Congressional Testimony - 9/11 May Never Have Occurred
Yes this is long, feel free to ignore it. I will tell you though that it is well worth the read as it provides a lot of insight into bureaucratic/territorial issues we faced prior to 9/11 (and still face to some degree).
On a personal note, LIWA which is now known as the 1st Information Operations Command (in which the IDC resides) takes direction from the office/organization I am in.
This was entered into the Congressional Record on 27 Jun 05.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. McHenry). Under the Speaker's announced
policy of January 4, 2005, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon)
is recognized for 44 minutes.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to
discuss for the next 45 minutes the most important topic that will
allow us to protect the homeland, provide for the security of the
American people and our allies and our troops around the world: our
Last Thursday, Mr. Speaker, I had a meeting with the very able and
distinguished chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra). We discussed
many things, one of which was a source that I had hoped that we could
get some information to assist us in understanding the threats in Iraq
and the Middle East, and especially in regard to Iran.
I said to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), I am going to
make a prediction to you. Based on my source, I said, common wisdom
tells us that the winner of the election in Iran that will take place
on Friday and Saturday our time will probably be Rafsanjani. He is the
name that most pundits have said would be the likely winner in a two-
person runoff against the more conservative and not well-known mayor of
Tehran. But I said to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), based
on information we had, the election was not going to be close; it will
be a landslide. But the conservative mayor of Tehran, a relative
unknown, had been anointed by Ayatollah Homeni in Iran and he would in
fact win the Iranian election.
We all saw the results, Mr. Speaker, on Saturday night and Sunday
morning as, in fact, the mayor of Tehran won the election with a margin
of 62 to 38 percent, an overwhelming landslide. I raise this issue, Mr.
Speaker, because good intelligence and good information is the most
critical tool that we can have over the next several years and decades
to protect our homeland.
Mr. Speaker, I rise because information has come to my attention over
the past several months that is very disturbing. I have learned that,
in fact, one of our Federal agencies had, in fact, identified the major
New York cell of Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11; and I have learned, Mr.
Speaker, that in September of 2000, that Federal agency actually was
prepared to bring the FBI in and prepared to work with the FBI to take
down the cell that Mohamed Atta was involved in in New York City, along
with two of the other terrorists.
I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that when that recommendation was
discussed within that Federal agency, the lawyers in the administration
at that time said, you cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that
cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card, and we are fearful
of the fallout from the Waco incident. So we did not allow that Federal
agency to proceed.
Mr. Speaker, what this now means is that prior to September 11, we
had employees of the Federal Government in one of our agencies who
actually identified the Mohamed Atta cell and made a specific
recommendation to act on that cell, but were denied the ability to go
forward. Obviously, if we had taken out that cell, 9/11 would not have
occurred and, certainly, taking out those three principal players in
that cell would have severely crippled, if not totally stopped, the
operation that killed 3,000 people in America.
Tonight, I am going to provide some background to my colleagues,
because I think this represents a major problem with our intelligence
that needs to be focused on by the committees of the House and the
Senate, by the leadership of the House and the Senate, by John
Negroponte, the new person assigned by President Bush, and a very able
man, to integrate the 33 classified systems overseen by the 15 Federal
I want to also start off by praising Porter Goss, the director of the
CIA. Porter served us extremely well in this body as the chairman of
the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and he went over to the
CIA with an aggressive agenda to change that agency, and he has begun
that process. We, in this body, need to rally the American people to
support the efforts brought forward by Porter Goss and to allow John
Negroponte to undertake perhaps the most difficult task in protecting
the security of America, a task that will not be easy, given the
history of our Federal agency system.
Let me take my colleagues back, Mr. Speaker, to 1999. It was, in
fact, the spring of 1999 when I was first involved in taking a
delegation of 10 Members of Congress to Vienna with the support of my
friend and colleague, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), and with
the support of the Clinton State Department.
The 11-member delegation of five Democrats, five Republicans and
myself, along with the State Department employee, traveled to Vienna to
meet with five senior leaders of the Russian political parties. Our
purpose was to try to reach a framework that could allow for a peaceful
resolution of the war in Kosovo on the terms that the U.S. had desired
After securing a military plane, my Russian friends told me they were
bringing a Serb along with them, a Serb who would be able to understand
what we were talking about and help us decide and determine whether or
not Milosevic back in Belgrade would accept any recommendations that we
would develop. I did not know anything about the Serb. I knew the
Russians. But I figure I had better ask the CIA what they knew about
this Serb so I could be better prepared, and to make sure that the Serb
was not a part of the Milosevic regime, because that would cause myself
and my colleagues to be in violation of the Hobbs Act because we were
at war with Serbia at that time.
So I called George Tenet. I said, Director Tenet, can you give me
some information about this Serb? His family is evidently well known. I
need to know whether or not he is a part of the Milosevic regime. I
need to know any other information you can provide to me because we are
going to meet with him when we travel to Vienna to meet with the
Russian leaders to help provide a beginning of a solution to end the
war in Kosovo.
He called me back the next day and he gave me a couple of sentences
and said not to worry, he was not a part of the Milosevic regime. And
he had strong ties to the Communist Party inside of Moscow and had ties
to other leaders in the Russian Government. It was not much to go on.
But at the time, Mr. Speaker, I was chairman of the Defense Research
Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. My job was to oversee the
funding, approximately $40 billion of defense research money on new
systems and new technologies. And one of the most striking technologies
was the work being done by the Army's Information Dominance Center at
Fort Belvoir, formerly known as the LIWA, the Land Information Warfare
Assessment Center. I had visited the LIWA several times and was
tremendously impressed with not just the ability to provide security
for our Army classified systems, but I saw a unique approach to doing
well beyond that, data mining, data collaboration, using cutting-edge
software tools like Starlight and Spires, able to do profiling. Having
plussed-up funding for this facility after talking to George Tenet, I
called my friends at the Army's Information Dominance Center and said,
can you do something for me as a favor, off the record? And they said
sure, Congressman, whatever you like. Would you run me a profile of
this Serb, for the same reason I had asked the Director of the CIA.
