Able Danger Blog

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Able Danger discussed on C-SPAN this morning

A reader writes:

A friend of mine called me, very early this morning, 28 September, and said that on Washington Journal, "Able Danger" and Anthony Shaffer's name was mentioned. I checked your blog, but didn't see anything....Apparently William Cohen, Frm. Defense Sec. for President Clinton, was the one being interviewed....You might want to check it out...She mentioned that when he was asked if he had heard of "Able Danger", he said he thought he had. Then they ask if he knew Anthony Shaffer, and he said he did not....My friend said that, when the question was asked about Able Danger, Cohen, sounded like he knew more than he was willing to talk about...

UPDATE: Here is the link. Thanks Sue. From the 1 hour 19 minute mark:

CALLER: Sir, I would be hard put to find you feign ignorance to what I'm about to say and ask you. I would like to know what you know and what you could clarify about Able Danger. This was a Top Secret intelligence agency, Army intelligence, that had long ago infiltrated and had information on Al Qaeda. LTC Anthony Shaffer among dozens of other intelligence officers had given sworn testimony to the Senate that they had information on Al Qaeda and the members of Al Qaeda and their plans to attack on 9/11.

HOST: Senator, any awareness of what he's talking about?

COHEN: I'm vaguely aware of the program but I'm not really in possession of the information at this point to respond to him.

Unfortunately the caller jumped the shark over knowledge of plans to attack on 9/11, so they cut him off and didn't take his question seriously.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Four years after Able Danger story broke

From Keith Phucas at the Mercury News:

"There was a cover up and the cover up continues," said Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer.

Shaffer, an Army reservist who fought in Afghanistan, was first interviewed about the Army's computer data mining operation, "Able Danger," by The Times Herald for a June 19, 2005, article, "Missed chance on way to 9/11."

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert, was reportedly distressed about the wholesale destruction of the data, repeating these sentiments to Doug Stanton in his new book about the 2001 Afghanistan invasion, "Horse Soldiers." Lambert said he reluctantly went along with the advice of Pentagon attorneys who recommended pulling the plug on the data mining effort....

In Stanton's book, Lambert also confirms Shaffer's claim that he tried to set up meetings with FBI and SOCOM, a claim the Defense Department refuted in 2005 when Shaffer went public with the story....

Though 9/11 Commission member John Lehman criticized the government for a failure of imagination in thwarting the attacks, Shaffer called this conclusion faulty, considering the commission overlooked the "Able Danger" successes.

"We had plenty of imagination," he said. "We had a pre-9/11 offensive capability."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FBI undercover operative spotted Atta before 9/11

From ABC News:

On the eve of the eight year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, an FBI informant who infiltrated alleged terrorist cells in the U.S. tells ABC News the FBI missed a chance to stop the al Qaeda plot because they focused more on undercover stings than on the man who would later become known as 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta.

In an exclusive interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC World News with Charles Gibson and Nightline, former undercover operative Elie Assaad says he spotted and became suspicious of Atta in early 2001, when he was sent by the FBI to infiltrate a small mosque outside Miami. Atta was there with Adnan Shukrujuman, an al Qaeda fugitive who now has a $5 million U.S. reward on his head.

"There was something wrong with these guys," Assaad, a 36-year-old Catholic native of Lebanon who pretended to be an Islamic extremist, says.

The FBI initially declined to comment but released a statement following the ABC News report, saying: "The 9/11 investigation, the most extensive ever conducted by the FBI, has been reviewed in its totality by the 9/11 Commission, Congress and others. The claims made in the news report and the factual conclusions contained in the story are not supported by the evidence."

The FBI did not specify which claims or conclusions it referred to.

Kevin Fenton at History Commons makes the link to Able Danger:

Atta’s connection to Gulshair Skukrijumah and his son Adnan may be important to one of the most interesting 9/11 scandals: Able Danger. After the attacks, members of an army data mining programme came forward and claimed that, as a part of a project aimed against al-Qaeda, they had identified Atta and three other hijackers, Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, as members of an al-Qaeda cell they called “Brooklyn.” The cell got its name because the members all had some connection to the NYC borough, not because they were physically present there. Atta and the others were apparently found to be linked to the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman. However, an explanation as to how this might have happened has been lacking until now.

