9/11 Commission

Truthout - Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

A slight detour from what I had originally intended to post today.

Regular readers know that for years now I've been following the story of the 2003 disappearance of a contractor in Iraq, Kirk von Ackermann. In a strange twist, the Department of Defense recently released a report about the joint forces counter terrorism division he worked with. Truthout has released an article about that report.

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden
By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout, May 23, 2011

Tracking Bin Laden had been undertaken by a secret unit within the JFIC, the Asymmetric Threats Division, formed in 1999 "to take a non-traditional approach to analysis." Known by its DoD acronym, DO5, it was tasked with providing "current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff [J2]." Almost no public source material exists on DO5 activities, except what is in the IG report.

Based on 7+ years of research, I can with 100% confidence say that the above Asymmetric Threats Division, is the same division that Capt. Kirk von Ackermann USAF was assigned to. (I've provided some of the background research as to why on my blog - including two scans of Capt. Kirk von Ackermann's JFIC awards See: Counter Terrorism and JFIC, By Susie Dow, Missing Man, May 6, 2011).

ACLU's Investigation Unveils BushCo Told 9/11 Commission "Not To Cross A Line"

Via a Facebook update by Naomi Wolf comes the news that the ACLU uncovered a memo from the Bush era that warned the 9/11 Commission not to "cross a line" in its investigation and not to probe too deeply.

Leaked confidential documents have revealed that senior officials from the former US administration had warned a 9/11 investigation panel against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks.

In a letter obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the 9/11 Commission was refused permission to question terror suspects, with the Bush administration arguing that by doing so the panel would "cross" a "line" and obstruct the administration's efforts to protect the nation.

Wolf's link includes a reference to an OpEd News article by Sahil Kapur that offers this additional insight:

The 9/11 Commission, officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was formed by President Bush in November of 2002 "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks" and to offer recommendations for preventing future attacks.

"The Commission staff's proposed participation in questioning of detainees would cross that line," the letter continued. "As the officers of the United States responsible for the law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions of the Government, we urge your Commission not to further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees."

FireDogLake's Marcy Wheeler speculates that this was an attempt by the Bush administration to ensure that its torture of certain detainees, which has since been widely documented, remained secret.

"[W]hoever made these annotations appears to have been most worried that Commission staff members could make independent judgments about the detainees and the interrogations," Wheeler wrote on her blog. The official "didn't want anyone to independently evaluate the interrogations conducted in the torture program."

Eventually, the commission's co-chairs harshly criticized the administration for having purportedly "destroyed" tapes of its interrogations with terror suspects, as Raw Story reported last year.

Destruction of -- and loss of -- evidence seemed to be a hallmark of the Bush Administration's years in the White House. Story highlights from the CNN link about the missing emails from the US Attorney scandal:

Story Highlights

• NEW: White House spokeswoman says 5 million official e-mails may be missing

• White House admits it should have kept e-mails on private GOP system

• Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee doubts e-mails are deleted

• Committee investigating whether U.S. attorneys' firings were politically motivated

At some point, hopefully before the Obama Administration gets too far along on its own path, someone will have the fortitude and wherewithall to send a huge cleaning van up to the White House to help mop up the mess left by the previous Administration, ideally in time to help ensure that the current Administration is given a much clearer mandate to work with, and ideally to help it stay within the bounds of Constitutional law and proper common ethical standards.