They said, no problem, Congressman; we will get back to you in a few
hours. And they did. They gave me 10 pages of information, Mr. Speaker,
about the Serb and his ties. Now, the information was not vetted but it
was from a number of sources that the Information Dominance Center was
able to pull together very quickly. I used that information as we
traveled to Vienna to understand who we were meeting with. We had those
meetings for 2 days and my colleagues, my five Republican and five
Democrat colleagues, worked aggressively to establish a framework that
would begin the end of the Kosovo war. In fact, it was historic.
When we returned to Washington several weeks later I was contacted by
the FBI and they said, Congressman, we would like to debrief you. We
would like you to tell us what you know about that Serb that you all
met in Vienna. I said, no problem, I will be happy to do it Monday
afternoon in my office. The Friday before the Monday, my D.C. office
paged me with a 911 page. When I called them they said, you have got to
call CIA Congressional Affairs immediately, which I did. CIA
Congressional Affairs said, Congressman Weldon, we are going to fly two
agents to Philadelphia this evening. They will meet you at the airport,
at a hotel, at your home, wherever you want to meet them. And I said, I
am sorry, I cannot do it. It is a weekend. It is a Friday night. I have
got events already planned. What is the urgency of this meeting? And
the CIA Congressional Affairs person said well, Congressman, we have
been tasked by the State Department to brief our Ambassador, who is
negotiating the final terms to end the war in Kosovo, and he needs to
know something about this Serb that you met in Vienna. I said, well,
the FBI has already called me for that. Can we not do it together? And
finally, after pushing back for 10, 15 minutes, the CIA agreed. And so
on Monday afternoon in my office I hosted four agents, two FBI and two
CIA. These agents asked me four pages of questions about the Serb that
I had met with along with our colleagues in the House.
When I finished answering all their questions and giving them all of
the information I had, I said to them, now you know where I got my data
from, right? And they said, well, you got it from the Russians. I said,
no. Well, you got it from the Serb. I said, no. I said, before I left
Washington, before I left my office, I called the Army's Information
Dominance Center and asked them to do me a favor. They ran a profile
and gave me 10 pages. The CIA rep and the FBI rep said, what is the
Army's Information Dominance Center, congressman?
It was then, Mr. Speaker, that I knew we had a problem; that our
intelligence systems were not linked together, that the stovepipes were
so great that we would never be able to deal with emerging
transnational terrorist threats. So beginning in the spring of 1999, I
began a process working with the Army, and their subgroup working with
them, Special Forces Command down in Florida, which had a similar
capability to develop a national prototype, a prototype that could be
providing support for the President, the National Security Adviser, and
all of our policymakers. In fact, working together over a multiweek
period, we came up with a plan, a document. And Mr. Speaker, I would
like to place this document in the Record at this point in time.
National Operations and Analysis Hub: NOAH
Policy makers' tool for acting against emerging
transnational threats and dangers to U.S. national security.
Policy makers need better decision support tools.
Policy makers continue to work in a vacuum. Briefings and
testimonies are the primary vehicles for transmitting
information to leadership.
The volume of information germane to national issues is
expanding so rapidly that policy makers are overwhelmed with
Policy makers need robust situational awareness over
growing asymmetric threats to national security.
Policy makers need an overarching information and
intelligence architecture that will quickly assimilate,
analyze and display assessments and recommended course of
action from many national agencies simultaneously.
Policy makers need tools to aid them in developing courses
of action against threats to U.S. policy, interests, or
Policy makers need virtual communications with one another.
White House, Congress, Pentagon and at the agency levels
should each have centers they can go to and receive, send,
share, discuss, and collaborate on assessments before they
National Level Collaboration Solution: NOAH, National
Operations and Analysis Hub.
Tasks supported by NOAH's overarching collaborative
Provide Multi Issue, Multi-agency Hybrid Picture to White
House Situation Room, JCS;
Battle Damage Assessment;
Develop and Leverage new Technologies of important to
Support Congressional Committees/Hearings;
Apply Analysis of Foreign Threat to Policy;
Provide Hybrid Situational Awareness Picture of the Threat;
Incorprote Industrial Efforts of Interests to the Policy
Link academia directly to policy maker; and
NOAH can leverage existing networks to address diverse
NOAH's Hub Center if linked to other agency centers
Each key agency must prossess a Pod Site and be connected
to the NOAH network;
The Pod can consist of a large screen and appropriate
connect for collaboration. Operations Centers can simply be
converted into NOAH;
National Policy makers cannot control agency Pods, agencies
must post replicated data on the NOAH system so that sister
groups can access data;
Support multi-level security requirements and can sanitize
and ``push'' data to many types of users to many levels;
NOAH can address National, law enforcement and military
needs. The situation will determine the mission;
Ties policy maker, military and law enforcement together;
Goals of the NOAH Hub Center is to apply agency operations,
strategies analysis, tactical assessments to a course of
action for the policy maker; and
Optimizes group of expertise within each organization--
experts always on hand regardless of issue.
NOAH and Pod Site Network:
Part of national policy creation and execution system;
Will existing sites and connectivities where available;
Will share tools available at LIWA IDC so every agency has
All agencies will post data on NRO highway in a replicated
format sensitive to classification;
NOAH's Global Network will use NRO System as backbone;
All centers connect to other centers electronically; and
Mechanism for gathering, analyzing, displaying, tailoring,
and disseminating all kinds of information quickly at the
Overview--National Operations and Analysis Hub:
Center dedicated to National Policy Makers at White House,
Congress and National Agencies;
Provides system of system advanced technological
communications environment to harvest, analyze, display data
Coordinate and synchronize information among IC, S&T
centers, military services;
Provide near real time situational awareness at the
Link virtually via a pod site to every participating member
Pod sites designed to pull together agency resources on
single system of systems.
NOAH's is staffed by members from participating agencies.
The staff has a 24 x 7, high bandwidth, virtual connectivity
to experts at agency Pod Sites. This provides decision makers
with real-time situational awareness of adversary picture and
Steps to Achieve NOAH Capability:
Establish baseline capability by building initial Hub
Center and congressional virtual hearing room. Equip White
House Situation Room to Collaborate with these sites;
Staff the Hub Center with two reps from each of the 28 key
Link up NOAH internal and external collaborative
Hook in Back up Site for redundancy and begin training on
Build the 28 Key Agency Pod Sites along model of the
Information Dominance Center at Fort Belvoir, VA;
Link all Pod Sites to NOAH hub center establish Protocols
for Inter-agency data sharing;
Exercise live ability to retrieve, collate, analyze,
display disparate data and provide policy makers course of
action analysis at the NOAH Hub Center; and
Refine procedures and Protocols.
