Thursday, August 31, 2006

Peter Lance and Patrick Fitzgerald

* Peter Lance has a post up at Huffpo describing his new book - and also the altercation with the NatGeo documentary. This is what NatGeo excluded:
"My most astonishing, findings involved Patrick Fitzgerald, the former head of Organized Crime and Terrorism in the SDNY, who had allowed Ali to remain free as early as 1994 even though he named him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Day of Terror case. Another of my key findings was that Fitzgerald buried probative evidence of an al Qaeda New York cell in 1996.

Beginning in January 1996 Fitzgerald effectively ran Squad I-49, but I learned that despite wiretaps on the key cell members and hard evidence in 1997 that Ali Mohamed (an FBI informant) was a major player in the Embassy bombing plot - he allowed him to remain free.

Most shocking were two face to face meetings Fitzgerald had with Mohamed in 1997. After the first meeting in April "Fitzie," as Cloonan called him, declared Ali "the most dangerous man" he'd "ever met" and announced that "we cannot let this man out on the street."

But Fitzgerald did, even though in October of 1997 Ali told him that he loved bin Laden and didn't need a fatwa to declare war against the U.S. where he'd become a naturalized citizen. Fitzgerald had convicted blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 9 others for seditious conspiracy two years earlier, yet he permitted Mohamed to operate in the open and didn't arrest him until after the simultaneous truck bombings in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7th, 1998 which followed Ali Mohamed's 1993 surveillance with surgical precision.

Fitzgerald and Cloonan then took more than 18 months to get a plea bargain out of Mohamed, who never truly betrayed al Qaeda. They kept him in Manhattan Federal jail for 9 months on a John Doe warrant for fear the media would get wind of their negligence and actually prevented him from testifying in the Embassy bombing trial in 2001 because of the embarrassment that cross-examination of Mohamed would cause the Bureau and the Justice Department which had allowed bin Laden's top spy to work as an FBI informant.

Worse, while they had Ali in custody for three years, Fitzgerald and Cloonan failed to extract the 9/11 plot from him, even though they knew that the plot had commenced in 1994 in Manila, almost four years before Ali's capture. As the man who had lived with bin Laden and personally trained his security detail, Mohamed knew every twist and turn of it.

Within days of 9/11 Cloonan rushed backed from Yemen and interviewed Ali, whom the Feds had allowed to slip into witness protection, and demanded to know the details of the plot. At that point Ali wrote it all out - including details of how he'd counseled would-be hijackers on how to smuggle box cutters on board aircraft and where to sit, to effect the airline seizures.

In effect, my telling of the Ali Mohamed story holds Cloonan, Fitzgerald and a host of other key Feds responsible for not stopping the 1998 Embassy bombings or the 9/11 plot.
But the viewers of TRIPLE CROSS - the Nat Geo documentary on Monday night never saw any of this evidence critical of the Feds because Nat Geo Channel, allowed the story of FBI failures in the Ali Mohamed case to be told from the Bureau's point of view.

It was like doing Schindler's List from Hitler's perspective.

The casualty of all of this was the truth - and under the guise of a documentary which Nat Geo Channel claimed was "based in part" on my book, they perpetrated a factual distortion unknown in the recent history of broadcast journalism.

Why does any of it matter and why is this not simply a case of a disgruntled writer, unhappy at a television adaptation of his work? Because going in, the Nat Geo Channel bought a documentary from a five-time Emmy winning reporter that, once and for all, would expose the negligence of the Dept. of Justice on the road to 9/11.
Further, as I report in TRIPLE CROSS (the book) Dietrich Snell, a key SDNY prosecutor who served with Fitzgerald, covered up crucial evidence of FBI negligence before the 9/11 Commission and flushed key links between al Qaeda and the New York cell of blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman that were turned-up in the year 2000 by the Army's Operation Able Danger."
ummmm. he has more.

update: larry johnson in the comments writes:
"Peter Lance, as he is prone to do, leaps to conclusions. When the FBI has an informant that they believe is legitimate, it is not uncommon to protect the source. Ali was a bad apple and his handlers dropped the ball, but it isn't a conspiracy. Having tried to work with Peter on one other project, his self-serving screed is more of his rich fantasy life. Milt Bearden and I wrote about Ali Mohamad in a NY Times Op-Ed that appeared on 7 November 2000. Long before Peter made his so-called "uncovering" of this story."


