Able Danger Blog

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Man the Left Wants to Beat

From Ken Timmerman:

The Clintonistas hate Curt Weldon for exposing their total disregard of our national security. But they fear him the most because of Able Danger.

Able Danger was an experimental data mining operation run by the Land Information Warfare Assessment Center (LIWAC) in Fort Belvoir, not far from the Pentagon.

It was part of an experimental program in the late 1990s to collect intelligence on terrorist networks and on illicit Chinese high-technology procurement efforts from open source material.

And that is why the program became such a threat, Weldon believes. "The database included information on Chinese procurement in the United States and the Clinton people didn't want this coming out, because there were a ton of Clinton names in there," he told me.

And on orders from Clinton-era Pentagon officials, that data was destroyed in April 2000, without a backup.

As I reported last week, the Clinton folks and Weldon's opponent are crowing over a recent Pentagon Inspector General report that appears to conclude that the 2.5 terabytes of data contained nothing of significance, and that no political pressure was applied on the Able Danger team members to keep their findings quiet and not to meet with the FBI.

A close reading of the report, however, shows that those conclusions were ambiguous. Weldon accused the IG of having "cherry-picked testimony from key witnesses in an effort to minimize the historical importance of the Able Danger effort."

Following the leak of the IG report - given to the press before it was shared with Weldon, who had requested it - an anti-Weldon website accused him of "wild claims and rants" and called Weldon's pursuit of Able Danger "desparate [sic] fantasies."

Take a look at a list of donors to Weldon's opponent. Is there any surprise that among them can be found Madeleine Albright, former NSC advisors Sandy Berger and Tony Lake, former White House political director John Podesta and former CIA director John Deutch, not to mention Hillary Clinton's Political Action committee?

Who do you think made the decisions that authorized the auctioning of America¹s military secrets to Communist China during the 1990s?

Real watchdogs of the national interest are rare in Congress. Curt Weldon is one of them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda?

From the AP:

Rice took exception to Clinton's statement that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for incoming officials when he left office.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaida," she told the newspaper, which is owned by News Corp., which also owns Fox News Channel.

From page 6 of the IG report:

USSOCOM's initial goal was to identify al Qaeda's worldwide operations. GEN Peter J. Schoomaker, current Army Chief of Staff, and formerly Commander, USSOCOM, characterized Able Danger as "an effort to put together a campaign plan to address the al Qaeda terrorist network."

...The Able Danger team focused on "identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities associated with al Qaeda's command and control infrastructure, its leadership and supporting organizations."

From page 49 of the IG report:

On January 8, 2001, the campaign plan was presented to, and accepted by GEN Shelton.

Of course, don't expect Clinton to bring up Able Danger any time soon:

CLINTON: Of course they do. Of course they do. They want us to be — they want another homeland security deal. And they want to make it about — not about Iraq but about some other security issue, where, if we disagree with them, we are, by definition, imperiling the security of the country.

And it’s a big load of hooey. We’ve got nine Iraq war veterans running for the House seats. We’ve got President Reagan’s secretary of the navy as the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. A three-star admiral, who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Integrity and Efficiency

That's what it says on the seal of the Department of Defense Inspector General. It's the first thing I noticed when I printed a copy of the IG report. The second thing you will notice when you look at it is the title: "Alleged Misconduct by Senior DOD Officials Concerning the Able Danger program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve"

Of course, when you read the 90 page report - which took over a year to write - you will also notice it never gets into misconduct on the part of senior DOD officials. Instead, it focuses on dismissing members of the Able Danger team, just like those senior DOD officials are accused of doing. As I told Peter Lance the other day, just like the 9/11 Commission, the Inspector General Gimble knew the conclusions he wanted to reach and only looked for information that fit those conclusions. Instead of investigating retaliation against members of the Able Danger team who have spoken out, the IG accuses Eileen Preisser, Scott Phillpott, and Tony Shaffer of inventing the story about Mohamed Atta in order to advance their personal agendas or their careers. The IG was also asked to investigate the trumped up charges against Tony Shaffer the DIA used to revoke his security clearance on the morning of the Senate Judiciary hearing about Able Danger in September 2005. Instead, they go even further and imply he stole a GPS device while he was deployed to Afghanistan!

If you want more examples of distortions, consider these:

1-The IG claims to have identified "the" chart and apparently it has Jay Boesen's name on it. Of course, this chart does not name Atta and does not match any of the descriptions of the Atta chart provided by all of the witnesses. The only detail it has in common is that is was produced using Orion Magic and refers to a "Brooklyn Cell" that actually carried out the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. None of the witnesses say the chart with a photo of Atta was made by Jay Boesen. All those who claim to know its origin say it was produced by JD Smith. Shaffer and others have made clear the actual Atta chart was built using patterns identified from the first WTC bombing to identify more suspects who fit the same pattern. It was not a chart showing the people who carried out the 1993 attack, which is all that Figure 1 on Page 8 of the IG report shows. Furthermore, the only cells on the Jay Boesen chart are Brooklyn, Tanzania, and Uganda. Not Yemen, Manila, or Hamburg.

2-They devote nine paragraphs starting on Page 14 to criticizing LTC Shaffer as only having had "limited" participation in Able Danger. They even quote an unnamed witness who refers to him as "basically the delivery boy". What, if anything, does that have to do with the "Alleged Misconduct by Senior DOD Officials Concerning the Able Danger program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve"? Shaffer has described himself as a "liaison" and "not a member of the team" and the report confirms "LTC Shaffer assisted Able Danger team members in receiving special authorization that enhanced their ability to access various World Wide Web sites and coordinated with DIA and other intelligence agencies to provide data bases to the Able Danger team.... CAPT Phillpott and Dr. Preisser characterized LTC Shaffer's contributions to the Able Danger mission as significant." Yet, they throw is the "delivery boy" comment from an unnamed witness, as if it was a gossip column.

3-On page 35, the IG makes their bias clear. It almost speaks for itself:

Based on the testimonial evidence from GEN Schwartz, CDR ??????, Mr. ??????, and Mr. Snell, it is our conclusion that CAPT Phillpott inflated his claims regarding Able Danger's success in identifying 9/11 terrorists in order to promote his role as an advocate for data mining in the war against terrorism. His representations to those officials however, were so tenuous that they were either not specifically recalled (CDR ??????), refuted (GEN Schwatrz), or not considered worthy of pursuit (Mr. ??????, Mr. Snell). We considered Mr. Snell's negative assessment of CAPT Phillpott's claims particularly persuasive given Mr. Snell's knowledge and background in antiterrorist efforts involving al Qaeda. Further diminishing CAPT Phillpott's credibility was his assertion to us that the last time he saw a link analysis chart (Figure 1) was in July or October 2000, contrary to CDR ??????'s testimony at CAPT Phillpott shared the charts at Figures 1 and 2 with him aboard the USS ESTOCIN during the 2002-2003 time period.

