Able Danger Blog


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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dieter Snell better watch out

His attempt to cover up the whole DeVecchio/Scarpa mess by keeping Ramzey Yousef's involvement out of the 9/11 Commission Report has failed miserably:

A former F.B.I. agent was accused in an indictment today of "acting in concert" with members of organized crime in the murder of four people during the 1980's and early 1990's, according to District Attorney Charles J. Hynes of Brooklyn.

"This is the most stunning example of official corruption I have ever seen," Mr. Hynes said in a statement. He said a federal agent whose job is to protect lives instead assisted in murder.

The retired agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, 65, is charged with providing the gangster Gregory Scarpa Sr. with information that led to the killings.

Mr. DeVecchio, who retired in 1996, was the leader of the F.B.I. team that investigated the Colombo crime family and developed ties to Mr. Scarpa, a captain in the Colombo family, in investigating mob activities.

New information provided by Mr. Scarpa's longtime companion, Linda Schiro, led to the indictments, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing nature of the investigation.

Mr. Hynes said the most recent investigation began in February 2005 after a member of the House Judiciary Committee, William Delahunt, Democrat of Massachusetts, brought allegations involving Mr. DeVecchio to his attention. Mr. Delahunt had been investigating F.B.I. involvement with organized crime.


UPDATE: Sorry for not explaining this better. Here is a short refresher course from January 30th:

DOBBS: Tonight, an organized crime investigation under way now in New York City could shed new light into the controversy over Able Danger and uncover new U.S. intelligence failures leading up to September 11.

Joining me now to discuss his findings, Emmy award winning journalist Peter Lance. He's the author on of the book "Cover Up," with an extensive examination of this investigation, now under way in Brooklyn as well. Peter, good to have you here. What's the connection between this case in Brooklyn and 9/l1 and Able Danger?

PETER LANCE, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Try to do it in three dots, OK. Dot number one, 1996, Ramsi Yusef, the original World Trade Center bomber. The man who I say is the architect of 9/11, he's in federal jail in lower Manhattan, awaiting trial. In the cell next to him, Gregory Scarpa Jr. Greg Scarpa Jr. is awaiting racketeering charges. He's a wise guy for the Colombo crime family.

DOBBS: A hit man.

LANCE: No, he sold marijuana. He was a relatively benign organized crime figure. RICO charges. Nothing heavy.

DOBBS: Minor item?

LANCE: Pardon me?

DOBBS: A minor item?

LANCE: Well, when you compare it to what he uncovered for this country it was amazing. What he did, Lou, over 11 month, he risked his life. Ramsi Yusef is passing him notes with extraordinary pieces of information about al Qaeda: admissions that there's an al Qaeda cell in New York City in 1996. Admissions they want to hijack a plane to free blind Sheikh Rahman, et cetera. And --

DOBBS: How could this tie to Able Danger.

LANCE: Dietrich Snell. Our friend, Dietrich Snell. Dietrich Snell is the prosecutor of Yusef in this upcoming case. He's the man that is privy to all of this intelligence and ultimately what happens is, because Scarpa Jr.'s father was involved in a relationship with an FBI agent named DeVecchio, and that's what the Brooklyn D.A. is looking into now, this alleged corrupt relationship.

The FBI and the Justice Department, I say, made an end's means decision. If they believed young Greg Jr for the intelligence about Yusef, he would be credible. And if he's credible in that case, he will be credible when he went to expose later on, his father and this corrupt FBI agent. And therefore, they made an end's means decision. Let's flush this intelligence on al Qaeda so we can preserve 60 mob cases in the Eastern District in Brooklyn.

DOBBS: So that's the reason you think they basically were discrediting?

LANCE: Absolutely. The proof of it is on my Web site peterlance.com, Lou, I have dozens of FBI 302 memos that prove the intelligence from Ramsey Yusef to Greg Scarpa in 1996, including --

DOBBS: Are we going it see much this much come out into you think in the Able Danger hearings or are we going to be focused otherwise?

LANCE: I believe Congressman Curt Weldon.

DOBBS: The leading to the charge. Trying to get to the truth.

LANCE: And now his staff in particular sees the connection and the value in the Brooklyn's D.A.'s really courageous investigation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ferrick admits defeat

UPDATE: Dana points out that Ferrick still tried to get in some parting shots. Upon further review, I updated the title of my post.

First, I want to clarify one point. While Dana and Antimedia had speculated that the Inquirer edited down Weldon's original letter for him and twisted his words, the truth is that they told Weldon he only gets 600 words, so he scaled down the letter himself. I had been wondering about that point since yesterday and got a confirmation from Weldon's office this afternoon. In the meantime, Rory O'Connor alerted me to a new column by Ferrick, which I can only describe as Ferrick's Waterloo:

I want to go on record as saying I am never going to tussle with U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon again....

The boiled-down version appeared on yesterday's editorial page. I am, according to the congressman, wrong-headed, ignorant of the facts, and - above all - out of touch.


Among other things, the columnist admits to being a high school classmate of Sestak:

I was born in Philly but was raised in Delaware County. I went to Sacred Heart School, Manoa, and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School. My family lived in Havertown for nearly 50 years, not far from the bubble gum factory. My mother still lives in Delaware County, as do my sisters and assorted nephews and nieces.

In my 30 years covering politics, I have had frequent contact with the county and its politicos, a list that includes John McNichol, various Nacrellis and Judges and Charlie Sexton.


From Sestak's biography:

After graduating from Cardinal O’Hara High School, Joe Sestak entered the U.S. Naval Academy from his hometown of Springfield, Pa., and graduated with the class of 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He left the naval service after almost 31 years in January 2006, after having reached the rank of Vice Admiral.


What a coincidence....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sestak making Able Danger a campaign issue?

I was doing my usual search at Google for news on Able Danger, when I realized Weldon's Democratic challenger Joe Sestak had used some of his new John Kerry fundraising money to purchase internet advertising on the keyword "Able Danger":

Sponsored Links

Sestak for Congress
Retired Admiral Joe Sestak
running against Curt Weldon, PA 07


Good grief. If Sestak thinks anyone interested in Able Danger is not going to support Weldon as a result, he is mistaken. He is also making a mistake by claiming on his web site to be an "Iraq war veteran" when the truth is that he returned home to the US three months before the invasion began:

Support Murphy, Sestak and other Iraq war veterans running for Congress

Joe Sestak has served America in the White House and on the battlefield. He worked for President Clinton as Director of Defense Policy. And, as a Vice Admiral, he led an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group of 30 ships and 15,000 men and women in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Joe wants to bring the accountability he learned in the military to Congress where it is sorely lacking. You can help him do it by acting right now.


UPDATE: Another article on his own website makes it clear that Sestak was not actually in theater during the Iraq War:

Sestak later took control of the George Washington Battle Group, conducting air-combat operations over Afghanistan. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the group participated in Operation Southern Watch, monitoring the no-fly zone.


You can confirm that here and here.

Commanding a Battle Group for six months with missions in Afghanistan and Iraq is something Sestak should be proud to talk about. Why embellish the story and claim to be an Iraq War veteran if he is not? The answer is that they think an Iraq War veteran running for Congress makes a better candidate. Of course, if you ask Sestak what he thinks of the war that he is now saying he fought in, you don't get a clear answer there either:

Joe Sestak's argument with the Iraq war is standard John Kerry fare: The Iraq war was not wrong per se, it was just undertaken at "the wrong time," according to Sestak's campaign website. The United States should have finished the job in Afghanistan -- "win the peace" -- and then turned its attention to Iraq.

And that's not all. If the United States had finished its objective in Afghanistan first, Sestak says, "we could have later brought, if needed, an undivided U.S. force to Iraq within a large Arab-led regional coalition."

Huh? At what point in time does Sestak think that the United States could have cobbled together a "large Arab-led regional coalition" to undertake preemptive war against Iraq?

Philadelphia Inquirer prints Weldon response

The Inquirer printed Congressman Weldon's letter to the editor today:

One Reader Responds Inquirer is out of touch with the suburbs

Tom Ferrick's March 22 column about my work ("Weldon's interests must return home") demonstrates how out of touch he and The Inquirer have become with the Philly suburbs. Ferrick's failure to speak with me resulted in a column of lies and distortions. It's no wonder The Inquirer is on the auction block.

Monday, March 27, 2006

1999 Orion China Study Chart

Several commenters and fellow bloggers have asked if any of the China Study charts produced by Orion for LIWA still exist. Well, here is one of the charts. Both Standford University and Loral Corporation are shown on the chart, and it does not take much to extrapolate how names like Perry, Rice, Clinton, or Gore could emerge simply because of those connections.