Agencies Represented in the National Collaborative Center:
Central Intelligence Agency; Defense Intelligence Agency;
National Imagery and Mapping Agency; National Security
Agency; National Reconnaissance Office; Defense Threat
Reduction Agency; Joint Chiefs of Staff; Army/LIWA; Air
Force; Navy; Marine Corps; Joint Counter-Intelligence
Assessment Group; ONDCP; and FBI.
Drug Enforcement Agency; U.S. Customs; National Criminal
Investigative Service; National Infrastructure Protection
Center; Defense Information Systems Agency; State Department;
Five CINCs; Department of Energy; Department of Commerce;
Department of the Treasury; Justice Department; Office of the
Secretary of Defense; National Military Command Center; and
National Joint Military Intelligence Command.
Elements to be connected to the national collaborative
center would include the White House Situation Room, a
Congressional Virtual Hearing Room and a possible redundant,
or back-up site.
This document, as you can see, Mr. Speaker, is entitled the NOAH,
National Operations and Analysis Hub, Policy Makers' Tool for Acting
Against Emerging Transnational Threats and Dangers to U.S. National
Security. This 9-page briefing, Mr. Speaker, was put together in the
spring of 1999.
I asked the Deputy Secretary of Defense, John Hamre, to take a look
at this capability. He went down to the LIWA and he came back and he
said, Congressman, you are right. I agree with you. This capability is
amazing. It offers unlimited potential. How about sending me a letter
describing your interest, Congressman?
So on July 30, 1999, I sent this 3-page letter to Deputy Secretary
John Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense, at his request, talking about
creating an integrated collaborative center for all of our
intelligence. I would like to place this letter in the Record at this
point in time, Mr. Speaker
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC, July 30, 1999.
Hon. John Hamre,
Deputy Secretary of Defense,
The Pentagon, Washington, DC.
Dear Dr. Hamre: I believe the time has come to create a
central national level entity that can acquire, fuse and
anaylze disparate data from many agencies in order to support
the policy maker in taking action against threats from
terrorism, proliferation, illegal technology diversions,
espionage, narcotics, information warfare and cyberterrorism.
These challenges are beginning to overlap, thereby blurring
their distinction while posing increasing threats to our
Before we take action to counter these emerging threats, we
must first understand their relationship to one another,
their patterns, the people and countries involved, and the
level of danger posed to our Nation. The Department of
Defense has a unique opportunity to create a centralized
national center that can do this for the country. It would be
patterned after the Army's Land Information Warfare Activity
(LIWA) at Fort Belvoir, but would operate on a much broader
scale. This entity would allow for near-time information and
analysis to flow to a central fusion center, which I would
designate the National Operations Analysis Hub (NOAH). I
think this title is fitting, as NOAH will provide a central
hub built to protect our nation from the flood of threats.
NOAH would be comprised of a system of agency-specified
mini-centers, or ``pods'' of participating agencies and
services associated with growing national security concerns
(attachment 1). NOAH would link the policymaker with action
recommendations derived from fused information provided by
the individual pods. NOAH would provide the automation and
connectivity to allow the pods to talk together, share data
and perspectives on a given situation in a near real-time,
The NOAH center in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
would be comprised of representatives from an initial cluster
of pod sites to include: CIA, DIA, National Imagery and
Mapping Agency (NlMA), NSA, NRO, Defense Threat Reduction
Agency (DTSA), JCS, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps,
ONDCP, FBI, DEA, Customs, National Criminal Investigative
Service (NCIS), National Infrastructure Protection Center.
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), State, the five
CINCS, DOE, INS, Commerce. Treasury.
Elements which would be connected into NOAH would include
the White House Situation Room, a Congressional Virtual
Hearing Room and a possible redundant (back up) site.
The benefits of creating a NOAH include:
For national policy makers, a national collaborative,
environment offers situations updates across a variety of
issues and offers suggested courses of action, based on
analysis, to help government officials make more informed
For the Intelligence Community, a national collaborative
environment will help end stovepiping and create more robust
strategic analyses as well as near real-time support to field
For military commanders and planners, a national
collaborative environment offers full battlefield
visualization, threat profiling, robust situational
awareness, as well as near real-timer support to special
missions such as peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, national
emergencies or special operations.
For law enforcement, a national collaborative environment
provides investigative and threat profiling support, and
field station situational awareness.
Along with its system of connected agency pod sites, NOAH
would permit the display of collaborative threat profiling
and analytical assessments on a large screen. It would be a
national level operations and control center with a mission
to intergrate various imagery, data and analytical viewpoints
for decision-makers in support of national actions. I see
NOAH as going beyond the capability of the National Military
Command Center (NMCC) and the National Joint Military
Intelligence Command (NJMIC), providing recommended courses
of action that allow us to effectively meet those emerging
challenges from asymmetrical threats in near real-time. Given
its mission, I believe that NOAH should reside in the Office
of the Secretary of Defense (Attachment 2).
I am aware of the initiative to link counterintelligence
groups throughout the community. I am also aware of the
counterterrorism center at the CIA, the new National
Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI, and a new HUMINT
special operations center. I have heard of an attempt to
connect the Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and OSD
assets with federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies. I also have seen what the Army has done at LIWA,
which has created a foundation for creating a higher-level
architecture collaborating all of these efforts. Each of
these independent efforts needs to be coordinated at the
national level. I believe LIWA has created a model that
should be used as a basis for creating the participating
agency pod sites.
I do not expect that establishment of NOAH should exceed
$10 million. Each agency involved could set up its own pod to
connect with the central NOAH site or to exchange data with
any of its participants. Each agency could dedicate monies to
establish their own pod site, while the $50 million available
in DARPA for related work could be used to establish the NOAH
The NOAH concept of a national collaborative environment
supporting policy and decision-makers mirrors the ideas you
have expressed to me in recent discussions, and it is a
tangible way to confront the growing assymetrical threats to
our nation. I have a number of ideas regarding staffing
options and industry collaboration, and would appreciate the
opportunity to discuss them with you. Thank you for your
consideration. I look forward to hearing from you at your
Member of Congress.