They accuse Phillpott of using the Atta claim to advance his career but can not quote a single person who says that he used it to advance his career. Clearly, going to the 9/11 Commission was not an attempt to get a promotion, given the lack of any legal protections at all for whistleblowers on issues of national security. Even more laughable is their claim that Phillpott was motivated by self interest while they take the opinion of Dieter Snell at face value, as if he would have no interest in diminishing the significance of something he decided not to include in the 9/11 report? Not to mention the fact that Able Danger brought up the Ramsey Yousef link between KSM and the 1993 WTC bombing, which Snell avoided entirely when he wrote the 9/11 report, or the still classified after action report which Phillpott wrote regarding their prediction of an attack in Yemen two days before the bombing of the Cole. Snell didn't think that was important, either, and the IG is similarly dismissive, not even mentioning the after action report once. As far as Phillpott saying he had not seen the Atta chart since 2000, if anything it enhances his credibility. He said all along the charts in Figure 1 and 2 were not the Atta chart. If he had those charts with him in 2002 or 2003, you would think he would have looked at them and seen Atta was not pictured on the chart. If he had thought it was the same chart at that point, but still insisted Atta was there, then it would diminish his credibility. Even the IG acknowledges that just did not happen.

4-The most egregious example of bureacratic stupidity can be found on pages 55 to 62 of the report. While the investigation of Able Danger appears to have consisted mainly of reinterviewing Phillpott, Priesser, Shaffer, and Smith, until they could intimidate them into changing their answers then accuse them of being inconsist, the IG did some real hard nose detective work here. They launched a full scale investigation of Shaffer himself to accuse him of stealing a GPS device while he was deployed to Afghanistan searching for Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership in 2004. While they can not seem to locate the computer hard drives of any of the individuals who actually had an Atta chart, or figure out how to forensically look for old data on those hard drives, they are able to document in detail the chain of custody regarding personal items and equipment later mailed to Shaffer's attorney by DIA. In fact, they are so confident in their record keeping the only conclusion they can reach based on the lack of a receipt for the GPS device is that Shaffer must have stolen it and then pretended the DIA mailed it to him when he sent it back to them.

5-Despite documenting in detail how Shaffer's documents were shipped from one hallway to another, over to DIA headquarters and back, then placed in the corner of a conference room with "SHAFFER" written on them in big letters, the IG finds no misconduct on the part of DOD officials in this regard. Despite the fact there would have been ample opportunity for almost anyone within DIA to have taken what they wanted from Shaffer's office contents once his clearance was revoked and he was barred from entering the building, the IG attributes only the purest intentions and motives to those in charge. Instead, they claim the lack of documents is proof such documents never existed and imply it was all just a figment of his imagination or something that he made up. They heaping all the blame on none other than Shaffer. If the documents can no longer be found, then it must be LTC Shaffer's fault for not answering that email about cleaning out his office. Didn't he have email at Bagram?

In summary, I think there is a line missing after the conclusion of this report on the only pre-9/11 military intelligence effort aimed at "taking down" Osama Bin Laden and his worldwide Al Qaeda terrorist network:


We recommend that the Director, DIA, review procedures concerning disposition of personal belongings when abandoned by DIA employees and procedures for rendering military performance reports to ensure that Service requirements are met.

"Nothing to see here, move along!"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Redacted names from the IG report

Still trying to hunt down several of these, however here is what I have so far in order of appearance. If I'm unsure I put "???". You can tell when a new name first appears because they spell out their full name and the rectangle is twice as large.

If you know any of the other names, please reference the page number and leave them in the comments section. You can also email, instead.

Page 6

Colonel (Col) Worthington, U.S. Air Force, served as the Director of the Able Danger team from June 2000 to January 2001.

Captain (CAPT) (then-Commander) Scott Phillpott, U.S. Navy, who was assigned to the Center for Intelligence and Information Operations at USSOCOM, served as the Operations Officer for the Able Danger team from its inception until the end of October 2000.

Page 7

CAPT Phillpott testified that during the January conference at JWAC, LTC Shaffer approached him and recommended that CAPT Phillpott contact Dr. Eileen Preisser, a civilian intelligence analyst then-working for LIWA.

Page 9

Dr. Preisser and Mr. Erik Kleinsmith, formerly an active duty major in the U.S. Army assigned to LIWA as Chief, Intelligence Branch, attended the conference that was held January 24-27, 2000.

Page 11

Dr. Robert Johnson formerly Chief Scientist, Intelligence Division, Raytheon Company, told us that Raytheon, which set up the LIWA facility in 1997, constructed a backup center at the Garland facility with capabilities that he believed were "actually better but they were at least the same" as those of LIWA.

Page 19

Commander ??????, U.S. Navy, who served as CAPT Phillpott's executive officer from March 2002 to March 2003 aboard the USS ESTOCIN, told us that CAPT Phillpott discussed his previous assignment at USSOCOM and his interest in data mining.

Mr. Michael A. Westphal???, Assistant for Strategic Initiative, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, testified he met with CAPT Phillpott and LTC Shaffer during April 2003 to discuss their desire to develop an antiterrorism project applying the technology that was used by the Able Danger team.

Page 22

Regarding the Orion charts, Mr. Kleinsmith recalled that in January 2000 Dr. Preisser asked Mr. James D. Smith, an intelligence analyst for Orion, for a chart that she could give to the Able Danger team.

Page 24

Mr. Jacob L. Boesen, employed by Orion from 1998 to 2001 as a senior intelligence analyst, told us that he prepared the charts depicted at Figure 1 and 2, which do not identify Mohammed Atta or any other 9/11 terrorist, using Orion Magic, a proprietary software program owned by Orion.

Page 28

Colonel Gerry York, U.S. Army, former Chief of Operations for the Defense Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Service, DIA, was LTC Shaffer's second-line supervisor during the period of Able Danger activities.

Page 30

Regarding how Mohammed Atta's photograph had come to be on the chart, Mr. Smith stated it was provided by a woman whose name he could not recall during the interview but later confirmed, through his attorney, as Ms. ??????.

Page 31

Ms. ?????? stated that if she had had a photograph of Mohammed Atta prior to September 11, 2001, she would have received it from Mr. Yossef Bodansky???. Mr. Bodansky??? had previously been associated with the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. Congress.

Page 34

Mr. ??????

Mr. ?????? was a USSOCOM counter-terrorism intelligence analyst assigned to the Able Danger team. He testified that he recalled seeing a photograph of Mohammed Atta projected on a large screen while at the Garland facility.

Page 39

In order to set up the meetings, LTC Shaffer said that he contacted Unit Chief (UC) Xanthie Mangum FBI, "and asked her for the point of contact I needed to have to set up this meeting." He recalled that the point of contact was the Usama Bin Laden Unit, Washington Field Office, FBI.

He recalled that he asked his deputy, COL (then LTC) Teresa McSwain, U.S. Army Reserve, to schedule the first two meetings between Col Worthington and FBI agents, but he personally contacted the Usama Bin Laden Unit to schedule a third meeting.

Page 41

In a letter to Senator Arlen Spector, dated September 20, 2005, Ms. ??????, Office of Congressional Affairs, FBI, reported that the FBI queried their Automated Case System and existing telephone message logs for the Usama Bin Laden Unit and Strategic Information and Operations Center for references to Able Danger, CAPT Phillpott, LTC Shaffer, and Mr. Smith between the period of January 1, 2000, and September 11, 2001, and received negative results.

On April 14, 2006, in response to an inquiry from this Office, Ms. ?????? Inspections Division, FBI, provided that her office conducted a search of pertinent records to determine whether there were any references for "??????" or "??????". This search also produced negative results.