Thursday, March 23, 2006

Weldon responds to the Inquirer


To the Inquirer:

On March 22, Tom Ferrick wrote a column entitled “Weldon’s Interests Must Return Home.” His column reads more like fiction, and if anything, is a prime example of why The Philadelphia Inquirer was recently put on the auction block. If Mr. Ferrick would leave the Inquirer’s Ivory Tower on Broad Street for one minute and actually go into the Philadelphia suburbs, not only would the Inquirer garner more respect, but perhaps it would prevent Mr. Ferrick from putting his foot into his mouth.

In his column, Ferrick refers to an incident in Washington, D.C. a few years back, where I gave an afternoon speech on the Senate-side of the U.S. Capitol on peace strategies just several days after leading the first delegation to Libya in nearly 40 years. The point of the trip, and the crux of the speech, was to detail my successful efforts in reaffirming Ghadaffi’s commitment to voluntarily give up his weapons of mass destruction. Without checking his facts, Ferrick states that I attended an event that evening in which Reverend Sun Myun Moon appeared with several Democrat Members of Congress. In actuality, Rev. Moon was not present at the earlier event in which I spoke. If he had checked his facts, Ferrick would have known that I was not even there.

I am proud of my national leadership for America’s first responders, and my authorization of programs that have funded over $3 billion directly to America’s 32,000 fire and EMS Departments. Furthermore, I am proud that on April 6th, over 2,000 national fire and EMS leaders will convene on the nation’s capital for their 17thannual national gathering that I have organized to honor their service to America.

Mr. Ferrick’s primitive analysis of Able Danger mirrors that of his colleagues Goldstein and Mondics at the Washington Bureau. It is amazing how so many writers from the Inquirer claim to speak with authority on Able Danger, yet have never taken the time to speak with a single member of the highly talented unit tasked by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to track al-Qaeda worldwide prior to 9/11. Ferrick fails to mention that 248 Members of the House of Representatives, including over 100 Democrats, signed a letter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanding open hearings on Able Danger. He also doesn’t mention that this critical issue of pre-9/11 intelligence caused former FBI Director Louis Freeh to publicly ask for explanations about Able Danger on Meet the Press and in a Wall Street Journal editorial last fall. Nor does Ferrick mention the fact that five career national intelligence officials swore under oath about the cover-up that followed Able Danger’s findings. I pursued this issue so that the American people would know all of the facts about our intelligence failures prior to 9/11.

Ferrick should leave his Ivory Tower and visit my District, which I have served faithfully for 20 years. He could then visit with the 5,000 workers at the Boeing Plant in Ridley whose jobs are now safe because of my efforts. There are also 25 new and expanding companies he could visit, that through my efforts have created thousands of new jobs in the region. Ferrick could see one of the two playgrounds at local schools I helped build in honor of two local 9/11 heroes, and visit one of the 47 local fire companies that have directly received more than $5 million from a national grant program that I fathered. His next stop could be one of the sites of the most successful Community Action Agency in Pennsylvania serving the poor in Delaware County, of which I am the founder. There are also several colleges and universities he could visit like Villanova, Neumann, Widener, West Chester, Cheney, Eastern, Penn State, Drexel and Delaware Community that I have helped get funding for specific and expanded programs for their students. It’s not hard for Mr. Ferrick to come and look at these things, but he chooses not to.

If Ferrick came to my District, he could also witness how it has benefited from the SMART Regional initiative I created that has brought together major institutions in the four-state region of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland to allow our region to lead the nation in science, technology and research. Perhaps Ferrick could take time out of his busy day to learn about the “Dime-Out-A Dealer” Program I created and raised funds for in cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office. He could also then receive a briefing on the International Center for Rotorcraft Innovation that was also initiated right here in the Delaware Valley.

If that’s not enough, Ferrick could take a trip out to the recently protected land acquisitions at Brandywine and Paoli Battlefields, which I successfully engineered. Ferrick also might want to stop at the new Pennsylvania Veterans Museum in Media that I helped fund with a $1 million infusion, or talk to the six busloads of WWII Veterans and their friends for whom I arranged travel to Washington, D.C. to see the new WWII Monument. He could also interview the local veteran leaders who joined me in our recent visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to thank our wounded troops. I welcome Ferrick to stop by the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge and ask them who their champion has been over the last decade, even though the Refuge is not in my District. He can ask the Chester County Commissioners about the effort I led to protect hundreds of acres of open space along the Schukyll River.

For his last stop, Ferrick can visit my hometown of Marcus Hook to which he refers in his column, and ask the Mayor and Council Members who obtained the transfer of ownership of the Riverfront Federal property that now houses the finest waterfront park on the Delaware River.

I could go on and on, but why waste my time? The Inquirer is completely out of touch with the suburbs and Mr. Ferrick is a symbol of why this newspaper is in trouble. The local suburban newspapers, talk radio (like BigTalker 1210), and our local television stations get it, why not the Inquirer?

CONGRESSMAN CURT WELDON

2000 Analyst Notebook Link Chart

UPDATE: These charts were produced with Orion Magic, not Analysts Notebook, although both tools are compatible.

If you look at this chart from February 2000, you will notice some similarities and some differences between it and the unclassified chart from Peter Lance shown below.





Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An email from Peter Lance

I emailed him about the unclassified testimony at the closed session of the hearing, and he gave me permission to post his reply:

Mike,

I had heard about the exchange at the hearing but not in such detail. Do you have a transcript of the public session? If so, please forward it.

My dealings with Jacob L. "Jay" Boesen came as I was pursuing the story of FDNY Fire Marshal Ronnie Bucca in 2002 and early 2003.

Boesen knew and worked with Ronnie at DIAC (the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling AFB in D.C.) when Bucca was tasked there by his Army Reserve unit.

I had hours and hours of discussions with Boesen over many months.

He personally sent me the hard copy of his link chart (below).

It shows a DIRECT link (as of August 10, 1999) between al Qaeda (bin Laden) and the Brooklyn/New York cell of blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (OAR) and Ramzi Yousef. I published it in both 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE and COVER UP, I felt that it was so significant.

As you know my central thesis is that Yousef, the original WTC bomber was the primary architect of the 9/11 plot and that both attacks on the WTC were directly funded and tightly controlled by al Qaeda.

You don't NEED Atta's picture to prove the al Qaeda/Sheikh Omar/Yousef link if you have that chart, prepared by Boesen just four months before the Able Danger data mining operation is said to have commenced.

You have my permission to use it on your site:



As you know, according to Curt Weldon, Boesen went on to do many, if not most of the Able Danger link charts.

Further, I have a booklet on al Qaeda that he co-wrote with Dr. Preisser in 2002. It's a little known monograph that he autographed for me.

I tried for weeks to reach Boesen after Cong. Weldon broke the Able Danger story in August. On the eve of the Specter Hearing in Sept. Boesen's son told me that his father couldn't talk to me because his "company" forbade him too, since I was a member of "the press."

Boesen's position is that the alleged Atta picture was really that of another Egyptian (Mohammed Atef) --

But even if that's true, it in no way invalidates the strength of the al Qaeda/OAR/Yousef ties uncovered by the A.D. unit at Fort Belvoir and its successor in Garland, Texas.

My new book TRIPLE CROSS will document even more links between both attacks on the WTC (1993 and 9/11)

My findings, once and for all, will decimate the falacious allegation by the 9/11 Commission (per Dietrich Snell) that the origin of the "planes as missiles" plot was Afghanistan in 1996 and that KSM was merely a freelancer at the time; not affilidated with al Qaeda.

In contrast, I've proven that was the plot began in Manila in 1994 with Ramzi Yousef as its principal architect.

Yousef,a criminal genius whom other al Qaeda operatives referred to as "The Great One," designed the "planes operation." His uncle KSM merely carried it out after Ramzi's capture on February 7th, 1995 in Islamabad --

At that takedown, KSM was in a downstairs room at the Su Casa Guesthouse, a bin Laden NGO-controlled rest stop for jihadis.

But, as I've documented in both books, he hung around long enough after the Yousef seizure to comment on it. He even disclosed his own name to a stringer for TIME and the L.A. Times.

Nonetheless, KSM was missed by FBI agent Bradley Garrett who got to the guest house late. He escaped and went on to carry out his nephew's deadly plan on Sept. 11th 2001.

That incredible "miss" was the first of two opportunities the FBI had to capture KSM prior to 1996. In both cases they blew it.

I'll have more on the second incident in TRIPLE CROSS.

My sense now is that re: the Able Danger scandal, the fix is in.

Efforts have been made to discredit Cong Weldon on multiple fronts and silence other key witnesses. The House Hearing you refer to was a disgrace and clearly intended by DOD to placate critics in the House.

It's up to reporters like you and your readers to keep this issue alive and I applaud your work.

You have my permission to use this "post" in its entirety.

Best,

Peter Lance

http://www.peterlance.com


UPDATE: I added a scanned copy of the chart in question. The online version was not very readable, but you can make out most of this copy.

