August 10, 2005
According to a republican congressman and a former defense intelligence official, the United States knew about four of the 9/11 hijackers a year before their deadly attack.
In the summer of 2000, the military team known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included Visa photographs of the four men, including ring-leader Mohammad Atta, and recommended to the special operations command that the information be shared with the FBI.
The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared.
All of them held valid entry Visas.
Under U.S. law, U.S. citizens and persons with green cards may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies.
The protection does not extend to Visa holders, but Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldom and the former intelligence officer told The New York Times it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before September 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.
Let's hope The Patriot Act has taken care of this so it never happens again.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Watch his television show, After Hours with Cal Thomas, on the Fox News Channel, Saturdays at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.