Able Danger Blog


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Russ Caso sentenced to probation only

This seems worth celebrating to me, and seems to signal the end of the investigation into Congressman Weldon. Which produced nothing, except Senate candidate Sestak.

Former congressional aide sentenced to probation

WASHINGTON — The one-time top aide to former Rep. Curt Weldon has been sentenced to three years probation for not reporting to the House income his wife made for doing work for a nonprofit company tied to Weldon.

The sentence for Russell James Caso Jr., who was chief of staff for the Pennsylvania Republican, includes 170 days of home detention and 100 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty in federal court in December 2007 to a conspiracy charge and agreed to cooperate in an investigation.

Weldon served two decades in Congress before losing his seat in 2006. He hasn't been charged.

In April, a lobbyist was also sentenced to three years probation for destroying evidence about her ties to Weldon.


Good grief, three years later Sklamberg still can't let go:

During the sentencing hearing, the Department of Justice asked the court to reduce Caso's sentence based on his substantial cooperation in the government's continuing investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Sklamberg from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia as well as Trial Attorneys Armando O. Bonilla of the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and Gregory C.J. Lisa of the Criminal Division's Organized Crime & Racketeering Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.

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.

Fitzgerald, Put Up or Shut Up

Peter Lance challenges Patrick Fitzgerald to actually sue him:

Seven weeks ago Patrick Fitzgerald, the most intimidating Federal prosecutor in America, sent my publisher (HarperCollins) and me a letter threatening to sue us for libel if Triple Cross, a book I wrote, critical of his anti-terrorism track record, was published.

Yesterday marked the four-week anniversary of the book's pub date and although it's been out for a month, we're still waiting for his summons and complaint.

It was the fourth threat letter that Fitzgerald had sent since October 2007 and the man who'd succeeded in getting New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed for 85 days in the CIA leak probe was growing impatient.

"To put it plain and simple," Fitzgerald wrote, "if in fact you publish the book this month and it defames me or casts me in a false light, HarperCollins will be sued."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Old news

From October 2001:

CIA Weighs 'Targeted Killing' Missions
Administration Believes Restraints Do Not Bar Singling Out Individual Terrorists

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 28, 2001; Page A01

Armed with new authority from President Bush for a global campaign against al Qaeda, the Central Intelligence Agency is contemplating clandestine missions expressly aimed at killing specified individuals for the first time since the assassination scandals and consequent legal restraints of the 1970s.

Drawing on two classified legal memoranda, one written for President Bill Clinton in 1998 and one since the attacks of Sept. 11, the Bush administration has concluded that executive orders banning assassination do not prevent the president from lawfully singling out a terrorist for death by covert action. The CIA is reluctant to accept a broad grant of authority to hunt and kill U.S. enemies at its discretion, knowledgeable sources said. But the agency is willing and believes itself able to take the lives of terrorists designated by the president....

The public face of that campaign is a conventional war in Afghanistan using uniformed troops. Yet inside the CIA and elsewhere in government, according to sources, much of the debate turns on the scope of a targeted killing campaign. How wide should the government draw the circle around bin Laden? And in which countries -- among the 40 or so where al Qaeda is believed to operate -- may such efforts be attempted?

...Senior officials said the president's finding directs new forms of cooperation between the CIA and uniformed military commando units. Some knowledgeable sources said it is also possible that the instruments of targeted killings will be foreign agents, the CIA's term for nonemployees who act on its behalf. That is controversial, because it involves risks of betrayal and conflicting agendas on the part of the agents, but it is also seen in parts of the agency as advantageous.


Link from the Rumor Mill News.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Novo Energies names Weldon to Advisory Board

Here is their press release:


NEW YORK, NY -- 07/08/09 -- Novo Energies Corporation, Inc. ("Novo"), a public company traded on the Over the Counter Market (OTCBB) under the symbol (OTCBB: NVNC), announced today that it has appointed Congressman Curt Weldon to its Board of Advisors.

Congressman Curt Weldon served in the US Congress for 20 years. When he retired in 2007, he was Vice Chairman of both the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee as well as a Member of the Energy and Environment Sub-Committee. During his tenure in Congress, he initiated and chaired the US/FSU Energy Parliamentary Relationship, served as Co-Chair of the International Energy Advisory Council and keynoted a number of International Energy Forums. Congressman Weldon organized and led over 50 bi-partisan Congressional Delegations to 75 nations including the first-ever Congressional Delegations into Libya and North Korea. Prior to his successful career in elective office as a Mayor, County Commissioner and Member of Congress, Weldon served as an Educator and University Professor as well as a Director with the INA/CIGNA Corporation at its Corporate Headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congressman Weldon formed and currently serves as CEO of Jenkins Hill International -- a firm providing International Consulting as well as facilitating International Strategic Relationships. Over 100 professional associations and international organizations have honored Congressman Weldon. Congressman Weldon has been honored with Doctorate Degrees from several US and International Universities and was inducted as an Academician in the Russian Academy of Social Sciences.

Congressman Weldon stated: "I am extremely excited to become a member of Novo Energies' Advisory Board. Ever since I was a member of the US Congress it has been one of my primary missions to assist the countries in North America to become free from foreign sources of energy. In addition, I have adamantly supported alternative energy production and stronger environmental regulations for North America. After studying the plans and prospects of Novo Energies, I chose to become intimately involved with this company as it, among other things: will make a significant impact on the reduction of foreign sources of fuel; is acting in an environmental manner; and is able to produce fuels from plastic and tires, thereby reducing landfills."

"We welcome Congressman Weldon to our Advisory Board. Congressman Weldon shares the vision and direction of Novo Energies to create a leading company in the alternative energy space and will be a valuable asset in assisting Novo Energies in its mission," stated Antonio Treminio, Chief Executive Office of Novo Energies.

About Novo Energies Corporation: Novo is a public company trading on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board Market ("OTCBB") under the symbol NVNC, headquartered in New York, NY. The Company's mission is to continue expanding within the renewable energy sector by developing and implementing renewable energy solutions while maintaining its commitment to conserve energy, natural resources and help reduce pollutants and unwanted wastes. Based upon a novel technology, Novo's wholly owned subsidiary WTL Renewable Energy, Inc. will plan, build, own and operate renewable energy plants throughout North America that will transform residual plastics and tires to valuable liquid low carbon fuels such as diesel, gasoline and fuel additives.