Now this is getting personal

UPDATE: Dana at Common Sense Political Thought has more details on the Philadelphia Inquirer's latest attempt to use Able Danger to discredit Weldon:

At times, he acts less like a congressman and more like a shadow secretary of state or head of the CIA.

Among Weldon's notable forays into the world of spies is the Able Danger speech he made on the House floor last year.

In that speech, Weldon asserted that a secret intelligence program called Able Danger had fingered three of the 9/11 hijackers before the deed, but that the government failed to act on the information - thus losing a chance to prevent the attacks.

As my colleagues Chris Mondics and Steve Goldstein reported in these pages last week, no credible evidence has been found to verify Weldon's Able Danger theory.


So Tony Shaffer, JD Smith, Scott Phillpott, and Eileen Preisser have no credibility?

A theory is merely speculation. Facts are details of real events. Facts can either be proven or disproven. None of these four individuals are speculating or proposing theories. They have all testified to the facts as they know them from personal, first hand experience. If someone can show they are all either lying or delusional, then they can all start calling Weldon "wacky". Until then, they have no damn right.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stratus Ivy holdings of Able Danger documents

This unclassified supplement to the testimony at the open hearing in the House Armed Services Committee was submitted for the record, but not posted on their web site. Of particular interest is the fact that there were between 8 and 12 large charts, plus 4 to 6 targeting binders, still in existence as of March 2004:

ABLE DANGER was a planning effort, tasked to SOCOM by JCS. The task was to identify and target Al Qaeda on a global basis and, using advanced technology (data mining; massive parallel processing; complex algorithmic refining tools, etc) and enhanced visualization tools, present options for leaders (national command authority) to manipulate, degrade or destroy Al Qaeda.

STRATUS IVY became SOCOM ABLE DANGER Teams Forward Support center. As ABLE DANGER was based in Tampa and, at one point, Garland, TX, to minimize the amount of classified and large charts they had to transport back and forth to conduct meetings at the Pentagon, a full set of documents was left with STRATUS IVY. There are e-mail strings on the TS/SCI DIA LAN on this too.

Last Known Location of Full Copy of Material: 3rd Floor of DIA Facility Clarendon VA in the DHO-3 (Pacific Division) area – on east side wall cubicle.

Last Known Time Material Was There: 1st Week of March 2004.

Alternate location: Defense Intelligence Agency Inspector General Office, Bolling AFB, DC – should be part of investigative files. Operational, Authority, Approval and Coordination documents only – not the entire set.

Document list for ABLE DANGER:

Stored in a brown leather strap briefcase was the following:

- Chairman JCS Planning Order to CINC SOCOM to plan to conduct offensive operations against Al Qaeda under the nickname Operation ABLE DANGER.
- Operational Authority Documents for SOCOM and DIA to conduct planning and intelligence collection to support ABLE DANGER.
- Cover Plans and related background documents for ABLE DANGER to conduct intelligence collection and protect operational activities.
- All related official message traffic between SOCOM and Army on the LIWA support issue.

Stored outside but near the brown briefcase:

- Between 8 and 12 large “charts” – most if not all unclassified that showed the Al Qaeda targeting results (graphic representation/summary of all the 2.5 Terabytes of data that was used by the ABLE DANGER targeteers.
- 4 to 6 White plastic binders of Data Base array plans and methods and related charts.

Blogger problems

It looks like something I did around 10pm last night led blogger to overwrite my homepage with an empty file. Still not sure how it happened, but I apologize for the outage. I should have double checked the site when I logged out of Blogger.

Monday, March 20, 2006

An update from Mark Zaid

On Friday, I had a conversation with Tony's attorney Mark Zaid about both the latest and the next developments in the case. Among other things we discussed his rare comic books business, EsquireComics.com. He appreciated our donations, but so far they amount to less than five percent of Tony's legal bills to date. If you have not made a donation, please consider it.

Friday morning, Mark was in court again on the recent suit they filed to attempt to win legal representation for Tony and JD in any future closed hearings before Congress. In summary, he said the government is "throwing the kitchen sink at us" and will file a motion to dismiss on multiple grounds by April 7th. Among other things, the DoD attorneys are claiming the court has no jurisdiction or standing to take the case and has raised "service of process" issues, as well. This after they blocked Mark from representing Tony in closed session the morning of the Armed Services hearing.

Anyway, Mark will have up to a month to respond to the motion to dismiss, at which point the government will have two weeks to reply to his response. The earliest it could even go to trial is June, but it will probably be much later. In the meantime, he will be back in court March 21st filing document production requests and interrogatories. None of these documents involve the critical Able Danger documents, but rather documents involved in the DoD effort to deny legal counsel to Tony. Again, the government will have thirty days to respond. The main problem from Mark's point of view, is not that they are making this prohibitively expensive for him to pursue, but rather that Congressional hearings are pending and this needs to be resolved right away. If the judge rules that Tony and JD have a right to counsel after all the hearings are over, it will not make much of a difference.

As he had discussed on our conference call in February, Mark said the four things bloggers could help with the most were the following. First, provide as much data and analysis as we can, since the media is not covering it so there is no where else people can go to learn the facts. Second, encourage as many people as possible to contact their Congressional representatives and ask them to take an active role in getting to the bottom of this. Third, contact their local newspapers, radio stations, and talk shows. Ask them to start covering Able Danger. Fourth, as I mentioned above, the more financial support we can give to the legal battle he is waging against an army of DoD lawyers, the more likely it is that he can succeed.

Unfortunately, this is not just an academic argument. As Tony makes clear in his written testimony, the capability that Able Danger had does not exist today. When he was deployed in Afghanistan, based out of Bagram Airbase, pursuing High Value Targets along the border with Pakistan, he did not have the kind of actionable intelligence that Able Danger had provided years before 9/11. That is why the Able Danger team is so adamant this needs to be pursued. The fact that some officials are still more interested - five years later - in covering up their mistakes than in preventing the next attack, makes you understand why Curt Weldon chose the title for his book that he chose - "Countdown to Terror". Clearly, the clock is still ticking.

Unfortunately, a lot of high level bureaucrats are betting they can wait it out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

2004 Raytheon Genesis Link Chart

Just got these. I believe it is one of the posters Weldon used in his June 2005 speech. Based on who created it, J. L. Boesen, I'm fairly sure it was created using Raytheon Genesis. I always wanted to have someone send me a close up, so we could see what is says, and here it is. The main thing it shows is an approximation of what an Able Danger chart might have looked like, although this was made in 2004.

I've got more photos of more charts where these came from, but these are the only ones that I've cleaned up to post so far.




Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Goldstein Strikes Back

In our conference call with Congressman Weldon, he told us that he had embarassed Steve Goldstein of the Philadelphia Inquirer in a speech at a national press event, by explaining that he had offered Steve the Able Danger story, but Steve turned him down. Then when it showed up on the front page of the New York Times three days in a row, the Philadelphia Inquirer had to run the New York Times byline, instead. Well, Steve hasn't bothered to look into the story much since then either, but that hasn't stopped him from declaring that the Able Danger story is now "unraveling".

From today's issue of the Philadephia Inquirer:

But Weldon's story, which unleashed a wave of national media attention as well as probes and congressional hearings, is unraveling.

He now says that he's not sure the chart had a picture of Atta, as he has sometimes maintained, and that he has been relying on the memory of an intelligence analyst who helped produce it.


Weldon has always explained that he is telling the stories of the intelligence analysts who produced the charts. He did not produce the chart himself. Two of them have now testified before Congress, under oath, that they saw the name and photo of Mohamed Atta on that chart. That would seem to add to the credibility of the story - not unravel it - but hey, I guess I'm not the professional journalist.

From Tony Shaffer's sworn testimony:

Late September 2001. Eileen Preisser calls me for coffee and tells me she has something she needs to show me. At coffee she shows me a chart she had brought with her – a large desk top size chart. On it she has me look at the ‘Brooklyn Cell’ – I was confused at first – but she kept telling me to look – and in the “cluster” I eventually found the picture of Atta. She pointed out (and I recognized) that this was one of the charts I LIWA had produced in Jan 2000, and had a sinking feeling at the pit of my stomach – I felt that we had been on the right track – and that because of the bureaucracy we had been stopped – and that we might well have been able to have done something to stop the 9/11 attack. I ask Eileen what she plans to do with the information/chart – she tells me that she does not know but she plans to do something.

Last week of September 2001. I am on my normal afternoon run from the Pentagon to the Lincoln Memorial – and I receive a call from Dr. Preisser. She tells me “you’ll never guess where I am” – she tells me about sitting in the outer office of Scooter Libby and the fact that she, Congressman Curt Weldon, Congressman Chris Shays and Congressman Dan Burton are going in to brief Steven Hadley on the Atta chart. I am both amazed and satisfied that the Atta information and our work on ABLE DANGER had been provided to proper government leadership and fully expected that the ABLE DANGER team might even be reconstituted. It was not.


