Search Warrants and 9-11… The Untold Story

About those search warrants:

Terrorism and Probable Cause

In August 2001, instructors at a flight school in Minneapolis became suspicious of Zacharias Moussaoui, a French national of Moroccan descent who want to fly airplanes but didn’t want to learn how to land them. They tipped off the FBI, which arrested Moussaoui on an immigration violation.

Among Moussaoui’s possessions was a computer. Minneapolis agents wanted to go into the hard drive to check for contacts or other information. Doing so, however, required that FBI headquarters in Washington apply for a search warrant before a federal judge. Schooled in the latest niceties of contemporary law enforcement, the Washington office responded that there was no “probable cause” for conducting.

Hat Tip Steve Carter
American Spectator

“All you’ve got is a guy with an expired visa who’s taking flight lessons,” they said. “Where’s the crime?”

The Minneapolis office responded that it would be good to find out exactly what was going on before Moussaoui “took an airplane and flew it into the World Trade Center.” Their pleas had no impact. Only after September 11th did FBI officials finally look into Moussaoui’s computer, where they found information linking him to both the Hamburg cell that planned the attack and to its leader, Mohammed Atta.

The FBI’s failure to search Moussaoui’s computer caused a sensation in the liberal press. In 2002, Time made Coleen Rowley, staff attorney in the Minneapolis office, along with two other women, its “Persons of the Year” because of their “whistle blowing” efforts. “Rowley is the FBI staff attorney who caused a sensation in May with a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller about how the bureau brushed off pleas from her Minneapolis, Minn., field office that Zacharias Moussaoui, who is now indicted as a Sept. 11 coconspirator, was a man who must be investigated,” reported Time. She had also fought hard during the weeks before September 11th for a search warrant — until Washington finally told her not to call back.

Yet as Heather Mac Donald pointed out, the press took little interest in this story until it could be fit in the familiar Hollywood scenario of a courageous woman taking on dumb organization men. Even in its “Person of the Year” cover story, Time was never able to articulate exactly what it was that Rowley and Washington were arguing about in the first place.

The article continues at the American Spectator

You may have missed that in today’s ACLU New York Times advertisement.

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