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).

Here is the thing.

Kirk von Ackermann remains the longest missing American in Iraq. Because of the report, it now appears he was actively involved in handling intelligence that tracked Osama bin Laden. Process that information for a minute. The longest missing American in Iraq at one point handled some of the most sensitive intelligence there is in the United States.

Safe to say, he was not a dumb guy.

So how can anyone honestly think Kirk von Ackermann then forgot all of his training and experience, jumped into an unfamiliar SUV in Iraq, without a translator or a fixer, for a 180 mile journey - much of it through an isolated ridge of hills he had previously identified as dangerous - with a bad tire?

Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
Department of Defense
September 23, 2008

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that you might expect to have been addressed in a timely fashion, for other circumstances related to DOD, were not addressed in a timely way (or at all?) for your consideration of their relevance to this story? That is, am I correct in understanding that, while putting certain eP technicalities aside for the moment, requests you made for info relevant to the Ackermann story might have gone unmet and what's emerging via the Truthout story could provide the explanation?

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Still a painful subject.

There are 3 major ones that got f*cked up when the mailing address changed. The appeal to the NSA for the satellite phone audio recordings, the base access records at CENTCOM, the satellite imagery request to USAF.

Other than an immediate denial, it typically takes 3 years to get a reply. So the botched address change set things back three years.

Thankfully there are some willful women around here! I know that you're tenacious and I think there are a number of folks glad to recognize that fact, too, thanks for sticking with what you do :-)

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

Thanks for noting my article at Truthout. I just wanted to stop by and mention that in the article I do cite your work on the Kirk von Ackermann story, as well as your supposition that Kirk had been with Asymmetric Threat Division at JFIC. What I'm less confident about is that he specifically worked on the bin Laden tracking, though he certainly could have.

You've done great work, and I wanted you and your readers to know that I cited it, with links. In fact, the story ends with a quote from you:

"Dow has written on the two contractors for the website e Pluribus Media. In a May 6 posting at her own web site, "The Missing Man," Dow noted the IG report's conclusion: "The analysis completed by the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, specifically the Asymmetric Threat Division, was not applicable to the questions asked by the 9/11 Commission."

"Which leads me to believe the 9/11 Commission did not ask the correct questions," Dow said."


I saw your piece and the mention of Susie's work; I'd written a brief blurb about it, too.

Great piece, btw. :)

Some thoughts

I collected excerpts about Kirk von Ackermann's background in counter terrorism from Megan von Ackermann's blog and posted those excerpts on my blog, in part to make it easier to find them in one place.

Counter Terrorism and Kirk von Ackermann
By Susie Dow, Missing Man, October 8, 2006

According to her blog - Kirk von Ackermann prepared readiness excercises for JFIC. He was acutely aware of Osama bin laden. Excerpt from her blog, Missing in Iraq:

Getting to Iraq part two: Counter Terrorism March 24, 2006

After Y2K, Kirk became more and more consumed by the counter-terrorism world. He was read into higher and higher clearances, learned more and more about the largest threats to the US and her allies. Specifically he became deeply aware of Osama Bin Ladin and his organization.

Kirk was involved with designing readiness excercises - scenarios to be used by various units as they tested their skills. He proposed that a small boat filled with explosives be used as a weapon against a large warship - and was told it was an unrealistic idea. This was, of course, well prior to the USS Cole attack.

He also, along with his team, not only suggested that a commercial jet could be used as a terrorist weapon, but predicted the most likely targets that would be chosen. Again, he was ignored, and sometimes laughed at.

About the missing questions....the following jumps to mind.

Did the Asymmetric Threat Division at any time prepare readiness excercises that involved the use of commercial aircraft as weapons? If yes: a. what were the predicted targets and b. who was that information disseminated to?

Because that's what Kirk von Ackermann was doing at JFIC.