The New York Times broke some major news today, with a report that exposes for the first time the fact that the 9/11 Commission met with a military officer who provided information on a secret military operation called Able Danger that, by the summer of 2000, had used data-mining techniques to identify several of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, as members of an Al Qaeda cell in the United States. Members of the Able Danger team sought permission to pass on the information to the FBI, but Pentagon lawyers told them they could not. The 9/11 Commission left this information out of its final report.
This is huge news that raises a lot of questions relating to the credibility of the 9/11 Commission, the culpability of Clinton-administration policies for 9/11, and the effectiveness of data-mining. A natural for the front page, right? Try A-14. Instead, the NY Times finds room on A-1 for stories about trans fats, wife-beatings in Africa, and the breaking story of how Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia University four years ago. I would have put the Able Danger story up front in favor of the Beaver College name change, but I’m weird like that.