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Michael Ledeen: Intelligence? You Kidding Me? James Jesus Angleton on “Able Danger.”
NRO ^ | August 12, 2005 | Michael Ledeen

Posted on 08/12/2005 6:23:12 AM PDT by Tolik

What would James Jesus Angleton think about “Able Danger”?

At first I thought there was a short circuit in the ouija board, because there were sparks coming out of the thing, just when I thought I’d finally connected with my old friend, the late James Jesus Angleton, former head of CIA counterintelligence. But then I realized that it was, indeed, Angleton, cursing and sputtering (his poetic side — the side that made him the editor of The Yale Literary Review when he was an undergraduate in New Haven — somehow got lost when he got angry).

ML: Hey! That used to be my ear...

JJA: Sorry, sorry, but this latest business is just too much.

ML: You mean the Curt Weldon story about how some Army intel guys figured out — from open sources — that Mohammed Atta was part of an al Qaeda cell inside the United States, but then they weren’t permitted to pass it on to the FBI?

JJA: Damn right, but that’s not even the half of it. All these stories, all this faux shock, oh my gosh, we knew it but we couldn’t act on it, they just make me sick.

ML: But they’re true enough, aren’t they?

JJA: Half true, except for the original reaction from those phonies at the 9/11 Commission, that bunch who think they’re the first eternal commission in American history, all those pompous moralists who pronounce on everything that happens. They just lied.

ML: So it seems. They said they never heard about it, but then it turns out that they had, but they ignored it.

JJA: They ignored it, because it didn’t quite fit with what they wanted to say. Which, of course, is the whole point. It’s why we didn’t — couldn’t, actually — act on it.

ML: How so? I thought the Army thought it was illegal to pass on the information to a law-enforcement agency, so they didn’t. The usual mess, with the lawyers getting in the way of rational policy.

JJA: It wasn’t illegal, first of all. How could it have been? The "information" wasn’t proprietary, and it wasn’t secret. The data came from newspapers and magazines, they just analyzed it, and apparently they analyzed it quite well. There was no legality that prevented them from pointing out the significance of the data to anyone — law enforcement or Army cook. It’s just nonsense. Some prissy lawyer in the JAG undoubtedly lectured these guys about spreading sensitive information, but at the end of the day, that wasn’t decisive. Their superiors blocked the analysis for a much more important reason: It didn’t fit with what the policymakers wanted to believe.

ML: I think I understand. You’re saying that Clinton, Berger, and the others didn’t want to have to act against terrorist groups inside the United States, so the system didn’t send them information...

JJA: That would have compelled them to take action. It’s very bad for your career to tell the policymakers things they don’t want to hear. But don’t personalize this: It wasn’t just Clinton, Berger, and the others around them; it went on for decades. Even Reagan basically didn’t want to do anything about terrorism. It goes back a long time.

ML: Yeah, Ford and Carter weren’t exactly gung-ho either.

JJA: Right. So, as usual, the "scandal" is the wrong scandal. You know a thing or two about that, don’t you?

ML: You mean the Rome thing?

JJA: Exactly. You put the Pentagon in touch with people who really knew what was going on, didn’t you? Those Iranians...

ML: Iranians who provided the U.S. government with accurate information about Iranian activities in Afghanistan aimed against American troops. The information seems to have saved American lives.

JJA: And what happened? Did you get a medal?

ML: Uh, well, not exactly.

JJA: Don’t be coy with me. State and CIA threw a tantrum over it, and decreed that nobody should talk to those Iranians ever again.

ML: In fact, Rumsfeld gave orders that Pentagon officials were forbidden to talk to Iranians, period. One DoD official, who had Persian relatives, asked if all family members were off limits.

JJA: HoHo, that’s how it works.

ML: No good deed goes unpunished.

JJA: Yes, yes, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here. We have two cases where life-saving information was available, but the system refused to accept it, because the political considerations were more important. In the Weldon story, the administration didn’t want to know about terrorist groups operating inside the United States. In the Rome story, they didn’t want to know about Iranian groups killing Americans. In the first case, we’d have had to act against sleeper cells, which is a very nasty business. In the second case, we’d have had to act against the biggest terror sponsor in the Middle East, another can of worms. Better to pretend we didn’t know, hope that nothing terrible would happen, and concentrate on career advancement.

