Able Danger Blog

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hugh Shelton on Able Danger

Now this is the type of reporting I was hoping we would see.

UPDATE: Here is a link that works. From James Rosen for McClatchy Newspapers:

While Shelton said he never heard the program referred to as "Able Danger" until news reports on it first emerged in the summer, the retired general said he authorized a computer data-mining effort to target bin Laden and his associates.

"I dealt with a million damn acronyms and different kinds of code names for operations," Shelton said. "Able Danger was not one that jumped out at me when it first surfaced" in news reports.

But under his direction, Shelton said, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, now Army chief of staff, set up a team of five to seven intelligence officers after Shelton was promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997 and Schoomaker succeeded him as Special Operations commander.

The program began at Special Operations headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, Shelton said, but it was expanded later and moved to Fort Belvoir, Va., outside Washington. Schoomaker briefed Shelton on the program's progress in late 1997 when Shelton made a return visit to his old command post in Florida.

In Washington, sometime between 1999 and 2001, Shelton received a more extensive briefing from Defense Intelligence Agency officers involved in the program.

Read the whole thing. Rosen points out several new details that do not match up with what we already knew, but I think it is more a matter of filling in the blanks about different aspects, not anything that contradicts what Shaffer has said. The problem is that the program has a complex history, which is hard to describe without oversimplifying, and parts of it deal with other programs that are still classified.