From JD Smith's sworn testimony:

SMITH: I have two people presently that have contacted my counsel, who are willing to sign affidavits. There are others that work in the intelligence community who choose not to partake of this.

WELDON: But they also saw it?

SMITH: They also saw it.

WELDON: How sure are you that it was Mohammed Atta's name and picture?

SMITH: I'm absolutely certain. I used to look at it every morning.

WELDON: You looked at it every morning. So it wasn't a one time deal?

SMITH: No, sir.

WELDON: And was that the chart you think that was given to me that I gave to the White House?

SMITH: Yes, sir. It was.

WELDON: And you're aware that when I gave that chart to the White House, Dan Burton, the chairman of the Government Ops Committee, was with me and stated to the New York Times, that he actually showed the chart to Steve Hadley and explained the linkages?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

WELDON: You're aware of all that?

SMITH: Yes, sir. I am.


Not content with passing off spin as news, now Goldstein attacks Weldon:

But often Weldon's nightmare scenarios seem little more than daydreams.

That was the case last year when he said a source told him that the Iranian government had set in motion a plot to crash hijacked planes into the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire. The CIA quickly debunked the story, saying Weldon's source was unreliable.


This has nothing to do with Able Danger. Finally, they return to the subject, with a few haphazard attempts to debunk the story without bothering to do any research:

The fact that Phillpott and Shaffer were of relatively high rank and held responsible positions added weight to the allegations.

But problems soon began to develop with the story.

The 9/11 commission said its executive director, Philip Zelikow, and three others had met with Shaffer at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was on assignment, in October 2003 as part of its probe. Contradicting Shaffer, the 9/11 commission said that during this meeting, he never mentioned that Able Danger had identified Atta and other hijackers before the plot, the commission said.

Commission members now believe it is a case of mistaken identity, because military data-mining programs before 9/11 produced charts with the names and pictures of other al-Qaeda members who were not part of the plot, but whose names and pictures resemble Atta's.

Other senior government officials and key players in the 9/11 aftermath also have raised questions about Weldon's account. A source familiar with a Senate Intelligence Committee probe of the issue said that committee had turned up no documentation to support Weldon's story.


No documentation to support "Weldon's story"? What kind of false generalization is that? How about sworn congressional testimony from Stephen Cambone that supports "Weldon's story":

WELDON: Dr. Cambone, do you agree in your assessment — or your team here — that the Able Danger team identified five hotspots, what they called hotspots, which would include Malaysia, Mauritania, Hamburg, Germany, New York and Aden, Yemen?

CAMBONE: Yes, there’s said to be that sort of designation of places, to include the Brooklyn cell issue.


Or this guy testifying to warnings before the attack on the USS Cole:

WELDON: And I would also ask you, Dr. Cambone, have you, in fact, talked to any of the witnesses about information that Able Danger had relative to the Port of Aden in Yemen, two weeks and two days before the attack on the USS Cole?

CAMBONE: I did not, but my colleague did.

CHOPE: Sir, in the days preceding 12 October 2000, which was the day the Cole was attacked in Aden harbor, one of the intelligence analysts assigned to the Able Danger effort began to get what he calls gut feel that things were going awry in Yemen; he didn't have any hard intelligence.

He asked then Commander Scott Philpot if that could be briefed at a high level briefing that took place on 10 October, during a VIP visit to the Garland facility, and it was.


Needless to say, Steve Goldstein is not interested in all this. He concludes:

Even so, the story has survived, reflecting the adage that it is impossible to prove that something didn't happen.

"How do you prove that pink elephants did not dance along your backyard last night?" said one frustrated former member of the 9/11 commission staff. "It would seem to me that if you are making an allegation, the burden of proof is on the person making the charges."


It would also appear that it's impossible to get a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter to investigate a story themselves, instead of attacking the Congressman who tries to get them to look into it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Latest Able Danger Audio List

In case you have some time to spare, here is a list of all the latest audio we have available, compiled mainly from Vi's Able Danger Podcast.

02/25/06 - Curt Weldon Speech at Restoration Weekend
Download | Transcript

02/23/06 - Conference Call with Curt Weldon
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six

02/21/06 - Able Danger Bloggers Radio Roundtable
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

02/17/06 - Curt Weldon Radio Interview with Tony Snow
Download | Transcript

02/15/06 - House Armed Services Committee Hearing
Part One | Part Two | Transcript

02/14/06 - House Government Reform Committee Hearing
Part One | Part Two

02/06 - Radio Interview with Rory O'Connor
Download

Monday, March 13, 2006

This is funny

From a blog called Vichy Democrats:

And if the President is censured but continues to pursue warrantless surveillance programs like the NSA’s, Able Danger, and others than some officials and whistleblowers have hinted at, the Republicans will have little choice but to accede to impeachment proceedings.


Impeached for pursuing Able Danger? Since when has Bush even pursued Able Danger? Weldon has compared the coverup of Able Danger to Watergate, but if people want to impeach Clinton again after the fact for pursuing the program, I guess they can try.

UPDATE: Thersites writes, "I thought AbleDanger was another surveillance program, when apparently it's not. I appreciate the info, and will edit my post accordingly." Now, if only Bill Arkin would listen to reason too, we might be making some progress here.

Able Danger Hearing Transcript

Curt at Flopping Aces has the completed transcript. You can also download it as a PDF file he created here.

Here is one of many interesting exchanges:

WELDON: I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Dr. Cambone, do you agree in your assessment — or your team here — that the Able Danger team identified five hotspots, what they called hotspots, which would include Malaysia, Mauritania, Hamburg, Germany, New York and Aden, Yemen?

CAMBONE: Yes, there’s said to be that sort of designation of places, to include the Brooklyn cell issue.

WELDON: Now, I realize you can’t speak on behalf of the 9/11 Commission, obviously, and I’m not asking you to. But let me ask you this.

After having identified those five hotspots, and then having an attack on the USS Cole in the Port of Aden, Yemen, how could anyone in their right mind classify Able Danger as historically insignificant?

Seventeen sailors were killed in one of the five hotspots that the Able Danger team, you’ve just acknowledged identified?

How in the world could any commissioner on any — well, I’m asking you — could you think of how anyone could classify that work, after we had a warship, 17 sailors killed at one of those hotspots, and to call that work historically insignificant?

CAMBONE: Sir, I didn’t do the work for the 9/11 Commission, and I was not involved in that kind of effort.

WELDON: How about your own opinion?

CAMBONE: I don’t know how they would answer.

WELDON: I think that there’s a lot of information that was generated over that period of time. And I don’t know that the crew in the Able Danger exercise was the only one to have identified troubles in Yemen and Aden at the time.

And that, as a consequence of the investigations that were done, what we discovered is, information that might have been available through a variety of channels, hadn’t been made available. That’s a matter of record, sir.

And so, you know, there you are. I didn’t do the look at Brooklyn cell and the other cells. I mean, that was the 9/11 Commission’s function.

WELDON: But you know that they identified five cells. And one of those five cells was, in fact, a location of where 17 of our sailors were murdered.

The Department of Defense has conducted a search specifically for Able Danger products. Has any search of DOD databases been conducted, to determine if any Able Danger data was incorporated into other second and third order intelligence products? And if not, why not?

CAMBONE: Intelligence products as such, I don’t know that. I do know that — I know — what I’ve been told is, and I’ve mentioned this already, as the planning process moved forward in the 2001 timeframe, in the Joint Staff, information generated in the Able Danger project was taken into other planning efforts and documents. Substantially.

But in terms of an intelligence product, I don’t know the answer to that.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Network Theory and Able Danger

From the New York Times:

After Sept. 11, Valdis Krebs, a Cleveland consultant who produces social network "maps" for corporate and nonprofit clients, decided to map the hijackers. He started with two of the plotters, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, and, using press accounts, produced a chart of the interconnections — shared addresses, telephone numbers, even frequent-flier numbers — within the group. All of the 19 hijackers were tied to one another by just a few links, and a disproportionate number of links converged on the leader, Mohamed Atta. Shortly after posting his map online, Krebs was invited to Washington to brief intelligence contractors.

Announced in 2002, Adm. John Poindexter's controversial Total Information Awareness program was an early effort to mine large volumes of data for hidden connections. But even before 9/11, an Army project called Able Danger sought to map Al Qaeda by "identifying linkages and patterns in large volumes of data," and may have succeeded in identifying Atta as a suspect. As if to underline the project's social-network principles, Able Danger analysts called it "the Kevin Bacon game."