Page 42

Mr. ??????, Senior Intelligence Analyst, Joint Intelligence Task Force Combating Terrorism, DIA, testified he had been read-on to the Able Danger program in 1999 and had attended the January 10, 2000, conference at JWAC.

Page 45

Mr. Kleinsmith told us that his actions complied with direction from Major Tony Gentry???, U.S. Army, the LIWA Legal Advisor and designated intelligence oversight officer, who reminded him at the time: "You guys are going to have to delete this data for intelligence oversight reasons."

Page 47

We reviewed e-mail that showed that on April 5, 2000, Commander (CDR) ??????, Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Navy, former Chief of International Operational Law, USSOCOM, met with Army officials, including active duty attorneys from INSCOM and the Office of the Army Judge Advocate General (International and Operational Law Directorate), to discuss LIWA support to the Able Danger team.

Page 53

He testified that COL ??????; Captain (CPT) ??????, U.S. Army Reserve; Mr. ??????, who was a Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and an individual we designated as "Witness 2" reviewed the Able Danger documents that were in his possession.

Page 56

LTC Shaffer stated he provided the classified documents to Representative Weldon's Chief of Staff who, in turn, forwarded them to Mr. ??????, Counsel, House Armed Services Committee. Mr. ?????? subsequently provided the documents to this office.

Page 57

Mr. ??????, Senior Intelligence Officer, Sub-Sahara Africa Division, testified that after LTC Shaffer was assigned to Focal Point and Cover Staff, he spoke with LTC Shaffer and also sent him several e-mail messages asking him to clean up his old cubicle and remove his belongings.

Eventually, Mr. ?????? requested that Ms. ??????, Sub-Sahara Africa Division Administrative Officer, e-mail LTC Shaffer regarding his boxes.

Staff Sergeant ??????, U.S. Air Force, and Mr. ??????, the Sub-Sahara Africa Division employees who boxed and moved LTC Shaffer's articles, corroborated this sequence of events.

Page 58

Based on that notation, Ms. ?????? assumed that the boxes had been sent to Mr. ?????? at the DIA headquarters, and then returned by Mr. ?????? to the Clarendon facility.

Mr. ?????? was LTC Shaffer's supervisor when LTC Shaffer was assigned to the Sub-Sahara Africa Division. He had moved from the Clarendon facility to DIA headquarters.

CAPT ??????, U.S. Navy, former Division Chief, Asia Pacific Division, confirmed that Mr. ?????? had LTC Shaffer's office contents delivered to the Asia Pacific Division while LTC Shaffer was on TDY in Afghanistan during March 2004. Because CAPT ?????? understood that LTC Shaffer would not be allowed back into the Clarendon facility on his return from Afghanistan, he initiated action to segregate any personal belongings in those contents and deliver them to LTC Shaffer. CAPT ?????? testified he directed Mr. ??????, Administrative Assistant, Asia Pacific Division, to go through the material in the boxes and separate the official Government documents from LTC Shaffer's personal belongings and arrange to return LTC Shaffer's personal belongings to him.

Page 59

By e-mail to Ms. ?????? and Mr. ??????, Special Agents, Personnel Security Division, Mr. ?????? summarized his efforts to segregate LTC Shaffer's personal belongings during the March to July 2004 time period, stating that the task took him about 15 work hours, during which he removed and destroyed all classified documents.

Ms. ?????? and Mr. ?????? told us that on August 17, 2005, they were directed by Mr. ??????, Chief, Personnel Security Division, DIA, to take custody of the boxes containing LTC Shaffer's personal belongings, inventory the contents, and ensure the classified material had been removed. In separate interviews, Ms. ?????? and Mr. ?????? stated they brought the boxes to the office of Mr. ??????, Chief, Counter Intelligence and Special Investigations Unit, DIA, at the Clarendon facility.

Page 60

Mr. ??????, Chief of Logistics, Defense HUMINT, DIA, conducted a records check and found no recrod of DIA having purchased a GPS unit thta matched serial number 93048763, identified on the box shipped by DIA to LTC Shaffer. However, he did confirm that DIA had purchased the GPS unit with the serial number, 93086668, that LTC Shaffer provided.

Mr. ??????, a contractor employee, worked in the Asia Pacific Division and participated in the TDY to Afghanistan in March 2004 in which LTC Shaffer was the team leader. Mr. ?????? testified that he was issued two GPS units from DIA and that he brought them to Afghanistan.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Orion Magic Demo

Stumbled across this looking for comparisons between Orion Magic and Analyst Notebook. If you click on the "Link Analysis Feature" demo you will see that Orion Magic was the software used to create all of the charts which contain cirles underneath photos. This includes the Jay Boesen chart from Peter Lance's books, this chart of unknown origin, and the two charts shown in the IG report. However, Orion Magic is link analysis and graphics tool. It is not related to the data mining tools Able Danger used.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

IG report ignores published Shelton interview

Compare the IG report spin versus an actual interview with Shelton. Unfortunately this is only one example. The report is built on distortions.

From page six of the IG report:

GEN Shelton testified that he had no specific recollection of term "Able Danger" or the Able Danger program, but did recall that while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he was concerned about al Qaeda and the need to develop a holistic view of al Qaeda. GEN Shelton stated,

the genesis of starting to try to collect on a worldwide basis against terrorists, came about as a result of me looking at all the information that was coming into the Chairman's office, and seeing that we would get -- we were just being inundated with information, and it wasn't really intelligence, but little snippets.

From James Rosen at McClatchy News Service, December 7, 2005:

While Shelton said he never heard the program referred to as "Able Danger" until news reports on it first emerged in the summer, the retired general said he authorized a computer data-mining effort to target bin Laden and his associates.

"I dealt with a million damn acronyms and different kinds of code names for operations," Shelton said. "Able Danger was not one that jumped out at me when it first surfaced" in news reports.

But under his direction, Shelton said, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, now Army chief of staff, set up a team of five to seven intelligence officers after Shelton was promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997 and Schoomaker succeeded him as Special Operations commander.

The program began at Special Operations headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, Shelton said, but it was expanded later and moved to Fort Belvoir, Va., outside Washington. Schoomaker briefed Shelton on the program's progress in late 1997 when Shelton made a return visit to his old command post in Florida.

In Washington, sometime between 1999 and 2001, Shelton received a more extensive briefing from Defense Intelligence Agency officers involved in the program.

Awfully specific for someone with "no specific recollection" of Able Danger.

Weldon blasts back at deceptive IG report

From the office of Curt Weldon:


WASHINGTON (21 Sept.) - U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, today released the following statement about the Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG) report on "Alleged Misconduct by Senior DoD Officials Concerning the Able Danger Program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve."

"The purpose of the DOD IG investigation was to shed light on the pressures and harassment placed on LTC Shaffer and other Able Danger team members. It was also supposed to investigate why Able Danger was glossed over by the Pentagon and why there was such a fight to get information out of the Department of Defense about Able Danger, its findings and the reasoning behind destroying crucial data about linkages and relationship of al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. The IG's report did little to answer these questions.

"The DOD IG failed to brief LTC Shaffer's lawyer before releasing the report. The contents and overall tone and scope of the report were leaked to the media before Congress was even briefed of its findings. The DOD IG failed to explain in their briefing to me and my staff how such information got out to the media. They said they would investigate, but I have very little confidence that anything will come of that. Also, the timeliness of this report, just weeks before Congressional elections, also raises serious questions about the IG's motivations.

