Able Danger Blog


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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

Not to diminish the potential problems of overreach and mission creep, but as I have said before, if William Arkin had heard about Able Danger before 9/11 he would have been against it. In fact, it sounds like he still is today.

From Arkin's latest blog post:

But as I said yesterday, despite its name, CIFA is also a law enforcement organization, the super "defense criminal investigative" Czar, a new all-seeing, all-knowing entity that is constantly on the lookout for terrorists. The motto on the report's cover -- "Protecting the Homeland" -- is chilling to me because of the confusion with regard to the very definition of counter-intelligence. I'm not saying government lawyers aren't doing their jobs, or that CIFA isn't filled with patriotic and conscientious staffers who want no part of spying on Americans.

The problem is that there is good reason for a wall between law enforcement and intelligence, one that has been increasingly eroded since 9/11, and one that is falling in the military as well. I'm working on an NBC Nightly News piece that is scheduled to air later this week that shows how CIFA and the military "force protectors" are already poking their noses into places they shouldn't be.


UPDATE: I was going to send him a trackback ping, but he has disabled trackback now. I guess he wasn't happy with the earlier results. To be fair, he might just have been getting a lot of trackback spam. He still allows comments - so I was going to post one - but I saw that someone had already left this one, which says it all:

Mr. Arkin apparently knows little of counterintelligence let alone how it works to protect US national interests. Furthermore, whatever beef he has with the whole MI community and what he thinks is their foray into domestic law enforcement is clearly influenced by some leftist ideology that smacks of incredible ignorance on intelligence matters. Not only does he routinely quote information from joint pubs or DoD unclassified directives out of context but sadly the average lay reader might actually believe this guy might know what he's talking about. Fellow Americans, if you have questions about CI and so called domestic spying, just ask any true CI professional in any of the military services and they'll quickly advise you of just how much protections US persons have against domestic intelligence collection abuses. Don't believe the hype America from uninformed journalists who don't know diddly and seem to enjoy spreading fear about our military intelligence professionals and their mission. As an American and counterintelligence professional who also values privacy, civil liberties, etc......I can appreciate the safeguards in our directives and can assure anyone that 'we' are doing the right thing mindful of the law and respectful of American's rights. Anything published by a journalist like Mr. Arkin regarding 'abuse' and 'domestic spying' is total BS from a guy that makes a living creating hype where there is none. I trust Americans know better and when in doubt will do their own research rather than avail themselves of an idiot's rants and raves based on poor research and even worse writing.

Semper Fi,
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines
and Counterintelligence professional

Macsmind: Sign Up - Get the Truth

Posted by MacRanger:

Able Danger - Sign Up - Get the Truth

Per the Able Danger Blog (newly added link), get over to this petition and sign ur name. Again, if there is any chance of true bi-partisan hearings, the people are going to have to speak up and loud.

Just do it!


You can also read Mac's theory that Able Danger connected Mohamed Atta to Saddam Hussein. As far as I am aware, no who worked on Able Danger has said anything about this. Personally, I think Mohamed Atta, at 5'8", was a lot shorter, chunkier, and paler than the guy in the photo Mac highlights, but maybe that's just me.

Weldon Townhall Meeting

The Delco Times reports from Marple, Pennsylvania about a townhall meeting yesterday:

U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, of Thornbury, told a packed house at the township library Tuesday evening about his concerns regarding the 9/11 Commission.

The congressman said the military intelligence unit Able Danger identified four Sept. 11 hijackers in 2000, more than a year before the attacks. He said the commission, charged with investigating intelligence failures, deliberately excluded the input from its July 2004 final report. Members of the commission have repeatedly denied the claims.

"I am convinced this is a bigger cover-up than Watergate," said Weldon. "More than 3,000 people were slaughtered and it deliberately kept the story from being part of its report because it would have embarrassed some of its members."

Louis Freeh on Lou Dobbs tonight

Specifically to discuss Able Danger at 6PM ET. If the pattern holds it will be in the second half of the show but that is just a guess. I probably won't be able to watch it myself tonight, but I'll still post the transcript sometime around 8PM ET. Watch for Freeh to respond to the Roemer and Gorton letter from November 21st. They implied that he was only criticizing them because they criticized him elsewhere.

UPDATE: Here is the transcript. Not many new facts, but he did offer this insight:

To say that they don't have any documents to prove their case, these aren't informants that we have to verify their credibility. We have testimonial evidence, which, as a prosecutor, that's more potent sometimes than documentary evidence.


From CNN:

DOBBS: Former FBI director Louis Freeh criticized the 9/11 commission, just as Congressman Weldon said. He joins us here tonight. Louis Freeh, it's good to have you here.

LOUIS FREEH, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Good evening.

DOBBS: Why is there this reaction to what is called by more than half of our congressmen and women, to open up and to allow our elected representatives to know what happened?

FREEH: Well, it's a great question. I mean, the issue here, which was the issue when the 9/11 commission first responded to this, is they obviously missed something. They obviously didn't consider what at least is a very important allegation.

Their response to it, it was historically insignificant. Historically insignificant that an intelligence unit may have identified by name and photo, Mohamed Atta a year before the 9/11 hijackings as a member of al Qaeda in the United States.

DOBBS: Tim Roemer, Slade Gorton, other members of the 9/11 commission have said they just had no hard evidence to deal with here. How do you respond?

FREEH: I disagree with that. I was a prosecutor and an FBI agent for many, many years. I deal in facts. You have two witnesses. You have United States Naval Academy graduate, Captain Philpot, you have Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, an army intelligence officer. These aren't data loaders, these are intelligence experts who both have said, unequivocally, this unit identified Mohammed Atta by name and possibly photo in mid 2000.

To say that they don't have any documents to prove their case, these aren't informants that we have to verify their credibility. We have testimonial evidence, which, as a prosecutor, that's more potent sometimes than documentary evidence.

DOBBS: You were director of the FBI until June of 2001. Were you ever aware of Able Danger? Was the FBI ever given any reason to sense that there was some military intelligence or military intelligence evidence or suggestion that there would be an attack or some relationship to Mohamed Atta?

FREEH: Absolutely not. Myself, but also my former colleagues and current FBI colleagues, we read about this in the newspapers in August of this year. And what is very significant here Lou -- which is a point that has been made, and which I think you made -- we had officers at Able Danger who made appointments, actually made appointments to go to the FBI and share this intelligence in 2,000 and those appointments were canceled.

It had to be a very powerful stimulus, this intelligence and information, to make these officers want to really breach the chain of command and go directly to the FBI. We'd like to know why those appointments were canceled.

DOBBS: Now when you say they were canceled, you -- the FBI has corroborated that those appointments were made?

FREEH: Well, I think -- I don't know that for a fact, but I know the Able Danger officers, the two officers that we spoke about and their colleagues have said they made the appointments and the appointments were canceled.

And I don't know the rest of the facts, but that's enough to start an inquiry, which is what the 9/11 commission did not do, which is why I criticize them.

DOBBS: Why do you think the Pentagon has blocked those two officers from testifying before Congress or speaking out on this issue?

FREEH: You know, I don't know the inside facts. I know that the prohibition has been for them to appear in an open hearing. And I understand that, I testified in closed hearings over eight years because there are intelligence matters, there are sensitive matters that should not be held in a public hearing.

So if we're talking about having a closed hearing, that's something I know the 246 members of the Congress that you cite would like to know. I don't think it's important whether it's closed or open, but there should be an inquiry. We know now the Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting an investigation. Senator Specter tried to conduct a hearing, but the issue is why didn't the 9/11 commission do this? That's what we thought they were doing for two years.

DOBBS: Louis Freeh, we thank you very much for being here. Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI.

Shaffer's income and benefits were not stopped

UPDATE: Okay, I have more details now. Tony's lawyer Mark Zaid writes:

Tony Shaffer remains in full pay and benefit status with the DIA. Per order of the Director of DIA all potential or actual adverse personnel actions have been stayed pending the conclusion of the DoD OIG's investigation.


It sounds like the press release has outdated information. The OIG investigation must have postponed any such action. Here is the faulty press release.

From the Patrick Henry Center:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As of November 30, 2005 Gary Aldrich, President of the Patrick Henry Center (PHC) has taken Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer of the Defense Intelligence Agency Operation Able Danger into the PHC WhistleBlower program. "We have agreed to help protect Shaffer," Aldrich explained.

"The Patrick Henry Center is helping Shaffer because he spoke up" (about government incompetence), Aldrich said. As a result of Shaffer asking the Federal 9/11 Commission to consider the Able Danger intelligence information on Mohamed Atta "his job and security clearance have been revoked," Aldrich observed.

Shaffer has been on forced administrative leave from the DIA, but on November 14, 2005 the DIA stopped paying income and benefits to him. Shaffer was formerly an undercover intelligence officer for the DIA. He chose to publicly disclose his identity in August of 2005 so, that he could address the misuse of the Able Danger intelligence gathered on the Brooklyn, New York cell of Al Qaeda before 9/11.

The Patrick Henry Center has hired Washington, DC attorney Michael A. Carvin to represent Shaffer as Congress continues to look into this situation. The WhistleBlower program is designed specifically to help people like Shaffer. "No Whistleblower should ever be worse off for telling the truth," Aldrich said.

For more information on The Patrick Henry Center visit http://www.thepatrickhenrycenter.com

The Patrick Henry Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization located in Fairfax, VA and is supported by private tax-deductible donations. For more information about The Patrick Henry Center please visit http://www.thepatrickhenrycenter.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Curt Weldon on Lou Dobbs

I'll update this with the transcript when it's available, but the most important new detail today was that Weldon met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England again last week and England said he would personally meet with Rumsfeld to discuss the letter from Weldon. Congressman Weldon expects a response this week. I wouldn't count on it, but 246 members of Congress is a hard group to ignore.

UPDATE: Here is the transcript. Another interesting quote from Weldon:

What's the 9/11 commission trying to hide? Are they worried about their linkages, their consulting contract with the Defense Department and the intelligence agencies, or do they really want to get to the truth.


From CNN:

DOBBS: Congressman Weldon joins us from Wilmington, Delaware. First of all, you have to be at least gratified that Tim Roemer, a member of the commission, said we should get to the bottom of this?

REP. CURT WELDON, (R) HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE.: I appreciate Tim saying that. You know, it's amazing, Lou. We spent $15 million and they hired 80 staff people and yet the 9/11 Commission has been more involved with spin since the Able Danger story has broken than they have been at getting at the truth. American people want the truth. Now you have a 9/11 Commission where the 9/11 family members are saying we don't trust what you reported. We don't believe you. You have the FBI director Louis Freeh saying, if we had the Able Danger information, we might have been able to stop the hijackings.

What's the 9/11 commission trying to hide? Are they worried about their linkages, their consulting contract with the Defense Department and the intelligence agencies, or do they really want to get to the truth.

If they want to get to the truth, Lou, they'll stop talking about what they didn't do and start talking about getting to bottom of the whole story.

DOBBS: The whole story, according to several of the former commission members, is all about that chart. Is there any evidence that the chart did exist? And how do you respond to putting forward the chart as the basis to move forward?

WELDON: That's a red herring, it's not about a chart. The Able Danger team amassed 2.5 terror bytes of information about al Qaeda. That's equal to one fourth of all the printed material in the Library of Congress. This was a briefing that was given to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Sheldon.

It's not about a chart. That's their red herring to try deflect criticism away from them. It's about information about al Qaeda that we had before 9/11, and they owe it to the American people to help us find out the status of that information and why we didn't act on it.

DOBBS: You have more than half of the members of the U.S. Congress signed on with you, with your letter, seeking the opportunity for public hearings to free up the former members of Able Danger to testify before Congress, and the secretary of defense has not responded to you, what do you do now?

WELDON: I had a good meeting with the deputy secretary of defense, Gordon England. Rumsfeld was out of country last week and England told me that he would meet privately with Rumsfeld. I assume he did that over thanksgiving.

Gordon England and Rumsfeld are honorable men. I expect an answer this week, and this story's not going to go away. One hundred and three Democrats and 143 Republicans are saying we demand a public hearing, not a private session where people can hide or distort what's being said, an open public hearing.

Both the number two Democrat in the house Steny Hoyer, and the number two Republican in the House, Roy Blunt, signed this letter. It's time for us to get truth to the American people.

DOBBS: Congressman Curt Weldon, trying very much, trying as hard as anyone could to put forward the truth. Thank you very much for being with us, congressman.

WELDON: My pleasure.

DOBBS: We'll have much more on the Able Danger controversy tomorrow evening. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh will join us, he's blasted the 9/11 Commission as well for what he calls its incomplete investigation. He'll be our guest tomorrow night. Please be with us.

Able Danger Aficionados

Thanks to Tom Maguire and AJ Strata for putting us over the top yesterday with more than 1,000 unique visitors on Monday. For anyone looking for a summary of Able Danger, this interview with Tony Shaffer by Government Security News still provides the best overview of the Able Danger story that I have seen. I also need to thank our own QT Monster, and her friend Atlas Shrugs for helping promote the new online petition.

