and gain for the Clinton administration. They weren’t harmed as much by that. Had it been a Republican administration that did it… But they didn’t want to deal with it. I don’t think they wanted any part of it, because, A, Waco is part of it but I don’t think they wanted to deal with big things. I don’t think they wanted serious challenges, and certainly not in 1999, not in 1999-2000 when Clinton is getting ready to leave office. He’s just trying to pad that legacy and build it up. So it’s fascinating here — and then you get to the 9/11 Commission itself, and if you ask me — and you do, and you have, because you’re listening. If you ask me the 9/11 Commission ought to be profoundly embarrassed. The 9/11 Commission didn’t want any part of it, either. This is the interesting thing. The staff heard about it; it upset their agenda. Whatever their agenda was — you fill in that blank however you wish — but it didn’t fit with what they already had about Atta. It didn’t fit with what they already were going to do. They were set to blame this on an intelligence failure; they were going to make the CIA or somebody else take the fall for this, and all their lack of connecting the dots — and don’t forget there was a sub-agenda. The Democrats on that committee led by Gorelick and Richard Ben-Veniste were trying to blame all this on the Bush administration.
And so I want to know which staffers. I’d like to know who the staffers were that were privy to this information and passed on it. I want to know if they were staffers to the Democrats or staffers to the Republicans. I really would like to know that, and I’d like to know what the commissioners actually knew and didn’t know, because it is clear, this information makes an absolute joke of the 9/11 Commission, because they ignored a serious piece was information. They focused on something that turns out not to have been the major problem. They wrote a report, and then arrogantly demanded that the Congress implement every damn one of their suggestions to fight terrorism, and yet they blew it. They blew it sky high. They didn’t get what was really going on. They didn’t get in their report the fact that there were terror cells already here, and that the ringleader of 9/11 was in the country for a year, and it was known. I was never one of these people that had sycophantic respect and adulation for the 9/11 Commission in the first place. I thought it was your typical blue-ribbon panel of a bunch of former elected officials and high profile prosecutors pontificating, padding r?sum?s, doing a number of other things, doing what blue-ribbon panels in Washington always do: Come in, chew up the expense account at the nicest hotels and restaurants, make sure you get buddy-buddy with the right people in the media and pad your reputation and your image while doing diddly-squat about the problem, while at the same time trying to convince everybody else that you have solved it — when in fact not one thing ends up being done, and can you find this anywhere in prominence in the American media today? No, you can’t.