Able Danger Blog


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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Able Danger and the CIA

Well, it's May now, and still no word on the status of the IG investigation into the clear retaliation against members of the Able Danger team for speaking out. Anyway, as you might have heard, Porter Goss has resigned. AJ Strata offers his take on it here:

The only place stuck on stupid is the long term CIA rogues who cannot face the fact they screwed up. The CIA was against the new technology of Able Danger! They were the ones who have been fighting change.


Meanwhile, Michael Tanji at Group Intel has put together some odds on who might get the job:

3:1 General Hayden. Easy enough since most people are already claiming he’s the nominee. He is also the expected choice since you’d be hard pressed to find an example of a real outsider getting a job like this. Generally speaking (no pun intended) I don’t like the safe picks because they’re just more of the same old, but General Hayden managed to reign in an even bigger and more unruly IC bureaucracy (NSA), which is no small feet, and he’s got the confidence of his current and future boss. Easy money.

7:1 Mary Margaret Graham. DDNI Collection. Late of the CIA doing CI, but is apparently no fan of the discipline if recent reports are correct. Definitely a safe choice and close to the once and future boss, but not known for a willingness to break china.

10:1 LTG (R) Hughes. Former D/DIA, former head of intel at DHS. Old school, which I’m not fond of, but Army, which I am fond of. He gets extra credit in my book for leaving a comfortable retirement to try and square away the fiasco that was DHS intel. You gotta give props to a guy who willingly signs up for ulcers, migraines and insomnia. Not overly political, so confirmation should be fairly easy, but not exactly a name linked to big reform efforts....

1,000:1. Tony Shaffer. Will need to have clearance re-instated. Thinks outside of standard parameters. Military and C/O experience. Knows office politics and life at the pointy-end of the spear. Cares not a wit for rice bowls and propriety if it gets in the way of success. Politics undetermined, but seems to only have right-leaning allies for some reason (ahem). Not afraid to stand up for his beliefs, name names, call spades spades.


You might recall LTG Hughes as one of the "good guys" Shaffer named in his testimony:

LTG Pat Hughes, the Director of DIA during the 1999-2000 period, who allowed my unit, STRATUS IVY, the charge to take on ‘out of the box’ ideas, and develop them into real intelligence operations. It was his constant encouragement that allowed for entrepreneurial concepts to develop in this pre-9-11 era. He personally approved STRATUS IVY’s mission and signed us up to support cutting edge black programs that became the mainstay of my unit’s efforts....

January-March 2001. DIA is requested to provide updated info for the effort to be re-established in Tampa. DIA begins to drag its feet across the board with the departure of LTG Hughes, MG Harding and COL York. STRATUS IVY is prohibited by DIA/DO’s new leadership, MG Isler, from participating in the NSA and DIA data transfer.


My understanding is that other than the it's mission against Al Qaeda, which got the rug pulled out from under it for some reason, Stratus Ivy was highly successful in large part thanks to Lt. General Hughes. If I were plotting against the US in Iraq, Iran, or North Korea, I would not want that capability to be rebuilt over at the CIA. If it was, I might be checking my rearview mirror a lot more often than before.