Secretary Hamre was interested and he told me, Congressman, I will
even pay the bill. The Defense Department will provide the funding for
this. And I do not care where they put it, Congressman. It could be at
the White House, it could be at the NSC, wherever it is most
appropriate, but I will pay the bill. But, Congressman, the problem is
not with me or the money. You have got to convince the CIA and the FBI
that this is something they want to pursue.
In fact, he wrote me a letter, Mr. Speaker, dated October 21, 1999:
``Dear Congressman Weldon, I wholeheartedly agree that combating
asymmetrical threats challenging national security requires a
collaborative interagency approach as suggested in your concept of the
National Operations Analysis Hub. We are actively engaged in assessing
how the department should leverage ongoing activities and develop a
long-term strategy along these lines. I will keep you apprised of our
progress. I would be happy to meet with you on the subject.''
And then he puts a personal comment on the note that I will read.
``Sir, this is a mealy-mouth response because no one wants to commit to
a LIWA-based solution. You know I am very impressed by LIWA and see
them involved in a range of activities. I would like to get together
with you to review some of our thinking when you have time. John.''
Mr. Speaker, I would like to place this in the Record.
Deputy Secretary of Defense,
Washington, DC, October 21, 1999.
Hon. Curt Weldon,
House of Representatives,
Dear Congressman Weldon: I wholeheartedly agree that
combatting the asymmetrical threats challenging National
Security requires a collaborative, inter-agency approach, as
suggested in your concept of the National Operations Analysis
Hub. We are actively engaged in assessing how the Department
should leverage ongoing activities and develop a long-term
strategy along these lines.
I will keep you apprised of our progress, and I would be
happy to meet with you on this subject.
John J. Harme.
Mr. Speaker, that was in October of 1999 at John Hamre's suggestion
on November 4 of 1999, almost 2 years before 9/11. I had John Hamre and
the representatives of the CIA and the FBI in my office. And at John
Hamre's suggestion, we went through the 9-page briefing to create an
overarching national collaborative center. When I finished the briefing
which had been prepared for me with our intelligence officials off the
record, the CIA said, Congressman Weldon, that is all well and good,
but we really do not need that capability. It is not necessary. We are
doing something called CI-21; and, therefore, we do not need to pursue
that multi-system approach that you have outlined where we bring in all
of these other classified systems.
I was very unhappy with that response because I knew full well the
Army and our special forces commands were using that capability at that
very moment in a special project against al Qaeda.
So, Mr. Speaker, in 1999 and in 2000 and in 2001, I put language in
each of our defense bills calling for the creation of a national
collaborative center to bring together our disparate intelligence
capabilities and systems for 3 consecutive years. And, in fact, one of
those bills required a response by the CIA as to why this system had
not been put into place.
But in the meantime, on November 12, 1999, the Defense Information
and Electronics Report published an article about the need for a
massive intelligence network for shared threat information. On April of
2000, Signal Magazine did another story on a fusion center concept
taking root as we kept pushing this process.
Mr. Speaker, the following are both of these articles:
[Nov. 12, 1997]
Defense Information and Electronics Report
WELDON: DOD NEEDS MASSIVE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK FOR SHARED THREAT
Senior Pentagon officials are mulling over an idea proposed
by Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) that would link classified and
unclassified documents in a massive intelligence
clearinghouse that could be accessed by 33 federal agencies--
a concept similar in some ways to one floated by DOD
intelligence officials but with significantly fewer players
``Our problem with intelligence is that we're stove-
pipped,'' said Weldon, chairman of the House Armed Services
military research and development subcommittee, during a Nov.
8 interview. ``Each agency has its own way of collecting data
and analyzing it, but they don't share that information with
other agencies. The need is to have a better system of
analyzing and fusing data sets across agencies and services--
certainly within the Pentagon and the military, but my
opinion is that we have to go further than that.''
Weldon first proposed the concept of a ``National
Operations Analysis Hub'' to Deputy Defense Secretary John
Hamre last July, although the congressman said he kept his
initiative quiet until a stronger plan could be developed.
The Pentagon-funded network of agencies would be operated
by DOD. According to Weldon, it would pull together large
amounts of information to produce intelligence profiles of
people, regions and national security threats, such as
information warfare and cyber-terrorism.
``The NOAH concept of a national collaborative environment
supporting policy and decision-makers mirrors the ideas you
have expressed to me in recent discussions, and it is a
tangible way to confront the growing asymmetrical threats to
our nation.'' Weldon wrote in his July 30 letter to Hamre.
The NOAH concept, however, was not wholeheartedly embraced
by Hamre, who met with Weldon last summer and told the
congressman his suggested use of the Army's Land Information
Warfare Activity at Ft. Belvoir, VA, as a model for NOAH,
would never stick.
Because LIWA is already short of resources, the Army is
apprehensive about taking on any new tasks, Hamre told
Weldon, in a July 21 letter to Hamre, also urged the
Pentagon to support additional future funding for LIWA,
citing critical budget shortfalls that he said have kept the
agency from fulfilling a barrage of requests for intelligence
files from Army commanders (Defense Information and
Electronics Report, July 30, p1).
``There's massive amounts of data out there, and you have
to be able to analyze it and create ways to focus on that
data so its relevant to whatever you're interested in,'' he
said this week about his support for LIWA. ``Well the Army
has already done that.''
While Weldon continues to push for NOAH to be patterned
after LIWA, he sees it operating on a much larger scale.
Impressed by its ability to pull together huge amounts of
both unclassified and classified data, Weldon noted LIWA's
Information Dominance Center can create in-depth profiles
that could be useful to the CIA, FBI and the White House. Yet
most federal agencies don't even know LIWA exists, he added.
