Able Danger Blog

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Why this 2004 DNC delegate supports Weldon

I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Delco Times last week:

As a life long Democrat and delegate to the 2004 DNC National Convention, you might not expect me to be supporting Curt Weldon. However, as the creator of, I've had a chance to watch the Congressman over the past year and I've been impressed with his honesty and courage. Both have become a rare commodity in Washington these days. When Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Capt. Scott Phillpott came forward with information about their work to target Al Qaeda worldwide in the years before 9/11, Curt Weldon was the only member of Congress who was willing to speak publicly on their behalf. He took a personal interest in members of the Able Danger team and believed it was important for their full story to be heard, regardless of which party might be embarrassed.

Unfortunately, the full story has still never been told. A promised Senate Intelligence Committee report on Able Danger was never issued. An after action report, which describes how Able Danger spotted Al Qaeda activity in the Port of Aden two days before the attack on the USS Cole, remains highly classified. Neither the 9/11 Commission nor the DOD IG considered this classified report. The DOD Inspector General - cited in the Delco Times's endorsement of Weldon's opponent - did not even investigate any classified aspects of the project. A friend of mine who works as a Democratic consultant explained to me that it was not in the interest of either party to look back at what happened before 9/11. Well, is it in the interest of either party to find out what went wrong so we can prevent the next attack? Unfortunately, it seems like another friend was right when he told me the only people determined to uncover the full story are the families of the dead, a few curious bloggers, and Congressman Curt Weldon.

Whether or not Able Danger identified Mohamed Atta before the attacks, we do know from the IG report that half a dozen military intelligence officers have testified under oath they believe they identified Mohamed Atta before 9/11. We know many of these officers believe their information could have been used to prevent the attacks, if only it was handled differently. We know Able Danger created offensive options for targeting Al Qaeda which were accepted by General Hugh Shelton in January of 2001. We also know Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Cambone testified under oath in the House that Able Danger successfully identified several cells of Al Qaeda prior to the attacks and provided the foundation for efforts to target the terrorist network after September 2001. What happened in between? We may never know, especially if Curt Weldon loses.

If any of your readers have ever watched "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", they might recall the scene where baskets and baskets full of letters are brought to the floor of the Senate decrying what an embarrassment Mr. Smith has become and demanding his expulsion from the Senate. Against similar odds, Congressman Weldon has refused to abandon the members of the Able Danger team who won his trust, regardless of the consequences. Sure, I would like to see Democratic control of the House as much as the next Democrat, but not if it means losing Congressman Weldon. Not many members of Congress would put the interests of others above their own. Curt Weldon does. That's the type of guy most people want as their representative. Maybe real life never works out quite like the movies, but that doesn't mean we can't root for the good guy and hope he wins.