"Acting in a sickening bureaucratic manner, the DOD IG cherry picked testimony from witnesses in an effort to minimize the historical importance of the Able Danger effort. The IG narrowly focused their investigation on the witnesses recollections of the 9/11 hijackers and a chart. The report trashes the reputations of military officers who had the courage to step forward and put their necks on the line to describe important work they were doing to track al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.

"To further substantiate the Able Danger effort, within the last three months of the DOD IG investigation, another person who recently retired from the military has come forward and corroborated the work of the Able Danger program. Additionally, another official within DOD has conducted data runs of stored pre-9/11 data that has yielded information about the Brooklyn cell.

"They do not explain why LTC Shaffer and other Able Danger principles were harassed by their superiors. Specifically, the report did not address why the Defense Intelligence Agency trumped up phony charges against LTC Shaffer in an effort to revoke his clearance. When the DOD IG briefed me, they could not account for why they failed to interview key witnesses connected to this harassment, except for claiming that these witnesses 'did not come to us' - evidence that this was not a proactive investigation.

"The FBI agent that was tasked with setting up meetings between Able Danger and FBI officials - meetings that were block by DOD lawyers - was not interviewed in this report, yet it concluded that 'Able Danger members were not prohibited from sharing intelligence information with law enforcement authorities.'

"I am appalled that the DOD IG would expect the American people to actually consider this a full and thorough investigation. I question their motives and the content of this report, and I reject the conclusions they have drawn.

DODIG report released

As expected, it is just a continuation of the effort to discredit Able Danger.

Here is the full report.

From the DOD IG website:

09/21/06 Case Number H05L97905217, "Alleged Misconduct By Senior DoD Officials Concerning The Able Danger Program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve," September 18, 2006

IG report dismissing Able Danger expected today

UPDATE: "Should be on DoD OIG website after 2 pm."

Exactly one year to the day from the first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee where Scott Phillpott and Eileen Preisser were prevented from testifying publicly about Able Danger, the IG plans to release a report that apparently lays most of the blame for its failures on Eileen and other members of the Able Danger team, not the commanding officers who shut down the program or failed to act on their information.

Pentagon to release report on Sept. 11 claims

21 Sep 2006 01:57:39 GMT

Source: Reuters

By David Morgan and Kristin Roberts

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Pentagon's inspector general will release a report in the coming days that is expected to refute claims that an Army intelligence unit had information that could have thwarted the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said on Wednesday.

The report, the result of a Defense Department probe launched last October, was expected to be issued by acting Pentagon inspector general Thomas Gimble as early as Thursday, military and congressional officials said.

Former members of the data-mining unit code-named Able Danger and their Republican champion in Congress, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, have maintained for over a year that Able Danger uncovered intelligence on Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta and others in 2000 that should have been a tip-off of the attacks.

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and prompted the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

A spokesman for Weldon's office acknowledged that a final draft of the report was "imminent" but said he could not discuss the contents of the document.

Officials from Gimble's office were expected to brief Weldon about their findings on Thursday and then release the report on the Defense Department web site, officials said.

Two officials familiar with the contents of the report said it substantially undermines claims put forward by Weldon and former Able Danger members.

Weldon and former unit members including former Defense Intelligence Agency liaison officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer maintain that Able Danger identified Atta and three other hijackers as al Qaeda members in early 2000. But he said Pentagon lawyers prevented the team from warning the FBI.

Officials said the inspector general specifically investigated charges that the Defense Intelligence Agency retaliated against Shaffer for his public remarks about the Able Danger findings.

The inspector general began reviewing the case of Able Danger after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld received a written request on Oct. 20, 2005, from Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services.

Others associated with Able Danger, including the team's former leader, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have made statements similar to Shaffer's.

But an earlier exhaustive Pentagon search of tens of thousands of documents and electronic files related to the operation failed to corroborate the claims.

Officials with House and Senate intelligence oversight committees have also said there is little substantiating evidence.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Using Able Danger to smear Weldon

Now that the fifth anniversary of 9/11 has safely passed, Joe Klein is not the first and will probably not be the last to smear Congressman Weldon using Able Danger as a theme:

"Curt can be absolutely brilliant," says a House colleague. "But there's also a slightly unhinged quality to him." Weldon recently insisted, along with Pennsylvania's U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, that there were still weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He also claimed that a secret Pentagon unit called Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta at the center of the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy a year before the attacks, a claim that has been dismissed by both the White House and the 9/11 commission. Weldon has been associated with some questionable lobbying schemes: both his daughter Karen and his real estate agent, a longtime friend named Cecelia Grimes, have set up lobbying firms representing defense contractors and East European companies that have received Weldon's support for their products. Sestak is 54 and looks younger; Weldon is 59 and seems older. There is a last-hurrah quality to his campaign: Weldon has held the congressional seat for 20 years and has never had a tough race, but the district has trended blue in the latest presidential elections; John Kerry beat George W. Bush 51% to 48% here in 2004. As he traveled from event to event on a recent Sunday, Weldon seemed nervous and slightly desperate. His most persistent line of attack against Sestak was quite silly: that the admiral is a carpetbagger. "He still lives in Washington," Weldon told me. "He drives around the district in a car with Virginia plates. He gets the names of towns wrong when he visits them." Last April, Weldon seemed to go off the deep end when he attacked Sestak for having his daughter's cancer treated in Washington and not in Philadelphia or Delaware. "He's like an out-of-shape boxer," says one of Weldon's friends. "His timing is off. I know he deeply regrets that comment about Sestak's daughter." But Weldon is not the sort to make public concessions.

There are so many problems here, I don't know where to start. Talking about "House colleagues" and "friends" without pointing out their political affiliations or motivations for speaking anonymously is a slime ball tactic. Referring to things like WMD, Able Danger, and that cancer treatment article, without explaining the specifics is misleading at best, dishonest at worst. For one thing, Weldon was misquoted our of context about Sestak's daughter. What he regrets is even talking to the political reporter in question at all. Referring to Congressman Weldon as "nervous", "silly", and "desparate" while comparing his campaign to a "last hurrah" when he still has a comfortable lead in the polls makes Klein's motivation more than clear. Like his friends in the Clinton administration, Klein would much rather see former Clinton NSC staffer Sestak in office than Curt Weldon. Notice how Klein never gets around to mentioning Sestak's ties to Clinton, either?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Report on data mining at DHS


The DHS inspector general released a report last week entitled “Survey of DHS Data Mining Activities” which identifies and describes 12 systems and capabilities at DHS, some of which are operational, others of which are under development. Many of the 12 have received little to no public scrutiny until this report, most notably the Intelligence and Information Fusion (I2F) program under the DHS Office of Intelligence Analysis, which was previously alluded in the IT spending analysis for the FY 2007 budget request and at a conference in May, but has not been really discussed until this report. The report notes:

The purpose of the I2F is to make operational an integrated intelligence and information capability for DHS. This capability will enable intelligence analysts to understand relationships that would otherwise not be readily apparent. I2F is in early development and is primarily dependent on the analyst manually processing, compiling, and analyzing data. The next version of the system will be a set of tools and technologies integrated to support the intelligence analyst.

