Able Danger Blog

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Able Danger on every channel

Well, the print media did not seem to notice, but Able Danger was on CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and FOX News last night - at 6, 7, 8, and 9 pm, respectively. Lou Dobbs at 6PM EST had two interviews about it.

Here is the first:

Joining me tonight to discuss the latest Able Danger developments is Peter Lance. He is the author of the book Cover Up: What the Government is Hiding About the War on Terror." He has also testified before the 9/11 Commission.

Good have you here.

You said the Able Danger controversy is the last best hope for an honest, open reinvestigation of September 11. Why?

PETER LANCE, AUTHOR, "COVER UP": It's like a six-foot pry bar, Lou. It's the first time people on the political right, like Ollie North, are agreeing that the 9/11 Commission is essentially -- was a whitewash joined by the Jersey Girls, the widows who campaigned for John Kerry.

The truth is that there was a cover-up with the 9/11 Commission. They moved the origin of the 9/11 plot forward several years. Now, that's the most important question.

DOBBS: To 1996?

LANCE: 1996 from 1994. And what the Able Danger information does is corroborate that. That, in fact, there was, according to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Scott Philpot, that ran the operation, a direct relationship between al Qaeda and the Brooklyn cell of Ramzi Yousef and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.

I contend in both of my books, and I think I've proven, that the World Trade Center bombing conspiracy was directly funded by al Qaeda, and that Yousef himself was the architect of the second attack, the 9/11 plot, which was carried out by his uncle. So, in pushing the plot forward two years, investigators like Dietrich Snell, who himself should have been a witness before the commission, what they did was they distorted the truth between when the plot started. Therefore, you don't know when it starts, you can't hold accountable the intelligence agencies for failing to stop it.

DOBBS: You can't hold them accountable, but you can't also hold what would be effectively the Bush administration, Bush I, the Clinton administration, and the current Bush presidency accountable either, can you?

LANCE: No, exactly. And I think that -- I had a source inside the commission, I met with him every single week, Lou, from -- from the fall of '03 into the spring of '04. He told me they were cherry- picking evidence on both sides of the aisle. They had agreed -- and these are Democrats and Republicans -- prior to going forward with the commission, had agreed to limit the investigation to the last few years, from '96 forward.

Where as I've shown in my two books that the FBI's New York office, the bin Laden office of origin, had the al Qaeda cell, that did the first bombing, on their radar as early as the summer of '89, when Bush 41 was in the White House.

Then, they could have stopped Ramzi Yousef. I proved this in my book. In the fall of '92, going into early '93, just when Clinton was taking over, prior to the first bombing.

DOBBS: To narrow this just a bit here, Peter, the claim by Able Danger officials, Shaffer and Philpot, principally. That they had that information and were denied the opportunity to share that information with the FBI, the CIA, or other government agencies.

Narrowing it to that specific charge, much has been made of this broadcast at least, by other 9/11 Commission members that they never saw the chart, the so-called chart outlining this. They had no physical evidence. How do you respond to their remarks?

LANCE: The chart is a red herring, Lou. I presented evidence to Dietrich Snell when I testified in March 15th of '04 of a link chart. The link chart was made by the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center, showing a direct connection between al Qaeda and the New York cell of the blind sheikh.

Whether or not there was a later link chart that had Atta's picture is irrelevant. There wasn't an -- as Governor Kean said, all the evidence turned over. There were two briefcases. Tony Shaffer said that's one-twentieth of the evidence that they had available. So how can the 9/11 Commission have made an effective evaluation on the scope of that limited evidence?

DOBBS: We talk about one-tenth, we should also put that in some context, because the Able Danger Pentagon intelligence unit had 2.4 terabytes, 2,400 gigabytes, of information stored that they destroyed. The amount of information that they had accumulated was extraordinary by any measure. LANCE: Equal to one quarter of the books in the Library of Congress. And what's amazing is that this system could work today, Lou. It's a very inexpensive system that basically calls the Internet.

And Congressman Weldon, who I really commend for pushing this, has proposed that for $50 million they reinitiate this program at a critical time. The FBI has not reformed. The 9/11 Commission clearly -- you know, they're a little disingenuous today saying we're at great risk when they told half of the story in their report.

DOBBS: Peter Lance, Congressman Weldon, who, with whom -- I agree with you absolutely, he is a man to be greatly credited for trying to get to the truth here.

What do you think the odds are that the secretary of defense will respond to more than half of the members of the U.S. Congress demanding hearings on Able Danger?

LANCE: Well, it all comes down to what Monica Gabriel said today about the 9/11 report, one of the widows. There has to be public outrage. The people have to finally say, "we are at risk. They are going to hit us again, and there hasn't been sufficient reform."