Of course, the author goes on to dismiss Able Danger's importance without even looking at the program in any depth, but I guess at least they mentioned it:

Able Danger analysts produced link charts identifying suspected Qaeda figures, but some charts were 20 feet long and covered in small print. If Atta's name was on one of those network maps, it could just as easily illustrate their ineffectiveness as it could their value, because nobody pursued him at the time.

One way to make sense of these volumes of information is to look for network hubs. When Barabasi mapped the Internet, he found that sites like Google and Yahoo operate as hubs — much like an airline hub at Newark or O'Hare — maintaining exponentially more links than the average. The question is how to identify the hubs in an endless flow of records and intercepted communications. Scientists are using algorithms that can determine the "role structure" within a network: what are the logistical and hierarchical relationships, who are the hubs?


Identifying these hubs is exactly what Able Danger did. They identified five hubs, or cells. One in Brooklyn, one in Hamburg, one in Malaysia, one in Yemen, and one in either Kenya or Mauritania depending who you ask. In addition to using computer models, they also used experienced analysts to make sense of the data and weed out the irrelevant links. In other words, the problems the author is trying to solve, are the ones Able Danger was able to work around. The chart Atta was on listed forty to eighty terrorist organized into five cells. You can't get much more specific than that, even if people want to keep dismissing it as insignificant.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Perils We Face

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-PA, delivered a speech entitled "The Perils We Face" at Restoration Weekend, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona from February 23-26, 2006. Front Page Magazine has a full transcript of the speech. The audio of all but the first section of his speech was posted online and you can listen here. It starts at the segment titled "9/11: What I Saw at Ground Zero" and here are some of the new details he describes:

After talking to Ray’s sons, and sharing their grief for the loss of their father and my friend, they asked me to go back. I said, “I can’t go back, I’m all dirty, I don’t have a change of clothing.” They said, “Don’t worry, Curt. The firefighters want you to be there to greet the family members of the missing, because President Bush is arriving tonight and they want you to seat them until he arrives, and talk to them.”

I was reluctant, but I felt it was my responsibility, so I went. I cleaned up as best as I could, and with the president of the Firefighters’ Association of New York, we went into the Javitz Center. On one side of the room were the urban search and rescue teams arriving from all over America; on the other, 700 folding chairs, all neatly lined up in front of a podium, where President Bush would speak to the families that night. He was supposed to speak for 30 minutes. But, knowing the kind of human being our president is, he stayed for two-and-a-half hours. With no media, with no politicians in the room, he wept, he consoled, and he shared the grief of the families.

My job until the president arrived was to greet the family members, and two families will forever be blazoned into my memory. The first was a woman in her late 30s. She had a baby in her arms, and her brother and sister with her. When I went over to her, she was sobbing uncontrollably. I introduced myself, gave her a hug and said, “I’m terribly sorry, ma’am, who’s missing?” She said, “Congressman, my life’s over. He meant everything to me. He served his country in the military. When he got out, we got married. He’s not just my husband and the father of our children. He coached Little League for our kids. He was involved in our church. And when the neighbors had a problem with their car, he was the first one out early in the morning to get it started. Why did they take him away? He only wanted to help people.”


Here is his decription of Zelikow's testimony:

When Phil Zelikow came in, and he wouldn’t testify in open session – even though he gave us no classified information in closed session – I asked him, “Did you interview the Able Danger principals?” And he said, “No, Congressman.”

I said, “Why would you not do that? These were CIA-trained case officers and career military professionals. Why wouldn’t you want to get the facts?”

He replied, “Because we think we’ve gotten all the information we need.”

I asked, “And why would you not include that in the 9/11 Report?” He answered, “Because we thought it was historically irrelevant.”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is the CIA hiding something about 9/11?

A retired State Department security officer says they are:

I know who the intelligence officials were at the U.S. embassy at the time of Murad's arrest and interrogation. These are the same officials who discounted the threat information I received about Rana. Do these people have something to hide? You bet they do!


There is a lot of information in there, so you need to read the whole thing. He also has more details about Dieter Snell and the 9/11 Commission:

Another prominent figure suspected of quashing the truth is Dietrich L. Snell, the Senior Counsel and Team Leader of the Official 9-11 Commission. Peter Lance writes extensively in his books Cover Up and 1000 Years for Revenge about Snell's shenanigans in cherry-picking evidence and excluding credible witness testimony, including information collected by the Defense Department's Able Danger Unit concerning pre-9/11 sightings of Mohammed Atta, one of the nineteen suspected hijackers. These allegations are now resurfacing in the news. The Associated Press (AP) reported on February 15, 2005 that U.S. Representative Curt Weldon, the vice Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee advised the public that the Able Danger Unit had identified Atta more than a dozen times before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Weldon also reportedly said the secret team found "a problem" in Yemen two weeks before the deadly Al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000, of which the ship commander was not told. Former (unidentified) members of the 9/11 Commission reportedly dismissed Weldon's findings.

My experience in the Philippines also appears to overlap Snell's involvement in the Murad case that Snell prosecuted. The Cooperative Research 9-11 Timeline (www.cooperativeresearch.org) contains a very peculiar account entitled: Early 1998:Prosecutors Turn Down Deal That Could Reveal Bojinka Third Plot.

The entry said: "Abdul Hakim Murad, a conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka plot with Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaik Mohammed, and others, was convicted in 1996 of his role in the Bojinka plot. He is about to be sentenced for that crime. He offers to cooperate with federal prosecutors in return for a reduction in his sentence, but prosecutors turn down his offer. Dietrich Snell, the prosecutor who convicted Murad, says after 9-11 that he doesn't remember any such offer. But court papers and others familiar with the case later confirmed that Murad does offer to cooperate at this time. Snell claimed he only remembers hearing that Murad had described an intention to hijack a plan and fly it into the CIA headquarters. However, in 1995 Murad had confessed to Philippine investigators that this would have been only one part of a larger plot to crash a number of airplanes into prominent U.S. buildings, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a plot that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed later adjusts and turns in the 9-11 plot. While Philippine investigators claim this information was passed on to U.S. intelligence, it's not clear just which U.S. officials may have learned this information and what they did with it, if anything. [New York Daily News, 9/25/01] Murad is sentenced in May 1998 and given life in prison plus 60 years. [Albany Times Union, 9/22/02] After 9-11, Snell goes on to become Senior Counsel and a team leader for the 9-11 Commission. Author Peter Lance later calls Snell "one of the fixers, hired early on to sanitize the Commission's final report." Lance says Snell ignored evidence presented to the Commission that shows direct ties between the Bojinka plot and 9-11, and in so doing covers up Snell's own role in the failure to make use of evidence learned from Murad and other Bojinka plotters. [FrontPage Magazine, 1/27/05].

Able Danger's Two Data Purges

Just to clarify, Keith Phucus at the Norristown Times Herald has written about 15 stories on Able Danger-here is his latest piece. He reports that there have been two Able Danger data purges:
Actually, data was purged in the spring of 2000 at the Land Information Warfare Activity, in Ft. Belvoir, Va., and then in 2004 at Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's Defense Intelligence Agency office at another Virginia location.

Cross posted at QT Monster's Place.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mohamed Atta Calling

Via CQ, new details are emerging from the Moussaoui trial:

The number 050-520-9905 is what several of the 9/11 hijackers dialed to establish contact with Mustafa al Hawsawi, a senior al Qaeda member in the United Arab Emirates.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Hawsawi was one of the key financial contributors and travel coordinators for several of the 9/11 hijackers, and that the 9/11 investigation shows that Mohammed Atta was in regular contact with him in the weeks before the attack.

In laying out for the jury the specifics of how the 9/11 plot was hatched, prosecutors showed the jury a series of money transfer orders and records of calls to Hawsawi from Mohammed Atta, which he made using an AT&T calling card.


That seems to answer the question as to how the NSA program could have stopped 9/11.

Captain Ed also sees the connection to Able Danger:

Radical Islamists had publicly declared their intention to strike at American interests at home and abroad at least since the mid-1990s. A series of attacks followed afterwards, including the bombings of two of our embassies and a suicide attack on the USS Cole, all of which fall very clearly into the category of "acts of war". Had the US actually adopted a war footing and started tracking international communications that involved countries known to harbor radical Islamists, we may have discovered the actors of the 9/11 plot before the attacks could occur. Combined with the information coming from Able Danger, it would have given counterterrorism intelligence a large jump on Atta and his cohorts.

Instead, to this day, we're still trying to fit counterterrorism intelligence into the law-enforcement mode with FISA and the substitutes offered by Congress today. And thanks to the New York Times, the NSA tracking and intercept program is likely dead as terrorists will choose alternate methods by which to activate their plans and their members.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Able Danger-Rep. Curt Weldon Conference Call Audio

Be sure to listen to the two latest audio clips (here and here) from the Able Danger conference call with Rep. Curt Weldon. (The previous clips are linked here and here.)