I2F provides intelligence analysts with tools that aid in the discovery and tracking of terrorism threats to the United States population and infrastructure. I2F is principally made up of commercial off-the-shelf software, but also integrates government off-the-shelf programs. These programs are used for entity extraction, search capabilities, and link analysis.

The report also discusses the ADVISE program, which has been the subject of occasional worried speculation over the past year and a half. The report adds additional details to previous official accounts of ADVISE, describing how it uses semantic graph techniques to “connect information extracted from text and images, databases, and simulation and modeling tools to provide a watch-and-warning system for analysts.”

Overall, an informative report. For more info, see these stories last week from Washington Technology and the Washington Times.

Also from the DHS report:

Advanced Analytics

Science and Technology (S&T) is developing an advanced analytics capability called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE), as described in Table 6. ADVISE is an advanced information technology that can integrate information and facts from many different types of data. Since ADVISE is a “technology framework,” it can be tailored and deployed for specific purposes and areas of interest. For example, it is being developed to incorporate chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threat and effects data. It is intended to ingest data from a variety of sources, ranging from highly structured content, such as database records, to unstructured content, such as message traffic. Still in development, ADVISE will connect information extracted from text and images, databases, and simulation and modeling tools to provide a watch-and-warning system for analysts.

ADVISE employs semantic graphs to determine relationships and patterns among data and multiple visualization techniques to display the resulting information. The Department seeks to predict threat and vulnerabilities, such as through the detection of relationships between seemingly disjointed entities. Semantic graphs organize data entities regarding threats and vulnerabilities and link their relationships. Thus, hidden relationships in the data are uncovered by examining the structure and properties of the semantic graph. For example, a simple semantic graph can link people, workplaces, and towns as well as indicate a relationship with various friends. Studying the links can assist in understanding the relationships between entities, and help identify threats and vulnerabilities. S&T expects ADVISE’s ability to apply the capabilities of semantic data fusion, link analysis, and unstructured text analysis will be a powerful capability that will allow analysts to find the expected and discover the unexpected.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Path from 9/11

Rory O'Connor writes in the Guardian Unlimited:

We can never move beyond 9/11 until we have a complete, thorough and non-partisan investigation of the events of the day and what underlies them.

Now that all the books have been published and promoted; the Hollywood films have all opened (and closed); all the radio and television commentaries and commemorative specials have been broadcast; all the dramas (and the so-called "docudramas") and even a handful of reality-based, actual "documentaries" have aired and been argued over, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, on the web and in the long last, and after all has been said (but so little really has been done) where do we find ourselves? And where do we go from here, on the long, confusing, circuitous and still ever-painful path from 9/11?

To answer that question, we first must come to understand truly what happened in and to America five years ago, how it happened, and - most important - why. Yet the plethora of attack-related media that has exploded onto our public consciousness in the run-up to the fifth "anniversary" of the terror attacks has done nothing to help us understand any of it. Yes, books have been sold, theatres filled, ratings raised, circulations increased, reputations enhanced - but I repeat: nothing has been done to help us understand.

This, despite the obvious talents of directors like Paul Greengrass of United 93 and Oliver Stone of World Trade Center; despite the literary investigations of reporters like Peter (Triple Cross) Lance and Lawrence (The Looming Tower) Wright; or the vivid recollections of Kristin (Wake-up Call) Breitweiser and the self-serving apologia (Without Precedent) of Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton; despite the National Geographic Channel's eviscerated version of Lance's book; despite Court TV's documentary embrace of On Native Soil, based on the discredited 9/11 Commission report; despite Spike TV's ode to metalworkers and millions of downloads of Loose Change; despite CBS's re-run of the same French documentary it aired years ago; and yes! despite ABC's cretinous and much-discussed docudrama The Path to 9/11 - despite it all, all the bluster, all the recriminations, all the posturing, all the politics and all the media attention, attention still must be paid.

Attention - first to the families, our touchstones who suffered more than any and who still seek deliverance from that suffering in their unending search for the truth of what happened. Attention next to the many questions about 9/11 that remain unanswered - questions large and small, new and old; such as why the Pentagon held back so much information about air defense deficiencies from the 9/11 commission that Chairmen Kean and Hamilton came close to asking the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation; such as why the dozens of pre-attack warnings pouring into Washington were ignored; such as why the Able Danger intelligence program, which purportedly uncovered evidence of five active Al Qaeda cells and identified four of the eventual hijackers months before the attacks, was ignored and closed down; such as why Osama bin Laden was allowed to escape from Afghanistan when cornered in Tora Bora; such as why evidence of Pakistani intelligence involvement in the 9/11 plot has been ignored and covered up.

Attention fully paid, then, to "press for truth" (the title of another 9/11-related documentary I am an executive producer of) about what actually happened, how it happened, and who helped make it happen - as a means of finally approaching the reality of why it happened - and perhaps in the course of that search, ensuring that it can never happen again.

A logical starting point, and something that some family members spoke out for at a recent press conference in Washington, DC, is to support calls for a new, reopened, and non-partisan investigation. There is little doubt that that the 9/11 commission report has become the Warren commission report of our time - a fatally flawed official examination that ended up raising more questions than it answered, owing to a toxic brew of politics, partisanship, personal agendas and presidential obstruction. Chairman Thomas Kean's recent paid involvement with ABC's fictitious "historical" docudrama is but the latest reminder that the 9/11 tragedy has yet to be investigated fully or fairly - or in a NON-partisan (as opposed to BI-partisan!) manner.

Both Kean and his Democratic Party counterpart Lee Hamilton now acknowledge that the Pentagon didn't play straight with them, and that they and their fellow commissioners bowed to political pressure when they didn't fully question New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani about his management decisions and emergency responses. Other commissioners complained repeatedly about White House obstacles put in their path - yet the commissioners chose to issue their report nonetheless, even in the face of staff objections that there wasn't enough time to follow all leads.

The commissioners also allowed the president and vice president to testify together (and not under oath) and went along with other administration demands, such as the one that only a minority of the commissioners could see a minority of the documents requested - and even then had to vet their notes with the White House before sharing them with the full Commission! So Kean's paid advisory role to the discredited ABC miniseries is best understood as just the latest evidence of his shattered credibility - and that of his commission as well.

At the risk of stating the obvious, let me conclude by noting that we can never move beyond 9/11 until we obtain a fuller understanding of the events of that day and what underlies them. And until we have a complete, thorough and non-partisan investigation, that will never happen. We must continue to "press for truth" in connection with the events of September 11, 2001 - for we still don't know the true "path to 9/11" and until we do, we can never find the path from 9/11.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Barbara Bodine rears her head

If Barbara Bodine is opposed to "Path to 9/11" they must have gotten something right. From Jane at Armies of Liberation:

During her congressional testimony in 2000 on the subject of the Cole, Bodine spoke in glowing terms of regime’s cooperation, however the FBI was frustrated in its investigative efforts. So to paraphrase the words of her boss, I guess it all depends of what “hostile” means. I appreciate the value of working with Yemen and not “seeing it as the enemy,” but lets be realistic as we do so.

The Yemeni government did not blow up the Cole and kill 17 US sailors. But there are circumstantial indications that some few individuals associated with the regime at various levels had some knowledge or complicity both before and after the attack. The investigation was neither thorough nor complete. Warning were issued by both Able Danger and Kie Fallis at DIA prior to the bombing that were never forwarded. These topics may be more taboo with some in the USG than they are in Yemen.

