Able Danger Blog

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Ten years later, more of the same

Very same reason the Able Danger planning options were not implemented:

From the AP:

The intelligence committee's investigation was triggered by CIA Director Leon Panetta's June 24 disclosure about the hit team program in an emergency briefing he called a day after he canceled the program after learning about it the same day.

The CIA's Counterterrorism Center brought the program to Panetta's attention last month because it wanted to begin training the teams, according to a government official familiar with the matter. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized the discuss the matter.

The effort to develop hit teams to target al-Qaida members, rather than using airborne armed drone strikes or foreign intelligence services, has existed on and off since 2001 but it was never carried out.

"The program (Panetta) killed was never fully operational and never took a single terrorist off the battlefield," CIA spokesman George Little said Thursday. "Those are facts he shared with Congress. We've had a string of successes against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, and that program didn't contribute to any of them."

Congressional Record: May 21, 2002 (House) Page H2820-H2834:

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, here is the chart, the unclassified chart of what special forces command had 1 year before 9- 11. Interesting. The entire al Qaeda network is identified in a graphic chart with all the linkages to all the terrorist groups around the world.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I was told by the folks who developed the capability for special forces command that this chart and the briefing that was supposed to be given to General Shelton, Chairman of our Joint Chiefs, had a recommendation to take out 5 cells of bin Laden's network. Mr. Speaker, this was 1 year before 9-11.

This was not during President Bush's administration. This occurred in the fall of the remaining term of President Bill Clinton.

The key question I have been trying to get at is why was this 3-hour briefing, which I also got, I got General Holland to bring his briefers up from Florida with special forces, I went in the Pentagon, went in the tank, and they gave me the briefing, as much as they could give me, because part of it is being used for our operational plan, why was that 3-hour briefing with the recommendations to take out 5 cells of bin Laden's network condensed down to a 1-hour brief when it was given to General Hugh Shelton in January of 2001?

And why were the recommendations to take out 5 cells not followed up on? That is the question we should get answered, Mr. Speaker.

Because 1 year before 9-11, the capability that special forces built actually identified to us the network of al Qaeda. And they went beyond that and gave us recommendations where we could take out cells to eliminate their capability.