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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bagram Airbase Cast of Characters

CORRECTION: Bellinger was not at Bagram after all. It was Dylan Cors:

Special Counsel for the 9/11 Commission, National Security Council, 2003-2004

According to the Duke Law Magazine:

Cors joined the Central Intelligence Agency in April 2002. He was detailed to the National Security Council in August 2003, as special counsel for the 9/11 Commission.

Briefed at Bagram by LTC Shaffer:

Philip Zelikow, Kevin Scheid, Michael Hurley, Dylan Cors
(Condi Rice hired both Zelikow and Hurley in January 2005).

Not briefed but on the same trip:

Dietrich Snell, Daniel Byman

Without revealing our sources or methods, Able Danger Blog is proud to finally announce the results from our investigation into the identities of the unnamed staffers who were briefed by LTC Tony Shaffer at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan in October 2003. Some of this is not a surprise. Zelikow has always admitted he was briefed. LTC Shaffer even has his business card. Scheid has also publicly acknowledged his role:

Mr. Scheid participated in the full scope of the Commission’s review including a fact-finding mission to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kean and Hamilton listed the names of all five commission staffers who went on the trip. Our own sources identified Bellinger as the NSC attorney who went along. The Inspector General uncovered the fact that Hurley was present, although the IG never mentioned it - or anything of substance about the Commission - in their report.

I contacted Dan Byman, who said he left the trip early and never made it to Afghanistan. Dieter Snell has consistently declined requests for interviews, including a 2006 request from the House Armed Services Committee. He might or might not have even been in Afghanistan but I have no reason to believe that he was present at the briefing or proof that he decided to bury the story then. Yet we do know when Captain Phillpott came forward several months later, Snell was the Commission staffer who interviewed him and decided to dismiss his claims, too.

Regardless, there are a few things that can't be dismissed:

After questioning NSC chief Rice, among others, the 9/11 Commission published it's report on July 22, 2004. In January 2005, Condoleeza Rice was appointed to replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State.

Term of Appointment: 02/01/2005 to 12/19/2006

Dr. Philip D. Zelikow was appointed Counselor of the U.S. Department of State in February 2005, where he serves as a senior policy advisor on a wide range of issues to the Secretary of State.

Term of Appointment: 04/08/2005 to present

John B. Bellinger, III was sworn in as the Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State on April 8, 2005. He is the principal adviser on all domestic and international law matters to the Department of State, the Foreign Service, and the diplomatic and consular posts abroad. He is also the principal adviser on legal matters relating to the conduct of foreign relations to other agencies and, through the Secretary of State, to the President and the National Security Council.

Mr. Bellinger joined the Department of State in January 2005 as Senior Advisor to Secretary Rice, having previously co-directed her transition team.

The Minnesota Daily: 04/10/2006

One of the panelists, Mike Hurley, was a CIA officer and senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, is now with the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism.

Of all the 9/11 Commission and WH staff present, Kevin Scheid is the only one Condi did not hire! He was already working for the CIA:

Currently a senior intelligence service officer in the Office of the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management. He recently served as staff director of the President’s Review of Intelligence tasked by President Bush in May 2001.

Mr. Scheid was also an RNC donor during the 2004 campaign:

Mr. Kevin J Scheid
Civil Servant
U.S. Federal Government

RNC $1,000

Alexandria, VA 22314

Nonetheless, it seems he learned at least one thing from Able Danger.

Golden Candle Award in Open Source Intelligence: 08/09/2005

IOP '06. To Mr. Kevin Scheid, Senior Intelligence Service, for his sustained professionalism in studying shortfalls related to national access to open sources of information of potential intelligence value, and in working very hard to introduce constructive recommendations at the national level. While serving as senior staff to the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community, he contributed to their finding: “severely deficient” and their recommendation, “top priority for funding.” It was not until the 9-11 Commission, however, that his diligence finally prevailed, with the inclusion on page 413 of the Report of an independent Open Source Agency. Mr. Scheid is one of a handful of individuals who have truly served America with distinction in this vital arena where all nations and organizations are able to share intelligence.