Able Danger Blog

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Friday, March 20, 2009

LTC Tony Shaffer on Fox News around 6:15pm ET

I believe he is discussing Somalia. While on a 30 month recall to active duty, Tony commanded a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) operating base (an O-6 level command) from Jan 2002 through July 2003 - OB Alpha. OB Alpha focused on the collection of information and support to special operations forces in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tony Shaffer in the news

In addition to the recent court ruling, the impact of which is unclear at this point, here are two news updates that mention LTC Tony Shaffer.

From the Center for Advanced Defense Studies:

CADS Senior Fellow Lectures at National Security Seminar

Carlisle, PA, February 11, 2009-- Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS), was invited to lecture for the Army War College’s National Security Seminar in Carlisle, PA. Shaffer’s lecture addressed the successes of Effects Based Operations in the Afghanistan war. In his presentation, Shaffer highlighted the critical significance of direction, scale, and the will to win as well as the more commonly cited tools, techniques, and technology in mission and campaign design as keys to success. Lt. Col. Shaffer also further articulated concerns over the “surge” in Afghanistan with regards to strategy or “end-game” standard to determine when the conditions for victory have been met. Shaffer was invited to give his presentation for an hour and a half; however his audience proved exceptionally receptive and persuaded him to continue for a full three hours.

From the Rockport Pilot in Texas:

Monday, February 23, 2009 7:03 PM CST

For more than eight years Gary and Debbie Swenchonis have mourned the loss of their son, Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., who was killed Oct. 12, 2000, along with 16 other sailors, when terrorists attacked the USS Cole in Port Aden, Yemen....

“We were told last Monday the hearing is off. It’s all politics,” said G. Swenchonis. “He (Leahy) does not want the Cole attack brought up, especially with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.”

Col. Tony Shaffer, testified before Congress after the Cole attack and asked “what happened” to Able Danger’s warning of such an attack.

“He was forced into retirement,” said Swenchonis, “like anyone else in the government who has tried to get answers.

“I feel bad for them, but at least they tried to do the right thing.”

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Judge rules for Shaffer three years later

Talk about too little too late:

A federal court this week said that litigants have a First Amendment right to provide classified information to their attorneys when doing so is necessary to protect their interests. The ruling is implicitly at odds with a common government practice of denying attorneys access to classified information in Freedom of Information Act cases, pre-publication review disputes, and other matters.

There is a “First Amendment right to share [classified] information with an attorney when such sharing is necessary for an attorney to advise his client of his rights,” wrote Judge Gladys Kessler (pdf) of the DC District Court.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by former Defense Intelligence Agency employee Anthony Shaffer against the DIA in connection with the controversial intelligence program known as Able Danger. DIA sought to bar Shaffer from providing classified information about the program to his attorney, Mark S. Zaid, even though he holds a security clearance. Mr. Zaid challenged the denial, and the court found merit in his complaint.

“Without knowing all that his client, and the Defendants, know, Plaintiff Shaffer’s counsel cannot be prepared to adequately represent his client’s interests,” Judge Kessler concluded.

Still no charges in Weldon probe

Some think this bodes well for Curt:

Caso was scheduled to appear yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., for a status hearing. But on Tuesday, prosecutors filed a motion to cancel that hearing and set a May sentencing date....

Sklamberg is making the same moves in the Grimes case. The day before her Jan. 23 status hearing, he filed a motion asking that the judge instead set an April sentencing date....

Cooperating witnesses who strike plea deals are typically not sentenced until after they testify against whomever the government plans to target, according to John Lauro, a defense attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York.

"You want to keep that issue open and give the sentencing judge the ability to see the extent of the cooperation, which may have included testifying," Lauro said. The fact that prosecutors want to proceed to sentencing Caso and Grimes "signals to me that charges against anybody else are unlikely," he said.

Others are not so sure:

But other legal observers, including Peter Tague, a professor at Georgetown University School of Law, warned against reading too much into the government's recent actions. Tague, who specializes in criminal procedure, said it's possible that the investigation is winding down, but that it would be premature to assume that the Weldons and Sexton are in the clear.

Monday, March 02, 2009

LTG Keith Alexander and Able Danger

Not sure what to make of this article yet:

The new Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret), is a good man badly suited to the job, and he committed intellectual suicide on day one by declaring the economic crisis to be “the” threat to national security—evidently he has not read the report from LtGen Brent Scowcroft, USAF(Ret) and other members of the Panel on High-Level Threats and Challenges. Leon Panetta, the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could be a wild card, with his extraordinary knowledge, as a former Chief of Staff to the President, and as a former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, of what Presidents actually need to know. However, as of this writing, he has allowed himself to be sucked into the secret world, where he is surrounded by sycophants, liars, and bureaucrats out of touch with reality. Finally, we have Chas Freeman, selected to chair the National Intelligence Council—this is a man with so little integrity and so little intelligence that he is world-famous for prostituting himself to the Saudis and serving as their shill for the global distribution of a Saudi history “textbook” replete with fabrications, incitements to violence, and libel against Israel in particular, the West in general. Among those remaining in power are LtGen Keith Alexander, USA, who covered up and destroyed the ABLE DANGER discovery of two of the 9-11 terrorists prior to 9-11, rather than share them with the FBI. This is the same person who wants $12 billion dollars to achieve cyber-security, but who will actually use that money to assure digital nakedness for every single person, thing, and datum. I do not trust him....

Robert David Steele Vivas, a recovering spy and senior civilian founder of the Marine Corps Intelligence Center, is a 30-year veteran of government service across intelligence, information technology, military, and policy support functionalities. He is the founding CEO of OSS.Net, and of the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity devoted to creating public intelligence in the public interest.

Oh, that LTG Keith Alexander:

But Able Danger, for all its intrigue, is just one piece of the unusual intelligence practices that Kleinsmith was engaged in, years before 9/11. In the late 1990s, Kleinsmith was the chief of intelligence for the Army's Land Information Warfare Activity, a support unit assigned to the Intelligence and Security Command. LIWA had broad authority to assist the Army and all military commands in conducting "information operations," a broad discipline that includes information warfare, public deception in combat, and intelligence analysis.

The Army's hub in this effort was the aptly named Information Dominance Center, based at Fort Belvoir. Since the late 1990s, the IDC has been home to some of the most innovative, unconventional, and controversial minds in the intelligence business. In its futuristic-style building -- its interior spaces designed by a Hollywood set artist to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise, complete with a large captain's chair in the center of the main room -- the IDC covered a range of topics.

Analysts tracked computer hackers who were targeting military networks, watched for potential avenues of Chinese government espionage, and charted the working relationships among foreign terrorists. To do this, the IDC relied heavily on a novel technique called "data mining."

...From its earliest days, the IDC was a haven for renegades who wanted to use technology to step outside traditional intelligence-gathering, which relies heavily on classified sources and labor-intensive analysis. The center had high-level champions, including Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, who from 2000 to 2003 directed the Intelligence and Security Command, the IDC's parent. Alexander now heads the National Security Agency, which operates the most-sophisticated electronic eavesdropping devices in the world.

Alexander also worked closely with James Heath, who headed the IDC in the late 1990s and whom former employees recall as a mix of driven genius and mad scientist. According to one such former employee of the center, Heath saw the IDC as "an experimentation table" on which to try out all kinds of new tools, depending on what the Army wanted at the time. Analysts and technicians worked together, "speaking the same language" and building useful data-mining tools. This dynamic didn't exist in other intelligence agencies, the former employee noted.