The elder Shuhrijumah was a close associate of the Blind Sheikh, and had been an imam at the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn where Abdul-Rahman preached. In addition, he acted as the Blind Sheikh’s translator and testified for the defence at the WTC bombing trial, as a character witness for Clement Hampton-El. Confirmation of Atta’s attendance at the mosque therefore establishes a clear link between him and an associate of Abdul-Rahman. As we know Alshehhi attended a Florida mosque and that he was close to Atta throughout their time in the US, it is likely Alshehhi attended the same mosque.

However, the FBI informant saw Atta at the mosque in early 2001, whereas Able Danger linked him to the Brooklyn cell in January 2000. It is unclear how Able Danger could have made the link before Atta officially entered the US, although Atta used a bewildering array of aliases—the 19 hijackers together racked up a total of 364 aliases and name variants—and it is impossible to rule him entering the US under another name out.

One possibility is that there was a prior link between Atta and the Shukrijumahs—how likely is it that Atta and the other hijackers just happened to move in on the doorstep of a known associate of the Blind Sheikh and his son, one of al-Qaeda’s top US-based operatives? There may well have been prior links between Atta and the Shukrijumahs, which Able Danger learned of. For example, Atta made two Green Card lottery applications in late 1999 and it is possible he gave the Shukrijumahs’ address in this context.

Friday, September 11, 2009

NYC ballot initiative for new 9/11 investigation

From Reuters:

In a last minute decision, lawyers for the City of New York have conceded that the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), a group comprising 9/11 family members, first responders and survivors, indeed did submit over 30,000 valid signatures to put the referendum for a new 9/11 investigation before the voters of New York City this November.

In an earlier letter from the City Clerk dated July 24, 2009, the City had claimed only 26,003 signatures were valid, 3,997 short of the requisite 30,000. The City's concession that over 30,000 of the 52,000 signatures submitted were in fact valid paves the way for lawyers from both sides to argue the legality of petition.

Asked whether he thought NYC CAN could overcome the City's challenge to the legality of the petition, legal counsel to the petitioners, Dennis McMahon, said, "Absolutely. Although the City has an incredibly successful record of shooting down ballot initiatives, we will be arguing from a fresh perspective that reflects the unprecedented events of 9/11. We believe the courts will see how critical an issue this is, and be persuaded with our legal reasoning and point of view." A final determination on the legality of the petition will be reached in time for the referendum to be included on the November ballot should the petitioners prevail.

Representatives for NYC CAN, 9/11 family member Manny Badillo and Executive Director Ted Walter, arrived at the Board of Elections on the morning of Wednesday, September 9, to assist the court-appointed referee in commencing a line-by-line review of the disputed signatures, only to learn the referee's review had been called off due to a last minute concession by the City. Mr. Badillo immediately got on the phone to inform others of the news.

"The City conceded we have 30,000 valid signatures. Big victory."

The City's concession comes as a result of the immense effort put forth by 50+ volunteers who gave more than 1,000 hours over a two week period from August 10 to August 25 to identify a total of 7,166 signatures that were wrongly invalidated by the NYC City Clerk and Board of Elections. On August 27, NYC CAN filed the 631-page Bill of Particulars cataloguing each of the 7,166 signatures it contended were in fact valid. NYC CAN submitted another 28,000 signatures on September 4 to guarantee the referendum will go on the ballot if they win the court case, bringing the total signatures submitted to 80,000.

NYC CAN must deliver its memorandum of law in response to the City's motion for summary judgment by Monday, September 21. The City will be given an opportunity to reply before the referee's decision is made on Monday, September 28. Fast-track appeals will likely follow no matter who wins. A final decision will have to be made by September 30.

If the referendum passes in November, it would lead to the creation of a local, independent commission with subpoena power that would be tasked with comprehensively reinvestigating the attacks. For more info:

From their site:

NYC CAN is non-partisan organization comprised of 9/11 Families, First Responders, Survivors and proud, concerned citizens committed to bringing about an independent, impartial investigation into the events of September 11.

In the months after September 11, a handful of the victims’ families joined together to demand an independent investigation into the government’s failure to defend its citizens on that tragic morning. Their ceaseless efforts led to the formation of the 9/11 Commission, signed into existence on November 27, 2002.

Having thoroughly researched every aspect of the attacks, the Family Steering Committee provided the Commission with 400 questions that would need to be answered for the Commission to fulfill its mandate. After 18 months of proceedings and the release of the Commission’s Final Report on July 22, 2004, the Family Steering Committee determined that only 30% of its questions had been answered, leaving some 250 questions still unanswered.

