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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Able Danger and the USS Cole

Jane Novak has a new article on the Cole:

A former CIA agent, Robert Baer, was given information by a Saudi military contact that a Saudi merchant family had funded the USS Cole bombing and that the Yemeni government was covering up information related to that bombing. A leading Yemeni editor said in 2001, "It was clear from the start that the accessories to the attack would be tried, convicted and executed, but that the people inside Yemen who financed it, and used their power to facilitate it, would never be brought to book."

The regime has had difficulty keeping the attackers in jail. In 2003, eight of the Cole conspirators escaped from jail and two later went on to commit suicide operations in Iraq. Among the 2003 escapees was Jamal Al-Badawi, mastermind of the bombing. Al-Badawi was recaptured and returned to the prison only to escape again along with 22 other inmates.

After the Cole attack, President Saleh denied publicly that he was notified by the US that the Cole was en route to Aden. According to General Zinni, former CENTCOM commander in his 2000 Congressional Testimony, standard U.S. procedure was to notify Yemeni officials about two weeks prior to a ship's arrival at port. It was just about two weeks before the attack on the Cole that the Pentagon's secret intelligence unit, Able Danger, began to pick up massive terrorist activity in Aden.

At the time of the bombings, a Yemeni regime official advanced the theory that the U.S. had blown up the boat itself, as pretense for an invasion. This fear mongering has continued. "There was a plan to occupy Aden," Saleh said in a 2005 speech, claiming the existence of eight U.S. warships at the mouth of the port of Aden, ready to invade in the days after the bombing. Only through his leadership abilities, he claimed, was invasion averted.