ML: And blame it on the lawyers if anybody finds out.

JJA: Right. But I’m still steamed about the 9/11 commission. Did they ever ask you about the Rome business?

ML: Nope. And the Senate Intelligence Committee, which spent a lot of time looking into the Rome story, doesn’t seem to have inquired why the contacts were terminated. And the Raab-Silverman Commission, which did some of the very best work on all this, didn’t mention it in their report, although they did ask me about it.

JJA: Of course not, nobody wants to talk about it, because it doesn’t fit their story.

ML: In fact, the very few journalists who have written about it have invariably quoted some of your former colleagues hinting that there must have been some nefarious plot in there somewhere...

JJA: Perfect. They take drastic action to ensure we don’t know what the Iranians are up to, all the while punishing the people who got the information. And in the Weldon business, the only action taken was to prevent the bureau from being told that Atta and his fellow murderers were planning to kill Americans here. And notice that none of the usual explanations works here. The information wasn’t classified, so "compartmentalization" can’t explain or justify it. It’s political, and in Washington, politics trumps policy every time.

ML: So what should we do?


The sparks started up again. I couldn’t make it out clearly, and some of it isn’t appropriate for this publication, but I’m pretty sure I heard him say "fire the bastards" at one point. But then the ouija board really did short out, and I was never able to confirm that he said it, or who he might have had in mind.

Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: abledanger; atta; ledeen; michaelledeen; mrledeen; waronterror; wot; wwiv
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1 posted on 08/12/2005 6:23:15 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...

Nailed It!

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about).
Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  (I stopped keeping separate ping lists for David Warren and Lee Harris. I'll ping to their articles when warranted through this list. )

2 posted on 08/12/2005 6:24:33 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Notice how this story has come out during August recess...when no one is around to be complained to.

PLEASE call your local representatives when they get back.
We MUST NOT allow this story to fade away.
If we let them get away with this, WE ARE DOOMED.

3 posted on 08/12/2005 6:27:32 AM PDT by threeleftsmakearight
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To: Tolik
Mr. Ledeen does it again.


4 posted on 08/12/2005 6:31:07 AM PDT by Lurker (" Many are already stating that the decision in Kelo renders the contract null and void." I agree.)
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To: Tolik; nuconvert; AdmSmith; Valin; Ernest_at_the_Beach


5 posted on 08/12/2005 6:31:53 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: Tolik

whenever anything like this comes out, I have to start looking around at something else....what are they doing, or what have they done that they want hidden....

Think back to all the big new stories, what has happened that wasn't reported on then, but it came out later only to find out while the 'big story' was being talked about, this item was being done....

6 posted on 08/12/2005 6:32:27 AM PDT by HarleyLady27 (My ? to libs: "Do they ever shut up on your planet?" "Grow your own DOPE: Plant a LIB!")
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To: Tolik

And Gorelick was the one who culled through information as it came in and decided whether to let the entire Commission see it.

So as Clinton's cover-up artist, she made darned sure Able Danger stuff never saw the light of day.

7 posted on 08/12/2005 6:32:31 AM PDT by Peach
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To: Tolik


8 posted on 08/12/2005 6:34:01 AM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: Tolik

Marking for later reading....

9 posted on 08/12/2005 6:35:53 AM PDT by jacquej
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To: Tolik

Build my gallows high

10 posted on 08/12/2005 6:42:46 AM PDT by G.Mason
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To: Tolik

...It didn't fit with what the policymakers wanted to believe....


It was nowhere near that innocent.
That's the Clinton's own back up excuse.

To think that the most evil collection of dirtballs in American History didn't want to accept evil in others is ludicrous.

They knew of the Jihadis and they wanted it to happen.

The most honest response from the scum was when, after the towers were hit, some were heard to lament that it should have happened on the clown's watch so he could have dealt with so great a crisis.

They wanted it to happen.