``Right now the military is limited to [its] own sources of
information,'' Weldon said. ``And in the 21st century, a
terrorist group is more than likely going to be involved with
terrorist nations. So the boundaries are crossed all the
time. We don't have any way to share that and get beyond the
Meanwhile, officials within the Defense Department's
intelligence community have been considering another way to
amass intelligence information through a concept called the
Joint Counter-intelligence Assessment Group. A DOD
spokeswoman said proponents of the idea, for now, are
unwilling to disclose details about it. She was also unable
to say whether a formal proposal to Hamre had been made yet.
In Weldon's July 30 letter to Hamre, however, Weldon
alludes to an ongoing ``initiative to link
counterintelligence groups throughout the community.''
``I have heard of an attempt to connect the Office of Drug
Control Policy (ONDCP) and [Office of the Secretary of
Defense] assets with federal, state and local law enforcement
agencies,'' Weldon wrote. However, Weldon said in the
interview he believes JCAG is simply more ``stove-pipping.''
``I also have seen what the Army has done at LIWA, which
has created a foundation for creating a higher-level
architecture collaborating all of these efforts,'' his July
NOAH would link together almost every federal agency with
intelligence capabilities, including the National Security
Agency, the Nation Imagery and Mapping Agency, the Energy
Department, the CIA and the FBI. Both Congress and the White
House would be offered a ``node'' for briefing capabilities,
meaning intelligence agencies could detail situations on
terrorist attacks or wartime scenarios.
``It's mainly for policymakers, the White House decision
makers, the State Department, military, and military
leaders,'' he said.
Although information sharing among the intelligence
community has yet to be formalized through NOAH or JCAG or a
similar system, military officials have said they need some
kind of linked access capability.
Intelligence systems need to be included within the Global
Information Grid--the military's vision of a future global
network that could be accessed from anywhere in the world,
said Brig. Gen. Manlyn Quagliotti, vice director of the Joint
Staff's command and control, communications and computers
directorate, during a Nov. 5 speech on information assurance
at a conference in Arlington, VA.
``We need a more integrated strategy, including help from
[the Joint Staff's intelligence directorate] with
Intelligence reports or warnings of an attack,'' he said.
Quagliotti said the toughest challenge for achieving
``information superiority'' is the need to unite networks and
network managers under one command structure with stronger
situational awareness capabilities.
Part of [the challenge] is the overwhelming amount of
information, the ability to access that Information, and the
ability to reach back and get that information, which means
that networks become more crucial to the warfight'' she said.
Fusion Center Concept Takes Root As Congressional Interest Waxes
[From Signal, Apr. 2000]
Creation of a national operations and analysis hub is
finding grudging acceptance among senior officials in the
U.S. national security community. This fresh intelligence
mechanism would link federal agencies to provide instant
collaborative threat profiling and analytical assessments for
use against asymmetrical threats. National policy makers,
military commanders and law enforcement agencies would be
beneficiaries of the hub's information.
Prodded by a resolute seven-term Pennsylvania congressman
and reminded by recent terrorist and cyberthreat activities,
the U.S. Defense Department is rethinking its earlier
aversion to the idea, and resistance is beginning to crumble.
Funding to establish the national operations and analysis hub
(NOAH), which would link 28 federal agencies, is anticipated
as a congressional add-on in the Defense Department's new
budget. An initial $10 million in funding is likely in fiscal
year 2001 from identified research and development accounts.
Spearheading the formation of NOAH is Rep. Curt Weldon (R-
PA), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives National
Security Committee's military research and development
subcommittee. He emphasizes that challenges facing U.S.
leaders are beginning to overlap, blurring distinction and
jurisdiction. ``The increasing danger is both domestic and
Conceptually, NOAH would become a national-level operations
and control center with a mission to integrate various
imagery, data and analytical viewpoints. The intelligence
products would support U.S. actions. ``I see NOAH as going
beyond the capability of the National Military Command Center
and the National Joint Military Intelligence Command. NOAH
would provide recommended courses of action that allow the
U.S. to effectively meet emerging challenges in near real
time,'' the congressman illustrates.
``This central national-level hub would be composed of a
system of agency-specified mini centers, or `pods,' of
participating agencies and services associated with growing
national security concerns,'' Weldon reports. ``NOAH would
link the policy with action recommendations derived from
fused information provided by the individual pod.''
Automation and connectivity would allow the to talk to each
other in a computer-based environment to share data and
perspectives on a given situation.
The congressman believes that NOAH should reside within the
Defense Department and is modeling the hub's concept on a
U.S. Army organization he closely follows. He says the idea
for NOAH comes from officials in several federal agencies.
However, it is also based on his own experiences with the
U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command's (INSCOM's)
Land Warfare Information Activity (LIWA) and Information
Dominance Center, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Patterned after LIWA (SIGNAL, March, page 31), NOAH would
display collaborative threat profiling and analysis with the
aid of a variety of electronic tools, the hub would
support national actions, Weldon discloses.
The congressman is conscious of other initiatives such as
linking counterintelligence groups throughout the community.
He also is aware of the Central Intelligence Agency's,
(CIA's) counterterrorism center, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation's (FBI's) National Infrastructure Protection
Center and a new human intelligence (HUMINT) special
operations center, ``We don't need another
analytical center. Instead, we need a national-level fusion
center that can take already analyzed data and offer courses
of action for decision making,'' he insists.
Weldon's wide experience in dealing with officials from
the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) convince
him that policy makers are continuing to work in a vacuum.
``Briefings and testimonies are the primary vehicles for
transmitting information to leaders. The volume of
information germane to national security issues is expanding
so rapidly that policy makers are overwhelmed with data,'' he
Robust situational awareness of asymmetric threats to
national security is a key in assisting leaders, Weldon
observes. ``Policy makers need an overarching information and
intelligence architecture that will quickly assimilate,
analyze and display assessments and recommend courses of
action for many simultaneous national emergencies,'' he
declares. The concept of NOAH also calls for virtual
communications among policy makers.
Weldon's plan is for White House, Congress, Pentagon and
agency-level leaders each to have a center where they
receive, send, share and collaborate on assessments before
they act. He calls NOAH the policy maker's tool. In the
collaborative environment, the hub would provide a
multiissue, multiagency hybrid picture to the White House
situation room and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
NOAH's concept also includes support for HUMINT and
peacekeeping missions along with battle damage assessment.
