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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

ABLE DANGER: How the Clinton Administration's Great Wall of China Made 9/11 Possible

The Blogosphere's unmatched ability to focus the wisdom of crowds on a particular problem is being grandly demonstrated on the Able Danger scandal.

Latest installment is from Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters with a detailed explication of how the Clinton administration pursuit of campaign money from Chinese interests so strengthened the wall between U.S. intelligence and law enforcement that it virtually cleared the way for a 9/11-type attack.

Ed summarizes an extremely disquieting narrative (and one that reinforces the view that, while there were some notable positives, on balance the Clinton years were a calamity for this country in a variety of ways) by noting:

"Critics of the almost obsessive focus on Jamie Gorelick's role in the Able Danger fiasco, which may have prevented the breakup of Mohammed Atta's al-Qaeda cell in Brooklyn and the quashing of the 9/11 attacks, are right in one sense: Gorelick was not alone. Gorelick's mentor, Janet Reno, had other agents: Richard Scruggs, Gerald Schroeder, and Frances Townsend were all close associates of the attorney general; and Louis Freeh became close to Reno, as well. All followed the same trail blazed by the boss, President William Jefferson Clinton.
"All six of these individuals (seven, counting the president himself) were true believers in building that wall higher and higher. I suspect that OIPR's fear of being rejected by the FISA court and Clinton's well-known loathing of defense and disdain for intelligence gathering in general combined into a 'perfect storm.'

"The intelligence side would simply not even be allowed to talk to the criminal investigation side. The wall of separation became a veritable Great Wall of China, completely segregating intelligence gathering at the CIA, DIA, Naval Intelligence, the National Security Divison of the FBI, and yes, the Able Danger data-mining operation from the criminal investigators and prosecutors under the Department of Justice -- including the FBI. Everybody on both sides of the wall contributed another brick or two.
"That same Great Wall also imprisoned the federal criminal-justice system itself: they were isolated, sequestered, and kept in the dark about the great and terrible events swirling around the country (and the world) from 1993 right up to when the hammer fell on September 11th... and even beyond, until Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act a month later."

It's a long post but I strongly encourage everybody to read it in full.