Government spied on 9-11 hijackers: more evidence

More fodder for the conspiranoia mill is supplied by yesterday’s front-page New York Times story (online at TruthOut) providing further confirmation that at least some of the 9-11 hijackers were under surveillance by the government.

Washington – More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military’s Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies. That protection does not extend to visa holders, but Mr. Weldon and the former intelligence official said it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before Sept. 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.

Now, true freedom-lovers should be comforted by the fact that this Able Danger unit did not turn the information over to the FBI. The conspiranoiacs will claim the fact that it didn’t as evidence of the governmentment’s “LIHOP” (let it happen on purpose) strategy. But the concrete result of this relentless retrospectivity will only be more visa-holders coming under Big Brother’s scrutiny. As we have argued before, the conspiranoiacs are playing into the hands of the police state they claim to oppose.

See also WW4 REPORT #53

See our last post on the 9-11 investigation and seeming anomalies. See also our last post on our fast-eroding privacy rights.