The same system could later help brace congressional
committees and hearings. The new capability would allow
application of foreign threat analyses to policy, while
providing a hybrid situational awareness picture of the
threat, Weldon relates. Industrial efforts of interest to the
policy maker could be incorporated, and academia also could
be directly linked.
In meetings with high-level FBI, CIA and defense officials,
Weldon stressed the need to ``acquire, fuse and analyze
disparate data from many agencies in order to support the
policy maker's actions against threats from terrorism,
[ballistic misile] proliferation, illegal technology
diversions, espionage, narcotics [trafficking], information
warfare and cyberterrorism.'' He is convinced that current
collection and analysis capabilities in various intelligence
agencies are stovepiped. ``To some extent, this involves turf
protection, but it clearly hinders policy making.''
Weldon, who was a Russian studies major, offers some of his
own recent experiences as examples of why there is a strong
need for NOAH. He maintains close contact with a number of
Russians and understands their programs and technologies. The
congressman is quick to recall vignettes about Russian
officials and trips to facilities in the region.
During the recent U.S. combat action involvement in Kosovo,
Weldon was contacted by senior Russian officials.* * *
Weldon learned from the agents that they were seeking
information on Karic to brief the State Department. When he
explained that the information came from the Army and LIWA,
the CIA and FBI agents had no knowledge of that organization,
he confirms. Before his departure for Vienna, the congressman
received a six-page LIWA profile of Karic and his family's
links to Milosevic.
``This is an example of why an organization like NOAH is so
critically necessary,'' Weldon contends. ``LIWA's Information
Dominance Center provides the best capability we have today
in the federal government to assess massive amounts of data
and develop profiles. LIWA uses its contacts with other
agencies to obtain database information from those systems,''
he explains. ``Some is unclassified and some classified.''
Weldon cites an ``extraordinary capability by a former CIA
and Defense Intelligence Agency official, who is a LIWA
profiler, as one of the keys in LIWA's success. She does the
profiling and knows where to look and which systems to pull
information from in a data mining and extrapolation
process,'' he proclaims. ``She makes the system work.''
Weldon intends to use LIWA's profiling capability as a
model for building NOAH. ``My goal is to go beyond service
intelligence agencies and integrate all intelligence
collection. This must be beyond military intelligence, which
is too narrow in scope, to provide a governmmentwide
capability. Each agency with a pod linked to NOAH would
provide two staff members assigned at the hub, which would
operate continuously. Data brought together in ``this cluster
would be used for fusion and profiling, which any agency
could then request,'' he maintains.
NOAH would not belong to the Army, which would continue
with its own intelligence capabilities as would the other
services. There would only be one fusion center, which would
handle input from all federal agencies and from open sources,
Weldon explains. ``NOAH would handle threats like information
operations and examine stability in various regions of the
world. We need this ability to respond immediately.'' The
congressman adds that he recently was briefed by LIWA on very
sensitive, very limited and scary profile information, which
he describes as ``potentially explosive.'' In turn, Weldon
arranged briefings for the chairman of the House National
Security Committee, the Speaker of the House and other key
``But this kind of profiling capability is very limited
now. The goal is to have it on a regular basis. The profiling
could be used for sensitive technology transfer issues and
information about security breaches,'' the congressman
allows. LIWA has what he terms the fusion and profiling
state-of-the-art capability in the military, ``even beyond
the military.'' Weldon is pressing the case for NOAH among
leaders in both houses of Congress. ``It is essential that we
create a governmentwide capability under very strict
Weldon adds that establishing NOAH is not a funding issue;
it is a jurisdictional issue. ``Some agencies don't want to
tear down their stovepipes. Yet, information on a drug lord,
as an example, could be vitally important to help combat
terrorism.'' He makes a point that too often, federal
agencies overlap each other in their efforts to collect
intelligence against these threats, or they fail to pool
their resources and share vital information. ``This
redundancy of effort and confusion of jurisdiction only
inhibits our nation's capabilities,'' he offers.
NOAH would provide high-bandwidth, virtual connectivity to
experts at agency pod sites. Protocols for interagency data
sharing would be established and refined in links to all pod
sites. The ability to retrieve, collate, analyze and display
data would be exercised to provide possible courses of
action. A backup site would be established for redundancy,
and training would begin on collaborative tools as soon as it
The hub system would become part of the national policy
creation and execution system. The tools available at LIWA
would be shared so that every agency would have the same
tools. Weldon explains that all agencies would post data on
the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) highway in a
replicated format sensitive to classification. NOAH's global
network would use the NRO system as a backbone.
NOAH optimizes groups of expertise within each
organization--experts who are always on hand regardless of
the issue. This approach ties strategic analysis and tactical
assessment to a course of action. ``Before the U.S. can take
action against emerging threats, we must first understand
their relationship to one another, their patterns, the people
and countries involved and the level of danger posed to our
nation,'' Weldon say's ``That is where NOAH begins.''--CAR
So we have pushed the process, Mr. Speaker. We pushed it in
legislation passed by this Congress 3 years in a row. I pushed it
publicly in magazine articles, in newspapers, in speeches before
intelligence symposiums and agency briefings; but the CIA continued to
In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have one of the report languages from H.R.
5408, the conference report printed October 6, 2000, the section
entitled ``Joint Report on Establishment of a National Collaborative
Information Analysis Capability.''
That section is as follows:
Joint report on establishment of national collaborative
information analysis capability (sec. 933)
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 905) that would:
(1) require the Secretary of Defense and the Director of
Central Intelligence to prepare a joint report assessing
alternatives for the establishment of a national
collaborative information analysis capability; (2) require
the Secretary of Defense to complete the data mining,
profiling, and analysis capability of the Army's Land
Information Warfare Activity; and (3) restrict funds to
establish, support, or implement a data mining and analysis
capability until such a capability is specifically authorized
The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes with an amendment that would: (1)
require the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central
Intelligence to prepare a joint report assessing alternatives
for the establishment of a national collaborative information
analysis capability; and (2) require the Secretary of Defense
to complete the data mining, profiling, and analysis
capability of the Army's Land Information Warfare Activity.
The amendment would not restrict funds, but would require the
Secretary to make appropriate use of such capability to
provide support to appropriate national defense components.