These issues were completely ignored by the both the congressional investigation into the Cole and the 9/11 commission report. The commission got the information late they say, after the book was already going to print. Senator Werner’s suggestion to reopen the investigation to reexamine the decisions of the Commander Lippold, the ships commander, is off the mark. Several areas of the Cole bombing should be reexamined and none of them have to do with Lippold. The way in which the FBI’s Cole investigation was stymied to a greater or lesser degree, under her watch, is an appropriate subject for the CBS documentary.

Ms. Bodne’s goal of “honor those killed by finding those guilty,” has not been fulfilled when several Cole bombers have been found time and time again and yet are free today. This is no “myth.” Its an outrage.

You can read what Bodine has to say here, but I'm not going to bother quoting her.

Capitalizing on the 9/11 tragedy?

Scathing editorial by John Prados of the National Security Archive:

The point here is not to belittle 9/11 conspiracy theories. Raising questions is perfectly legitimate, and some of those the 9/11 truth seekers posit are sufficiently troubling as to demand answers. At the same time, almost by definition with this administration, the official explanations are flawed, perhaps even outright deceptions. A steady stream of revelations has appeared that challenge the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the 9/11 Commission’s work—from its failure to deal with the prior knowledge implied by the “Able Danger” military intelligence unit, to the recent declassification of new data on U.S. air defense performance on that tragic day. At an earlier stage, when the House and Senate intelligence committees were conducting their own inquiry into 9/11, there was the similar Bush suppression of knowledge of CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief warning Bush of aerial events, and of the investigation’s treatment of U.S. links with Saudi Arabia. These were, and are, 9/11 truths whose emergence is important, and has occurred or will take place largely as a result of public pressure, not least that of the seekers.

My problems with the conspiracy theories are different. One is a question of focus, the other more political. In terms of focus, the 9/11 Truth Movement has largely steered clear of such outlandish attributions as to the Elders of Zion, and they do aim properly at the Bush administration. But the theories largely postulate that the Bush White House either made 9/11 happen, or this president knew all about what impended and let 9/11 happen. Neither is likely in my view. There is no doubt that the events of 9/11 flowed from an immense chain of actions in many places by a host of actors. Orchestrating all this activity implies a level of skill that just does not track with the Bush administration’s demonstrated incompetence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israeli-Palestinian matters, on selling democracy in the Middle East, on detention and torture, domestic wiretapping, actually finding Osama bin Laden, and on so much else. What the Bushies were good at was at capitalizing on the 9/11 tragedy to push their domestic and foreign policy agendas.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wake-Up Call by Kristen Breitweiser

Kristen has a new book in bookstores now, and she's also taken some time to write a personal letter to Ann Coulter:

Dear Ann,

But for the murder of our husbands on 9/11, we would not have gone to Washington to fight for an independent 9/11 investigation. Our involvement in national security would have begun and ended at the voting booth, like most citizens. But for the initial failure of our leaders and elected officials to create an independent 9/11 Commission to investigate the terrorist attacks, we would not have not been forced to publicly fight for it....

Ann, the Jersey Girls are moms. We have children. Perhaps one day if you have a child, you may understand the sense of duty and obligation that parents feel toward their children to provide them with a safe and secure environment, both in the present and the future. There were many, many times when we wanted to give up. We were tired and frustrated. But we didn't. The reason? Our children. We were left as their sole protectors; we wanted them to know that even though their fathers were brutally killed, they could be and would be safer living in America.

You complained to many interviewers that they hadn't taken the time to read your book. But did you take the time to look at the Family Steering Committee Web site ( You might discover that we shared some of the same disappointments, concerns, and grievances that you have expressed with regard to the 9/11 Commission. The difference is that we made those concerns known while the Commission was doing its work--that is, when it could have made a difference. Why didn't you?

We could have used some more support back then, when we were fighting against individual commissioners' apparent and very possible conflicts of interest and the need for more hard-hitting hearings. We needed more help in fighting for an extended deadline, so as to remove the Commission's final report from the politics of the 2004 election, and a budgetary increase so the Commission could complete its unfinished work on questions about Able Danger. (You see, I did read your book.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

9/11: Press for Truth press conference

For Immediate Release:
September 1, 2006

On 5th Anniversary of the Attacks, Victims' Relatives to Challenge Credibility of 9/11 Report -- Say Case Merits New Investigation

Producers of 9/11: PRESS FOR TRUTH to Reveal Details of National Campaign

Monday, September 11th
11AM -- 12:15PM

National Press Club
Zenger Room
529 14th Street NW 13th floor
(corner of 14th and 'F' Street)
Washington, DC

9/11 families and speakers TBA will join producers of a recently-released feature-length documentary "9/11: Press for Truth" at a press conference at 11AM on September 11th at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.. Participants will cite a growing body of evidence calling into question the credibility of the 9/11 Report and demand a new investigation into the attacks of September 11th.

Producers of 9/11 Press for Truth to be released on September 5th and broadcast on international television over the anniversary will report on the reception to the film following screenings in NYC, Washington DC, Chicago, Oakland, and over 20 other cities nationally over the 9/11 memorial weekend. Paul Thompson, author of The Terror Timeline (Harper-Collins), 9/11 family members and special guests will be in attendance to make brief statements and answer questions from the press. C-SPAN and other media outlets are invited to participate.

Press only (due to limited size of room). Advance confirmation required.

To confirm your attendance please contact:
Kyle F. Hence
kylehence @

Five Years Later

Michael Tanji writes in Weekly Standard:

IN THE WAKE of 9/11 we were told that our intelligence agencies had failed us. What are we to make, then, of the FBI agents in Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Yemen who, each in his own way, uncovered a portion of the 9/11 plot before it happened? Remember Julie Sirrs? Late of the Defense Intelligence Agency, she traveled to Afghanistan in 2001, then warned the intelligence community of the growing threat posed by bin Laden. Let's not forget the Defense Department's Able Danger data mining project that by some accounts connected more 9/11-related dots before the attack than all the aforementioned efforts combined. The intrepid Sirrs was forced out of service. Able Danger was shut down and its data was destroyed. If there was a failure in the system, it was the longstanding practice of giving the bum's rush to those with the resolve and temerity to make the correct, if unpopular, assessments....

Third, recognize that privacy in the information age is a fleeting thing. We do not have real privacy laws in this country; we have laws that attempt to make us whole after our personal information has been abused. People think nothing of turning over private information to save a few pennies on gas or dog food, but heaven forbid the government sort through that same data to keep us safe.

Remember that any of the enemies among us aren't living in a cave; they use the same credit cards, shop at the same stores, and use the same Internet we do. No one proposes a crude rifling of office files or rummaging through personal lives: Data mining exploits information at the aggregate level, searching out suspicious patterns of activity in trillions of anonymous transactions. This is not surveillance--no conversation is listened to or recorded; no one is watched--and the effort to use it to foil terrorists and save lives is justified....

Regrettably, we may have to relearn the lessons of five years ago. As long as we continue to engage in mere quasi-war, another attack on our homeland remains a real possibility. If we are going to avoid that eventuality, we need to change. We need to forge a culture of courage, clarity, and forthrightness in dealing with threats to our national security.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Review of "9/11: Press for Truth"

"9/11: Press for Truth", a new documentary co-produced by Rory O'Connor, premiers this week. You can watch the trailer, check for show times, or pre-order the DVD now.