Miguel said...

"but it isn't a conspiracy"

I respectfully disagree with this statement of Larry Johnson's. Peter Lance is talking about incompetence at Justice and the FBI, not conspiracies.

I don't think there's really that much difference between what Lance and Johnson are saying- it's just a matter of whether you think the FBI/Justice screwups are average, run of the mill incompetence or the sort of gross mismanagement that should have led to some shake ups at the FBI and Justice- such as in people being fired.

LeeB said...

I'm still stickin' with (b) and (c).

And that was before I read the quote from Larry Johnson.

lukery said...

yeah - reading a little about Lance's story, he appears to suggest some cascading debacle as errors are piled on top of each other

lukery said...

LeeB - i can't agree with c) - that's never stopped em before

LeeB said...

Luke, I'm sticking with both (b) and (c).

The House impeached Clinton, which was the equivalent of an accusation. Their accusations were baseless (he was unimpeachable) so President Clinton was acquitted.

In the context used here - speculating about whether Patrick Fitzgerald is "unimpeachable" - the context is also about accusations:

un·im·peach·a·ble (nm-pch-bl) adj.
1. Difficult or impossible to impeach: an unimpeachable witness.
2. Beyond reproach; blameless: unimpeachable behavior.
3. Beyond doubt; unquestionable: “works of such unimpeachable greatness” (Musical Heritage Review).
Source: American Heritage Dictionary

"Impeach" verb. 1. To accuse (a public official of a crime in office) . . . (2) To discredit the veracity of (a witness) [the lawyer hoped her client wouldn't be impeached on cross-examination], or (3) To challenge the accuracy or authenticity of (a document) [the handwriting expert impeached the holographic will]
Source: Black's Law Dictionary

I suspect we are seeing the beginning of the Swiftboating of Mr. Fitzgerald. And actually, it isn't surprising since the black hats keep spinning the bits that have come out into unsupported conclusions - the Rove *escape* (escape?? we'll see ...), for example - trying to make more of it than it may deserve. It seems to be exactly the kind of thing they would try to build into a hue and cry aimed at building public demand for Fitz's removal. I think Rove is getting cocky and I think it would be a mistake to fall for that, but mebbe that's just me.

Anyway, I'm sticking with both (b) and (c) . . . :-)

lukery said...

ahh - but LeeB - you're conflating:
a) fitz is literally unimpeachable
b) the reason that they haven't swiftboated him is because he is unimpeachable

a) might very well be true - but that doesn't explain b)

as Jiminy said:
"Unimpeachable? Really though- when has that ever stopped them before? They've stooped to just making shit up about people who were "unimpeachable" before."

Lee said...

See what happens when I write something late at night after my brain has shut down?

I didn't intend to say they couldn't try it - of course, they are attempting it - but I don't think, with what we know so far, they will succeed in proving it.

In the context of Congressional action to remove a high-level official, the meaning is different. In Congress, when the House votes to impeach a president, Supreme Court Justice, vice president, etc., the mere fact they get enough votes to bring unproven charges it means the person has been "impeached." This most closely parallels a criminal indictment, which is a formal statement of charges against a defendant. Then comes the hard part - the trial - where the burden of proof is on the accuser.

"Making shit up" doesn't mean it will succeed, no matter how much they may wish it if the facts prove the target is not guilty of their accusations and puts up a fight. Their best shot just sputters out when there is an effort made to smack 'em down.

When somebody brings spurious charges against another person, whether in a formal hearing of some kind or in the press, and the accused doesn't offer a defense, misperceptions gain a foothold with the public, like what happened to John Kerry when he dismissed the ludicrous accusations of those SOBs, "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth," who lied their effin' petoots off. Kerry should have smacked them down at the first sign of their crap.

I hope that lesson has been learned across the board now, that the sheeple simply cannot be expected to see the lies for what they are without help.