Stephen Hayes writes in the weekly standard:
AHMED HIKMAT SHAKIR IS A shadowy figure who provided logistical assistance to one, maybe two, of the 9/11 hijackers. Years before, he had received a phone call from the Jersey City, New Jersey, safehouse of the plotters who would soon, in February 1993, park a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The safehouse was the apartment of Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, who scorched his own leg while mixing the chemicals for the 1993 bomb.
When Shakir was arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks, his “pocket litter,” in the parlance of the investigators, included contact information for Musab Yasin and another 1993 plotter, a Kuwaiti native named Ibrahim Suleiman.
These facts alone, linking the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, would seem to cry out for additional scrutiny, no?
The Yasin brothers and Shakir have more in common. They are all Iraqis. And two of them–Abdul Rahman Yasin and Shakir–went free, despite their participation in attacks on the World Trade Center, at least partly because of efforts made on their behalf by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Both men returned to Iraq–Yasin fled there in 1993 with the active assistance of the Iraqi government. For ten years in Iraq, Abdul Rahman Yasin was provided safe haven and financing by the regime, support that ended only with the coalition intervention in March 2003.
Readers of The Weekly Standard may be familiar with the stories of Abdul Rahman Yasin, Musab Yasin, and Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. Readers of the
9/11 Commission’s final report are not. Those three individuals are nowhere mentioned in the 428 pages that comprise the body of the 9/11 Commission report. Their names do not appear among the 172 listed in Appendix B of the report, a table of individuals who are mentioned in the text. Two brief footnotes mention Shakir.
Why? Why would the 9/11 Commission fail to mention Abdul Rahman Yasin, who admitted his role in the first World Trade Center attack, which killed 6 people, injured more than 1,000, and blew a hole seven stories deep in the North Tower? It’s an odd omission, especially since the commission named no fewer than five of his accomplices.
Why would the 9/11 Commission neglect Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, a man who was photographed assisting a 9/11 hijacker and attended perhaps the most important 9/11 planning meeting?
And why would the 9/11 Commission fail to mention the overlap between the two successful plots to attack the World Trade Center?
The answer is simple: The Iraqi link didn’t fit the commission’s narrative.
You can read more about Shakir on my earlier post on The Connection, which details much of Shakir’s involvment with the hijackers.
Hayes goes on:
Two weeks before the 9/11 Commission’s final report was released to the public, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee released its own evaluation of the intelligence on Iraq. The Senate report added to the Shakir story.
The first connection to the [9/11] attack involved Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi national, who facilitated the travel of one of the September 11 hijackers to Malaysia in January 2000. [Redacted.] A foreign government service reported that Shakir worked for four months as an airport facilitator in Kuala Lumpur at the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000. Shakir claimed he got this job through Ra’ad al-Mudaris, an Iraqi Embassy employee. [Redacted.] Another source claimed that al-Mudaris was a former IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] officer. The CIA judged in “Iraqi Support for Terrorism,” however, that al-Mudaris’ [redacted] that the circumstances surrounding the hiring of Shakir for this position did not suggest it was done on behalf of the IIS.
A note about that last sentence: The Senate committee report is a devastating indictment of the CIA’s woefully inadequate collection of intelligence on Iraq, and its equally flawed analysis. It is of course possible that the CIA’s judgment about al Mudaris is correct, but the bulk of the report inspires no confidence that it is.
Consider the three new facts in this brief summary. One, Shakir himself told interrogators that an Iraqi embassy employee got him the job that allowed him to help the hijacker(s). Two, that Iraqi embassy employee was Ra’ad al Mudaris. Three, another source identified al Mudaris as former Iraqi Intelligence.
All of this information was known to the U.S. intelligence community months before the 9/11 Commission completed its investigation. And yet none of it appeared in the final report.
…There is no doubt the 9/11 Commission had this information at its disposal. On the very day it released its final report, commissioner John Lehman told me that Shakir’s many connections to al Qaeda and Saddam’s regime suggested something more than random chance.
So how is it that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report contains a substantive account of Shakir’s mysterious contribution to the 9/11 plot, while the 9/11 Commission report–again, released two weeks later–simply ignores it?
And then he get’s down to the nitty gritty:
Answers about Able Danger would be nice, but it is surely long past time for answers on Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, Abdul Rahman Yasin, and Musab Yasin. The 9/11 Commission itself and other relevant bodies should reexamine Shakir’s role in the 9/11 plot and his connections to the 1993 World Trade Center plotters. The Bush administration should move quickly to declassify all of the intelligence the U.S. government possesses on Shakir and the Yasin brothers. The Senate and House intelligence committee should demand answers on the three Iraqis from the CIA, the DIA, and the FBI.
Here are some of the questions they might ask:
* Ahmed Hikmat Shakir was arrested in Doha, Qatar, just six days after the 9/11 attacks. How was he apprehended so quickly? Was the CIA monitoring his activities? What did the 9/11 Commission know about this arrest? And why wasn’t it included in the 9/11 Commission’s final report?
* Who identified Shakir’s Iraqi embassy contact, Ra’ad al Mudaris, as former Iraqi Intelligence? Is the source credible? If not, why not?
* Have other detainees been asked about Ahmed Hikmat Shakir? If so, what have they said?
* What do the former employees of the Iraqi embassy in Malaysia tell us about Ahmed Hikmat Shakir and Ra’ad al Mudaris?
* Has anyone from the U.S. government interviewed Ra’ad al Mudaris? If so, how does he explain his activities?