11 posted on 08/12/2005 6:46:02 AM PDT by the (Google CFR North American Community)
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To: the

"The most honest response from the scum was when, after the towers were hit, some were heard to lament that it should have happened on the clown's watch so he could have dealt with so great a crisis."

In a nutshell!

12 posted on 08/12/2005 6:54:40 AM PDT by lawdude (Liberalism is a mental disease.)
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To: Tolik
I like very much the concept of your ping list, and the results of it. Please sign me up.

Congressman Billybob

Latest column: "Another Open Letter to Hillary"

13 posted on 08/12/2005 7:17:43 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (Will President Bush's SECOND appointment obey the Constitution? I give 95-5 odds on yes.)
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To: Tolik
"JJA: It wasn’t illegal (WRONG!!), first of all. How could it have been? The "information" wasn’t proprietary, and it wasn’t secret. The data came from newspapers and magazines, they just analyzed it, and apparently they analyzed it quite well..."
Under the guidlines established during the jimmy (traitor) carter administration, the intelligence agencies - NSA, CIA, ASA, USAFSS, NSG, etc - were barred from maintaining any information on any American. (The beginning of protecting presidential treason by the left?)

Any information secondarily or accidentally intercepted or analyzed by any of the agencies must be expunged and all records of any information destroyed. There could be NO dissemination of any information that concerned Americans anywhere in the world or individuals legally within the US borders (or otherwise protected).
The majority of intelligence is gleamed from "non-classified" sources. What makes information "classified" mainly is simply the fact that we have it and are looking at it!

Example (made up): Who cares if some easet timorian chieftains met in a tent in the middle of the desert and talked about their sheep? What can be so classified about that?

Think! The simple fact that we have the information of who met where and what they spoke of is what must be maintained with the highest security. The security is in HOW we got the information.

Example: if a caller on a radio show says "Joe Blow is an anti America muslim" - the reliability of the statement is next to nil and nobody cares. BUT, if a senior analyst from NSA says the same thing, the probability of accuracy just went up to 95%+! Same information, but what makes something classified is the also the source.

The best source of tactical and strategic intelligence is "unclassified sources".

That is why in WWII the number one slogan to teach the American people was "Loose Lips Sink Ships" !

The ANALYSIS made it extremely classified!

The American intelligence services are unsurpassed in capabilities in gathering and analyzing. The weakest links and the failures come from Lawyers and Politicians who basically are too stupid to understand 90% of what is handed to them. The 10% that they do understand they don't like.

There is probably 20% plus of politicians, lawyers, and judges in the USA who have the one goal of destroying the capitalist republic of the United States.

(long time lurker - who is getting tired of ignorance and lies)
14 posted on 08/12/2005 7:27:12 AM PDT by hombre_sincero
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thank you very much! In.

Michael Ledeen BUMP.
15 posted on 08/12/2005 7:28:38 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Peach
Yeah... it was Clinton & GORElick... but if this doesn't get any legs under it, the blame will lay on ALL of us.

During the 911 Committee hearings, we all saw the memo Aschecroft had in his hands... describing Jamie GORElick's 'Wall'. The Republican members saw it... and hardly uttered a peep.

While the real 9/11 blame lies on Clinton... WE can assume part of it by letting this revelation rot on the vine.

16 posted on 08/12/2005 7:30:20 AM PDT by johnny7 (Racially-profiling since 1963)
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To: johnny7

What else can we do?

On other important issues we've e-mailed FNC and called our congress critters. Nothing changes.

The best thing to do now is keep the information flow coming to FR, share it with our e-mail buddies to ensure a wider distribution, and call Congress and demand hearings.

17 posted on 08/12/2005 7:32:27 AM PDT by Peach
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To: hombre_sincero

Welcome to the FreeRepublic, good points.

18 posted on 08/12/2005 7:32:47 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Please add me to the ping list. I was wondering why I wasn't getting Lee Harris pings :)

19 posted on 08/12/2005 7:32:56 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: ModelBreaker

Added to the list. Thanks

I still enjoy reading Lee Harris, but agree with him less often. And even when I agree with his main points, he packages his ideas in the way that can obscure them (lately). IMHO.

20 posted on 08/12/2005 7:37:49 AM PDT by Tolik
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