Remember, Weldon is on Lou Dobbs tonight. I'll post a transcript afterward.

In the meantime here is some interesting commentary, informed or not, from the comments section at Tom Maguire's blog:

The unspoken aspect of able danger was that it traced money. It is the easiest thing to follow by monitoring electronics.

It was too good because it never filtered out certain types of transactions.

It scared the bejeebus out of everyone in the know-as it could follow every bribe, foreign and domestic, and every intell op that had a budget. No secrets.

What is really scary is that it did work, and proved its accuracy in successfully targeting terrorists, but the other strands of info that would be available would implicate every system it came across.

It would be my hope that the info would be completely destroyed,but the cynic in me tells me that someone still has it.

Posted by: paul | November 28, 2005 at 04:21 PM



Ever see information destroyed? OK, yes. How about new knowledge?

Posted by: kim | November 28, 2005 at 05:42 PM



Remember the scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Sometimes destruction isn't necessary...

cathy :-)

Posted by: cathyf | November 28, 2005 at 07:34 PM



Were physicists left in charge of the decision to use atomic weapons?

Inventers of a technique commonly lose control of it's use. Potentially loose lips are no longer connected to ears hearing about Able Danger.

What have you heard about data-mining lately?

Let me put it this way. Is data-mining more effective if the objects are aware of it or not? Let's call on Heisenberg for a discussion of the effect.

Posted by: kim | November 29, 2005 at 01:29 AM



Hey you, get that officionado outa' here. What do I have to do to get a little privacy.

Posted by: kim | November 29, 2005 at 02:42 AM

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tim Roemer calls for public hearings

UPDATE: Here is the transcript from Lou Dobbs. I almost agree with Roemer for once on this part at least:

ROEMER: Well first of all, I'd say that gag orders should be issued by courts, not by the Defense Department on people that may or may not know something about the factual existence of a chart that identified hijackers a year before 9/11.

So I agree that one, Congress should continue to look at this. Two, the Senate Intelligence Committee should make public their findings, I think they're done.

And three, Secretary Rumsfeld should respond and Congress should -- they can compel people to testify before Congress. They can tell Mr. Rumsfeld to come and tell us everything he knows about this issue.


Remember that Weldon is on tomorrow, and Louis Freeh on Wednesday.

The full transcript from CNN:

It has been 10 days since Congressman Curt Weldon sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld demanding an investigation of Able Danger and a hearing in Congress. Weldon sent that letter Friday, November 18. And as of this broadcast, we understand that the defense secretary has not responded.

Almost 250 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed that letter, along with Congressman Weldon. They are demanding that members of the Able Danger Army intelligence unit be allowed to testify about what they knew and what transpired in the year before 9/11, and to do so before Congress.

Able Danger officials claim to have identified 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 radical Islamist terrorists more than a year before that attack. They say they were not allowed to share that information with the FBI. The FBI, of course, might have been able to do something to prevent 9/11.

You can read Congressman Weldon's letter to the defense secretary on our Web site, loudobbs.com. My next guest says there is no documentary evidence that Able Danger ever identified Mohammad Atta.

Tim Roemer is a former member of the 9/11 commission. He and other commissioners blasting Congressman Weldon and former FBI director Louis Freeh for accusations that the commission failed to investigate Able Danger. He joins us now from Washington. Good to have you here.

TIM ROEMER, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSIONER: Lou, always good to see.

DOBBS: Why do you think Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI, would be so critical of the commission and so insistent that we need to know more about Able Danger, if there's nothing do it?

ROEMER: Well first of all, I think Director Freeh was a very good prosecutor, an excellent agent in the FBI before he was director. He knows that you need cold facts and hard evidence in those kinds of jobs.

Similarly, Lou, the 9/11 commission, we did public hearings, we wanted accountability, we wanted facts in evidence. We couldn't put a chapter in our book saying that people thought they saw a chart without having the evidence of that chart. So we need substantiation that there was a chart. This is about the evidence involved and factually presenting a chart that shows that Atta and the other terrorists were investigated or identified ahead of time. And finally, I'd say, let's get to the bottom of it, Lou.

We do need to make sure that Congress is doing its job of investigative oversight. The Senate Intelligence Committee has done a look at this Able Danger. I encourage to you have the chairman and vice chairman on your show and have them give you your take on Able Danger, too. Let's get to the bottom of the issue.

DOBBS: Certainly, I would like nothing better, but like you say, cold, hard facts are what I want, and what this audience wants, and we're not going to get it, frankly, from about third parties and what they decided to do or not to do, what they decided to look into and what not to.

The cold hard facts can only come, as I'm sure you would agree, Tim, by the secretary of defense, unleashing all of the members of Able Danger to state straightforwardly before our elected representatives in Congress, what they knew, when they knew it, and to demonstrate hard empirical evidence that they knew it. And were, as the allegation goes, blocked from sharing that information. Would you not agree?

ROEMER: Well first of all, I'd say that gag orders should be issued by courts, not by the Defense Department on people that may or may not know something about the factual existence of a chart that identified hijackers a year before 9/11.

So I agree that one, Congress should continue to look at this. Two, the Senate Intelligence Committee should make public their findings, I think they're done.

And three, Secretary Rumsfeld should respond and Congress should -- they can compel people to testify before Congress. They can tell Mr. Rumsfeld to come and tell us everything he knows about this issue.

DOBBS: Let me ask you two questions. Congressman Weldon as you know in that letter to former members of the commission on August 10th, he asked two questions. One, who decided not to pass the Able Danger information onto the FBI? And two, why did the 9/11 commission staff not pass that information onto the commissioners? Can you answer either of those questions?

ROEMER: I think I can answer both of them for you.

DOBBS: Good.

ROEMER: One, when the evidence came to us from Mr. Philpot, on I think it was on July 12th, 2004, two weeks before we issued our report, four years after 9/11. Before that name or recollection of the chart was mentioned to somebody on the commission, Lou. That was two weeks before we went to print.

DOBBS: I understand. ROEMER: And there was no evidence that this person had the chart. They didn't have the chart with them, they only recollected that they thought they saw the name. That's not evidence in the facts that you and I both want to see.

DOBBS: And as to why the commission staff didn't pass it onto the commissioners?

ROEMER: Because there was not the evidence that a chart was there. There were other agencies, Lou, like the CIA and DIA that were doing data mining, something similar to what Able Danger was doing.

DOBBS: So you would agree, then, with Congressman Weldon, that it's time to unleash whatever is known about Able Danger and the principal part -- as you referred to Mr. Philpot, Captain Philpot -- and his colleagues in Able Danger and let him speak to the American people, through at least a hearing in the U.S. Congress?

ROEMER: I would say this. As a private citizen, I'm no longer officially a part of the 9/11 commission, Lou. I think that the Congress needs to do its investigative oversight. We say on the 9/11 commission, oversight in Congress is dysfunctional and broken, they can have Mr. Rumsfeld come before them. They can have Steve Hadley, the national security adviser, who supposedly got a copy of this.

DOBBS: I think they just want to talk to the folks that made up Able Danger?

ROEMER: They could talk to any or all of those folks. I think they need to talk to top-level government people, they need to talk to the good and capable people at Able Danger.

They also, Lou, could talk to people at DIA and CIA who were also doing data mining, that is a very valuable tool in trying to fight terrorism.

DOBBS: Tim Roemer, as always, good to have you here.

ROEMER: Great to be with you, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: Thank you. We'll have much more on Able Danger and this controversy throughout the week, as we focus on the issue. Congressman Curt Weldon will be our guest tomorrow night.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh will join us as our guest here Wednesday. And our reporting will continue throughout the week.

Charleston Gazette: Terror warnings ignored

Some excerpts from the editorial:

On Nov. 18, more than half of the House of Representatives — 246 members — signed a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding that he let Able Danger agents testify before congressional hearings. Washington is awaiting Rumsfeld’s response....

Two West Virginia members — Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Nick Rahall — were among signers.

Americans need to know whether both of these terror attacks could have been prevented — and they need to know who blocked the advance tips. We hope all West Virginia members of Congress exert pressure to flush this information into the daylight.

Yes that means you, Senators Byrd and Rockefeller, too.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

WTF IMI

When is data mining and information sharing a good thing? Apparently, after all hell has broken loose, “reform” has taken place, and there appears to be all the time in the world until the next attack against the homeland. What else to make of this latest gem from the Washington Post:

The Defense Department has expanded its programs aimed at gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States, creating new agencies, adding personnel and seeking additional legal authority for domestic security activities in the post-9/11 world.


The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. […]


The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence. […]


One CIFA activity, threat assessments, involves using "leading edge information technologies and data harvesting," […]. This involves "exploiting commercial data" with the help of outside contractors including White Oak Technologies Inc. of Silver Spring, and MZM Inc., a Washington-based research organization, according to the Pentagon document.

MZM, the best contract support money can buy.

See, I’m confused: When data mining was carried out and attempts to share what – by all public accounts – was detailed and actionable intelligence information before all hell broke loose, such activities were a bad thing. Why else the madness surrounding Able Danger, as more recently captured by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

On Friday, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 246 lawmakers demanding that the program's officers and contractors be allowed to testify in open congressional hearings. […]


But others in Washington are scoffing at the request for an inquiry.


"By the way he talks about Able Danger these days, you'd think it would have prevented Pearl Harbor," said Timothy Roemer, a former Indiana Republican congressman and member of the 9/11 commission.


Class act Mr. Roemer. Tell me; do you shave yourself in the morning or do you have someone else do it for you? Because if I threw out callous and ignorant comments like that I’d have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror. Then again, I have always suffered from a bad case of consciousness that overwhelmed my under-developed political acumen.


If you needed further proof that the 9/11 Commission’s work in this area comes up short you need only read the last few lines of the piece, which tell us that:


Lee Hamilton, a former Indiana Democrat in the House who was cochairman of the 9/11 panel, said he worked closely with and respects Weldon because they share interests in defense and intelligence matters. But he said the commission investigated the Able Danger officers' claims exhaustively and could not find evidence to support them.


"We've asked for that chart repeatedly," Hamilton said in an interview. "The Pentagon cannot produce it, the White House cannot produce it, and Weldon cannot produce it."

They had access to the chart, if I am not mistaken, back when the investigation was going on. In every TV appearance I’ve seen Weldon in, charts abound. Does “the” chart show up? It does not look like it, but I’m not entirely convinced that it is gone for good. Remember, this is the program that DIA/Pentagon said didn’t exist, until they had to admit that it did. This is all based on data that was destroyed, until it was revealed that maybe it wasn’t. My own experience supporting searches of this type, and knowledge of how data like this is passed around, leads me to believe that no one is even scratching the surface of what still remains of Able Danger.

But no matter; all that took place before we cared. Talking about it now just ends up embarrassing those in power then (who are still in power now, only in different offices) and highlighting how broke-dick things were. Doing this sort of thing now is reforming and revolutionary and paradigm breaking . . . excuse me . . . I’m feeling queezy . . . must be too much turkey . . .

Show me the gag order?

Just to resolve a contradiction I ran across a few weeks ago.

From Rory O'Connor of Media Channel:

DIA spokesman Commander Terrence Sutherland denied that DIA had smeared or gagged LTC Shaffer. “Show me the gag order,” says Sutherland, who maintains that it is DOD, and not DIA, which is at the center of the Able Danger affair. And in response to my repeated queries, Commander Gregory Hicks, spokesman for DOD, could only tell me that, thus far, “I am not getting any responses yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.”


From Shaun Waterman of the UPI:

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary sought testimony from several members of the team -- code-named Able Danger -- as part of their investigation into claims that the project identified Mohamed Atta and three of the other 18 hijackers as linked to al-Qaida in early 2000, according to Senate staffers.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing a liaison to the team, Army reserve Col. Tony Shaffer, told United Press International that a letter to his client gave no reasons for blocking the testimony.

The letter was signed by the principle deputy general counsel for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Robert Berry.

Zaid said the team members "were told verbally that they would not be allowed to testify," and that he had requested the decision about his client be put in writing.


It sounds like the spokesman for the DIA and the principle deputy general counsel for the DIA need to get their stories straight. They might also want to check in with Department of Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Pentagon said today that it had blocked a group of military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified military intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The announcement came a day before the officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that open testimony about the program "would not be appropriate - we have expressed our security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum." He offered no other detail on the Pentagon's reasoning in blocking the testimony.

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
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
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.

Simple questions with simple answers

Did Able Danger identify Mohamed Atta in January 2000? Yes.

Did they figure out that he was in the US on their own? No.

Did they identify all members of the 9/11 plot who were in the US by June 2000? Yes.

Did they identify any members of the plot who entered the US at a later date? No.

Was Able Danger shut down before most of the 9/11 hijackers entered the US? Yes.

Did they share any information about suspected Al Qaeda members with the FBI? No.

Did they find out Mohamed Atta had met with the other leaders of the 9/11 plot? Yes.

Were they kept from sharing their data because the suspects were here legally? Yes.

Do we know if they were tracking the movements and travel of Mohamed Atta? No.

Do we know Able Danger connected Mohamed Atta to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden? Yes.