The interesting thing about any 9/11 story is that you are bound to enflame heated partisan outrage on either side of the aisle in equal proportion to which part of the 9/11 timeline you see your sights on. A new "docudrama" by ABC has led to outrage from the left. Apparently, it spends three hours on massive failures of the Clinton administration the first night, but focuses on the hijackers and the plot itself the second night, not the equally massive failures of the Bush administration in 2001. Similarly, some will no doubt argue that "9/11: Press for Truth" is too critical of Bush, mainly because it focuses on the failures in 2001 that were his responsibility.

However, focusing on the political ramifications of this documentary really misses the larger point that it is trying to make. Rory sent me a copy to review, and I can tell you it is well worth watching, whoever you are. Unlike the "Path to 9/11" by ABC, this film is a documentary - not a docudrama - and backs up it's story with interviews and news clips. More than anything, its the story of 9/11 widows and their failed efforts to find someone - anyone - to get to the bottom of the failures that led to 9/11. They are determined to know their husbands did not die in vain. It follows them from the morning of 9/11, through the process of calling for an independent commision, and ultimately to loosing all faith in the same commission.

While they did not have time to cover Able Danger, which could fill a documentary in its own right, they do make several important points. The first is that the only people who seemed to care about investigating 9/11 were families of the victims. The mainstream press failed miserably, and this films shows how. The only reason the media covered their call for an independent investigation at all was because the press was determined to show every single ounce of their suffering. Emotion sells. The 9/11 families knew this, and resigned themselves to it. They stepped up to the podium, witness table, or television studio to make their voices heard. The least we can do is hear them out and answer their call for help. This movie does.

Some of the most powerful lines in the movie are from women who lost their husbands on 9/11. Those who became known as "The Jersey Girls" are featured prominently in the film. Here are some of their quotes:

Lorie Van Auken: "On 9/11, the media started out by doing it's job and somehow got waylaid and stopped doing its job. It began reporting soley on the administration and the governments activities."

Monica Gabrielle: "The one thing that I personally was hoping for was another Woodward and Bernstein with regard to 9/11. Someone, anyone that was willing to put their teeth into this."

Kristen Breitweiser: "If the public was better informed in the summer of 2001, lives would have been saved, maybe the attacks wouldn't have been prevented, but lives would have been saved. My husband was in Tower Two. If he knew that it was a terrorist attack, he wouldn't have stayed in the building."

Mindy Kleinberg: "The 9/11 terrorists were not just lucky once, they were lucky over and over again. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one can not still call it luck. If at some point we don't look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs properly, then how can we ever expect a terrorist to not get lucky again."

Veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern: "The whole mystique of intelligence is that you acquire this very valueable information covertly, but the truth be told about eighty percent - eight zero - of any of the information that one needs is available in open source materials."

Internet researcher Paul Thompson: "As I began researching I noticed this curious phenomenon, which is that there is a lot of information that comes out in the main stream press, but it comes out buried. As a casual observer of the news, I'd never noticed any of this stuff."

Even if you don't live in a city where the movie is airing, check out the trailer, review the timeline, and consider ordering the DVD or simply spreading the word. If we ever want the truth about Able Danger to come forward, we have to be prepared to hear the full truth, on both sides.

Will anyone even mention Able Danger?

Amidst all the wall to wall coverage over the next week, I have to wonder if two words will even be mentioned once, in the hundreds of hours of coverage: ABLE DANGER

Why do I suspect not?

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC and its networks will provide a full-court press of coverage on the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, calling on current NBC News journalists as well as former anchor Tom Brokaw and former "Today" co-host Jane Pauley.

"Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer will broadcast live from the site of the World Trade Center and will be joined by Brokaw, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, survivors of the attacks and emergency personnel who were at the scene.

At 8 p.m. September 11, Pauley will update her "Dateline" report broadcast in 2001 on United Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Pittsburgh as passengers tried to regain control of the plane from hijackers. New interviews and audio tapes will accompany Pauley's report.

NBC will reach into the vault September 9 to replay Brokaw's "America Remembers: 9/11 Controllers" at 8 p.m. Brokaw had interviewed 20 air traffic controllers who dealt with the four hijacked planes that day. Then "Dateline" will have a special that aired in 2001 called "The Miracle of Ladder Company No. 6," a Stone Phillips report of the firefighters and an office worker who were rescued from the rubble of the World Trade Center's North Tower after it collapsed.

MSNBC will have coverage beginning September 10 with Chris Matthews anchoring from the site at 8 a.m. ET and a special live "Hardball" at 7 p.m. with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. MSNBC's "9/11: The Day That Changed America" will feature NBC coverage as it aired that day as well as interviews with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Robert Redford.

CNBC will cover the impact of the attacks on the financial community, including interviews with correspondents as well as how New York has recovered since then. Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo will have special coverage as well.

Meanwhile, new "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric will interview President Bush for an hour long primetime special that will air September 6 called "Five Years Later: How Safe Are We?" It also will feature Lara Logan, Byron Pitts, David Martin and Jim Stewart.

CBS also will air an updated version of the award-winning documentary "9/11" on Sunday evening.

ABC News hasn't formally announced its plans, though Charles Gibson will anchor a special "Primetime" on the September 11 anniversary that will begin shortly after 10 p.m. at the conclusion of the second part of ABC's four-hour miniseries "The Path to 9/11." The special will look at the country's security and also why Osama bin Laden has yet to be caught. ABC's "Good Morning America" will broadcast live from St. Paul's Chapel across from the site of the World Trade Center, and "Nightline" and "World News" also will have coverage.

A Play on Nothing in Three Acts

Excerpts from an Op Ed by Bill Weaver and Sibel Edmonds:

A wag once famously said that Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot was a play where nothing happened . . . twice. The two former co-chairmen of the 9-11 commission report, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have released a new book, "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9-11 Commission." This book goes Beckett one better – it is the third act of veneer over substance, self-aggrandizement over serious analysis, and cliché over perspicacity. It is another calculated attempt by the former commissioners to place themselves in the media spotlight, and to overcome the humiliation of their widely criticized and mostly debunked report. It is a vapid and substanceless attempt to claim moral high ground and present the co-chairmen as heroes of honesty. It would be a farce, except that it has no story line, save the aggrandizement of the authors. At least they are consistent in doing nothing and proclaiming that to be a sign of their devotion to the country and the government. Beckett once said that "habit is the ballast that chains the dog to its vomit," and by this measure the chain restraining Kean and Hamilton is a short one indeed....

Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist; FBI - Ms. Edmonds worked for the FBI's Washington Field Office as a language specialist with Top Secret Clearance performing translations for counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations dealing with Turkey, Iran, and Turkic speaking Central Asian countries. She contacted the 9/11 Commission in May 2003 and requested a meeting to provide them with information directly related to the terrorist attack. The Commission investigators refused to meet with Edmonds and informed her that due to their limited resources and time they were not going to interview all witnesses. She was able to provide the commission with information and documents only after certain 9/11 family members intervened directly. Ms. Edmonds' testimony was completely censored by the Commission.