This is the link for subscribing to the Able Danger Podcast through iTunes.

This is the non-iTunes podcast feed for the Able Danger podcasts.

Cross posted at QT Monster's Place.

Follow the shredders

In some scandals, the key is to follow the money. In others, especially where criminal negligence is concerned, the rule should be to follow the coverup. AJ Strata points out similarities shared by Able Danger and another recent scandal. I'm hoping this is the type of thing Arlen Specter will look into when he holds hearings on Able Danger in the next few months. How can these people get away with destroying information to save themselves from blame, and not even get fired, much less charged with obstruction of justice or even destruction of government property?

Why Is This Not Public?

My problem with Able Danger is it appears a high level, poitical appointee was able to use his power to destroy information that was personally uncomfortable, but critical to national security and which could have detected and avoided 9-11. 3,000 people died on 9-11, and it is plausible to assume if the partisan purge of Able Danger’s analysis in early 2000, when Atta and his team were moving out and coming here, had not happened they might be alive today.

So when I see similar acts of coverup I am keenly aware we cannot afford to look the other way when people in power destroy information ‘we the people’ generated through the Federal government. Senators and Congressman and other pols should not be allowed to hide our information - we paid for it!

So how is it we let this happen?

...These CYA actions should be illegal - because they only serve to hide criminal acts (why else hide the information). And sometimes those criminal acts include criminal negligence that can lead to massive US death tolls. Hat Tip Jack Kelley.

Monday, March 06, 2006

From the Norristown Times Herald

Keith Phucas has a new article on the Able Danger court case:

In 2000 and 2004, the Pentagon ordered all "Able Danger" data purged from computer databases. In a Sept. 21, 2005, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, attorney Mark Zaid said the Pentagon "too zealously applied" enforcement of legal rules governing intelligence.

In prior interviews with The Times Herald, Shaffer said information obtained from the Internet is public information, and therefore, should not be subject to government restrictions.

"I fundamentally disagree with the (Pentagon) policy," he said. "If it's on the Internet, there should be no expectation of privacy."

During the clamp-down on "Able Danger" in 2000, Shaffer vigorously protested the data retention restrictions with Pentagon attorneys.

"I didn't agree with them then, and I don't agree with them now," he said....

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and House International Relations Committee are expected to hold future hearings on "Able Danger," according to the legal complaint.

Thanks to Dana at Common Sense Political Thought for a tip over the weekend that the article was on the way.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hearings in International Relations Committee?

The House International Relations subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Dana Rohrabacher, is considering holding hearings on Able Danger where Louis Freeh or Curt Weldon might be called to testify regarding how the information Able Danger had could have prevented 9-11, but why this information was never passed on or utilized. If you live in one of their districts you can contact the subcommittee members and ask them to go forward with hearings on this important subject.

(202) 225-2415 Dana Rohrabacher, CA
(202) 225-2411 Edward R. Royce, CA
(202) 225-3111 William D. Delahunt, MA
(202) 225-2635 Jeff Flake, AZ
(202) 225-4695 Howard L. Berman, CA
(202) 225-5665 Mark Green, WI
(202) 225-6631 Betty McCollum, MN
(202) 225-3021 Mike Pence, IN
(202) 225-4176 Adam B. Schiff, CA
(202) 225-2452 Joe Wilson, SC

New article by James Rosen

James Rosen, along with Jacob Goodwin and Keith Phucas, continues to be one of the only journalists still interested in getting to the bottom of the Able Danger story. Here is his latest article:

Two operatives at the center of the Able Danger controversy have sued the Defense Department for denying them contact with their lawyers during closed congressional hearings and other probes of the covert intelligence program.

Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and J.D. Smith were among a dozen intelligence officers and contractors who worked on the clandestine program set up long before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to track al-Qaida. They are accusing the Pentagon and two of its largest components - the Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency - of violating their First Amendment rights by blocking their access to legal counsel during the closed sessions.

The lawsuit, filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, marks the first time that the incendiary claims at the center of the Able Danger saga have been made in court....

In addition to targeting the military and intelligence agencies, the lawsuit names their four top lawyers: William J. Haynes, general counsel of the Defense Department, and George Peirce, who holds the same post at the Defense Intelligence Agency; and their deputies, Tom Taylor and Robert H. Berry Jr.

The denial of access violated the Sixth Amendment right to counsel of Shaffer and Smith, and also violated the Pentagon's internal regulations, the lawsuit alleges.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Able Danger Update from Curt Weldon

Via The Squiggler:

[THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT ON BEHALF OF U.S. REP. CURT WELDON (R-PA). YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS EMAIL BECAUSE YOU HAVE CONTACTED OUR OFFICE ABOUT ISSUES RELATING TO ABLE DANGER]

Thank you for your continued interest regarding the Able Danger issue. While the recent Able Danger hearing held by the House Armed Services Strategic Forces and Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittees was a step in the right direction, the matter is far from a resolution at this time. I have been working with several house committees as well as with Senator Arlen Specter’s office to continue the momentum, which began during this hearing. I can assure you that I will take the necessary measures to ensure that future hearings will be held to uncover the truth about this important issue.

Many of you have asked for more information about Able Danger. Despite the failure of the main stream media to keep you informed, the blogs have continued to provide valuable information about this important issue. You can find a multitude of updated news provided by these blogs here.

Thank you for your ongoing interest. I would ask that you continue to communicate with your Member of Congress and express how important future Able Danger hearings are. I will continue to keep you updated as hearings progress.

Thank you,

Curt Weldon

MEMBER OF CONGRESS
7th District of Pennsylvania


Many thanks to Weldon for the link, and Instapundit for his link, too. I guess Able Danger Blog is officially on the map, but we're far from alone. Check the list of Able Danger Bloggers on the right to find more.

Rory O'Connor on talk radio

Our friend Rory from Media is a Plural was on the left of center Peter B. Collins radio show recently to talk about Able Danger. Just when I was starting to think only Conservatives were interested in Able Danger at all. You can listen to it here. He is dead on with his discussion of why both parties are ignoring this. Vi is also adding it to her Able Danger podcast. They mixed up a few small details, but Rory is still the best investigator working on the Able Danger story.

Will Moussaoui call Able Danger witnesses?

From the New York Sun:

A man accused of conspiring with the September 11, 2001 hijackers, Zacarias Moussaoui, will be able to present evidence about the Pentagon's "Able Danger" despite objections from prosecutors, a federal judge ruled yesterday. "What knowledge the government possessed before September 11 regarding members of Al Qaeda, and specifically links between Al Qaeda and the eventual hijackers, is a key issue in dispute in this death penalty trial," Judge Leonie Brinkema wrote. She said Moussaoui may call three witnesses about the Defense Department data mining program, which allegedly uncovered links between conspirators in the September 11, 2001 attacks months before those attacks took place. Judge Brinkema denied a defense request to subpoena a lawmaker who has publicized the "Able Danger" project, Rep. Curt Weldon, a Republican of Pennsylvania. Moussaoui pleaded guilty in the case last year. A jury in Alexandria, Va., is scheduled to begin hearing evidence Monday on whether he should be sentenced to death.


Interestingly, Moussaoui himself could care less about the proceedings. He curses his lawyers at every opportunity. Will they call Able Danger team members, though? Weldon was protected by the "speech and debate" clause for Representatives. Of course, the fact that Able Danger itself never located any of the hijackers as present in the US contradicts the claim that they knew more than Moussaoui did. If anything, their testimony would probably hurt his chances, not help them. It shows that if Moussaoui had talked in August the Able Danger data might have been acted on.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Able Danger Podcast Feed/Blog

I've created an Able Danger Podcast blog to generate a podcast feed so folks can subscribe to this feed and easily obtain any Able Danger audio (mp3) files. Here is the podcast feed for the Able Danger podcasts.

The link to this feed is easy to find at the top left corner of my main blog, QT Monster, just above the Able Danger blog roll.

Folks can subscribe to this podcast feed through iTunes. From the iTunes interface pull down the Advanced menu, click on subscribe to podcast, and in the dialogue box paste the URL for this podcast feed: http://qtmonster.typepad.com/able_danger_podcast/rss.xml

I already subscribe to Instapundit and Captain's Quarters podcast feeds using iTunes. It works great-sure beats the commercials on talk radio all the time!

Cross posted at QT Monster's Place.