The validity of the Commission’s findings was further undermined by several factors, including contradictory accounts from the Federal Aviation Administration and the military, stonewalling from the Bush Administration, conflicts of interest among key personnel in the Commission, and the Commission’s failure to hold a single individual accountable for the numerous failures leading up to, on and after September 11.

Today, the feeling persists among many of the families and many New Yorkers that the full truth has not been uncovered and justice has not been served. The growing number of ill and dying First Responders without access to adequate healthcare and financial support adds the necessity of an investigation into the false assurances that the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe, and immediate remedies for the healthcare crisis afflicting First Responders and nearby residents.

With the federal government failing to deliver an impartial investigation, the 9/11 Families, First Responders and residents of New York City are moving ahead with the conviction that NYC CAN.

New York City voters have the power to legally mandate the formation of a new investigation with subpoena power by petitioning to place a referendum on the ballot in the November 2009 General Election. In September 2008, the petition reached a milestone of 30,000 signatures, the minimum number required to submit the petition to New York City Council for its approval. By June 2009, NYCCAN will eclipse the 45,000 signatures required to bypass City Council, ensuring its placement on the ballot. With the passage of this referendum New York City will take the first giant step towards truth and justice.

Some thoughts from LTC Tony Shaffer

On September Eleventh:

Today, on this date, in 2001, I was scheduled to meet with Bob Winchester, the Army's Liaison to Capitol Hill on intelligence matters at 9 AM in his office. Bob got tied up and had to postpone the meeting - therefore he and I were not at his office when it was destroyed by American Airlines Flt 77. I am grateful for the sacrifices made by all - on that day and since. Much is left to be done to fix things.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

State of Play?

I haven't seen the movie, State of Play, but maybe I should.

From Phil Heron at the Delco Times:

Ben Affleck plays the troubled congressman. At one point as Crowe digs deeper and deeper into the security company’s business, it’s clear he’s rubbing some powerful people the wrong way.

The kicker comes in a confrontation with someone who knows the inner workings of the company.

I almost spit out my popcorn when I heard it. In fact I rewound the DVD just to be sure I had heard it correctly. Then I went online to research the movie.

This is basically what the guy said: “Do you really think they are going to let some congressman from the 7th District in Pennsylvania do this?”

I kid you not.

Now did we not once have a congressman in this district who knew a lot about the workings of security companies, who likely ruffled a lot of feathers in D.C. with some of his foreign policy beliefs?

Among the many things that Curt Weldon did in his 20 years in Washington was become an expert in many areas of foreign relations. Not all of those beliefs made him especially popular, even within his own party.

Anyone remember “Able Danger?”

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Why exactly would the makers of the movie decided to make their character from the 7th District of Pennsylvania?

I have no idea. Maybe it was a coincidence.

If so, they certainly got my attention.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Weldon to speak at conference on the EMP threat

From EMPACT America:

Protecting America Against Permanent Continental Shutdown From Electromagnetic Pulse:

A National Conference,
September 8th-10th, 2009,
Niagara Falls, NY

-- Featuring former Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, and other EMP experts from the military, industry, and academia --

A man-made Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in the atmosphere. This threat is a realistic possibility in this day and age. In fact, two Congressional Commissions have recently warned that America could suffer catastrophic consequences from a nuclear EMP attack by terrorists or rogue states. Their reports also point out that the U.S. can be protected if we act quickly. A House Homeland Security subcommittee is currently meeting and considering legislation, but very little has been done so far. According to the Abstract of the original Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack, U.S. Congress, 2004: “Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.” Read the full report

An EMP attack can cripple our infrastructure causing all of our electronic equipment and infrastructure to fail....

From the agenda:


8:00-8:05 AM
(5 min.)
Introduction and Welcome (Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPACT America)

8:05- 8:10 AM
(5 min.)
National Anthem (Rev. Robert Stearns)

Understanding The Threat
8:10- 9:00 AM
(50 min.)
Keynote Address:
The Growing EMP Crisis
Congressman Curt Weldon, former Vice-Chairman House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees
ADM William O. Studeman, former Acting Director CIA
Chris Beck, House Homeland Security Committee
(5 Min. Intro. & Speakers 15 Min. Each)