Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

More coverage of Able Danger

James Rosen has two separate Able Danger stories out this weekend. In case you were wondering, the same company owns both papers. Here is the article for the Sacramento Bee:

It's either the grandest conspiracy since the JFK assassination and the grassy knoll or much ado about nothing.

Able Danger, a top-secret military program set up in 1999 to probe the al-Qaida terrorist network, is rekindling fierce debate about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Military intelligence officers and contractors who ran the clandestine mission, a computer data-mining operation within the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, claim that more than a year before the attacks, Able Danger identified four of the plot's 19 hijackers and produced a chart that fingered ringleader Mohamed Atta, displayed a photo of him and contained the names of up to 60 al-Qaida operatives around the globe.

Those claims contradict the findings of the 9/11 commission set up by Congress, which in its final report last year spread blame for the attacks across the government but concluded that none of the 19 hijackers, some of whom had lived in the United States for months before Sept. 11, was identified until after the tragedy.

The other one is here for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In a speech on the House floor last month, Weldon suggested that information is being covered up. "I am not a conspiracy theorist," he said, "but there is something desperately wrong."

Weldon also accuses the Pentagon of engaging in a smear campaign against Shaffer, 42, since the colonel went public -- by revoking his security clearance, suspending him and leaking alleged details from his personnel file to reporters and congressional aides.

Among the slurs, Weldon says, are claims that Shaffer was having an affair with a Weldon aide, which Shaffer's lawyer vehemently denies.

In response to a request by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R.-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the Defense Department's inspector general is investigating the alleged smear campaign against Shaffer.

In the Senate, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, accused the Pentagon of possible "obstruction of the committee's activities" after the Defense Department forbade Shaffer, Philpott and other Able Danger analysts from testifying before the panel. Specter and Pentagon officials are negotiating conditions for an open hearing.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, meanwhile, has heard closed-door testimony from Able Danger members and Pentagon employees and is nearing completion of a report.

Yeah, they have been "nearing completion" of that report for months now:

Report due in Able Danger probe
By Rowan Scarborough
October 5, 2005

The Senate Intelligence Committee has taken closed-door statements in an inquiry that could clear up whether the intelligence program Able Danger identified September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta a year before the attack.

A spokesman said yesterday that the committee likely will release a report or a statement in the next two weeks that makes conclusions, or at least determines the facts.

Anyway, AJ has more excerpts from the Star Tribune piece here.

Investor's Business Daily takes an in-depth look at Able Danger, too:

Since then, others have come forward to confirm Weldon and Shaffer's revelation that 9-11 might have been short-circuited on Clinton's watch had this information been shared and acted upon. Witnesses include Capt. Scott Philpott, the Navy officer who managed Able Danger for the Special Operations Command.

But liberal Democrats and their allies in the media aren't interested, perhaps because the dots, when connected, point to Clinton and not Bush.

They are more focused on whether "Scooter" Libby engaged in political hardball than whether the U.S. could have prevented the attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 people and started the war on terrorism in the first place.

With the "grassy knoll" on one hand and a liberal media cover up on the other, I think we can all agree on one thing. We need in-depth, open hearings on Able Danger.