The people who've got to get into the streets, they've got to contact Congress, in order to get this new investigation. But Able Danger is the last best hope of prying open that investigation.

DOBBS: Peter Lance, thanks for being here.

LANCE: Thank you.

If you are wondering, you can see the DIAC chart he mentions here. It is either from 1998 or 1999 but as he says, it did not identify Mohamed Atta before the attacks. It is also in the appendix of his book, Cover Up, and basically shows the links between the Blind Sheik Rahmen, Ramzi Yousef, Wadih El-Hage from the African embassy bombings, Bin Laden, and some others. While similar to the Able Danger charts, I am not sure yet if it was produced with the same software or not.

Anyway, here is the second interview:

DOBBS: Able Danger, you know the allegations, the fact that the commission ignored it, that Dietrich Snell should have paid more attention to it and provided those reports. How do you react to these charges?

GORTON: Very simply, there's a puff of smoke and there's nothing behind the smoke. You know, it all started, Lou, with Congressman Weldon, who came up with a very specific statement that two weeks after 9/11, he gave a chart showing Mohammed Atta as a part of a Brooklyn plot to our deputy national security Adviser.

And it didn't happen. He never gave it to the FBI. He never gave it to us. He never gave it to anyone.

DOBBS: I'm not worried about the chart. I'm not worried about the chart.

GORTON: Oh, but I'm worried about the chart.

DOBBS: OK. You worry about the chart.

Let me tell you what I'm worried about. I'm worried that in point of fact, a military intelligence unit called Able Danger in the Pentagon has been prevented from telling the U.S. Congress what it knows. Doesn't that disturb you as well?

GORTON: Oh, no.

If you are, as I am, in favor of making this public, in favor of having everyone testify who knows anything about it, of course, you are right. The Department of Defense should not prevent people from witnessing.

DOBBS: From your lips to Donald Rumsfeld's ears, Senator Gorton.

GORTON: All I'm saying in that respect is when they do testify, it will all go away in a puff of smoke.

DOBBS: Let the chips fall where they may. But the public has a right to know, I'm glad we agree on that.

GORTON: That's right.

DOBBS: And Slade Gorton, thank you for your service and that of the rest of the members of the 9/11 Commission. Hopefully, those recommendations will be heeded.

Good to have you here, Slade Gorton.

A puff of smoke? You mean like this one? Just keep on smiling and blinking Slade, and smoking whatever you and Hamilton are smoking.

On Hardball at 7PM EST, Matthews had Gorton and Ben-Veniste on. The transcript should be available tomorrow. In summary, Ben-Veniste and Gorton both want public hearings on Able Danger. Gorton claims it will prove there is nothing to it. Ben-Veniste says it will open our eyes to the pervasive military encroachment on the lives of American citizens through data mining, or something along those lines. I'm shaking in my boots.

UPDATE: Here is an excerpt from the transcript:

MATTHEWS: What about Able Danger? I only got a minute here. There was some talk that we didn‘t quite do what we had the information on.

BEN-VENISTE: That is such a misuse of time in discussing this.

MATTHEWS: So we did get some early warning?

BEN-VENISTE: No. Able Danger is a distraction but ought to be investigated. We ought to have hearings on it. The American public ought to see what Able Danger was about, what it discovered, what it didn‘t discover, why it was shut down and what we ought to be looking at is what the Pentagon is doing in terms of the intrusiveness of its data mining programs: Son of Able Danger, Grandson of Able Danger, the Total Information Awareness Project.

Ben-Veniste also focused on Able Danger in his remarks earlier today, about twenty minutes into the 9/11 Commission press conference, which C-SPAN rebroadcast at 8PM EST.

On Fox, Hannity and Colmes at 9PM EST had Curt Weldon and Bob Graham on to discuss the 9/11 Report and Able Danger. I only caught the end of it, but it sounded like Graham wanted to focus on the bigger picture instead of talking about Able Danger. Which is curious, because if I were him, I'd probably want to know why I never heard about Able Danger, as co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time. Of course, he might have said a lot more earlier in the show, but I missed the start. Hopefully, Intelligence Summit will have the video tomorrow.

UPDATE: Here is the video. The non-response that I saw from Graham was his only air time in the segment, and he simply changed the subject when he was asked about Able Danger. It sounds like he came on the show expecting to talk about other things, instead.

Bob Kerrey was also on Fox today discussing Able Danger. I'm not sure exactly when it aired, but he made the reasonable argument that - at this point - it is too late for the 9/11 Commission to investigate Able Danger, so we should be asking why Congress isn't - instead of just blaming the 9/11 Commission. Of course, Congress would not even have to be doing that if the 9/11 Commission had done it's job right, but he raises a valid point.