Able Danger Blog

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Monday, April 03, 2006

New article on Able Danger

Veteran journalist Wes Vernon has a new column on Able Danger:

A Pentagon official who has been causing much discomfort to powerful people in two administrations has received lucrative job offers. One of them required his presence two states away on the very day he was to testify before Congress on the Able Danger scandal. Coincidence?

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer is one of the military officers who have said that a secret intelligence unit named Able Danger identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammad Atta (living the U.S.) as a terrorist fully one year before attacks on New York and Washington. The warnings were ignored. Shaffer is speaking out. That has earned him the enmity of powerful figures in the Clinton Administration (on whose watch the warnings were first issued), the Bush administration (which did not want to start its White House tenure by rattling cages that would have prompted Clinton acolytes to holler "partisanship"), and the 9/11 commission which ignored the Able Danger information.

So there are lots of people who want to sweep the scandal under the rug, and who wish Shaffer and his whistle-blowing colleague, Navy Capt. Scott Philpott would shut up and get out of the way. But they won't. So they have been harassed. This is reminiscent of Harry Truman's admonition that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

One of the people who understands that warning very well is Congressman Curt Weldon who has been bird-dogging the Able Danger scandal for months. He has even written a book dealing with it. But he has been in Congress for twenty years and is the second ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. So he at least has the clout to fight back against the stonewall, though there is a special effort being made to unseat him in November. That is a separate matter for a future column.

Shaffer and Philpott have no such clout. Thus they depend on people such as Weldon and Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter to go to bat for them when things get especially nasty, as opposed to regular nasty which is a day in-day out occurrence for them right now.

Go read the whole thing.