The Corner

A Few Able Danger Questions

1) One e-mailer writes in to condemn us for focusing on the 9/11 Commission rather than the fact that it appears we had Atta in our grasp and didn’t grab him. Well, yes, that’s the whole point — in fact, it the Able Danger story checks out, this is far more significant than the FBI folks in Phoenix and Minneapolis warning about flight training.

That’s why this discussion has moved quickly to focus on whether Jamie Gorelick, who had been Clinton’s deputy attorney general, and staffers on the commission loyal to her, misdirected the Commission’s focus away from the proper issues to side matters, like the ridiculous intimationthat a memo shown to the president 35 days before 9/11 saying that Al Qaeda was determined to attack inside the United States was actionable intelligence that could have prevented a plot already in the works.

2) But a more interesting issue has arisen that may be even more damning where Jamie Gorelick is concerned.

I don’t really understand all of it, but the evidence suggests that the Able Danger information could and should have been shared with the FBI and wasn’t — solely owing to the “raising” of the intelligence wall that was done by Jamie Gorelick herself in 1995.

The matter involves Executive Order 12333 on intelligence activities, and it was signed on December 4, 1981, by President Reagan. Provision 1.11 suggests that intelligence gathered inside the United States by the Defense Department was both usable and permissible, as opposed to intelligence gathered inside the U.S. by the CIA, which should not be shared.

The language specifically refers to “counterintelligence activities….within the United States in coordination with the FBI pursuant to procedures agreed upon by the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General” by the Defense Department.

Able Danger was a Defense Department counterintelligence effort. The information could have been shared, should have been shared, under rules of that executive order. Which means that for the first time since we began studying 9/11, we can now say there was the possibility of specifically preventing the attacks because we could have had four or five of the hijackers in custody or deported or something.

Back to you, Andy McCarthy.

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