Behrooz Sarshar, Former Language Specialist; FBI - Mr. Sarshar worked for the FBI's Washington Field Office as a language specialist with Top Secret Clearance performing Farsi translations for counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations dealing with Iran and Afghanistan. He had first-hand information of prior specific warning obtained from a reliable informant in April 2001 on the terrorist attacks of September 11. Mr. Sarshar contacted the Commission directly but was refused. He was given an interview with the Commission investigators only after 9/11 family members intervened directly. Mr. Sarshar's documented testimony was completely omitted from the commission's final report, despite his case being publicly confirmed by Director Mueller's Office....

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, DIA - Colonel Shaffer provided the Commission with detailed information on intelligence and pre warning information obtained by his unit's data mining project, Able Danger. The 9/11 commission staff received not one but two briefings on Able Danger from Mr. Shaffer and his former team members, yet did not pursue the case, did not follow up on this documented report and refused to subpoena the relevant files. Mr. Shaffer's testimony, together with other witnesses who corroborated his testimony and information, were censored by the 9/11 Commissioners and never made it to its final report.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Miserable, carping retromingent vigilantes

Of course, some might prefer other names, but Geoff Metcalf at Accuracy in Media is proud to align himself with Reed Irvine over Ben Bradlee any day:

Media Manipulation
By Geoff Metcalf
September 4, 2006

Control of the news media isn't exactly a new concept.

"I'm not talking about confusion and inefficiency, which to a certain extent are products of all wars, but about muddle-headed thinking, cover-your-ass orders, lies and outright foolishness on the very highest levels." Cdr James Meacham, 1968

The fact that the Pentagon is overtly moving toward monitoring media is no real surprise. That they will spend $20-million for a public relations contract is kinda odd. Government has gotten good results with far less cost.

Peter Lance is a best selling author. His third 9/11 investigative work, 'Triple Cross', is due out in October. Lance recently had his work 'spun' and manipulated by National Geographic and feds attempting to rewrite history.

The venerable National Geographic wanted to do a documentary on Lance's book. However, 'something' happened mid production. The author was dealt out and his work edited with a cleaver. They then replaced Lance with Jack Cloonan, one of the very Feds that Lance's research had found grossly negligent...very 'fox guarding hen house' stuff.

Viewers of the 'documentary' "never saw any of this evidence critical of the Feds because Nat Geo Channel, allowed the story of FBI failures in the Ali Mohamed case to be told from the Bureau's point of view." Huh?!?

According to Lance, "It was like doing Schindler's List from Hitler's perspective."

Several years ago the temporary outplacement of U.S. Army psyops personnel was confirmed. " The assignment durations have been short-term up to one full year, depending on the mission." When asked, "What were the missions?" responses varied from "No comment.", "... need to know," to smiles, and, in one case, an obscene recommendation.

Meanwhile in a recent government solicitation, companies are being asked to demonstrate how they will "provide continuous monitoring and near-real time reporting of Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international, and U.S. media,".

This latest efforts comes in the wake of a White House effort to get more offensive against critics of Iraq policy. It isn't a stretch to suggest similar efforts against critics of 'other' policies could occur.

Control of the news media isn't exactly a new concept. From 'Tokyo Rose' to Pravda, the dissemination of news, information and propaganda has been a robust concern. The Catholic Church, Islam, Communist regimes, and American administrations (not to mention our infamous 'yellow journalism' phases) have all attempted to control what was reported and how...perception becomes reality, and the first draft of history is written in the news.

A few years ago I wrote To Kill or Feed a Mockingbird in which I addressed "two mutually exclusive and under reported stories". One was the obvious penchant for political operatives to leak classified information. The other was a generational control of information dissemination by powerful 'controllers'.

The left leaning mainstream media cabal 'enabled' the Clinton administration big time with spin, cover, and obfuscation. It may have been "more ubiquitous, and at times even clumsy, but it was not unique."...and it was successful.

Operation 'Mockingbird' was a program reportedly hatched by State Department official, Frank Wisner. Wisner selected Philip Graham, then publisher of the Washington Post to manage the program. According to Deborah Davis, author of 'Katharine the Great', "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA analyst."

Investigators digging into MOCKINGBIRD were flabbergasted to discover FOIA documents in which agents boast (in CIA office memos) of pride in having placed "important assets" inside every major news publication in the country.

This may sound like the stuff of Ludlum novels and conspiracy wackos, but not until 1982 did the 'Company' finally concede that reporters on the CIA payroll have been case officers to field agents.

The entire Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson fiasco (please read Christopher Hitchens) reveals the sausage making aspect of political spin.

Peter Lance had years of work editorially bastardized by National Geographic and a small gang of C.Y.A. federal officials. The 'rest of the story' will come out when his book is published in October. Those who read the book, 'Triple Cross', or read the reportage of the book, will discover a far different story from the whitewashed, sanitized, 'government approved' version National Geographic aired.

The late Reed Irvine (a dear and missed friend) routinely took on America's biggest and most influential journalists and media companies to account for their errors, and stick to the facts.

Ben Bradlee, when still at the Washington Post, called Reed (in a letter) a "miserable, carping retromingent vigilante." I called Reed a hero...(I had to look up 'retromingent'.)

Peter Lance's righteous indignation will be validated as facts are revealed. However, don't hold your breath waiting for the FBI to throw themselves on their sword and admit to eschewing 'Duty, Honor, Country' for personal C.Y.A.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Commander of USS Cole denied promotion

Six years later, he's still the scapegoat. From the AP:

USS Cole skipper is denied promotion

Monday, August 21, 2006; Posted: 6:33 p.m. EDT (22:33 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly six years after the deadly terrorist attack on the USS Cole, the Navy has decided that the officer who was skipper of the ship is not qualified for a promotion that had been in limbo since 2002.

The attack killed 17 sailors and nearly sank the destroyer in Aden harbor, Yemen. A Navy investigation concluded in 2001 that Cmdr. Kirk Lippold and his crew probably could not have prevented the attack and should not be punished.

But in a written statement Monday, the Navy said Secretary Donald C. Winter concluded after reviewing the matter that Lippold's actions before the attack on October 12, 2000, "did not meet the high standard" expected of commanding officers.

Based on that assessment, Winter determined that Lippold was "not the best and fully qualified for promotion to the higher grade" of captain, said a Navy spokesman, Cmdr. David Werner.

A Navy promotion board had selected Lippold for promotion to captain in 2002 but he was not confirmed by the Senate, and his status had been in limbo since then. Winter decided to strike Lippold's name from the promotion list, meaning he will remain at his current rank of commander. If he chooses to stay in the Navy he will become eligible to be considered again for promotion early next year, Navy officials said.

Lippold currently is serving on the staff of the top Navy officer, Adm. Mike Mullen, at the Pentagon. The Navy said Lippold was withholding comment on Winter's decision until he and his Navy lawyer review it fully.

The top Navy officer when the Cole attack occurred, Adm. Vern Clark, said after the Navy's investigation was concluded, "There is a collective responsibility. We all in the chain of command share responsibility for what happened on board USS Cole.

"The investigation clearly shows the commanding officer of the Cole did not have the specific intelligence, the focused training, the appropriate equipment and on-scene security support to effectively prevent or deter such a determined, such a pre-planned assault on this ship," Clark said on January 19, 2001.

Thanks to Group Intel for the link.