Shaffer and Smith First Amendment Lawsuit

On February 15th, the DIA prevented Tony Shaffer and JD Smith from having any legal counsel if they testified on matters relating to classified information in the closed session, which I don't believe JD Smith attended. Their attorney Mark Zaid filed a complaint on February 27th alleging that this action violated both their First Amendment rights and internal Department of Defense regulations. Able Danger Blog has obtained a copy of the complaint filed in DC District Court. Here is what they are seeking:

(1) Issue a permanent injunction to block the defendants from restraining theplaintiffs’ disclosure to their counsel of relevant classified information concerning ABLEDANGER;
(2) Declare that the plaintiffs possess a First Amendment right to communicate withtheir counsel to include discussions involving classified information;
(3) Declare that the defendants violated the Administrative Procedure Act and theirinternal regulations governing the granting of access to counsel to classified information;
(4) Declare that the plaintiffs possess the ability to reach need-to-know decisionsregarding the disclosure of relevant classified information;
(5) Declare that the plaintiffs’ counsel possess a need-to-know relevant classifiedinformation concerning ABLE DANGER;
(6) Require, if necessary, the defendants to conduct expedited backgroundinvestigations of the plaintiffs’ counsel to determine eligibility of access to certain levelsof classified information;
(7) Award the plaintiffs the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees under theEqual Access to Justice Act or any other applicable law; and
(8) grant such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.


You can download it here as a PDF. I'm also going to try pasting it here:

Page 1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAANTHONY SHAFFER*1920 N Street, N.W.*Suite 300*Washington, D.C. 20006**and**J.D. SMITH*1920 N Street, NW*Suite 300*Washington, D.C. 20006**Plaintiffs,**v.**DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY*Washington, D.C. 20340-5100*Civil Action No. 06-271 (GK)*and**DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE*Washington, D.C. 20301**and**DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY*104 Army Pentagon*Washington, D.C. 20310-0104,**and**GEORGE PEIRCE, individually and in his *professional capacity as *GENERAL COUNSEL*DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY*Washington, D.C. 20340-5100**and**
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Page 2
2ROBERT H. BERRY, JR., individually *and in his professional capacity as *PRINCIPAL DEPUTY GENERAL *COUNSEL, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE *AGENCY*Washington, D.C. 20340-5100**and**WILLIAM J. HAYNES, II, ESQ.*GENERAL COUNSEL*DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE*Washington, D.C. 20301**and**TOM TAYLOR*SENIOR DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL *DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY*104 Army Pentagon*Washington, D.C. 20310-0104**Defendants.*************FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINTNOW COME plaintiffs Anthony Shaffer and J.D. Smith, by and through undersignedcounsel, to bring this action for injunctive and other declaratory relief pursuant to theFederal Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, the Administrative Procedure Act,5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, and the U.S. Constitution,against defendants Defense Intelligence Agency (“DIA”), Department of Defense(“DoD”), Department of the Army (“Army”) and George Peirce, General Counsel, DIA,in his individual and professional capacity, Robert Berry, Jr., Principal Deputy GeneralCounsel, DIA, in his individual and professional capacity, William Haynes, II, GeneralCounsel, DOD, and Tom Taylor, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Army.
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3JURISDICTION1. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 702 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.VENUE2. Venue is appropriate in the District under 5 U.S.C. § 703 and 28 U.S.C. § 1391.PARTIES3. Plaintiff Anthony Shaffer (“Shaffer”) is a civilian employee of the DIA and aLieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was a team member of the DoD effortdesignated “ABLE DANGER”4. J.D. Smith (“Smith”) is a defense contractor. He served as a contractor whoperformed work for the DoD effort designated “ABLE DANGER”.5. Defendant DIA is an agency as defined by 5 U.S.C. § 701 and is the employer ofShaffer. The DIA’s actions are responsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith.6. Defendant DoD is an agency as defined by 5 U.S.C. § 701. The DoD’s actions orinactions are responsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith.7. Defendant Army is an agency as defined by 5 U.S.C. § 701. The Army’s actionsor inactions are responsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith8. At all times relevant to the facts in this case, defendant George Peirce (“Peirce”)serves as the DIA’s General Counsel. His actions, both in his personal and professionalcapacity, are responsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith.
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49. At all times relevant to the facts in this case, defendant Robert H. Berry, Jr.,(“Berry”) serves as the DIA’s Principal Deputy General Counsel. His actions, both in his personal and professional capacity, are responsible for the harm imposed upon Shafferand Smith.10. At all times relevant to the facts in this case, defendant William Haynes, II,(“Haynes”) serves as the General Counsel, DOD. His actions, or inactions, areresponsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith.11. At all times relevant to the facts in this case, defendant Tom Taylor (“Taylor”)serves as the Senior Deputy General Counsel, Army. His actions, or inactions, areresponsible for the harm imposed upon Shaffer and Smith.FACTS12. The plaintiffs performed certain duties in association with a Department ofDefense program code named ABLE DANGER which included both classified andunclassified components.13. ABLE DANGER was a United States Special Operations Command militaryintelligence program under the command of the U.S. Special Operations Command(“SOCOM”). It was created as a result of a directive from the Joint Chiefs’ of Staff inearly October 1999 by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hugh Shelton, todevelop an Information Operations Campaign Plan against transnational terrorism,specifically al-Qaeda. 14. Upon information and belief, ABLE DANGER identified the September 11, 2001attack leader Mohamed Atta, and three of the 9/11 plot’s 19 hijackers, as possiblemembers of an al Qaeda cell linked to the 1993 World Trade Center Attacks or its
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5participants. This information was contained, among other locations, on a chart preparedby Smith and turned over to Shaffer for use by ABLE DANGER. Although no specificcriminal or terrorist activity was detected, these individuals were viewed as havingassociational links with known terrorists. No copies of the chart have been located.15. ABLE DANGER used all information legally collected under the rule of law. Allpublicly obtained information was approved after a legal review of SOCOM lawyers.However, the information was ordered destroyed and this was accomplished by the Spring of 2001, after ABLE DANGER had been officially and formally shut down forunknown reasons. Additionally, upon information and belief, in or around Spring 2004,the DIA improperly destroyed ABLE DANGER and other files that Shaffer hadmaintained in his DIA work space.16. If the primary assertion of the ABLE DANGER members is true, the earlyidentification of the four hijackers by ABLE DANGER contradicts the officialconclusion of the 9/11 Commission that American intelligence agencies had notidentified Atta as a potential terrorist prior to the 9/11 attack.17. Thus it is no surprise that former members of the 9/11 Commission, most notablyformer Senator Slade Gorton, who has appeared on numerous television programs on thismatter, have publicly challenged these assertions and, at times, implicitly or explicitlycalled those who have claimed to the identification of Atta pre-9/11 as liars. Two other9/11 Commission members, Timothy J. Roemer and John F. Lehman, both have claimednot to have received any information on Able Danger. Lee H. Hamilton, former ViceChair of the 9/11 Commission, and Al Felzenberg, a former spokesman for the 9/11
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6Commission, both denied that the 9/11 Commission had any information on theidentification of Mohammed Atta prior to the attacks. 18. However, Shaffer asserts that in October 2003, in Bagram, Afghanistan, he toldPhilip D. Zelikow, the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, and three other 9/11Commission staff members, that ABLE DANGER had identified 9/11 hijackers, “toinclude Atta”. Although Zelikow told Shaffer that what he had said was “very important”and provided Shaffer his business card and asked him to call the Commission uponShaffer’s return to the United States, when Shaffer did so in January 2004, his attempts toestablish recontact with the Commission were rebuffed. Instead Shaffer was told that theCommission had all the information it needed concerning ABLE DANGER from thePentagon. 19 In July 2004, Navy Captain Scott Phillpott independently met with 9/11Commission staff and also informed them that ABLE DANGER had identified several9/11 hijackers pre-9/11. 20. Not one mention of ABLE DANGER can be found in the 9/11 Commission’sfinal report.21. On August 12, 2005, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former Chair andVice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, issued a statement in response to media inquiriesabout the Commission’s investigation of ABLE DANGER. They now stated theCommission had been aware of the Able Danger program, and requested and obtainedinformation about it from the DoD, but none of the information provided had indicatedthe program had identified Atta or other 9/11 hijackers. They also confirmed that CaptainPhillpott had provided them information that Atta had been identified prior to the attacks
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7but that it was just days before the Commission’s report was scheduled to be released. However, at one point ABLE DANGER was described by a former 9/11 Commissionsenior staffer as “historically insignificant.”22. Since in or around Spring/Summer 2005, Shaffer has provided briefings on ABLEDANGER and/or the retaliation he has suffered from the DIA to several Congressionalcommittees and their staff. 23. By letter dated August 30, 2005, the plaintiffs’ counsel requested that thedefendants officially permit their access to relevant classified information concerningABLE DANGER in order to represent Shaffer, particularly in relation to the need tohandle classified congressional and DoD inquiries. This request was reiterated by letterdated August 31, 2005, due to a formal invitation for Shaffer to testify before the UnitedStates Senate.24. By letter dated September 16, 2005, defendant Peirce responded on behalf of alldefendants denying the undersigned counsel’s request for access to classifiedinformation. Upon information and belief, defendant Berry participated in drafting andformulating the defendants’ response. Peirce, as General Counsel, does not possess theauthorization or qualifications to render clearance determinations under thecircumstances.25. In September 2005, both Shaffer and Smith were scheduled to testify before theUnited States Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss their involvement with ABLEDANGER. Shaffer submitted proposed testimony to the DoD for classification review,but the DoD has never responded. In any event, the defendants claimed all informationconcerning ABLE DANGER was classified and refused to consent to allow the
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8testimony. Their undersigned counsel, Mark S. Zaid, testified in their place on September 21, 2005.26. Just days before Shaffer was to testify before the U.S. Senate JudiciaryCommittee, the DIA revoked his security clearance amidst allegations of criminalconduct and unfavorable credibility determinations. The DIA specifically asserted thatShaffer had lied during appeal proceedings. Upon information and belief, the revocationof Shaffer’s security clearance, particularly the speed at which it occurred, was, in part orin whole, in retaliation for Shaffer’s public and/or private comments concerning ABLEDANGER. Additionally, as part of Shaffer’s security clearance adjudication process, theundersigned counsel was provided access to classified information.27. By letter dated February 2, 2006, the plaintiffs renewed their request to sharerelevant classified information with their counsel, particularly in order to appear in aclosed, classified House of Representative’s hearing.28. By letter dated February 14, 2006, defendant Peirce responded on behalf of alldefendants denying the undersigned counsel’s request for access to classifiedinformation. Upon information and belief, defendant Berry participated in drafting andformulating the defendants’ response. Peirce, as DIA General Counsel, does not possessthe authorization or qualifications to render clearance determinations under thecircumstances.29. On February 15, 2006, Shaffer and Smith testified before two Subcommittees ofthe House Armed Services regarding ABLE DANGER and related programs. Shafferdesired to be represented by counsel in the closed session, which was allegedly to includeclassified testimony. He publicly commented during his open session testimony (and
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9reiterated during the closed session) that he was not going to be permitted counsel in theclosed session and that this fact placed him in potential legal jeopardy. Defendantsrefused to permit undersigned counsel access to classified information so as to permitthem to attend the closed, classified portion of the hearing and have therefore deprivedShaffer of his right to assistance of counsel during said hearings. Although theSubcommittees did not issue subpoenas, it was made clear that were Shaffer or Smith todecline to appear voluntarily they would be compelled to do so.30. At the last minute Smith was not permitted to testify during the closed, classifiedsession on February 15, 2006, so his access to counsel was no longer an issue. However,he will likely be called as a witness in classified sessions (and at one point in or aroundSpring 2000, unknown federal agents appeared at his workplace and confiscatedmaterials claiming they were now classified) in the future so the dispute remains live.31. Upon information and belief, additional Congressional hearings are to be heldincluding by, but not limited to, the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. If Shaffer or Smith decline to appear voluntarily they wouldbe compelled to do so by virtue of a subpoena.32. In addition to congressional meetings, the DoD Office of Inspector General iscurrently conducting an investigation into ABLE DANGER in general and specificallyallegations of the DIA’s retaliation against Shaffer. Both Shaffer and Smith have beeninterviewed. The undersigned counsel was forbidden to be present during Shaffer’sclassified interview notwithstanding Shaffer’s desire to be represented by legal counsel.33. Shaffer and Smith’s appearances before congressional committees andGovernment investigators are under oath or are subject to criminal penalty pursuant to
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10statute if false or inconsistent statements are made. Both Shaffer and Smith’s credibilityhas been called into question and, based on the official views of the defendants and othercurrent or former Government representatives, the claims they continue to make arenothing less than intentionally false. Therefore, the plaintiffs could potentially faceprosecution should their answers be held to be either false or inconsistent therebyrequiring representation throughout every aspect of these matters.FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION(FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO COUNSEL)34. The plaintiffs repeat and reallege the allegations contained in paragraphs 12through 33 above, inclusive.35. The defendants have denied the plaintiffs’ access to counsel where classifiedinformation is concerned. Based on the defendants’ position neither plaintiff is permittedto share classified information with counsel, nor have counsel present to represent andprotect their interests during classified discussions. Should the plaintiffs share classifiedinformation with counsel they would be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.36. The plaintiffs have determined that their counsel has the requisite need-to-knowrelevant classified information pertaining to ABLE DANGER that is essential to theprotection of their legal rights.37. The defendants’ denial of classified access to plaintiffs’ counsel constitutes aneffective denial of counsel and implicates and violates the plaintiffs’ protected rightsunder the First Amendment.38. The plaintiffs’ counsel both have a need-to-know relevant classified informationpertaining to ABLE DANGER and have been in the past, and would be now, favorablyadjudicated as eligible to receive the specific relevant classified information.
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1139. The plaintiffs are continually requested to participate in classified discussionswith members of Congress and/or their staff, as well as cooperate in official governmentinvestigations, and they prefer/need to do so with counsel in order to properly andeffectively ensure protection of their legal interests.SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION(VIOLATION OF INTERNAL REGULATIONS)40. The plaintiffs repeat and reallege the allegations contained in paragraphs 1through 33 above, inclusive.41. The defendants have denied the plaintiffs’ access to counsel where classifiedinformation is concerned. Based on the defendants’ position neither plaintiff is permittedto share classified information with counsel, nor have counsel present to represent andprotect their interests during classified discussions. Should the plaintiffs share classifiedinformation with counsel they would be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.42. The plaintiffs have determined that their counsel has the requisite need-to-knowrelevant classified information pertaining to ABLE DANGER that is essential to theprotection of their legal rights.43. The defendants’ denial of classified access to plaintiffs’ counsel constitutes aneffective denial of counsel and was in violation or inconsistent with their existingregulations.44. The plaintiffs’ counsel both have a need-to-know relevant classified informationpertaining to ABLE DANGER and have been in the past, and would be now, favorablyadjudicated as eligible to receive the specific relevant classified information.45. The plaintiffs are continually requested to participate in classified discussionswith members of Congress and/or their staff, as well as cooperate in official government
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12investigations, and they prefer/need to do so with counsel in order to properly andeffectively ensure protection of their legal interests.WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs seek judgment against Defendants. (1) Issue a permanent injunction to block the defendants from restraining theplaintiffs’ disclosure to their counsel of relevant classified information concerning ABLEDANGER;(2) Declare that the plaintiffs possess a First Amendment right to communicate withtheir counsel to include discussions involving classified information;(3) Declare that the defendants violated the Administrative Procedure Act and theirinternal regulations governing the granting of access to counsel to classified information;(4) Declare that the plaintiffs possess the ability to reach need-to-know decisionsregarding the disclosure of relevant classified information;(5) Declare that the plaintiffs’ counsel possess a need-to-know relevant classifiedinformation concerning ABLE DANGER;(6) Require, if necessary, the defendants to conduct expedited backgroundinvestigations of the plaintiffs’ counsel to determine eligibility of access to certain levelsof classified information; (7) Award the plaintiffs the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees under theEqual Access to Justice Act or any other applicable law; and(8) grant such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
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13Date: February 27, 2006Respectfully submitted,/s/______________________________Mark S. Zaid, Esq.DC Bar #440532Krieger & Zaid, PLLC1920 N St., N.W.Suite 300Washington, D.C. 20006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mystery Woman Identified

