Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rory O'Connor scoops the media again

When it comes to being in the loop or out of the loop, he's definitely in the loop:

A source familiar with the situation but barred from speaking out says ‘Able Danger II’ was created when the US Army’s Land Information Warfare Activity unit (LIWA) “backed out” of the original Able Danger program in early 2000. The US Army Special Operation Command (SOCOM), which along with LIWA and private contractors was involved in the first Able Danger operation, then funded an effort to move the program from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida to a secret ‘black’ facility in Garland, Texas.

In addition to Scott Phillpott and Tony Shaffer, other Able Danger participants (including an Army Lieutenant Colonel who was his Shaffer’s deputy, and a Reserve Major who was called to active duty to help) were deployed to work in the Garland facility.

This unit, known as Stratus Ivy, provided basic support necessary to allow for the “intelligence mechanisms” to function from the Garland site. A cover plan was devised, and in addition to helping to get the plan approved and providing manpower, the unit provided the Able Danger team with clandestine Internet capabilities to help perform “non traceable/non attributable” searches for the most sensitive data. Shaffer also served, while a reserve major on active duty, as one of the “planners” inside the facility.

Although DOD spokesmen report the Defense Intelligence Agency cannot find any information about the Garland unit in its files, several DIA analysts and officials toured the facility between August 2000 and January 2001. One, then chief of the Transnational Warfare Group, sent an aide to Garland in what was perceived by some as an attempt to undermine the ongoing effort in order “to buy time for them to create their own Able Danger-type capability,” as a source explained.

Mac is also in the loop, just a different loop:

Since my last post I got razzed a little by other bloggers because of my previous posts in which I saw the story going "bye, bye". Now this wasn't a guess on my part, I got the information from a very high source that for all intents and purposes the story was dead. I was told in so many words, "It's not going anyway mac, people don't want to play the game anymore - time to move on."

Incidently that same source tells me even now, after the letter, the "status" hasn't changed, but that "the feeling" is that since the reporting on the story (though limited), that some type of hearings will be introduced. But there is a "But"

You must realize that hearings require witnesses and documents that have 'strings' attached. So be prepared to see for the most part 'closed meetings', so that testimony will be sealed or classified. Although I suspect that a few may try to get that lid taken off, these things are governed by rules and security. Also people will continually be told not to testify.

He also adds, as part of a response to a comment from me:

Yet, "Delay, isn't necessarily denial", and in Washington everything is about "timing".

It's sad, but true. The story will come out, but probably not until say, year or 2007-2008. There are people who are holding a lot of cards on this and they are all aces.

As for myself? I'm not in any loop, but maybe that's a good thing.

UPDATE: It is also worth noting in reponse to Mac's source that the only thing Weldon discusses in his letter is allowing public testimony in open hearings:

We the undersigned are formally requesting that you allow former participants in the intelligence program known as ABLE DANGER to testify in an open hearing before the United States Congress....

Further refusal to allow ABLE DANGER participants to testify in an open congressional hearing can only lead us to conclude that the Department of Defense is uncomfortable with the prospect of Members of Congress questioning these individuals about the circumstances surrounding ABLE DANGER. This would suggest not a concern for national security, but rather an attempt to prevent potentially embarrassing facts from coming to light. Such a consideration would of course be an unacceptable justification for the refusal of a congressional request.