Mr. Speaker, to push this process, a report came back from the CIA
dated May 1, 2001, just a few short months before 9/11. And I will read
one sentence in this report in the summary: ``A single overarching
collaborative solution addressing the totality of mission requirements
is not practical.''
In other words, the CIA said, We cannot create what the Department of
Defense already has. Now, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Defense and
the Army and our special forces commands already had this capability,
and they were using it in 1999 and 2000. I knew they were using it, but
was not quite sure of the extent of the use until 2 weeks after 9/11.
Mr. Speaker, exactly 2 weeks after
9/11 where I lost some very good friends, Ray Downey, the chief of all
rescue for the New York City Fire Department and one of my best
friends, was the chief of all rescue at Ground
Zero when the first tower came down. It was Ray Downey who had taken me
through the Trade Center in 1993 when bin Laden hit us the first time.
It was Ray Downey who convinced me in the late 1990s to introduce
legislation, eventually becoming law, to create a commission to make
recommendations to prepare for the next terrorist threat.
My legislation was passed, became law, and created what is now known
as the Gilmore Commission, chaired by Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.
Ray Downey was one of those commissioners. The Gilmore Commission and
Ray Downey gave us three reports before 9/11 of recommendations of
things we should be doing to prepare for the next terrorist attack. And
they gave us those three reports before 9/11 occurred. In fact, almost
40 percent of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission were actual
recommendations of the Gilmore Commission. But because the attack had
not occurred, it did not get as much visibility.
On September 11, Ray Downey was killed. I brought his wife and five
kids to my district 1 month after 9/11, and 40,000 of my constituents
came out to honor Ray as an American hero at a parade ending at our
We also lost one of my neighbors, Mr. Speaker, a fellow graduate of
Westchester University, Michael Horrocks who served our Nation in the
Navy, was a pilot on one of the planes that was commandeered on
September 11. Michael left behind a young wife, a teacher in my
district, and two young children in the Rose Tree Media School
District. In fact, we built a playground in Michael's honor at the
school of the two children.
Mr. Speaker, September 11 touched all of us; 3,700 of us were wiped
out. Two weeks after 9/11, my friends from the Army's Information
Dominance Center in cooperation with special ops brought me a chart.
This chart, Mr. Speaker, this chart. Two weeks after
9/11, I took the basic information in this chart down to the White
House. I had asked for a meeting with Steve Hadley, who at that time
was Deputy National Security Advisor. The chart was smaller. It was 2
feet by 3 feet, but the same information was in the center.
Steve Hadley looked at the chart and said, Congressman, where did you
get that chart from? I said, I got it from the military. I said, This
is the process; this is the result of the process that I was pitching
since 1999 to our government to implement, but the CIA kept saying we
do not need it.
Steve Hadley said, Congressman, I am going to take this chart, and I
am going to show it to the man. The man that he meant, Mr. Speaker, was
the President of the United States. I said, Mr. Hadley, you mean you
have not seen something like this before from the CIA, this chart of al
Qaeda worldwide and in the U.S.? And he said, No, Congressman. So I
gave him the chart.
Now, Mr. Speaker, what is interesting in this chart of al Qaeda, and
you cannot see this from a distance, but right here in the center is
the name of the leader of the New York cell. And that name is very
familiar to the people of America. That name is Mohammed Atta, the
leader of the 9/11 attack against us. So prior to 9/11, this military
system that the CIA said we did not need and could not do actually gave
us the information that identified Mohammed Atta's cell in New York.
And with Mohammed Atta they identified two of the other terrorists with
But I learned something new, Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks
and months. I have talked to some of the military intelligence officers
who produced this document, who worked on this effort. And I found
something out very startling, Mr. Speaker. Not only did our military
identify the Mohammed Atta cell; our military made a recommendation in
September of 2000 to bring the FBI in to take out that cell, the cell
of Mohammed Atta. So now, Mr. Speaker, for the first time I can tell
our colleagues that one of our agencies not only identified the New
York cell of Mohammed Atta and two of the terrorists, but actually made
a recommendation to bring the FBI in to take out that cell. And they
made that recommendation because Madeleine Albright had declared that
al Qaeda, an international terrorist organization, and the military
units involved here felt they had jurisdiction to go to the FBI.
Why, then, did they not proceed? That is a question that needs to be
answered, Mr. Speaker. I have to ask, Mr. Speaker, with all the good
work that the 9/11 Commission did, why is there nothing in their report
about able danger? Why is there no mention of the work that able danger
did against al Qaeda? Why is there no mention, Mr. Speaker, of a
recommendation in September of 2000 to take out Mohammed Atta's cell
which would have detained three of the terrorists who struck us?
Those are questions, Mr. Speaker, that need to be answered.
Last week, I asked the gentleman from California (Mr. Hunter), the
chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, my good friend, and the
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra), the chairman of the Permanent
Select Committee on Intelligence, my good friend, who I have the
highest respect for both of these individuals, to allow us to proceed
with an investigation that has not yet been brought forward to the
American people and our colleagues in this body.
We need to know, Mr. Speaker, why those recommendations, if they, in
fact, occurred, as my intelligence military friends told me that they
occurred, why were they stopped. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have been told
informally that they were stopped because the lawyers at that time in
2000 told them that Mohamed Atta had a green card and they could not go
after someone with a green card.
I have also been told, Mr. Speaker, that it was because of the fear
of the lawyers of the fallout that had occurred on the Waco attack in
Texas just a short time earlier. Mr. Speaker, if that is, in fact, the
case, that is an outrage and a scandal. If our reason for not going
after the Mohamed Atta cell was because of the fear of the fallout from
Waco, then someone needs to answer some questions.
The bottom line process in all of this, Mr. Speaker, is that this
capability, which the CIA said we did not need, which the CIA said was
not necessary, which was, in fact, being used by the military, both the
Army and Special Forces command did something the CIA did not do. It
identified the key cell of Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11, and it actually
gave us a suggestion to deal with that cell. Mr. Speaker, this story
needs to be investigated. This information needs to be pursued.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in spite of the CIA's refusal to implement a
national collaborative center, thank goodness our President did
respond, and in January of 2003, standing in this very chamber, in the
State of the Union speech, he announced the TTIC, the Terrorism Threat
Integration Center. Mr. Speaker, the TTIC is identical to the NOAH, no
different, same concept, same design, linkage together in one location
of all 33 classified systems.
