Able Danger Blog

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not sure this is accurate, but if so it's an interesting detail:

We all know by now that many of the alleged hijackers made no efforts to conceal their identities or activities as they moved about the country before 9/11, even though a number of them were already on terrorist watch lists, or were being closely monitored by programs like Able Danger. This point is really hammered home by something a friend of mine turned up not too long ago: in a document from the Zacharias Moussaoui trial there is a listing of real name usages by various hijackers. Among these, which I find quite hilarious, is the fact that Atta's e-mail address was

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Statement of September 11th Advocates

Several news sites are carrying the following:

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2007

Statement of September 11th Advocates
Regarding the Release of the CIA Inspector General's Report – Post 9/11
June 18, 2007

"The report, prepared by the CIA's inspector general, is the only major 9/11 government review that has still not been made publicly available."
Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, January 31, 2007

Almost six years have passed since the attacks of September 11, 2001, yet critical information continues to be withheld from the American public regarding the attacks.

In 2002, after reviewing the evidence produced by the Joint Inquiry of Congress into the 9/11 Attacks, both Republican and Democratic Congressmen agreed that a CIA Inspector General review into individual responsibility was necessary. Faced with the facts, these Congressmen understood that accountability in the Intelligence Community was crucial. Their intent was that a final declassified CIA/IG report be released to the public and where deemed appropriate by the report, for personnel at all levels to be held accountable for any omission, commission, or failure to meet professional standards in regard to the events of September 11, 2001. To date, despite enormous efforts from the Senate Intelligence Committee, nothing has happened.

Michael Isikoff wrote in his January 2007 Newsweek article that, "When it [the CIA/IG report] was completed in August 2005, NEWSWEEK and other publications reported that it contained sharp criticisms of former CIA director George Tenet and other top agency officials for failing to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda, as well as other mistakes that might have prevented the attacks."

Isikoff goes on to say, "What's really behind the intelligence community's refusal to release the report, the senators suspect, is a desire to protect the reputations of some of the main figures."

Since sources and methods are not revealed in a declassified report, national security is protected and thus not an excuse for withholding this document. Since when does embarrassment meet any standard for keeping a government report secret? Isn’t it time for our elected and appointed officials to do the job that they were sent to our Nation’s Capitol for: to protect the public and not reputations?

Americans have the right to know that the problems identified in this report have been addressed and corrected. We have the right to know that competent people are serving us in strategic positions – our safety and security depends on it. Incompetence costs lives.

Legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden D-OR and Kit Bond R-MO, calling for the release of the 9/11 CIA/IG report, already exists, has passed the Senate and has strong bipartisan support. Yet, the White House and the CIA continue to refuse to release the already declassified version of the report.

It is sadly and abundantly clear that, once again, only heightened public pressure on the Administration and the CIA will force accountability. We call on the public and the press to demand the release of the declassified version of the 9/11 CIA’s Inspector General report.

Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"We're gonna win this thing!"

Yes, it was indeed a misguided reference to the DeVecchio case:

After all the speculation that Agent Harris might turn Tony, instead we saw that Harris had turned, passing along info on Phil's whereabouts and cheering, "We're going to win this thing!" when learning of Phil's demise.

"This is based on an actual case of an FBI agent who got a little bit too partisan and excited during the Colombo wars of the '70s," says Chase of the story of Lindley DeVecchio, who supplied Harris' line.

Taking another look at 12333

It should be noted the entire Able Danger program complied with 12333.


WASHINGTON - The national intelligence director has won White House approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency's responsibilities and the government's protections against spying on Americans.

The Reagan-era 1981 presidential order is woven into the culture at the 16 spy agencies and spells out their powers. It also provides fundamental guidance to protect against spying on Americans, prohibitions against human experimentation and the long-standing ban on assassination.

Some officials familiar with Intelligence Director Mike McConnell's plans, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the deliberations remain internal, said his intent is solely to update the policy to reflect changes in the intelligence community since Sept. 11, 2001, including the creation of his own office.

But other officials, who also spoke on condition they not be identified, said opening the order to changes could lead well beyond that. They said the exercise could threaten civil liberties protections approved by President Reagan following intelligence abuses in the 1970s, and that intelligence agencies will be tempted to expand their powers.

McConnell himself has said the authorities of his office need to be adjusted. "We don't have it right yet," he told an audience in April.

In a recent interview, Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, characterized the effort as an "overhaul" aimed at helping all 16 spy agencies work more closely together. He said the discussions about the order — known by its number, 12333 — are still in the early stages.

Murrett has told McConnell he supports the effort. "I've told him I think it's time. I think his intentions in taking another look at 12333 are right," Murrett said, noting the document is a quarter-century old.

The debate comes at a politically touchy time, with President Bush still under scrutiny for his post-9/11 intelligence-gathering methods. McConnell, who became spy chief in February, is expected to be in the job until the end of the Bush administration, and some officials believe he would like to leave his mark on national security issues like this one before leaving office.

The effort to redo the executive order comes as McConnell has been pushing a skeptical Democratic Congress to overhaul a landmark law that provides the rules of the road for foreign intelligence investigations on U.S. soil, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawmakers have demanded more information about government surveillance before they act, but the administration has thus far been unwilling to respond to all of their requests.

Unlike the surveillance law, the White House can change an executive order without congressional or judicial approval.

McConnell's spokesman, Steve Shaw, said he would not comment on internal deliberations of U.S. spy agencies but noted that the director's 100-day plan unveiled in April promised to change statutes, regulations and directives that need updating.

Kate Starr, a spokeswoman at the White House's National Security Council, said she would not comment on executive orders before the president signs them.

Reagan's executive order was signed Dec. 4, 1981. It incorporated parts of earlier presidential orders and laid a foundation for the intelligence community by providing a roadmap for each agencies' responsibilities.

"It is sort of the basic rule book for running the intelligence community," specifying who is part of it and what their roles are, said Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow with the National Security Archive and an expert on presidential intelligence directives. "It is certainly outdated in that ... you have elements of the intelligence community that weren't in it when this thing was written."

For instance, the order doesn't discuss the powers of the national intelligence director, created by Congress in late 2004 to oversee all U.S. spy agencies in response to the intelligence failures of 9/11 and prewar Iraq. Instead, the order directs intelligence agencies to respond to requests from the CIA director, who headed the intelligence community for decades before the creation of McConnell's office.

Among other flaws, the order doesn't reference two major defense spy agencies — the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates spy satellites, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes imagery. Nor does it explain the FBI's domestic intelligence mission, which has gotten increasing attention since 9/11.