From Rory O'Connor:

Sources close to the ongoing Department of Defense investigation into the controversial Able Danger data mining intelligence program, which purportedly identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks in US history, say the mystery person who actually obtained a much-disputed photograph of Atta for the Able Danger team has now been identified.

Ever since the Pentagon-ordered destruction in 2000 of 2.5 terabytes of data unearthed by Able Danger – allegedly including a chart featuring Atta’s photograph that revealed terrorist links and patterns when clicked on – skeptics have long raised doubt about the very existence of the chart and the photograph in question.

It has now been confirmed that a female contract employee of defense contractor Orion Scientific, which provided personnel and proprietary software to the original Able Danger operation, has been identified as a result of investigation by the Pentagon’s own Inspector General.

Identification of the mystery woman lends more credence to claims by Able Danger members, such as team leader Captain Mark Phillpott, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, and Orion analyst J.D. Smith, among others, that the Able Danger program did in fact identify four 9/11 hijackers well before the attacks.

More Audio of Able Danger Conference Call with Rep. Curt Weldon

The first 20 minutes or so of the Able Danger conference call was previously posted here. The next three audio clips are here, here and here.

Attending this conference call with Congressman Weldon were: AJ Strata from The Strata-Sphere, Dana from Common Sense Political Thought, Curt from Flopping Aces, Mike of Able Danger Blog, QT Monster, Rory O’Connor, Pierre from Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill, Bluto from Jawa Report and The Dread Pundit Bluto.