The Able Danger Story: Will It Be Repeated In The Future?

Somehow, I can’t get too excited about the big Able Danger scandal:

“A. A SOCOM unit, run by Gen. Shelton himself, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, identifies Atta and the Brooklyn cell as a threat as early as 1999. (It doesn’t hurt that the unit has a cool sounding name, too.)

B. A year before 9/11, they recommend that the FBI close down the cell. (Who was president a year before 9/11 again?)

C. DOD lawyers (lawyers!) overrule this recommendation, and refuse to allow the Able Danger guys to pass this information on to the FBI, because Atta has a legal immigration status, and they are worried about political fallout after Waco. They put Post-It notes over Atta’s face so that all reference to him is kept secret (a nice touch, dont’ you think?).

D. The 9/11 Commission chose to omit any reference to it or investigate. This is inexcusible, regardless of how accurate the story is. It clearly deserves to be addressed and the facts explored, to be proved or disproved.”

Don’t get me wrong, this was an enormous screw-up but really, it just reinforces things we already knew.

— Yes, our intelligence agencies didn’t go after a potential threat because of “Gorelick’s Wall” and/or political correctness. But, we’ve known about that problem for more than a year now.

— Yes, the Able Danger story shows we had an opportunity to have stopped 9/11 before it got started. But, had our immigration officials done their job and denied 15 of the 19 hijackers visas, that would have averted 9/11 as well. The truth is, had our government been more serious and proactive about stopping terrorism before 9/11, it’s unlikely that 9/11 would have ever come off.

— Yes, the Able Danger story shows that terrorism wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been during the Clinton administration. But again, I think we figured that out when Clinton turned down Sudan’s offer to hand over Bin Laden on a silver platter. Prior to 9/11, it’s pretty clear that stopping terrorism just wasn’t a high priority in this country.

— Yes, the Able Danger story proves that the 9/11 commission didn’t do a great job. But, didn’t we already know that, too? They were ridiculously partisan at times, Jamie Gorelick should have been testifying in front of the commission instead sitting on it, and it was obvious that they didn’t seriously investigate some very crucial issues.

In any case, it’s all water under the bridge at this point.

What’s really scary isn’t that we had the Able Danger fiasco, it’s that the John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean types want to start treating terrorism like a law enforcement issue again — which is what led to this sort of problem in the first place. The Able Danger story is tragic, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to help enlighten any of the lefties who seem determined to force our country to repeat the same mistakes we made before 9/11.

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