Able Danger Blog

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Of course Clinton knew about it

In case there was still any doubt. The 9/11 Commission identified five people who they interviewed about Able Danger:

General Schoomaker
General Hugh Shelton
Admiral Scott Fry
General Gregory Newbold
Brian Sheridan

LTC Shaffer has already mentioned briefing Brian Sheridan, ASD/SOLIC, on Able Danger. Sheridan was supportive. He was also a Clinton appointee and key member of Clarke's Counterterrorism Strategy Group.

Perhaps Vice Admiral Fry is someone we should have been talking about? Here is an excerpt from "The Age of Sacred Terror", p. 321:

Convinced that the intelligence needed for a cruise-missle attack on al-Qaeda was not going to materialize, the Joint Chiefs decided to see what they could do about the submarine deployments, which struck them as an excercise in futility. Admiral Scott Fry, head of operations for the Joint Staff, was dispatched to the White House to meet with Dick Clarke and tell him that without better intelligence, the vessels should be brought home. Clarke suprised his visitor by agreeing and challenged him to find ways of improving the intelligence. Frye returned to the Pentagon and ordered his staff to draw up a list of possibilities. Like most military options lists, what emerged in early summer of 2000 included ideas that ranged from the unfeasible to the absurd. One of them, however, appealed to Clarke: use a forty-nine-foot unmanned flying drone called Predator, armed with precision video and infrared cameras, to locate bin Laden.

Here is a quote from Clinton, on p. 317, also set in the same time frame:

Back in Washington, the sense that the Unites States was dodging al-Qaeda bullets rekindled the desire for a military plan to end the bin Laden problem. At the end of one meeting in the Cabinet Room, Clinton approached Joint Chiefs chairman Hugh Shelton and said, "You know, it would scare the shit out of al-Qaeda if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas rappelled out of helicopters into the middle of their camp. It would get us enormous deterrence and show those guys we're not afraid." Shelton, a huge, powerfully built man, blanched. The NSC followed up with a request for a military plan, a small package that did not require using the entire 101st Airborne Division.

Now, in his own words, from p. 804 of "My Life" referencing fall 1998:

I had also asked General Shelton and Dick Clarke to develop some options for dropping commando forces into Afghanistan. I thought that if we took out a couple of al Qaeda's training operations it would show them how serious we were, even if we didn't get bin Laden or his top lieutenants. It was clear to me that the senior military didn't want to do this, perhaps because of Somalia, perhaps because they
would have had to send in the Special Forces without knowing for certain where bin Laden was, or whether we could get our troops back out safely. At any rate, I continued to keep the option alive.

Is it just me or do all roads lead back to Able Danger?