Do we know Able Danger connected Mohamed Atta or anyone in Al Qaeda to Iraq? No.

Was Able Danger kept from sharing data with the FBI in the Clinton years? Yes.

Is there any indication that President Clinton ever knew about Able Danger? No.

Was Able Danger shut down and its team members reassigned in the Bush years? Yes.

Is there any indication that President Bush knew about Able Danger before 9/11? No.

Comments or corrections?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Able Danger: Clear Thinking/Analysis

AJ Strata has done excellent work dissecting the 9-11/Able Danger timeline:

But Able Danger had identified the four key highjackers at the most critical juncture of their planning! So I agree with former FBI Director Freeh: had Able Danger been paid attention to 9-11 could have probably been averted.

Cross posted at QT Monster.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Updates

Blogging will be light to non-existant through the weekend. In the mean time, leave a comment if you prefer the white background you see here or the shade of blue that used to be the background color for this text area. Enjoy the holiday. Then watch for the media coverage of Able Danger to start building up in the next few weeks. Not that I have any inside knowledge, but 246 Congress members trump a blog any day.

UPDATE: Right as I posted this I got an email from John at Weldon's office, confirming the 9/11 Commission's response to Freeh ran in the Wall Street Journal letters section yesterday, and offering this preview of what to watch for next week:

ABLE DANGER on Lou Dobbs next week...
Tim Roemer (Mon)
Curt Weldon (Tue)
Louis Freeh (Wed)

Last parting shot from the 9/11 Commission

I would say "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" to Gorton and crew, but as 9/11 family member Debra Burlingame points out, they will probably use this as an excuse not to answer any more questions about Able Danger:

From a story in the Village Voice:

9-11 Probers Leave Questions Behind

The private watchdog group formed by the former members of the 9-11 Commission is closing up shop. The announcement of its last media event—a December 5 briefing where the 9-11 Discourse Project "will issue its final assessment of progress on all 9/11 Commission recommendations"—came today. This is no surprise: The project (funded by entities like the Carnegie Corporation, the Drexel Family Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) was intended to last for just a year after the commission expired in August 2004, its mission to "educate the public on the issue of terrorism and what can be done to make the country safer." But even if this end was long planned, it doesn't mean everyone thinks the job is finished.

"I think it's really ironic that they are closing up shop at a time when their credibility is being called into question because of Able Danger," says Debra Burlingame, whose brother was pilot of the plane that hijackers flew into the Pentagon.

Able Danger is the secret military intelligence unit featured in stories published this summer in which military officers claimed that they had information about lead hijacker Mohammed Atta a year before the 9-11 attack. What's more, the sources of the story claim they told the 9-11 commission about it, but that information was left out of the final report. The 9-11 commissioners have dismissed the story as overblown, claiming in an op-ed piece just this week that their staff checked out the story and found no evidence it was true.


Here is the op-ed referenced. Apparently they felt they had to respond to the op-ed by Louis Freeh even though they have never responded to Curt Weldon's requests. I'm not sure if the Wall Street Journal ran this, but I hope they won't dignify it with that.

Letters to the Editor

No Evidence of Pre-9/11 Hijacker Discovery

The Wall Street Journal

21 November 2005

In his Nov. 17 editorial-page commentary "Why Did the 9/11 Commission Ignore `Able Danger'?" former FBI Director Louis Freeh charged the 9/11 Commission with a "failure to investigate" a military intelligence team named Able Danger. We understand that Mr. Freeh, like other federal officials whose agencies' pre-9/11 failures we documented, may not agree with the facts and findings in our report. To paraphrase our former colleague Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Mr. Freeh is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.

The 9/11 Commission's executive director and two senior staff members met with Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer in Bagram, Afghanistan, in October 2003. Lt. Col. Shaffer advised the group about the existence of a pre-9/11 Pentagon data-mining program called Able Danger, which our staff immediately proceeded to investigate. The commission requested a comprehensive list of all documents on the Able Danger program related to terrorism and Afghanistan. And the Pentagon confirms it provided all relevant Able Danger documents to the commission.

Lt. Col. Shaffer also claims he told the commission staff in that same meeting that Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta. However, three commission staff members and a White House attorney who were present affirm that Atta's name was not mentioned. Atta's name did not appear in Lt. Col. Shaffer's own talking points for the meeting.

In the commission's review of Able Danger documents, there was no mention of Mohamed Atta. There were no charts, no data sets, and no analysis identifying Mohamed Atta or any of the other hijackers pre-9/11. There was no evidence that Able Danger identified Mohamed Atta as an individual of interest before he hijacked a plane on Sept. 11.

On June 12, 2004, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott told the commission staff that during a meeting four years earlier he briefly saw Mohamed Atta's name and photo on a chart. Capt. Phillpott provided no documentary evidence -- no data, no analysis, no chart -- to support his account. He subsequently recalled that Atta had been part of a Brooklyn cell early in 2000. We know what Atta was doing at that time, and evidence we examined does not square with this account. That detailed evidence encompasses documents on Atta's travels, activities and entry into the United States, including INS and State Department records. As Mr. Freeh knows, investigators must substantiate eyewitness accounts with hard evidence and cold facts. With regard to this assertion, there is none.

Commission investigators had already reviewed all Able Danger documents related to al Qaeda and found no such evidence. In the absence of documentary evidence, the allegation that Able Danger had identified Atta before 9/11 remains unsubstantiated.

Rep. Curt Weldon claims in his book "Countdown to Terror" that in late September 2001 he gave a chart to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a chart made before 9/11 containing the name and photograph of Mohamed Atta. Mr. Freeh refers to this allegation in his commentary. Mr. Hadley remembers no such chart, and his office, after twice reviewing its records, has found no such chart. The Defense Department has found no pre-9/11 chart or document identifying Mohamed Atta in its exhaustive internal investigation of Able Danger. Rep. Weldon has not produced this chart, which he provided neither to the Congressional Joint Inquiry investigation, nor to the 9/11 Commission. In fact, he did not state publicly that Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta before 9/11 until June 2005, nearly four years after his meeting with Mr. Hadley.

There is no documentary evidence that Able Danger identified Mohamed Atta as an al Qaeda operative before 9/11. The 9/11 Commission found no such evidence. The Department of Defense has found no such evidence in its internal review. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is now conducting its own investigation of Able Danger. We look forward to its findings, and any new facts it may uncover.

The 9/11 Commission held 12 public hearings over 19 days, interviewed more than 1,200 people, and reviewed more than two million pages of documents. Our findings are based on verifiable facts and documented with hundreds of footnotes. We encourage those who challenge our thoroughness and motives to meet the same standard.

Slade Gorton

Seattle

Timothy J. Roemer

Washington

(Messrs. Gorton and Roemer are former members of the 9/11 Commission and are currently members of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project.)

Weldon entered letter into Congressional Record

From Vi's list, Able Danger - Latest News:

Congressional Record: Weldon officially submits request to DOD for witnesses on Able Danger (HT: Free Republic) - "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 happened on Friday, before they recessed. Here is the direct link to the GPO record as a PDF file. In addition to his own letter, Weldon also submitted for the record a copy of the Freeh op-ed, and letters from both a USS Cole family member and a September 11th family member.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Louis Freeh not on John Batchelor Show

UPDATE: The fourth hour is a replay of the first and no sign of Freeh. Apparently John posted this entry but never bothered to update it to say Freeh would not be on.

John Batchelor posts on RedState.org:

Louis Freeh on Able Danger: What is to be done?
By: John Batchelor

Louis Freeh talks with me tonight re his declaration that the 9/11 Commission deserves an incomplete grade for its investigation of the mysterious Able Danger program at the DoD.


From JohnBatchelorShow.com:

The John Batchelor Show is on Sirius and XM satellite radios. If you cannot find a signal locally or by satellite, the most dependable method is to listen by Internet to

WABC in New York (770 AM)
10 PM to 1 AM, Eastern Standard Time
3 AM to 6 AM Greenwich Mean Time

or WMAL in Washington, D.C. (630 AM)
9 PM to 1 AM, Eastern Standard Time
2 AM to 6 AM Greenwich Mean Time

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,...next 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.

Able Danger on Fox News Sunday

Maid Marion says in the comments Wallace asked Rumsfeld about Able Danger.

UPDATE: The show is still on, but the interview was at the top of the hour. They have the transcript online, though. Here it is:

WALLACE: Well, so it's not just Washington. But let me ask you one last thing. And I have to say, a lot of people wanted me to ask you about this. Able Danger, an intelligence unit in the Pentagon -- did they or did they not identify Mohammed Atta and some of the other 9/11 hijackers in the year 2000?

RUMSFELD: There are people that said they did. The year 2000 or earlier? I don't remember when it was.

WALLACE: No, the year 2000.

RUMSFELD: Was it? I wasn't in government at the time, obviously.

WALLACE: Right.

RUMSFELD: But there are some people who say that that's the case. There are other people involved who say it isn't. And the people in the Pentagon, I'm told, have spent just enormous numbers of hours digging into everything they can find and giving it to the appropriate committees of the Congress, and they have not been able to validate it.

WALLACE: I don't understand why it's so complicated. I mean, people are -- I mean, it's a fact. Why wouldn't you, as the secretary of defense, your people underneath you, be able to find out?

RUMSFELD: They've looked and they -- you can't prove a negative. They've looked and looked and looked and looked and found everything they could find. Cannot find validation of that, which doesn't mean it didn't happen.

You say you don't understand why it can't be done. But you couldn't do it either. You can't prove a negative. All you can say is we've looked and looked and looked. We can't say it didn't happen, but we also don't have evidence that it did.

WALLACE: All right. Thank you.


Well, that definitely clears things up.... Or not. The obvious follow up would have been, "Then why won't you let them testify?" Or maybe Wallace could have gotten a copy of the letter Catherine Herridge had yesterday, with 248 signatures from Congress in both parties - asking Rumsfeld to allow public testimony on Able Danger - and brought that detail to Rumsfeld's attention.

Weldon was on Fox News Saturday

Intelligence Summit has the video. Catherine Herridge deserves a lot of credit for following the story. She has been reporting on it since the start. The list of signatures is up to 145 Republicans and 103 Democrats now.

Editorial: Congress should hold ‘Able Danger’ hearings

From the Delco Times in Weldon's district:

The adage in Washington is that the cover-up is worse than the crime. That appears to be the case in the case of "Able Danger" and the case being built by our congressman, U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon. Mr. Weldon insists there was an Army intelligence operation within the Pentagon called "Able Danger" which identified Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammad Atta and others as terrorists intent on doing harm to America.

But when the 9/11 Commission presented its final report, there was never a word about "Able Danger" or the Pentagon operation or the clues that Atta and his men were in the United States, plotting their attack on the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the White House....

This week, Weldon petitioned fellow House members and obtained a majority in calling for open hearings on Able Danger and how much the Pentagon knew about the band of terrorists within our borders for a year before Sept. 11. He also wants to know why 9/11 Commission staffers covered up details of the special intelligence unit.

We support Congressman Weldon in his efforts and urge the House and Senate leadership to stage the public hearings and get to the bottom of the matter.

It’s only fair to the memory of those who died in the terror attacks in 2001 and for their families, who have been seeking the elusive truth for too long.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Comparing treatment of Plame and Shaffer stories

Columnist Jack Kelly in Toledo writes:

"Scandal with real victim ignored"

"The Able Danger intelligence, if confirmed, is undoubtedly the most relevant fact of the entire post-9/11 inquiry," wrote former FBI Director Louis Freeh in The Wall Street Journal.

A half-dozen former members of the Able Danger team are ready to back up Colonel Shaffer's story, according to U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.), who first made Able Danger public.

But the Defense Department has prevented Colonel Shaffer and other Able Danger team members from testifying before Congress. And the Defense Intelligence Agency is trying to fire Colonel Shaffer on a variety of trumped-up charges, the most "serious" of which is that as a teenager, Mr. Shaffer stole note pads and pens from a U.S. embassy to use in his high school classwork.

Mr. Weldon has gathered the signatures from 201 colleagues for public hearings on Able Danger, but attracted next to no media attention.

Gallons of ink and hours of airtime have been devoted to faux victims Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson in a case that has much to do with politics and nothing to do with national security. Shouldn't journalists devote some attention to Tony Shaffer, a real victim and a scandal that really does involve national security?


UPDATE: I disagree that the Plame case has "nothing to do with national security" - we don't really know because the CIA never released a report. It seems to me like the issue with sources recruited by Brewster Jennings employees is real. However, we know exactly what happened and might have been prevented except for the problems Able Danger encountered. 9/11. You'd think someone could spare an investigative reporter or two to look into the Able Danger story, instead of leaving it up to Weldon to drive the story and coverage on his own.

Friday, November 18, 2005

List of 245 Congress members who signed

Here is a list of those who have signed Congressman Weldon's letter to Secretary Rumsfeld requesting open hearings for the ABLE DANGER team.

UPDATE: Weldon's site has been down most of the day Sunday. As of about 7pm it is back online. Here is the letter and list of signatures from Weldon's site. I think that 101 instead of 100 for the number of Democrats is a typo:

MORE THAN HALF OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WANTS OPEN HEARINGS ON ABLE DANGER

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary
Department of Defense
Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

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. Until this point, congressional efforts to investigate ABLE DANGER have been obstructed by Department of Defense insistence that certain individuals with knowledge of ABLE DANGER be prevented from freely and frankly testifying in an open hearing. We realize that you do not question Congress's authority to maintain effective oversight of executive branch agencies, including your department. It is our understanding that your objection instead derives from concern that classified information could be improperly exposed in an open hearing. We of course would never support any activity that might compromise sensitive information involving national security. However, we firmly believe that testimony from the appropriate individuals in an open hearing on ABLE DANGER would not only fail to jeopardize national security, but would in fact enhance it over the long term. This is due to our abiding belief that America can only better prepare itself against future attacks if it understands the full scope of its past failures to do so.

On September 21, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary conducted a hearing on ABLE DANGER which Bill Dugan, Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight, certified did not reveal any classified information. Congressman Curt Weldon's testimony at that hearing was largely based on the information that has been given to him by ABLE DANGER participants barred from open testimony by DOD. Their testimony would therefore closely mirror that of Congressman Weldon, who did not reveal classified information. Therefore we are at a loss as to how the testimony of ABLE DANGER participants would jeopardize classified information. Much of what they would present has already been revealed. 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.
Sincerely,

Republican (144)


  1. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
  2. David L. Hobson, (R-OH)
  3. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
  4. Joel Hefley (R-CO)
  5. Todd Russell Platts (R-PA)
  6. Tom Davis (R-VA)
  7. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
  8. Charles W. Dent (R-PA)
  9. Jim Ramstad (R-MN)
  10. Mark Souder (R-IN)
  11. Phil English (R-PA)
  12. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  13. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
  14. Christopher Shays (R-CT)
  15. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
  16. Charles H. Taylor (R-NC)
  17. John L. Mica (R-FL)
  18. John T. Doolittle (R-CA)
  19. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  20. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)
  21. Nathan Deal (R-GA)
  22. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  23. Donald A. Manzullo (R-IL)
  24. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA)
  25. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX)
  26. John E. Peterson (R-PA)
  27. Ron Paul (R-TX)
  28. Jerry Weller (R-IL)
  29. Michael N. Castle (R-DE)
  30. Geoff Davis (R-KY)
  31. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
  32. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
  33. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  34. Rob Simmons (R-CT)
  35. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
  36. Henry Bonilla (R-TX)
  37. Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA)
  38. Howard Coble (R-NC)
  39. Jim Gibbons (R-NV)
  40. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
  41. Dan Burton (R-IN)
  42. Joseph R.Pitts (R-PA)
  43. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
  44. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
  45. Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
  46. Ellen Gallegly (R-CA)
  47. Don Sherwood (R-PA)
  48. Zach Wamp (R-TN)
  49. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
  50. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
  51. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
  52. Chris Chocola (R-IN)
  53. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
  54. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
  55. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
  56. Ron Lewis (R-KY)
  57. Rob Aderholt (R-AL)
  58. Randy J. Forbes (R-VA)
  59. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA)
  60. John Boozman (R-AR)
  61. Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ)
  62. John E. Sweeney (R-NY)
  63. Michael R. Turner (R-OH)
  64. Dennis R. Rehberg (R-MT-At Large)
  65. Tom Osborne (R-NE)
  66. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
  67. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
  68. John Linder (R-GA)
  69. Todd W. Akin (R-MO)
  70. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  71. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  72. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
  73. Robin Hayes (R-NC)
  74. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN)
  75. Bob Inglis (R-SC)
  76. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  77. Lee Terry (R-NE)
  78. Dave Weldon (R-FL)
  79. Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT)
  80. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL)
  81. Melissa Hart (R-PA)
  82. John Sullivan (R-OK)
  83. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  84. Adam H. Putnam (R-FL)
  85. Don Young (R-AK-At Large)
  86. Peter King (R-NY)
  87. Daniel E. Lungren (R-CA)
  88. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX)
  89. Katherine Harris (R-FL)
  90. John Hostettler (R-IN)
  91. Paul E. Gillmor (R-OH)
  92. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  93. Michael Simpson (R-ID)
  94. Tom Price (R-GA)
  95. Charlie Norwood (R-GA)
  96. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)
  97. Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
  98. Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R-SC)
  99. Thomas G. Tancredo (R-CO)
  100. Terry Everett (R-AL)
  101. Robert Ney (R-OH)
  102. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
  103. Wally Herger (R-CA)
  104. Mark Foley (R-FL)
  105. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  106. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
  107. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
  108. John J. H. "Joe" Schwarz (R-MI)
  109. Jon C. Porter (R-NV)
  110. Kay Granger (R-TX)
  111. Greg Walden (R-OR)
  112. Mary Bono (R-CA)
  113. Anne Northup (R-KY)
  114. John Kline (R-MN)
  115. Frank D. Lucas (R-OK)
  116. Candice S. Miller (R-MI)
  117. William Jenkins (R-TN)
  118. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
  119. Sue W. Kelly (R-NY)
  120. Mike Pence (R-IN)
  121. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO)
  122. Cathy McMorris (R-WA)
  123. Ralph Regula (R-OH)
  124. John Carter (R-TX)
  125. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
  126. James Leach (R-IA)
  127. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ)
  128. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
  129. John McHugh (R-NY)
  130. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
  131. Barbara Cubin (R-WY-at large)
  132. Michael Conaway (R-TX)
  133. Chris Cannon (R-UT)
  134. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  135. Jim Ryun (R-KS)
  136. Jeb Bradley (R-NH)
  137. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH)
  138. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
  139. Bill Young (R-FL)
  140. Melissa Bean (D-IL)
  141. Jack Kingston (R-GA)
  142. Ed Royce (R-CA)
  143. Tom Cole (R-OK)
  144. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)


Democrats (101)


  1. John Murtha, John P. (D-PA)
  2. Ike Skelton (D-MO)
  3. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
  4. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
  5. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
  6. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
  7. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
  8. Joe Baca (D-CA)
  9. Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
  10. James R. Langevin (D-RI)
  11. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
  12. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
  13. Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
  14. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
  15. Loretta T. Sanchez (D-CA)
  16. Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA)
  17. Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
  18. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY)
  19. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
  20. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
  21. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
  22. Sam Farr (D-CA)
  23. Chet Edwards (D-TX)
  24. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
  25. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY)
  26. Neil Abercrombie (D -HI)
  27. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD)
  28. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
  29. Madeline Z. Bordallo (D-GU)
  30. Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY)
  31. Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV)
  32. Robert Brady (D-PA)
  33. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
  34. Mike Doyle (D-PA)
  35. Tim Holden (D-PA)
  36. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
  37. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI)
  38. James E. Clyburn (D-SC)
  39. Steve Israel (D-NY)
  40. Harold Ford (D-TN)
  41. John Larson (D-CT)
  42. Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS)
  43. Ken Meek (D-FL)
  44. John Dingell (D-MI)
  45. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
  46. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
  47. Vernon J. Ehlers (D-MI)
  48. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
  49. Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN)
  50. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)
  51. David Wu (D-OR)
  52. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA)
  53. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
  54. Ruben HinoJosa (D-TX)
  55. John M. Spratt, Jr. (D-SC)
  56. Norman D. Dicks (D-WA)
  57. Edward Markey (D-MA)
  58. Jane Harman (D-CA)
  59. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
  60. Bart Stupak (D-MI)
  61. Susan A. Davis (D-CA)
  62. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
  63. Hilda Solis (D-CA)
  64. Gene Green (D-TX)
  65. Martin T. Meehan (D-MA)
  66. Marion Berry (D-AR)
  67. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
  68. James P. Moran (D-VA)
  69. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD)
  70. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  71. John Lewis (D-GA)
  72. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
  73. Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
  74. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
  75. Lane Evans (D-IL)
  76. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
  77. Bill Delahunt (D-MA)
  78. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
  79. Robert E. (Bud) Cramer, Jr. (D-AL)
  80. Gene Taylor (D-MS)
  81. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA)
  82. Richard E. Neal (D-MA)
  83. Al Green (D-TX)
  84. Robert Wexler (D-FL)
  85. John T. Salazar (D-CO)
  86. Michael Capuano (D-MA)
  87. Mike Thompson (D-CA)
  88. Collin Peterson (D-MN)
  89. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
  90. Robert Andrews (D-NJ)
  91. Mark Udall (D-CO)
  92. George Miller (D-CA)
  93. Adam Smith (D-WA)
  94. Michael Honda (D-CA)
  95. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
  96. Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ)
  97. Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
  98. Jerry Costello (D-IL)
  99. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
  100. Allen Boyd (D-FL)


Independent (1)


245. Bernard Sanders (VT-at large)

Focus

Over the course of the next few weeks we’re going to start seeing the groundwork being laid for a more substantial look at Able Danger. Short of another attack on the homeland, nothing is going to stop Congress from taking the rest of the year off, but we may very well see some movement with regards to scheduling hearings when our representatives return in 2006.

We should also brace ourselves for another round of blocks, feints, and dodges from the Defense Intelligence Agency and various elements of the DOD, who are determined to keep Able Danger out of the sunlight. A fresh salvo of mud-slinging towards the messengers – in particular Tony Shaffer – is also inbound. I won’t belabor my position on this former colleague suffice it to say that when you want to drive nails you don’t use a drain snake. Besides, I know of no dark clouds that hang over the heads of the other individuals who are sounding the clarion over Able Danger.

Focus: It isn’t the messengers we need to pay attention to, it is the message.

We’ve long-since crossed the threshold into the information age, and it was programs like Able Danger (among others) that showed the utility of taking full advantage of that fact. Picture of Atta or not, Able Danger exposed information about al-Qaeda that could have helped prevent or at least diminish the impact of 9/11. There are also indications that it could have prevented the attack on the USS Cole, or at the very least let the Commander of the Cole make an informed decision about where to refuel that day.

I’m not interested in laying blame on a given administration (there are plenty of political bloggers who are happy to oblige), but I am interested in getting to the bottom of outstanding issues. For this we need an honest accounting of what was known, who knew it, and who or what prevented it from getting out to the right people. We already know that despite holding positions of serious responsibility no one in the IC is accountable for their actions (a promotion is more likely), so let’s give up the idea that we’re going to blame or fire anyone.

Focus: Fixing what is broken, not breaking those who put the fix in, is paramount.

The lack of mainstream press coverage on Able Danger does not surprise me. It does, but in light of other blasé attitudes related to uncovering facts about the war in Iraq or against terrorism, it does not. As Stephen Hayes has written in the Weekly Standard, there is ample information available that supports why we went to war against Iraq and why we are fighting the war on terrorism. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the intelligence community who gives a damn. Oh, they’re gisting documents and filling databases, but no one is seriously exploiting this information, fusing it with other intelligence, or otherwise effectively using it.

To an extent this is understandable; the intelligence community is not a history department. On the other hand, we do have in our possession the thoughts, feelings, attitudes and opinions (think about all the things you keep on your computers at home or work) of the former Iraqi regime as well as members of al-Qaeda. Seems to me that if you wanted to round up more bad guys and get ahead of whatever it is they’re up to (shrinking the OODA loop), getting a little history lesson wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Some view the blockade of Able Danger as part of a larger covert political campaign (liberal media bias, liberals in the IC working against Bush a’la Plame-Gate). That may very well be true, but I’m of the belief that methodology and technology, not politics, is the prime mover here. Efforts like Able Danger (unclassified, IT-centric, no physics and no fancy tradecraft) so threaten the status quo in the IC that we might actually be witnessing an alliance between the two normally competitive forces (HUMINT vs. national technical means) against a common enemy that is more threatening that al-Qaeda: open source intelligence and data mining.

Focus: This is neither a political issue nor a parochial one; it is a national issue that impacts citizens of all stripes (al-Qaeda doesn’t care who you voted for or where you work).

Able Danger is about both history (what we could have done) and the future (what we can still do). It could very well be the key to meaningful intelligence reform, because I think it is clear that it was not “historically insignificant”. Not vigorously and honestly pursuing the case guarantees that we deserve whatever slings and arrows our enemies will suffer us, because we’re distracted by the flies and not focusing on what is causing the stench.

Able Danger: Audio From the Rush Limbaugh Radio Talk Show, 11/17/2005

Roger Hedgecock was the guest host on Rush's show yesterday. Close to the end of the second hour he had some things to say about Able Danger. The audio is up at QT Monster.

Why Able Danger was ignored

I have to say I agree with Mark Tapscott completely here:

If the Able Danger scenario is confirmed, and I have little doubt that it will be, the only possible conclusions are that 9/11 represented one of this nation's most colossal intelligence failures and the inability or unwillingness of the 9/11 Commission to even consider the Able Danger facts is indicative of the Washington Establishment's deeply ingrained refusal to assess honestly its role in the 9/11 disaster.

Otherwise, Freeh presents a highly disturbing assessment that deserves close reading by every one who cares about the outcome of the Global War on Terror.


A conversation that keeps coming back to me the last few days is one I had with a friend of mine who is more involved in politics than me. Talking about Able Danger, he said it was not in the interest of either party to go back and dig into what happened before 9/11 any more. That's why they've been treating Able Danger like such a political hot potato. As Weldon makes clear in his letter, which most of the members of the House have now signed - forget about the interests of the parties - it's in the interest of the American people. It sounds like we may finally find out.

Deputy Director who silenced Able Danger has a new job

The official responsible for all of the latest retaliation against Shaffer - the same guy who refused to hear a briefing from Shaffer on Able Danger in 2000 because it might contain information obtained through controversial datamining methods - is now in charge of "outcomes" for the newly established DNI under John Negroponte. In case you missed this development from back on October 31, 2005 like I did, here is Ewing's new job title:

Mr. Mark Ewing
Principal Assistant Deputy Director,
Office of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Customer Outcomes

Mr. Ewing served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2000 to 2005. Previously, he was Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, from 1996 to 2000.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Full Blown Able Danger Investigation May Be Coming

For ages now MacRanger at Macsmind has believed that there was no way Able Danger would ever be investigated because the Pentagon/government would make certain that the story died. Now it sounds like Mac has changed his mind:

In the beginning of the Able Danger story I was skeptical - I am no longer and the more I look into this the more unskeptical I become. In the past I have predicted that this story would "die" and so far - outside of some starts and stops - it appeared it had, according to what I was told today, it's about to get some real life.

235 Congress members have signed

From Lou Dobbs:

Able Danger officials say they were not allowed to share that information with agencies that could have prevented the terrorist attack. Leading to one of the worst intelligence failures in the country's history and of course, great tragedy. Congressman Curt Weldon demanding those officials be allowed to testify before Congress. Now, more than half of the House of Representatives, 235 members, have agreed with Congressman Weldon and have signed on to a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. You can read this letter on our Web site, loudobbs.com.

Able Danger on Air America

It looks like everyone is turning on the 9/11 Commission. Freeh might have been onto something with this quote from his op-ed:

The Able Danger intelligence, if confirmed, is undoubtedly the most relevant fact of the entire post-9/11 inquiry. Even the most junior investigator would immediately know that the name and photo ID of Atta in 2000 is precisely the kind of tactical intelligence the FBI has many times employed to prevent attacks and arrest terrorists. Yet the 9/11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it "was not historically significant." This astounding conclusion--in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings--raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself.


Here's the first entry in the "Top Stories" list on Air America:

"Able Danger" Could Have Prevented 9/11

Former F.B.I. Director Louis Freeh is baffled by the 9/11 commission and its bogus reports. "Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named "Able Danger" have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11". Military officers assigend to "able danger" identified Mohamed Atta as an Al-Qaeda operative in 2000, however they were prevented from sharing this information with the F.B.I. and C.I.A. Why? How could the 9/11 commission conclude that this knowledge was "not historically significant?"

Mac Says It's Ramping Up

Mac Ranger always has a unique point of view:
Louie is kind of the "smoking gun" on this thing no one figured on. He had been out of the "limelight" since he retired in May of 2001, yet Able Danger took place during his watch (a fact he curiously omits)

Insta Danger?

Professor Reynolds thinks that maybe he should be paying more Able Danger attention.

And Little Green Footballs noticed too.

More from National Review Online

Andy McCarthy is intrigued too by the Freeh piece, enough to post twice this morning. He says that it's getting interesting.

TKS's Jim Geraghty Noticed

National Review Online's TKS blog links to the Freeh column at WSJ with Louis Freeh Whacks 9/11 Commission Over Able Danger.

Louis Freeh-Able Danger/WSJ: The Captain Weighs In

As I mentioned here, the Louis Freeh column today in The Wall Street Journal has gotten the Able Danger story plenty of attention. (The Able Danger blogroll has already posted links to 7 AD stories today with lots more yet to come I'm sure.)

Comments from Ed Morrissey:

"In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it?"

That used to be the primary question of Able Danger, but now that we have seen what the DIA has done to the primary whistleblower, the questions have to run deeper than the incompetence of the Omission Commission. The Defense Intelligence Agency stripped Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer of his clearances over a series of old and bogus charges relating to the use of pens and pads of paper from more than twenty years ago. That effectively ended his career in civilian intelligence work, although it doesn't affect his status in the Army Reserve. The DIA's attack on Shaffer on transparently stupid and baseless points of trivia shows that Able Danger has more than just the bureaucrats of the Commission worried. Why?

Freeh calls for the resumption of public hearings on the Able Danger program and its identification of terrorist cells by Congress as soon as possible. That probably means late January at the earliest if the Judiciary Committee takes the case as it promised earlier. We need to press Arlen Specter and Pat Leahy to fight the DIA and issue subpoenas if necessary. One man has already sacrificed his career for this effort, and that sacrifice should not pass unrewarded.

The Strata-Sphere: Able Danger Update

AJ Strata notes that Rep. Weldon has gotten some major backing in his push for Able Danger hearings:
Weldon is getting some heavy hitters on this letter:
Among those signing Weldon’s letter are House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), Small Business Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), as well as Reps. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) and John Linder (R-Ga.).
There are also several members of the Armed Services Committee, including Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Rob Simmons (R-Conn.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Todd Akin (R-Mo.)…Among the approximately 80 Democrats signing the letter are Reps. John Murtha (Pa.), ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee; Ike Skelton (Mo.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee; Mike McIntyre (N.C.); and Ellen Tauscher (Calif.).
I expect the list of Big Dogs to grow. Wouldn’t hurt to get democrat Jane Harman on the list.

The Wall Street Journal: An Incomplete Investigation by Louis Freeh

Where raising the profile of the Able Danger profile is concerned, this will be huge:


The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, has led the way in cleaning up the 9/11 Commission's unfinished business. Amid a very full plate of responsibilities, he conducted a hearing after noting that Col. Shaffer and Capt. Phillpott "appear to have credibility." Himself a former prosecutor, Mr. Specter noted: "If Mr. Atta and other 9/11 terrorists were identified before the attacks, it would be a very serious breach not to have that information passed along . . . we ought to get to the bottom of it." Indeed we should. The 9/11 Commission gets an "I" grade--incomplete--for its dereliction regarding Able Danger. The Joint Intelligence Committees should reconvene and, in addition to Able Danger team members, we should have the 9/11 commissioners appear as witnesses so the families can hear their explanation why this doesn't matter.

Reading the entire article is mandatory.

Cross posted at QT Monster.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rep. Weldon Interviewed by Michael Savage-the Audio Is Up

I just posted the audio over at QT Monster.

From Hill News

Over 100 GOP and 80 Democratic members have signed:

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) has gathered at least 202 Congress members’ signatures for a request that participants of an intelligence cell that may have identified some of the Sept. 11 ringleaders a year before the attacks be allowed to testify before Congress....

Among those signing Weldon’s letter are House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), Small Business Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), as well as Reps. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) and John Linder (R-Ga.).

There are also several members of the Armed Services Committee, including Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Rob Simmons (R-Conn.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Todd Akin (R-Mo.). By press time, Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the panel’s chairman, was not among the signatories.

Among the approximately 80 Democrats signing the letter are Reps. John Murtha (Pa.), ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee; Ike Skelton (Mo.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee; Mike McIntyre (N.C.); and Ellen Tauscher (Calif.).

Weldon was on Michael Savage show

UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter for pointing it out. Weldon did not come back for the second hour, so it sounds like if there is a replay, the interview is in the first hour. Personally, I'm far from a Savage fan, but he is staying on the story as are Lou Dobbs and others. Here is a station that will be replaying Savage at 8PM Central and 9PM Eastern time where you can listen online.

Another commenter, at Free Republic, points out this interesting development:

Interesting, that after all the Hype Hannity has given this story, he did not ask ONE question of Sec Rumsfeld during his interview.

NOT ONE. Someone does want this dead.

Over 200 signatures

Lou Dobbs just announced they have over 200 signatures. He also posted a copy of the letter at CNN.com and mentioned they had a list of who has signed it already, although I do not see an accompanying list yet. Lou mentioned that Republican majority leader Roy Blunt has signed, which is very, very bad news for those at the Pentagon trying to silence Shaffer.

Text of letter to Rumsfeld

Got it just now from John at Congressman Weldon's office:

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld

Secretary

Department of Defense

Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301



Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:



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. Until this point, congressional efforts to investigate ABLE DANGER have been obstructed by Department of Defense insistence that certain individuals with knowledge of ABLE DANGER be prevented from freely and frankly testifying in an open hearing. We realize that you do not question Congress's authority to maintain effective oversight of executive branch agencies, including your department. It is our understanding that your objection instead derives from concern that classified information could be improperly exposed in an open hearing. We of course would never support any activity that might compromise sensitive information involving national security. However, we firmly believe that testimony from the appropriate individuals in an open hearing on ABLE DANGER would not only fail to jeopardize national security, but would in fact enhance it over the long term. This is due to our abiding belief that America can only better prepare itself against future attacks if it understands the full scope of its past failures to do so.



On September 21, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary conducted a hearing on ABLE DANGER which Bill Dugan, Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight, certified did not reveal any classified information. Congressman Curt Weldon's testimony at that hearing was largely based on the information that has been given to him by ABLE DANGER participants barred from open testimony by DOD. Their testimony would therefore closely mirror that of Congressman Weldon, who did not reveal classified information. Therefore we are at a loss as to how the testimony of ABLE DANGER participants would jeopardize classified information. Much of what they would present has already been revealed. 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.



Sincerely,

Weldon letter is addressed to Rumsfeld

I just got off the phone with John, communications director for Congressman Weldon. He confirmed the letter is addressed to Rumsfeld, and to paraphrase, it asks him to allow for the members of the Able Danger team to testify in open hearings before Congress. It explains that they understand the concern Rumsfeld has is related to confidentiality of information, and they realize Rumsfeld does not question the oversight powers of the Congress. However they ask him to reconsider, and list a number or reasons to reconsider, such as those in the separate November 4, 2005 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that I linked to in my previous post. John was going to email me a copy of the letter, but obviously this is a busy time so I'm not sure when that will be. I can also confirm they have more like 150 signatures from members of Congress, not just 125, and expect to get even more.

Text of latest Weldon letter?

I'm not sure yet if this is the letter over 100 members of Congress have added their names to or not, but I imagine the text is very similar. Weldon sent this to the Judiciary Commitee on November 4, 2005. Here is how the letter ends:

I have made no accusations against any individual of criminal wrongdoing, but there are many questions that require answers.

LTC Anthony Shaffer, a principal witness and leader in ABLE DANGER, and notably a Bronze Star recipient, has had his career destroyed since he volunteered ABLE DANGER facts to the 9/11 Commission staff. What kind of signal do we send when a decorated intelligence officer has his career sabotaged as retribution for telling the truth?

The families of 3,000 souls lost on 9/11, and the families of 17 sailors lost on October 10, 2000, deserve answers. The American people demand answers. This is not a cover-up of a third-rate burglary where no one was personally injured or killed, this is possibly a cover-up of information and facts relevant to the largest attack against our great nation in its entire history. No one can be allowed to prevent this story from being told to the American people.

The 9/11 Commission did not do its job, did not complete its assignment, either through gross incompetence or deliberate omission. If the evidence were to point towards some sort of cover-up, the American people would be outraged beyond description.

In order to finish the work the 9/11 Commission left undone, either accidentally or intentionally, the ABLE DANGER principals must be allowed to be heard. Their free and frank testimony should no longer be blocked by the powers that be. I deeply appreciate the Senate Judiciary Committee's attempt to do what the 9/11 Commission should have done two years ago. Specifically, I want to thank Chairman Specter, Joe Biden, Chuck Grassley, Jon Kyl, and Jeff Sessions for personally attending the recent hearing on this matter. It is outrageous that DOD gagged witnesses who were all prepared to testify in open session. Apparently the Department of Defense does not share my deep respect for your Committee and its authority to serve the American people through effective oversight.


Sincerely,

CURT WELDON
Member of Congress



From the Lou Dobbs transcript tonight:

WELDON: Lou, last week was the first day I circulated the letter. On the final day of the session, I got as you pointed out, 100 signatures.

We're going back into session in five minutes. I'll guarantee you by the close of your hour here, I'll have at least 125 names on this letter, if not more. And these are senior members of both parties, these are conservatives and liberals who want these people to be able to testify in open, before the Congress and before the American people.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Actually, it was not illegal

Powerline briefly mentions Able Danger, but only to suggest that sharing information between the military and the FBI was illegal:

One of the things I have been struck by in recent years is the fact that the Defense Department, the CIA, and law enforcement agencies really do follow the laws Congress enacts and the regulations adopted thereunder, no matter how dumb they are. Thus, for example, the Defense Department didn't let the Able Danger analysts tell the FBI about the domestic terrorist cells they had uncovered because...it was illegal. I think that many Senators and Congressmen don't really expect law enforcement agencies and the military to obey all of the laws they enact, and, more important, don't want them to.


Able Danger itself was definitely "controversial" as Shaffer has said. But sharing information with the FBI, as Andy McCarthy and others have pointed out, was perfectly legal:

Specifically, to justify what happened in 2000, DoD is today reading regulations that readily permit effective intelligence analysis as if acquiring information and, God forbid, sharing it, are the gravest of sins. I use "reading" with hesitation. For it's hard to understand how anyone literate in the English language could read the governing regulations to say what the Pentagon is reading them to say.

Weldon on Lou Dobbs now

Dobbs previewing as I type.

UPDATE: Weldon expects to have 125 names if not more by tonight of both Republican and Democratic members of Congress demanding an investigation. That was the main news I heard in the interview.

If you haven't called your representatives yet, make sure you do tomorrow and ask them to sign Weldon's letter requesting an investigation of the Able Danger coverup.

Weldon to appear on Lou Dobbs tonight

Just saw the preview on Situation Room. Check it out.

More liberals and conservatives agree

Able Danger is an important story. The only ones who want it to go away are those with an interest in the status quo, such as the members of the 9/11 Commission. Here we have Barbara Andersen of the conservative web site The Rant and James Ridgeway of the liberal paper the Village Voice, asking some of the same questions.

From Barbara Andersen at The Rant:

Congressman Weldon has called for a criminal investigation into what he says is the most important story of our lifetime. He says that he has support from fellow lawmakers from both parties. He notes that there were people within the Pentagon who stayed in place from the 1999/2000 period into 2001 and they are still there today. They have a vested interest in not having the story be told because some of them are going to be embarrassed because the American people will see we failed them in 1999 and 2000. It sounds as if he suspects which department has reason to cover up and thwart any further investigation. It remains to be seen if members of both political parties will act on this in a truly bi-partisan way. Their track record is not good, but this is the security of all Americans at stake. If the mistakes made before 9/11 are not uncovered, the likelihood of an avoidable tragedy in the future is still there. Congressman Weldon has been the out-front mover of this story. He deserves credit for insisting on a valid 9/11 Commission Report that tells the whole story, let the blame fall where it may.

Running concurrently with Congressman Weldon’s appearance on the Lou Dobbs show was a poll, asking the question if its viewers would entertain the idea of voting for a third party. At last reporting, 71% said YES! This underlines the other polling taking place which reports that both Republicans and Democrats are seen as not taking care of the people’s business. The Democrats are busy chasing a Scooter. Both parties profess to care whether athletes have been on steroids and hold long investigations into that weighty matter. Meanwhile, the vital business of providing security for all citizens is perceived to be almost ignored. Is the failure of using Able Danger properly part of the discontent the people have with both parties?

Congressman Curt Weldon is doing his part in getting this story out, but he is one person. The rest of American citizens who care about the 3,000 fellow citizens who met horrible deaths on 9/11 need to get in line behind him. This is one matter that could stand more investigations.


From James Ridgeway at the Village Voice:

The 9-11 Commission ignored reports that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta had been recognized and placed under surveillance long before the attack by a special secret Pentagon unit called Able Danger.

People from Able Danger actually briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on what they had discovered in January 2001. Pentagon lawyers prevented them from telling the FBI what they knew, apparently on the theory that it didn't want anyone to know military intelligence was operating illegally within the U.S. It also happens that the secret unit wanted to surface its findings during the Gore-Bush presidential campaign. The revelation of a secret military intelligence unit operating against the law within the U.S. probably wouldn't have helped Gore.

During its own investigations, the 9-11 Commission took testimony from a naval officer who described seeing an Able Danger document in 2000 that linked Atta to Al Qaeda. However, commission chair Thomas Kean and vice chair Lee Hamilton claimed that this one bit of testimony was not "sufficiently reliable" and not worth following up. Hamilton later explained, "The 9-11 Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9-11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell. Had we learned of it, obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

...Able Danger ended in 2000, before Rumsfeld took office, but people involved remained in place and knew about the project—including the Joint Chiefs.

In fact, the U.S. knew about Mohammed Atta in 1998. At that time he was living in Hamburg as part of an Al Qaeda cell. There is a possibility Atta might have been known to U.S. intelligence as far back as 1993. In 2004, the German prosecutor overseeing the investigation of the Hamburg cell was scheduled to testify before the 9-11 Commission, but his testimony was unexpectedly canceled.


UPDATE: Ridgeway points out the obvious contradiction in the 9/11 Commission's statements. Is it not worth following up, or is it something that would have been a "major focus of our investigation"? You can't have it both ways. The biggest difference might be the timing. Lee Hamilton said it would have been a "major focus of our investigation" on August 10th. It was not until August 12th, when they had to admit they were given such information, that it became not worth following up on. These are the three days Weldon is talking about when he says their story changed every day.

As far as the 2000 election goes, I think if you look at how the story of the attack on the USS Cole was treated in 2000, you get an idea of the atmosphere at the time. Terrorism was not an issue in the campaign and both parties blamed the military for not stopping the attack, if they talked about it at all. Ridgeway mentions the legal questions surrounding Able Danger and information about US citizens, but what about the fact that it predicted an attack in the Port of Aden and was ignored?

That might not have gone over very well in the final weeks of a heated campaign, either. Clinton was hesitant to respond during a close election, and Bush did not respond to the attack when he took office. Clearly, all the churn that happens during a transition in the Whitehouse did not help. Both parties dropped the ball. Able Danger was first ignored, then axed.

Google News Alert

I just got a News Alert bringing my own site to my attention. Definitely good news, but the funny part is the excerpts it pulled from two different transcripts make it sound like I scored an exclusive interview with Congressman Weldon. I wish.

Full text of the alert:

Able Danger Blog
And I'll be talking with him about the Able Danger controversy. ... And for the 9/11 Commission to come out and say that Able Danger one didn't exist and ...

Tim Roemer calls for an investigation

Here is the transcript. While still skeptical of Able Danger, at one point Roemer says, "Well, I think first of all, that the Congress performing its oversight function should have some hearings on this."

Later on he repeats, "Let's get to the bottom of it Lou, let's do an investigation." Other than that, there is not much new from Tim:

DOBBS: Congressman Curt Weldon, as you know, is now calling for a criminal investigation of Able Danger, the Pentagon intelligence unit, that apparently had information about Mohammed Atta and some of the 9/11 terrorists a full year. What is your reaction to that call for a criminal investigation?

ROEMER: Well, Lou, I like Congressman Weldon a lot. By the way he talks about Able Danger these days, you think it would have prevented Pearl Harbor and maybe had Congress spend money responsibly or develop some kind of immigration policy.

We have looked at this problem, Lou, and if you would present, like we did, a report card, evidence, facts, that Atta was attached, associated with these attackers, these terrorists.

And you had the proof of that, Lou, I think the 9/11 commission would have put this evidence, if it was factual, on the front of our book. We would have said, government failed to communicate in the DOD or with the FBI.

It's yet another instance of not sharing information and communicating more effectively. And I just say this too, if Congressman Weldon had this information about Atta, why didn't he come three years ago to the Joint Inquiry of Members of Congress? Why didn't he take this to the FBI three years ago? Why wait until now, four years after 9/11?

DOBBS: Because Congressman Weldon, as you know, Tim, did not get involved until two -- well, actually five members of Able Danger had been basically squelched.

The two most important witnesses by the Department of Defense. Is it not reasonable at this point, and I would like to know your thinking and that of other commission members.

You know, to explain, to ask the Department of Defense to explain, and better yet, to simply permit these people to speak on this issue and to corroborate those statements, rather than squelch them or gag them?

ROEMER: Well, I think first of all, that the Congress performing its oversight function should have some hearings on this. Let's find out if Congressman Weldon gave this chart to Steve Hadley at the White House. Why does Steve Hadley say he hasn't seen it and doesn't have it?

Why doesn't Don Rumsfeld answer questions about what Able Danger was capable of doing and if they ever saw this chart at DOD, at Defense Department. And why, if Congressman Weldon claims that DOD had something like this, and that, in fact, is true. Why didn't they share this with the FBI?

I think Congress should get to the bottom of this, Lou. But we haven't seen any beef. Where is this chart? Have you seen it? Has Don Rumsfeld seen it? He says no. Has Steve Hadley seen it? He says no.

We need to see evidence that this exists, we need to get to the bottom of it. And I think I want to say this too, Lou. Able Danger, other organizations that to do this data mining at the CIA and other places. This is a valuable service for us to find out more about how we piece together what terrorists and jihadists are doing.

Let's see if this did, in fact, create some kind of a spider web that associated Atta with the terrorists. But, we haven't seen any evidence of it. We would have included it in this book if we'd had it ahead of time.

DOBBS: And as you know, Tim, the claim is, that the DOD destroyed that evidence, presumably, as a matter of routine. So, as you say, an investigation might produce some rather interesting revelations.

ROEMER: Let's get to the bottom of it Lou, let's do an investigation. The Senate Intelligence Committee has done a look at this. We enthusiastically encouraged them to come out with their findings. I think they have found no evidence of this so far.

DOBBS: Tim Roemer, thanks for being here.

ROEMER: Thanks, Lou.

Monday, November 14, 2005

David Hawkins is not credible

I was going to ask Vi to reconsider that last post, but I think we can use it as an example. People like David Hawkins are more than willing to use the Able Danger story as a platform to shout about their own conspiracy theories regarding 9/11. In fact, I think there are only a few of those theories that Hawkins left out! He does not appear to actually know anything about Able Danger, however. On his "Canada Free Press" website, the bulk of his work regarding Able Danger consists of a story about two typos among forty occurences of the word "Able Danger" in the Congressional Record for a speech given by Curt Weldon. Let's see. Which is more likely? A typo on the part of the House stenographer. A typo many others - myself included - have made. Or a vast conspiracy involving said stenographer, Osama Bin Laden's half-brother, French banks, hijacking computer software, and secret Pentagon war games on 9/11. Hmm.

Jerry Doyle kept trying to bring up Able Danger, but it was clear Hawkins did not actually know very much about it, since he kept changing the subject back to one of his multiple, self-contradicting theories. I'm only suprised he did not bring up the "controlled demolition" or "non-commercial aircraft" conspiracies! Clearly, the lack of information breeds conspiracy theories. That is exactly what Rumsfeld and people like Ewing at the DIA want to achieve by supressing data about Able Danger. The more we listen to people like David Hawkins, the less anyone will listen to us.

Save yourself some time, and ignore people like David Hawkins. He is just an idiot:

Was there an intended Abel of Cain and Abel fame in the Able Danger Story?
By David Hawkins & Judi McLeod
Friday, October 21, 2005

Was it a typo or a boast in code from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) arsenal when the word "Abel" somehow replaced "Able", as in Able Danger in the published text from Rep. Curt Weldon’s defense of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer on the House Floor yesterday?

Able was spelled Abel several times in the typed transcript from Weldon’s hour-long plea to Congressmen for a new probe into what he says is a "witch-hunt by defense officials against a September 11 intelligence whistleblower" (Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer).



Look at the transcript. It's mispelled twice out of forty times. So what?

David Hawkin Interviewed on the Jerry Doyle Show

The audio (mp3) is posted at QT Monster's Place.

Jerry Doyle questioned Mr. David Hawkins about Able Danger, the financing of Al Qaeda, John Deutsch, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Gen.Wesley Clark, the destruction of Lt. Col. Shaffer, the marginalizing of Rep. Curt Weldon and something called the French-American Foundation. Really
strange stuff.

UPDATE: It seems that David Hawkins is not credible. When I posted this audio earlier I only knew that David Hawkins had been interviewed on the Jerry Doyle talk radio program and that he was published by Canada Free Press. Thanks to Mike for setting the record straight.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Lou Dobbs will interview Tim Roemer Monday

If it's like Roemer's last interview, we probably won't learn much new, but here is what Lou said to promo the interview:

Finally tonight, we thought we would share some thoughts on what it means to be an American. "Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood -- the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." Those the words of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here next week Monday I'll be joined by 9/11 Commission Member Tim Roemer to discuss the group's latest report that will be released Monday. And I'll be talking with him about the Able Danger controversy.

C-SPAN did air Weldon press conference

In case you can go back that far with your TiVo. It was on C-SPAN 2, Friday night:

06:39 PM EST
0:50 (est.)
Congressional News Conference
Able Danger and Intelligence Sharing
U.S. Capitol, House Radio TV Gallery
Curt Weldon , R-PA

Weldon storms out of hearing with Lee Hamilton

UPDATE: It turns out Weldon not only stormed out of the hearing with Lee Hamilton on Tuesday, but went directly to the floor of the House to make a statement:

STONEWALLING CONGRESS

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. FORTENBERRY). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. WELDON) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me thank my friend and colleague for allowing me to take this 5-minute special order before his 1 hour. I will be brief, but I rise for an issue of severe concern to me, Mr. Speaker.

As someone who has spent 19 years working on defense and security issues in this Congress and currently serves as the vice chairman of the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, I have to report to my colleagues continuing efforts to try to find out what happened before 9/11 and, unfortunately, have to report that we are being stonewalled. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I cannot use any other term but the appearance of a cover-up.

Just a few moments ago, I questioned one of the cochairs of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, why the Commission has not yet responded to a letter that I sent to them on August 10 of this year, which I will enter into the RECORD at this point.


This happened Tuesday, but was not reported anywhere I can find except for this, in an article the next day.

From GovExec.com:

The Bush administration and Congress must provide more resources to a new office charged with making it easier for federal officials to share intelligence information with state and local officials, the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee was told Tuesday.

...During the hearing, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., erupted with accusations that Hamilton and other commissioners ignored information that the government knew about possible al-Qaida members before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Weldon, citing a secret military intelligence program called Able Danger that he said identified some of the future hijackers by the fall of 2000, reiterated recent criticism that the commission failed to address this intelligence in its final report last year.

The Pentagon, however, has not confirmed that 9/11 terrorists such as Mohammed Atta had been identified as potential threats.

Weldon stormed out of the hearing after becoming upset with Hamilton's answers and accusing the former commission vice chairman of lying and being part of a cover-up by the Bush administration.

"I'm going to get to the bottom of this," Weldon warned as he headed out the door.

Press conference excerpts

UPDATE: Okay, that's the last of the excerpts. There are some more details I left out about meetings Weldon has had with different government officials regarding their investigations into this. I think I got most of the new information, though. This is from Weldon's press conference on Wednesday, the 9th. Here is one excerpt with new information:

It was Scott Phillpott who was debriefed by Dieter Snell, who buried the story and did not allow the 9/11 Commissioners to receive the facts of Able Danger. In fact, in talking to Scott Phillpott, he gave me a direct quote from Dieter Snell. Now remember, the Cognress in a bi-partisan vote established the Commission to get the facts about 9/11, and the facts obviously involved Al Qaeda and obviously involved Mohamed Atta. In September of - July - of '04 a Navy officer, Annapolis grad, voluntarily goes in to debrief the 9/11 Commission staff and he mentions that he will swear on his entire life career that he identified Mohamed Atta in January of 2000 and that his team had a chart with Mohamed Atta's name on it and face on it, but also that he saw that chart over and over again. It wasn't a one time glance.

And he also told Dieter Snell that they tried to transfer that information to the FBI. This was Dieter Snell's response. Quote. "What do you want us to do with this information? We go to print in ten days." End quote. Is that what the 9/11 Commission is about? We're going to print in ten days, and therefore arguably the most important story relative to the run-up to 9/11 is going to be buried by a staffer who never briefs the 9/11 Commission itself, and I have that verified by two of the Commissioners, John Lehman and Tim Roemer. And for the 9/11 Commission to come out and say that Able Danger one didn't exist and two was historically insignificant. It's absolutely outrageous.


Here is a second excerpt quoting Bob Johnson from Raytheon:

The Pentagon says we can't find any chart. The 9/11 Commission is banking their entire denial on not finding a chart. This is not about a chart. It's about an intelligence unit of highly trained experts that had collected 2.5 terabytes of data about Al Qaeda and five cells, but we have something new.

Within the last three weeks I've had an extensive meeting with Doctor Bob Johnson. Doctor Bob Johnson is Sam Johnson's son. Doctor Bob Johnson is a professor and IT expert. Doctor Bob Johnson was the manager and operator of the Garland Unit of data minging separate from the Army's LIWA. Doctor Bob Johnson has not talked to any of the Able Danger players since the efforts that were taking place in '99 and 2000 and Doctor Bob Johnson told me that his unit also identified Mohamed Atta, not by photo but by name, before 9/11. So now we have two separate data mining efforts of the military openly and willingly stating on the record that they identified Mohamed Atta before 9/11.

Interestingly enough, Doctor Bob Johnson has never been talked to because the 9/11 Commission did not use any of their eighty personnel to talk to Bob Johnson. They had no idea who Bob Johnson was or is. And neither has the Pentagon. His only discussions were from Raytheon management, he no longer works there, asking him what he knew. Never interviewed. Never had discussions. Yet Doctor Bob Johnson was fully aware of the entire Able Danger operation and supported it. His data was transferred back to SOCOM headquarters in Tampa, where it may still be intact. Contrary to what the Pentagon said in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee one month ago. A lawyer, an intelligence officer for the Pentagon, said that the reason the 2.5 terabytes of data was destroyed was because of a ninety day rule. You had to remove data and destroy it, if it possibly contained information about American persons not within ninety days and that was why it was destroyed. That's a lie.

Doctor Bob Johnson, when I met with him, just a few short weeks ago said Curt I watched the hearings and I sat there and I was amused. He said the lawyer for the Pentagon at the time was a guy named Richard Shiffrin. He said 'I dealt with him all the time.' He said 'Shiffrin knew what we were doing in Garland, Texas and Shiffrin said don't worry about the ninety day rule. If you want to keep the information, just sign a document but it in the file and you can keep it as long as you want.'

So now we have Doctor Bob Johnson, who ran the Garland data mining operation and who worked with Richard Shiffrin on a regular basis totally contradicting what the Pentagon said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing one month ago. Doctor Bob Johnson told me the reason the Army wanted the material destroyed was because of a request that SOCOM had made to transferred that data down to Garland. The Army didn't want Garland to have it. And so within a matter of days they destroyed it. This whole story needs this country to scream and shout to investigate it. There are just too many unanswered questions.


Here is a third excerpt about 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick:

My chief of staff called me and I said, 'What does she want, I don't even know her, I never met her.' I said 'You call her back and see what she wants.' So he did. Well, she was on vacation in Boston and she said 'Please tell the Congressman it's urgent. I did nothing wrong.' It was Jamie Gorelick, who called my office, even though I'd made no accusations against her. Now, I've since found out, she personally called the Senate Judiciary Committee staff on two separate occassions and gave the same message, 'I did nothing wrong.'

Dieter Snell worked for, ah, Jamie Gorelick. Dieter Snell was the staffer who met and debriefed Scott Phillpott. It was Dieter Snell as a staffer who killed the Able Danger story from ever being publicly talked about. The American people deserve to have each of these individuals put under oath and questioned. This is not a third-rate burglary. This is a cover-up of the largest attack against our country. People don't want to be embarrassed. People don't want to have the facts come out. Well, that's not the way this country operates.

So today I met with the Inspector General's office for DoD, and as I said there were two other requests from both the Senate and the House for this investigation, which is now commencing. I talked to the head of the GAO last week. I'll be talking to him, and I've asked for a formal GAO investigation. And I am today asking for a criminal investigation. These witnesses, these military people, need to be allowed to tell their story. They have no agendas. Scott Phillpott in January will command, will take command, of one of our Destroyers. When you sit across the room, or across the table, and talk to Scott Phillpott, you understand what's at play here.

No 9/11 Commissioner has ever talked to Scott Phillpott. No 9/11 Commissioner has ever talked to Tony Shaffer. Slade Gorton ought to go get a life! Slade Gorton, who has made ridiculous assertions, has never talked to any of the principals of Able Danger. I know there's gonna be egg on the face of the 9/11 Commission. I know there's gonna be egg on the face of intelligence officials, and Clinton administration officials, and Bush administration officials, but the American people deserve to know what happened. 3,000 people were killed, including several of my friends. Ray Downey was the chief of all rescue for the New York City Fire Department, one of my best friends.


Here is a fourth excerpt about the infamous chart:

I delivered charts on Al Qaeda to Steve Hadley. The 9/11 Commission says, 'Well, there's a dispute, Steve Hadley doesn't remember getting the charts from Congressman Weldon.' Well, Steve Hadley shouldn't have said that because then as I have to do in this game of withholding certain information until I have people try to undermine me, Dan Burton started talking because Dan Burton was also at that meeting. Dan Burton back then was the chairman of the Government Operations Oversight Committee, and also at that meeting was Chris Shays. He was chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security for Government Ops.

So not Curt Weldon, but three members of Congress, sat in Steve Hadley's office and gave him the chart and Dan Burton testified to the New York Times that he actually showed the linkages on the chart to Steve Hadley. When the National Security Council staff liason talked to my chief of staff they said 'Oh, Steve Hadley's a friend of the Congressman, please don't go after Steve Hadley. The press misunderstood him. He didn't really say that Congressman.' I'm sick of it, folks. I'm sick of it.


A fifth excerpt about retaliation against Shaffer:

Remember, the 9/11 Commission never went out on their own asking for this information. They were told about it by Tony Shaffer in October of '03. They met with him. And, and I'm convinced, I'll be honest with you. There were four staffers there. I think at that very moment, two things happened. Staffers on the Commission knew where that story would lead and didn't want it to go forward. Second, DIA where Tony actually was working for back in Washington, was never told that he was briefing the 9/11 Commission. Tony went to his commanding officer. He was undercover, overseas working for General Bagby. He went to Bagby. He said 'Should I give them what I know about Able Danger?' and he said yes.

Because he never went to DIA, the DIA folks were outraged that he would tell the 9/11 Commission without telling them, what he had told the 9/11 Commission until after the fact. Now, we do know this. That after Tony briefed the staff, there was a request for information to the Pentagon and there was information sent over from the Pentagon to the Commission. They did not send all the information to the 9/11 Commission. I know because I talked to the person who delivered the materials. I've talked to that person, personally, and the uh, Inspector General today got that person's name.

So we know what was delivered. It wasn't all the Able Danger material. I'm convinced there were people in DIA that did not want that story to be told to the Commission intact. I think there were people within the 9/11 Commission who didn't want that story to be told intact. And so they ruined Tony Shaffer's career. So when he comes back from Afghanistan, he voluntarily tries to go in and brief Zelikow, and Zelikow says 'We don't need you.'

Why would you tell the guy who was involved in Able Danger you don't want to talk to him? Why wouldn't you say 'Yeah, we want to talk to you or anybody else. Can you tell us who else was involved?' They didn't want any of that. 'We don't need you any more.' So Tony goes back overseas. When he comes back in March, they pull his clearance because he transferred his phones on his cell phone and it cost sixty dollars to the tax payer. No, they didn't want him having access to the DIA headquarters where all the Able Danger materials had been.


A sixth excerpt quoting a DIA leader:

Last weekend in Florida, the Defense Intelligence Agency had it's annual meeting of defense attaches. So all of DIA's attaches from around the world were there. A senior leader of the Defense Intelligence Agency told the assembled DIA employees that one of their top priorities this year was to kill the Able Danger story. That's a direct quote from people who were in the meeting at the Defense Intelligence Agency workshop that took place a week ago in Tampa, Florida I believe it was. Is that right Russ? Tampa. And they were told their number one priority is not the intelligence for our security. It's to get rid of the Able Danger story. And that were the exact words they used in front of a number of people.

It's only a matter of time, this story's gonna come out. And I'm gonna continue to provide the information for these people to let you all help in this investigation. I can't believe the mainstream media turns its head and does nothing to investigate this. Yet, they worry about whatever her name is, Plume or something.


Finally, an excerpt about us and about Sandy Berger:

I've got 3,000 emails logged into my computer from all over the country, from a network that's absolutely, and that doesn't include phone calls and letters, probably 5,000 people that are part of an army that's gonna demand that we get answers. You know, I can't understand why the mainstream media just doesn't get it. I mean, again. This is not the coverup of a burglary. It's a coverup of the biggest story in the country's history.

Who knows, maybe what was stolen by ah, what's his face in the archives was a part of this material. The amazing thing is he only had his security clearance revoked for, for three years. What's his name, I forget? Sandy Berger. Here they've destroyed Tony Shaffer, taken his security clearance away forever, and Sandy Berger gets a slap on the wrist and 'Oh you'll get your security clearance back in three years.' And he admitted to stealing documents from the National Archives relative to information about 9/11.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Able Danger Video Link List Updated

I maintain a complete list of Able Danger video links from Intelligence Summit, plus a few others. I just updated the list.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Call your Congressional representatives Monday

UPDATE: Since today is a government holiday, you won't be able to get a hold of anyone today, but 9/11 Citizens Watch offers some good advice:

Congressman Weldon has started a petition of members of Congress in order to apply pressure on the DoD to allow former Able Danger team members to testify before Congressional committees. Please call your Senators and Representatives and urge them to sign if they haven't already and spread the word amongst your email network, colleagues and friends. Thank you.


Here are links to the House and the Senate. Contacting members of Congress by phone has more impact than sending them an email.

It's Veterans Day

Captain Ed says it well:

Thank you to all who serve or have served our nation by laying your lives on the line for our freedom and safety.


As a reminder, in Shaffer's own words:

I got the bronze star when I was in Afghanistan for my tour over there. Plus I was actually assigned to several units to include doing an air assault with the Rangers.


Wikipedia describes it as "an air assault with the 75th Ranger Regiment during WINTER STRIKE 03 to bring critical information and supplies to his HUMINT team located in a forward combat area with the Rangers in the Hindu Kush Mountains." Somehow I doubt any of those trying to end Lt. Col. Shaffer's career could say that they have done the same.

Shaffer has not been fired, yet

While this new article is causing a lot of justified outrage about the treatment of Lt. Col. Shaffer, from Daily Pundit and others, as far as I know the Tampa Tribune is jumping the gun by implying that Shaffer has already been fired:

Pentagon Firing Link To Able Danger
By RICHARD LARDNER
Published: Nov 10, 2005

The Army Reserve officer who went public with details about a secret military unit called Able Danger is being fired from his post at the Defense Intelligence Agency, a move that also could end his military career....

Without the clearance, Shaffer cannot perform his duties as a senior intelligence officer.

"I expect that Tony will receive a notice of termination also in record-breaking speed," Zaid said in an e-mail.


As the quote from Mark Zaid indicates, it may happen soon, but has not happened yet. The article seems to be based in part on an email Mark Zaid sent to Captain Ed last week:

Ed, in record breaking speed that to me clearly denotes selective retaliatory attention, the DIA's SAB has affirmed the revocation of Tony's security clearance. Unfortunately DIA has seen fit to completely disregard our submissions, and Cong Weldon and Hunters' formal requests to refrain from acting against Tony. This was the final stage of the process. There are no more administrative appeals left with respect to the clearance. A response to the indefinite suspension will be filed tomorrow. I expect that Tony will receive a notice of termination also in record breaking speed. That will take effect no sooner than thirty days from when received.


Lardner then goes on to clarify that Shaffer might well be fired soon, but has not been yet:

On Tuesday, Shaffer called the allegations "bogus," noting that the Army promoted him to lieutenant colonel in October 2004.

That promotion would not have occurred, he said, if the Army had concerns with his job performance or personal integrity.

But now, due to the finality of the agency's action, the Army might have little choice but to follow suit, thereby undercutting his uniformed career, Shaffer said.

Video of Weldon on Lou Dobbs

You can see the interview from CNN on Wednesday online here. They have Windows Media and Quicktime video.

Intelligence Summit has the video, too.

Stay tuned for press conference excerpts

I have not found a full transcript of the press conference yet, but over the next few days I will be typing up partial transcripts to post here. In particular, I'll focus on the new information - there was a lot - but don't worry, I'll also get excerpts for some of the funnier moments. "How about what's his face... Sandy Berger!" and "Slade Gorton needs to get a life!" In the meantime, remember you can still watch the press conference yourself, or get more commentary from AJ Strata.

This blog is a no spin zone

Mac says I am trying to spin the Able Danger story and blame it all on the current administration:

In any case how one wishes this to come out depends on politics for the most part with some wanting to pin the whole mess on the present administration, and others where it belongs and that is on the previous administration.


The only outcome I want is the truth, and a full exoneration for Lt. Col. Shaffer.

Both the current and previous administration - not to mention current Democratic and Republican leadership - share equal blame for covering up the Able Danger story. I started AbleDangerBlog.com as a non-partisan effort and I intend to keep it that way.

Sure, I'm a Democrat, Vi is a Rush Limbaugh fan, and Voice was a regular in the conservative blogosphere. We all have our own perspectives, but I hope that even Mac can agree. Some things go beyond politics.

Cole family member speaks out

From WVEC-TV in Norfork, Virginia:

Weldon alleges that a Pentagon intelligence unit called Able Danger uncovered evidence of a plot against an unnamed U.S. target in the port of Aden, Yemen.

"It could be anything from gross incompetence to a cover-up bigger than Watergate,” Rep. Weldon said, adding that military leaders failed to act on the warnings.

That’s not surprising to John Clodfelter, whose son Kenneth died in the attack. He told 13News the news confirms what he and other Cole families have suspected all along.

"I think somebody should go to jail for it,” he said....

Clodfelter says he believes his son and the 16 other sailors could still be alive if someone would have acted.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lou Dobbs interview with Weldon tonight

Here's an excerpt from CNN earlier this evening:

DOBBS: Congressman, you are calling for a criminal investigation. Obviously, you're not going to receive a great deal of cooperation from the leadership, the Republican leadership in the House or the Senate.

You're a Republican, what kind of reaction are you getting as you go one on one with your fellow Congressman?

WELDON: Lou, the members of Congress want the facts to come out, both parties. I did a briefing this afternoon for members of Congress, we had dozens of their members and their staff show up.

And just within two hours Lou, today, I got 100 signatures. One hundred signatures from Republicans and Democrats across the country. Liberals and conservatives to Secretary Rumsfeld demanding that we allow these Able Danger military officers to testify in an open hearing.

On the East Coast at least, Lou Dobbs airs at 6 PM and then again at 4 AM. The full transcript is available at the link above.

Reuters: Pentagon probes treatment of 'Able Danger' officer

Finally, some MSM coverage of Able Danger - thanks to the heroic efforts of Rep. Curt Weldon:


The Pentagon inspector general is investigating the Defense Intelligence Agency's treatment of an Army colonel who was the first to claim publicly that the government knew about four September 11 hijackers long before the 2001 attacks, officials said on Wednesday.

Among the issues under review is whether the DIA revoked the security clearance of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer last September in retaliation for repeated comments he made in the media about a military intelligence team code-named Able Danger, sources familiar with the case said.

Revelations about Able Danger, a small data-mining operation that ended in 2000, have reignited debate about whether the United States could have prevented the attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 people and prompted the U.S. war on terrorism.


During his press conference today, Congressman Weldon told reporters that he had an army of 5000 people who are determined to know the truth about Able Danger. Count me as 1 of those 5000.

vadkins
Cross posted at QT Monster's Place

Weldon Press Conference (Near-Real-Time Blogging)

Congressman Weldon is on a roll. His arguments are strong enough without the ranting and screaming, but it works for him. Some interesting highlights:

- Deputy Director, DIA does a 'see no evil, hear no evil' routine (literally) when being briefed on Able Danger. He is currently the last man standing after a lot of senior DIA rats have fled the ship. Curiously right about the same time that AD broke.

- Separate data mining effort also identified al-Qaida members, including Atta.

- Data mining effort at SOCOM may very well have AD and other data mining effort on hand.

- Alleged statement made at the Defense Attache conference; "Our number one priority is to kill the Able Danger story." Not clear who made the statement, but attaches are overt HUMINT collectors that are trained and managed by DIA.

Weldon press conference video online

Weldon is asking for a criminal investigation of the Able Danger coverup.

Click here to open the video in Real Player. If that does not work, just cut and paste the following URL into your Real Player:

rtsp://video.c-span.org/15days/e110905_weldon.rm

C-SPAN taped it, but when will they play it?

From Today's Events:

Congressional News Conference
Able Danger and Intelligence Sharing
U.S. Capitol, House Radio TV Gallery
Washington, District of Columbia (United States)
ID: 189839 - 11/09/2005 - 0:30 - No Sale
Weldon, Curt, U.S. Representative, R-PA


I think "No Sale" just means it's not available to order on DVD yet.

Still no coverage

I'm not finding anything about the press conference yet, but Rory O'Connor has this update posted before it began:

Representative Curt Weldon, Republican from Pennsylvania, has just fired another salvo in his ongoing battle against the Defense Department over the Able Danger “information warfare” program. According to at least five DOD employees, the controversial data-mining project, which ended in 2000, identified Mohamed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks ever on US soil.

Weldon believes that the 9/11 Commission’s work investigating the attacks has proven “to be a disappointment and a failure, especially as it pertains to Able Danger.” Possible explanations for this failure, says Weldon, include “gross incompetence either on the part of the Commissioners or the Commission staff, or both,” or more alarmingly, “a deliberate cover-up that would make the Watergate scandal pale in comparison.”

...Weldon and others knowledgeable about the affair say that Able Danger principals such as Shaffer, who have thus far been effectively muzzled by DOD, must be allowed to be heard in order to finish the work the 9/11 Commission left undone, “either accidentally or intentionally.” Instead their testimony has been blocked by DOD at the highest levels, most notably by preventing them from speaking at recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. “It is outrageous that DOD gagged witnesses who were all prepared to testify in open session,” says Weldon, who as Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is accustomed to more respect and cooperation from the defense establishment. “Apparently the Department of Defense does not share my deep respect for the Committee and its authority to serve the American people through effective oversight.”

DIA spokesman Commander Terrence Sutherland denied that DIA had smeared or gagged LTC Shaffer. “Show me the gag order,” says Sutherland, who maintains that it is DOD, and not DIA, which is at the center of the Able Danger affair. And in response to my repeated queries, Commander Gregory Hicks, spokesman for DOD, could only tell me that, thus far, “I am not getting any responses yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.”


Show me the gag order? I believe Shaffer's attorney Mark Zaid has read from the document in several different interviews. I'll try to find a transcript.

C-SPAN will not air Weldon press conference live

I called C-SPAN to ask why they are showing a rerun of a press conference from yesterday, instead of Congressman Weldon's update on Able Danger at 12:30pm.

They were kind enough to explain that they are actually covering the Weldon press conference, but that it will be airing at a later time, not live as it happens.

To be fair to C-SPAN, I'm sure they only have so many crews who can broadcast live, and I imagine it would be almost impossible to get their crew from the Energy Policy hearing over to Weldon's press conference and another news conference, especially if he goes over the half hour break in their doubled-up Energy Policy coverage with the hearings until 12:30pm and a separate news conference at 1:00pm.

No news yet when C-SPAN will air it.

C-SPAN 3 Schedule for Wednesday, November 9, 2005:

09:30 AM EST
3:00 (est.) LIVE
Senate Committee
Energy Prices
Energy and Natural Resources
Daniel K. Inouye , D-HI
Ted Stevens , R-AK
The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.

12:31 PM EST
0:30 (est.) [RECORDED from 11/8]
Congressional News Conference
Impact of Budget Proposals
Congressional Hispanic Caucus

01:00 PM EST
1:00 (est.) LIVE
News Conference
Energy Prices
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Cindy Shogan , Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Robert Dewey , Defenders of Wildlife
The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.

02:00 PM EST
2:30 (est.) LIVE
Senate Committee
Energy Prices
Energy and Natural Resources
Daniel K. Inouye , D-HI
Ted Stevens , R-AK
The beginning and end of this live program may be earlier or later than the scheduled times.

New Able Danger press conference

From Congressman Weldon's web site:

PRESS CONFERENCE ON ABLE DANGER; NEW INFO EXPOSES MORE BLUNDERS BEFORE 9-11 & POINTS TO WIDER COVER-UP

WASHINGTON, Nov 8 - U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, November 9th at 12:30 p.m. in the House Radio/TV Gallery to discuss the latest findings from his investigation into Able Danger.

The latest findings include: information Able Danger provided to defense officials about terrorist activity in the Port of Aden prior to the terrorist attack on the USS Cole back in October 2000; a discovery of another Able Danger member who confirms a set of Able Danger data not accounted for by the Pentagon; recent statements by the 9-11 Commission about Able Danger; and the latest efforts by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to smear Able Danger member Lt. Col. Shaffer who broke the silence about the Pentagon’s efforts to track al-Qaeda worldwide prior to September 11.

WHAT: Press Conference with Congressman Curt Weldon on Able Danger

WHERE: House Radio/TV Gallery, The Capitol (H-321)

WHEN: Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 12:30 p.m.

Able Danger days gagged counter

That's right, it's been fifty days already since September 20th, when Tony Shaffer, Scott Phillpott, Eileen Preisser, and others were gagged by the Pentagon the day before they were scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.



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It will update automatically to reflect the number of days that Tony Shaffer has been prohibited from even talking to members of Congress, much less the media.

What is the Able Danger Blog?

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree. We just want to know the truth about what happened before September Eleventh. We don't accept the Pentagon's claim that discussing Able Danger now, four years after the fact, will somehow compromise our security. In fact, we think the opposite is true. Continuing to ignore what went wrong with Able Danger, and failing to learn the lessons of September Eleventh is a major risk to our national security. The only thing talking about Able Danger now could compromise are the careers of some Washington officials who don't want the full story to come out. We don't want to know all the top secret technical details of the sources and methods used. We only want to know what happened. What did Able Danger find out, why was it shut down, when was it shut down, and who made the decisions that led to its demise?

What's so "unhelpful" about that?

Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Lee Rodgers, Hot Talk KSFO San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

RODGERS: Since we mentioned several days ago that we had a few minutes with you this morning, I have gotten more e-mails from listeners asking me to ask you one question, more than on any other subject. The question has to do with this Able Danger investigation, and why can't military people involved talk about it?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, they do and have talked about it. They've been up and testified before congressional committees and briefed people on a classified basis. What's been in the press is that some people feel that everything they say should be on an unclassified basis and the judgment apparently was made by the people involved that that would be unhelpful to our country. But in terms of talking to people about it, they've done it extensively.

The interesting thing about that is it's such an interesting story, of course it's something that occurred well before this Administration came in, back in the '90s as I understand it, and it's an interesting story.

The problem we've had is that our folks have spent a large amount of time trying to go in and look at all the records and see what they could find and haven't been able to validate it, which doesn't mean something wasn't so. It just means they've not been able to validate it.

The Department of Defense has provided literally volumes of information to multiple committees up there and if anyone else has any insights we're happy to open it up and go look somewhere else. But at some point if you can't find something, you can't find it.