Able Danger Blog

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mohamed Atta was only visible to "flakes"

Right after posting this dismissive piece on Able Danger in August, Larry Johnson said this about Tony Shaffer:

Larry Johnson said on Air America that Shaffer is considered a flake by most people he's in contact with at CIA. Johnson said that Atta's name might have been on a list several pages long, but nothing highlighted.

Here is another person who heard it:

Larry Johnson said today that he checked with his intell associates on Schaeffer back before this thing heated up and was told that Schaeffer's a flake that never met a molehill he couldn't make a mountain out of. The open source data mining they were allegedly doing is still somewhat primitive.

As a result, I can't say I was surprised to see this, in the National Journal piece:

One senior IDC analyst, Eileen Preisser, who worked with Kleinsmith on Able Danger and other projects, was characterized by a former Defense official as "an uncontrolled flake." Kleinsmith, who called Preisser an "analytical genius," admitted that she "has constant trouble in working with others in the community." Preisser has worked in several intelligence jobs, inside and outside the government, and those who know her see her as the prototypical IDC believer.

She "is especially critical of those folks who she feels did not, or do not, 'get' the technology," Kleinsmith said. "Instead of working within the system, maneuvering around the tough spots, negotiating and dealing, she tends to burn her way through an issue to get where she needs to go." Preisser now works for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. A spokeswoman there said Preisser declined all requests for interviews.

Apparently, if you thought Al Qaeda was operating here in the US before 9/11, you were by definition a "flake" in the eyes of any number of unnamed IC officials.

As Mac Ranger puts it:

Can't wait to see the FBI/CIA response to Shelton's remarks. No wait, "ex-operatives speaking on condition of anonymity."