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WASHINGTON — Military spies were forced to slap “stickies on the face of Mohamed Atta” and other 9/11 hijackers — despite knowing where they were in the United States — because Pentagon lawyers barred them from telling the FBI the fiends could be tied to al Qaeda, a GOP lawmaker charges.
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), the No. 2 man on both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, revealed that an elite military-intelligence unit known as Able Danger identified Atta and three other hijackers as likely members of a terror cell in this country as early as 1999.
The spies wanted to turn the info over to the FBI in 2000, Weldon said, “so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists.”
He claimed Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation because they mistakenly believed that since Atta and the others were in the country legally on visas, they could not be investigated.
In fact, U.S. law bars such intelligence investigations only of American citizens and immigrant “green card” holders — but visa-holders such as Atta and the other hijackers are fair game.
“I’ll tell you how stupid it was — they put stickies [like Post-it notes] on the faces of Mohamed Atta on the chart that the military intelligence unit had completed and they said you can’t talk to Atta because he’s here” legally, Weldon charged.
(Posted on August 11, 2005)