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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 15, 2005 / 10 Av, 5765

Atta way to blow 9/11 panel's credibility

By Mark Steyn


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you want to know everything wrong with the 9/11 Commission in a single sound bite, consider this from Al Felzenberg, its official spokesman, speaking Wednesday: ''There was no way that Atta could have been in the United States at that time, which is why the staff didn't give this tremendous weight when they were writing the report. This information was not meshing with the other information that we had.''

In fairness to Felzenberg, he was having a bad week, and a hard time staying on top of the commission's ever-shifting version of events. It emerged that the U.S. military had fingered Mohammed Atta — the guy who plowed Flight 11 into the first World Trade Center tower — well over a year before before 9/11. Or as the Associated Press puts it:

"A classified military intelligence unit called 'Able Danger' identified Atta and three other hijackers in 1999 as potential members of a terrorist cell in New York City." At first, the commission denied that it knew anything about "Able Danger": "The Sept. 11 Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," insisted Lee Hamilton, the Democratic co-chair. "Had we learned of it, obviously, it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

But within 48 hours this version was non-operative. As the AP subsequently reported: "The Sept. 11 Commission knew military intelligence officials had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida who might be part of U.S.-based terror cell more than a year before the terror attacks but decided not to include that in its final report, a spokesman acknowledged Thursday."

So, far from being a "major focus" that they just happened to miss — coulda happened to anyone — it turns out they knew about it but "decided not to include" it.

How'd that happen? Well, as Felzenberg says so disarmingly, "this information was not meshing with the other information.'' As a glimpse into the mindset of the commission, that's astonishing. Sept. 11 happened, in part, because the various federal bureaucracies involved were unable to process information that didn't "mesh" with conventional wisdom. Now we find that the official commission intended to identify those problems and ensure they don't recur is, in fact, guilty of the very same fatal flaw. The new information didn't "mesh" with the old information, so they disregarded it.

But, hey, let's not have a philosophical discussion, let's keep it practical: There was "no way" that Atta could have been in the United States except when the official INS record says he was? No INS paper trail, "no way" he could have got in?

Here's one way just for a start. Forget the southern border, insofar as there is such a thing. Fact: On America's northern border, no record is kept of individual visitors to the United States. All that happens is that a photo scanner snaps your rear license plate. The scanner is said to be state-of-the-art, which is to say, as one Customs & Border official told me, it's "officially" 75 percent accurate. On the one occasion my own license plate was queried, it turned out the scanner had misread it. So, just for a start, without any particular difficulty, a friend of Mohammed Atta could have rented a car for him in Montreal and driven him down to New York — and there would be never be any record to connect him to the vehicle anywhere in the United States or Canada.

Would al-Qaida types have such contacts in Montreal? Absolutely. The city's a hotbed of Islamist cells and sympathizers.

Fact: The only Islamist terrorist attack prevented by the U.S. government in the period before 9/11 was the attempt to blow up LAX by Ahmed Ressam, a Montrealer caught on the Washington/British Columbia frontier by an alert official who happened to notice he seemed to be a little sweaty. A different guard, a cooler Islamist, and it might just have been yet another routine unrecorded border crossing.

So, when the 9/11 Commission starts saying that there's "no way" something can happen when it happens every single day of the week, you start to wonder what exactly is the point of an official investigation so locked in to pre-set conclusions.

For example, they seemed oddly determined to fix June 3, 2000, as the official date of Atta's first landing on American soil — even though there were several alleged sightings of him before that date, including a bizarre story that he'd trained at Maxwell/Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Atta was a very mobile guy in the years before 9/11, shuttling between Germany, Spain, Afghanistan, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the Philippines with effortless ease. I've no hard evidence of where he was in, say, April 2000. The period between late 1999 and May 2000 is, in many ways, a big blur. He might have been in Germany, he might have been in Florida, attempting to get a U.S. Farm Service Agency loan for the world's biggest cropduster, as reported by USDA official Johnell Bryant.

But I do know it's absurd to suggest he was never in the United States until June 3, 2000, simply because that's what the INS says — especially when U.S. military intelligence says something quite different.

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Sept. 11 was a total government fiasco: CIA, FBI, INS, FAA, all the hot shot acronyms failed spectacularly. But appoint an official commission and let them issue an official report and suddenly everyone says, oh, well, this is the official version of 9/11; if they say something didn't happen, it can't possibly have happened.

Readers may recall that I never cared for the commission. There were too many showboating partisan hacks — Richard ben Veniste, Bob Kerrey — who seemed more interested in playing to the rhythms of election season. There was at least one person with an outrageous conflict of interest: Clinton Justice Department honcho Jamie Gorelick, who shouldn't have been on the commission but instead a key witness appearing in front of it. And there were far too many areas where the members appeared to be interested only in facts that supported a predetermined outcome.

Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission Commission to investigate the 9/11 Commission. A body intended to reassure Americans that the lessons of that terrible day had been learned instead engaged in what at best was transparent politicking and collusion in posterior-covering and at worst was something a whole lot darker and more disturbing.

The problem pre-9/11 was always political: that's to say, no matter how savvy individual operatives in various agencies may have been, the political culture of the day meant that nothing would happen except a memo would get typed up and shoveled into a filing cabinet. Together with other never fully explained episodes — like Sandy Berger's pants-stuffing at the national archives — the Able Danger story makes one thing plain: The problem is still political.


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JWR contributor Mark Steyn is North American Editor of The (London) Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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