* Have the names Ahmed Hikmat Shakir and Ra’ad al Mudaris surfaced in any of the documents captured in postwar Iraq from the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters in Baghdad?
* How long was the phone call between Ahmed Hikmat Shakir and the safehouse shortly before the 1993 World Trade Center attack?
* Does the U.S. government have other indications that Ahmed Hikmat Shakir and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were in contact, either before or after that attack?
* Vice President Dick Cheney has spoken publicly about documents that indicate Abdul Rahman Yasin was provided safe haven and financing upon his return to Iraq in 1993. The FBI is blocking declassification of those documents, despite the fact that Yasin is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist list. Why?
* Before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Abdul Rahman Yasin, Musab Yasin, and Ahmed Hikmat Shakir were all believed to be in Iraq. Where are they today?
Why am I including this stuff in a post about Able Danger? For the simple reason that I believe Sandy Berger raided the Archives to get documents that would have shown the Clinton Administration KNEW about the Iraqi connection. Why else would he take such a huge risk other then to save the reputation of his boss and to help prevent the downward spiral of the Democratic party. AJ Strata has the same line of thought:
Clinton did not want any confrontations with Iraq in his last year in office. He was too concerned with getting Al Gore elected and his reputation salvaged. He took a gamble and lost. When Able Danger broke I immediately connected Sandy Bergler?s actions with the purloined documents to the Able Danger cover up. Intuition tells me this is probably true – logic says there is nothing in the Able Danger material, as we understand it today, to really harm the Clintonistas and be worth taking this kind of risk. So what if Atta was in the US and not taken seriously. That is the story line now anyway. It just added another example of the same problem we knew about.
But if the notes on the documents clearly showed some indications that Iraq was successfully reaching out and participating with Al Qaeda to attack us – then democrats would know that their chances of winning a presidential election and majorities in congress would be lost for decades.
Is avoiding that kind of fate worth the risk of jail time? Is that the bad decision Bergler felt so anxious over, probably with pressure from Clinton and the rest of his team, that he stole classified material from the national archives and destroyed it?
And this is why I have insisted on keeping this headline “the gorelick wall & sandy berger”, because I believe Berger ties this whole thing together. You find out what he took and you find out pretty much everything.
The only other news today was the fact that Curt Weldon had a unclassified version of the famous chart up in 2002 during a speech:
A third of the way through his May 23, 2002 address on data fusion techniques, the video shows Rep. Weldon unfurling a copy of the now missing document and displaying it to the Heritage audience.
“This is the unclassified chart that was done by the Special Forces Command briefing center one year before 9/11,” he explains. “It is the complete architecture of al Qaeda and pan-Islamic extremism. It gives all the linkages. It gives all the capabilities. . . .”
Though Weldon never mentions Able Danger or Atta by name – and the video never zooms in on the chart to the point where Atta’s photo is identifiable – it’s clear from Weldon comments that the chart is the same one currently being sought.
Which is hogwash. How is this clear that this is the chart? The Captain explains:
Actually, that last part may not be completely accurate. Weldon makes clear in the video (which those with Real Player can see at this link) that the chart represents the unclassified data from the “Special Forces” program that generated it. He tells the audience that the classified version, designed for a special briefing for the Joint Chiefs, contained the complete look at al-Qaeda and their connections, one year prior to 9/11.
…Addendum: What does this mean? I think Weldon didn’t know about the Atta connection in 2002; otherwise, as this video makes clear, he would have blown it wide open then. I believe that may have been the portion of the briefing (and the chart) that was withheld at a higher level of clearance. It would make sense that Shaffer would have tried to work through his chain of command, and then through the Commission, before breaking the clearance on the data and bringing it to Weldon. I think Weldon may have sat on it a while, gathering more people willing to talk, until he felt he had enough corroboration for the facts to come out this month.
Also AJ Strata recall’s another curious fact left out of the Commission report:
While blogging this, I remembered something that was a huge shock to me at the time and is pertinent again now. If you recall, Putin warned us that Saddam wanted to attack the US. Here is the CNN story from 2004.
Russian intelligence services warned Washington several times that Saddam Hussein?s regime planned terrorist attacks against the United States, President Vladimir Putin has said.
The warnings were provided after September 11, 2001 and before the start of the Iraqi war, Putin said Friday.
The warnings came after 9-11, but I bet the information was gathered well before. In fact it may have been in tandem with the German arrests of Iraqi agents trying to recruit fanatical muslims for attacks on the US, the story Ed Morrissey discovered recently. Here?s a bit more from the CNN piece:
?I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received ? information that official organs of Saddam?s regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations,? Putin said.
Well, he did not confirm or deny anything prior to 9-11. And why would Saddam want to hit us after 9-11? Saddam knew an attack on us, with ties to him, would make Bush?s job of garnering international support to invade Iraq a breeze. So does it make sense Saddam started thinking about attacking us after 9-11, or did he simply continued to contemplate hitting us after 9-11?
No matter, we have too much information being uncovered which was not addressed by the 9-11 commission. Way too much.
This also addresses the issue that Iraq was not a threat to us, not that the DummiesU crowd would believe facts anyways.
The big big story in all of this stuff is that the 9/11 Commission is a joke. Each day that goes by we are finding out more and more that was left out.
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XVI
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XV
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XIV
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XIII
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XII
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XI
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update X
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update IX
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update VIII
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update VII
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update VI
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update V
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, update IV
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update III
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update II
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger