Able Danger Blog

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Able Danger and the five cells

Rory O'Connor has a great post on Able Danger, the attack on the USS Cole, and the scapegoating of yet another career military officer who has been vindicated by every formal investigation undertaken. Go read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:

Although Lippold lacked “the specific intelligence” to prevent the attack on the Cole, his superiors did not.

Analysts associated with the secretive Able Danger program, including Army Reserve Lieutenant Commander Anthony Shaffer and Navy Captain Scott Phillpott, who say they identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers a year before the Al Qaeda-connected terror attacks on America, also say their team passed on warnings about al Qaeda activity in Aden before the attack on the Cole to high officials at both Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and Central Command (CENTCOM)....

The Able Danger team had uncovered evidence of five ‘hot spots’ of Al Qaeda activity: Mauritania; Malaysia; Hamburg, Germany; Brooklyn, New York; and Aden, Yemen. Captain Phillpott even briefed then-SOCOM head General Peter Schoomaker (now Chief of Staff, U.S. Army) on the findings just two days prior to the attack on the Cole. Phillpott reportedly warned Schoomaker that Able Danger had uncovered information of increased al-Qaeda “activity” in Aden harbor – a warning that was gleaned through a search of bin Laden’s business ties.

Able Danger analysts also passed along the information to the brass at CENTCOM, who had authority over the Fifth Fleet to which the Cole was assigned, but inexplicably took no action to head off the attack on the Cole....

Had the Able Danger information not been “discounted,” a decision could have been made NOT to refuel in Aden, and the attack on the Cole would have been prevented.

In any event, since the Able Danger alert was classified SCI (special compartmented information) no one onboard the Cole, including Commander Lippold, was even cleared to receive it.