Able Danger Blog

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Friday, November 10, 2006

First the bad news

As you all know, Congressman Weldon lost on Tuesday:

Television cameras zoomed in on Weldon as he walked past a baby grand piano in the Springfield Country Club lobby on his way to make a concession speech Tuesday night. He held his granddaughter, Reagan, in his arms as he spoke to waiting reporters.

"It was a good fight. Three weeks ago, we were seven points up. It is what it is."

He then asked his young grandchild, 'Who am I?' And she said, 'Cho Cho.' Weldon continued. "I'm Cho Cho to my granddaughter and that's all that matters."

When Weldon took the stage above cheering supporters, he conceded a 55 to 45 percent victory without parts of Chester and Montgomery Counties reporting.

"I think I helped a lot of people, a lot of people are better off," Weldon said. "This could well be the deciding race for control of the House. That's why (the Democrats) put so much money into it.

"We had all volunteers at our poll. We were out-spent. Every time I went to the polls and people were there, they weren't from our district. That's OK. That's democracy in America today. The good thing about our democracy is it still works."

Weldon thanked a number of campaign workers and supporters in the crowd, including campaign manager Michael Puppio, former Republican Party head Charlie Sexton and many others. There were some tears in the banquet hall as Weldon walked out shaking hands and giving hugs and kisses.

"It's great to be with you all and now it's time to ride off into the sunset."

Weldon, a native of Marcus Hook, began his public service as a volunteer firefighter there, then chief. He also worked as a teacher and was elected mayor of his hometown. In Congress, Weldon was a member of the Armed Services Committee and led congressional delegations to North Korea to address nuclear proliferation, trade, and human rights.

Rob Simmons, another advocate behind the scenes for Able Danger, may have lost, too:

A mandatory recount is officially underway to determine the winner of the 2nd Congressional District race. Republican Congressman Rob Simmons now trails by 166 votes against Democrat Joe Courtney.

It's democracy at it's finest. Quietly and carefully, poll officials at the Hebron Elementary School checked and re-checked each and every ballot, making absolutely certain, each and every vote is counted.

Just 167 votes out of over 240,000 cast separate three-term incumbent Simmons and Courtney. Shortly after the election Simmons had already done the math.

"Anything can happen," Simmons said. "We have 65 towns. Our numbers show 167 votes. That factors out to three votes a town that can cut either way. But if you look at the numbers that way that's an exceedingly close race."

Of course, both Weldon and Simmons will still be in office for another two months, so there might be some work on tying up loose ends which can get done now, after all.

On a brighter note, Chris Shays won in a close race, and his legislation for protecting national security whistleblowers has a better chance under a Democratic Congress bent on limiting Cheney's reach than it had under a Republican Congress.

UPDATE: Apparently, we might get a better nominee to be the new DODIG, as well. Last but not least, Don "unknown knowns" Rumsfeld lost his job, too. Well past time.

Keep your head up. Able Danger Blog is still here. Peter Lance has a new book due out in two weeks, and from what I hear it confirms much of the Able Danger story.

Triple Cross

How Bin Laden's Chief Security Adviser Penetrated the CIA, the FBI, and the Green Berets

By Peter Lance

Price: $27.95
On Sale: 11/21/2006
Formats: Hardcover | E-Book

"This is the most dangerous man I have ever met. We cannot let this man out on the street."

—Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, 1997

In the years leading to the 9/11 attacks, no single agent of al Qaeda was more successful in compromising the U.S. intelligence community than Ali Mohamed. A former Egyptian army captain, Mohamed succeeded in infiltrating the CIA in Europe, the Green Berets at Fort Bragg, and the FBI in California—even as he helped to orchestrate the al Qaeda campaign of terror that culminated in 9/11. As investigative reporter Peter Lance demonstrates in this gripping narrative, senior U.S. law enforcement officials—including the now-celebrated U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who personally interviewed Mohamed long before he was brought to ground—were powerless to stop him. In the annals of espionage, few men have moved between the hunters and the hunted with as much audacity as Ali Mohamed. For almost two decades, the former Egyptian army commando succeeded in living a double life. Brazenly slipping past watch lists, he moved in and out of the U.S. with impunity, marrying an American woman, becoming a naturalized citizen, and posing as an FBI informant—all while acting as chief of security for Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Known to his fellow terrorists as Ali Amiriki, or "Ali the American," Mohamed gained access to the most sensitive intelligence in the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal while brokering terror summits, planning bombing missions, and training jihadis in bomb building, assassination, the creation of sleeper cells, and other acts of espionage.Building on the investigation he first chronicled in his previous books, 1000 Years for Revenge and Cover Up, Lance uses Mohamed to trace the untold story of al Qaeda's rise in the 1980s and 1990s. Incredibly, Mohamed, who remains in custodial witness protection today, has never been sentenced for his crimes. He exists under a veil of secrecy—a living witness to how the U.S. intelligence community was outflanked for years by the terror network.

From his first appearance on the FBI's radar in 1989—training Islamic extremists on Long Island—to his presence in the database of Operation Able Danger eighteen months before 9/11, this devious triple agent was the one terrorist they had to sweep under the rug. Filled with news-making revelations, Triple Cross exposes the incompetence and duplicity of the FBI and Justice Department before 9/11 . . . and raises serious questions about how many more secrets the Feds may still be hiding.