But, Mr. Speaker, we proposed that in 1999, 2 years prior to 9/11.
The administration put it into place in January of 2003. That is the
same capability that the CIA said we do not need that, Congressman; we
cannot do that, Congressman; we have better ways to assess emerging
threats. TTIC has now been reformed. It is now known as the NCTC, the
National Counterterrorism Center, but Mr. Speaker, I still have
concerns, and I rise this evening to express those concerns.
This capability was produced in 1999 and 2000 by the IDC, the
Information Dominant Center. I asked them to update me on al Qaeda, to
show me what they can do today at the IDC. This, Mr. Speaker, is al
Qaeda today. It is obviously impossible for anyone watching our
television monitor to see what is on this chart. I have had this chart
magnified by a large factor and have large copies in my office.
Each of these little individual people are cells of al Qaeda, are
groups of al Qaeda, clusters of al Qaeda around the world. In fact,
Mohamed Atta's cell is identified in this chart. This chart, Mr.
Speaker, was prepared through the national collaborative efforts of our
IDC, using, Mr. Speaker, open source data. That chart was produced with
open source data.
What troubles me, Mr. Speaker, is in talking to my friends in the
defense community who work with the NCTC, I have learned that quite
possibly the NCTC cannot duplicate this capability. That is a question
I plan to get answered this week because we have a
very new and very capable leader of the NCTC that hopefully will tell
me I am wrong, that they can produce this kind of capability to
understand a threat group like al Qaeda.
I rise tonight, Mr. Speaker, to raise the importance of intelligence
collaboration. We can never allow ourselves to return back to the days
prior to 9/11, to the days where individual agencies or individual
agencies that think that they have all of the answers in providing
security for our country and intelligence for our agencies and our
policy-makers. Mr. Speaker, we can never return to the days of 1999 and
2000, and I hope this is not the case today, but back in those days
where the agency bureaucrats were fighting with each other over who
would take credit for the best information. Let me read a couple of
excerpts, Mr. Speaker.
Back in 1999, when I was pushing the CIA to establish this
collaborative capability and our military was actually using that
capability, focusing on emerging threats like al Qaeda, this
conversation went back and forth, Mr. Speaker, September 1999. This is,
by the way, written from military intelligence officers, a summary of
notes to me.
At the military's inception, the CIA drags its feet and limits its
support to the effort. In an off-the-record conversation between the
DCI and the CIA representative to this military unit, a man that I will
call Dave and our military intelligence officer explains that even
though he understands the military's effort is against the global
infrastructure of al Qaeda, he tells me that the CIA will, and I quote,
never provide the best information on al Qaeda, end quote. Why would
they not do that? Because of the effort that they were taking as part
of a finding they had on bin Laden himself and if the military's
project was successful it would, quote, steal their thunder. Steal the
Dave went on to say that short of the CINC, General so and so,
calling the Director, George Tenet, directly, the CIA would never
provide the best information to the military on al Qaeda. To my
knowledge, that information was never provided.
Mr. Speaker, never again can America allow intelligence bureaucrats
to argue back and forth over who is going to steal whose thunder, that
you heaven forbid would want to embarrass the CIA because a military
intelligence unit got information that is supposed to be under their
authority and jurisdiction.
Mr. Speaker, I am not going to read all these pages, but this
classified information that I have to back up what I have given in
unclassified format, will be provided and has been provided for the
chairman of our intelligence oversight committee and our armed services
Again, I have to ask the question, why did the 9/11 Commission not
investigate this entire situation? Why did the 9/11 Commission not ask
the question about the military's recommendation against the Mohamed
Atta cell? Why did the 9/11 Commission not document the internal
battles and disputes between agency personnel going after the same
terrorist organization al Qaeda?
If we are truly going to have an understanding of the need to reform
our intelligence system, then we have to be honest with the American
people about the past.
Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight because I am very troubled by what I have
seen and by what I have heard. I have interviewed and talked to some
very brave military intelligence officers who, back in 1999 and 2000,
were involved in protecting America. They knew what we needed, and they
were trying to do it. As I have read to you, there were some in other
agencies, especially the CIA and some in DIA, who were saying you
cannot do that, that is not your area. That is our area. You cannot
steal our thunder. That is our job, not your job.
Never again, Mr. Speaker, can we allow agency bureaucrats to argue
over who is going to get the credit for solving the next attack or
planned attack against us. I do not rise tonight, Mr. Speaker, to
embarrass anyone. I rise tonight because of my own frustration. We knew
6 years ago what direction we had to go. The agency said we do not need
that, Congressman, we know better than the Congress. Trust us.
Thank goodness President Bush put that system in place when he took
office. If we had had that system in 1999 and 2000, which the military
had already developed as a prototype, and if we had followed the lead
of the military entity that identified the al Qaeda cell of Mohamed
Atta, then perhaps, Mr. Speaker, 9/11 would never have occurred.
Certainly taking out the Mohamed Atta cell and two of the terrorists
that were with him, would have had a profound positive impact in
shutting down the major plan against us that moved forward on September
Mr. Speaker, I have placed these documents in the Record because I
want our colleagues to have a chance to read them. I want our
colleagues to see the facts and the information, and I want to support
our very capable chairman, the gentleman from California (Mr. Hunter)
and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra) as they move forward
with an investigation.
We have to ask the question, why have these issues not been brought
forth before this day? I had my Chief of Staff call the 9/11 Commission
staff and ask the question: Why did you not mention Able Danger in your
report? The Deputy Chief of Staff said, well, we looked at it, but we
did not want to go down that direction.
So the question, Mr. Speaker, is why did they not want to go down
that direction? Where will that lead us? Why do we not want to see the
answers to the questions I have raised tonight? Who made the decision
to tell our military not to pursue Mohamed Atta? Who made the decision
that said that we are fearful of the fallout from Waco politically?
Were those decisions made by lawyers? Were they made by policymakers?
Who within the administration in 2000 was responsible for those
actions? This body and the American people need to know.
"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so." - Ronald Reagan