Able Danger Blog

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Friday, April 17, 2009

EU Ambassador asks about Weldon

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

By Joseph N. DiStefano

John Bruton, the European Union's ambassador to the United States, stopped by Philadelphia to talk to the World Affairs Council yesterday, part of Europe's public relations campaign as it wrestles with the U.S. on economic and military issues.
Bruton asked about an old friend, former U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.), who was voted out of office two elections back after the FBI reportedly investigated favors he did for clients of his daughter's lobbying firm. "Did anything ever come of that?" Bruton asked me.

As with so many Washington investigations, no one has been charged. That has allowed Weldon supporters to place him alongside former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R., Alaska) among alleged victims of shadowy forces targeting senior Republicans who influenced defense appropriations.

Bruton, a former prime minister of Ireland, said the congressman "was an original. He had great knowledge of Russia and other countries. And he gave me a great introduction into American political life."

Cecilia Grimes gets probation only

I would call this good news:

A lobbyist was sentenced to three years’ probation for destroying evidence about her ties to former Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania, who is under investigation. The lobbyist, Cecelia Grimes of Parkesburg, Pa., apologized in court and said she would take back her actions if she could. Court documents say the authorities have been looking into whether Mr. Weldon, who lost his seat in 2006 and has not been charged with a crime, agreed to help Ms. Grimes by supporting appropriations requests from her lobbying firm. She is the second person linked to Mr. Weldon to plead guilty to a crime and cooperate with the government. His former top aide, Russell J. Caso Jr., pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in 2007.

Doctor Bob's Threat Prediction Shop

You might remember Bob Johnson, who ran the Raytheon facility in Garland, Texas that rediscovered the links between Atta and Al Qaeda in September 2000, after the previous analysis done at LIWA was lost due to the destruction of their data?

Here is an article about his latest efforts. Biased, but still interesting:

Fusion centers arose amid post-9/11 efforts to get local and state law enforcement involved in anti-terrorism. Federal authorities wanted the nation’s 800,000 or so local and state cops turned into a vast “eyes and ears” network. Information from this army could be fed into local, regional, and state centers where various data streams would be “fused” into a powerful intelligence product. Private-sector databases, criminal records, tips, credit reports, medical records, accounts of suspicious activity—anything that might help analysts “fight a global jihadist adversary,” in the words of the Congressional Research Service, would be used to connect dots.

Many cities and states happily accepted the charge, not to mention the Homeland Security dollars tagged for fusion. Today there are about 60 fusion centers nationwide, and five in Texas. There’s no sign they’re going away. In March, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a national conference of fusion centers that they would be the “centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing for the future.” The Obama stimulus package contains $250 million for fusion.

...Most of the center’s activity happens on 20 computer servers humming away in an unseen, secure room. The system holds some 90 million records and is stuffed with data-mining programs and analytical tools customized by Bob Johnson....

“What’s their authority for gathering information off the Internet?” asks German. “Are we devoting law-enforcement resources to gathering information off the Internet every day? To what end? Now does anyone who posts something on the Internet have to worry that they’re being run through a data-mining program? It’s a 1984 version of America that doesn’t even make sense from a security standpoint.”

Here we go again. You don't need authority to gather information off the internet. That's the point of the web. Don't blame German. He's former FBI.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Peter Lance on Coast to Coast AM

To those who stay up late,

I'll be doing Coast to Coast AM Monday night, April 13th, 2009 from 10:00 p.m. PDT; 1:00 a.m. EDT. The program is usually repeated in an East Coast feed immediately thereafter and it's on Sirius/XM at Channel 165. You can find your local affiliate here:



More details here:

Starting in the first hour: Investigative reporter Peter Lance outlines the current threats from al Qaeda and the Taliban and shows how far the FBI and other intelligence agencies have come in protecting us since 9-11.