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October 9, 2005
Could NOAH Have Stopped The Flood Of Terrorism Before 9/11? (Update with Correction)

One of the bloggers that has kept an eye on Able Danger updates, AJ Strata, notes an editorial in today's Washington Times written by F. Michael Maloof. Maloof reveals that Congress at one point wanted a national network of cross-functional centers doing work pioneered by the Able Danger team and its mother program, LIWA, but that the Pentagon wanted to pursue its own program instead. Maloof argues that the failure to push NOAH into existence lost us our best shot at stopping the 9/11 terrorists:

Mr. Weldon first sought help from Eileen Preisser, who ran the Information Dominance Center at the U.S. Army's Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) at Fort Belvoir, Va. He then asked this writer to work with Ms. Preisser to see how the Army initiative could be expanded into a national effort.

As Mr. Weldon envisioned it, the national collaborative center would have been comprised of a system of mini-centers or "pods" of some 34 entities from the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement agencies to function in a common operating environment.

It would not have been just another analytical unit. The effect of data-mining information that had already been analyzed was to game-plan particular issues and offer options to policymakers and national commanders to deal with them.

Who is Maloof and where does NOAH fit into the counterterrorist effort, pre- or post-9/11? Don't bother checking the 9/11 report. It mentions neither, even though the Stratasphere seems to have had no troubles tracking this man down. Strata found out that Maloof worked with Richard Perle, and after 9/11 received an unusual assignment: to find out if Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks specifically, or with al-Qaeda in general. As one of Strata's links note, his work on this assignment appears to have angered some at the DoD:

A veteran Pentagon employee who was a key player in the effort to find links between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida has been stripped of his security clearance, according to senior U.S. officials.

The employee, F. Michael Maloof, is associated with a Lebanese-American businessman who is under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, the West African nation embroiled in civil war. The businessman, Imad El Haje, approached Maloof on behalf of Syria to seek help in arranging a communications channel between Syria and the Defense Department. ...

Maloof is on administrative leave and hasn't been charged with wrongdoing. Those close to him contend that his clearances were pulled in retaliation for challenging the official assessment that there were no operational terrorist links between al-Qaida and Iraq.

Maloof was part of a two-man team created at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to find such links. The team was a predecessor to the Pentagon's controversial Office of Special Plans.

Maloof and David Wurmser, who's now an aide to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, claimed they had found evidence that Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups, as well as secular Islamic countries, cooperate to harm the United States despite their many differences.

The excuse for pulling Maloof's security clearance was his contacts with Imad el-Haje, a Lebanese contact that tried to concoct an arrangement between Saddam and the US to avoid war. In May 2003, Maloof had his security clearance revoked for contacting el-Haje. By November, the US had acknowledged that the contact represented a legitimate attempt on our part to resolve the impasse short of military action:

Early this year, a Lebanese-American businessman, Imad El Haje, relayed word that Saddam would allow U.S. experts and troops into Iraq to verify that he had no weapons of mass destruction, said the officials, who requested anonymity.

El Haje sent his message through a Department of Defense official, F. Michael Maloof, who was involved in a Pentagon effort to find links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, and Richard Perle, the head of a Pentagon advisory panel who was a leading advocate of invading Iraq.

U.S. officials said none of the approaches went anywhere. They were deemed either fraudulent or attempts by Saddam to stall for time to allow international opposition to a U.S.-led attack to build, they said.

"They were all non-starters because they all involved Saddam staying in power," said a senior administration official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are classified.

Maloof also has an attorney -- Mark Zaid, the same attorney as Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer. Interesting, and somewhat coincidental that both figures have the same legal representation. (It would be interesting, if true, but it isn't -- Mark Zaid was just quoted for reaction to the article. He doesn't represent Maloof, per his e-mail to me. My apologies for the error.)

Be sure to read all of AJ Strata's analysis. However, I have a couple of questions myself. It seems as though the DIA likes to pull clearances on people with interesting testimony to give on issues like 9/11 and the war on terror. Is that why Maloof never gets mentioned or even interviewed by the 9/11 Commission, as far as can be told? If not, what other reason could there be? Maloof has a different opinion on the resources used by the al-Qaeda plotters for 9/11 based on his direct investigation, one of two people who went back and officially looked into the issue.

How could the 9/11 Commission have missed Maloof as a witness?

It's yet another glaring gap in the process used by the supposedly thorough and authoritative "independent" investigation into the terrorist attacks.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 9, 2005 7:10 AM

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Could NOAH Have Stopped The Flood Of Terrorism Before 9/11? (Update with Correction):

» Able Danger, A New Voice Speaks! 10/09/05 from The Strata-Sphere
Lo and Behold! We have a new voice speaking on the subject of Able Danger - someone never before heard from: Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, correctly asserts the terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, could have been averted.... [Read More]

Tracked on October 9, 2005 9:48 AM

» Able Danger - Great Summer Story -10 from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
AJ over at Strata Sphere has a new bit of news on the Great Summer Story of Able Danger: [Read More]

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» The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update XXVII from Flopping Aces
Really nothing new here to report about the 9/11 terrorists being discovered long before 9/11, but interesting information nonetheless. Why was the DoD and the Clinton Administration so quick to shut down this technology once China information started... [Read More]

Tracked on October 9, 2005 5:47 PM

» Able Danger: Aloof and Maloof from A Blog For All
Both Captain Ed and AJ Strata have found a most curious Washington Times article that was written by F. Michael Maloof. [Read More]

Tracked on October 10, 2005 8:44 AM

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