Friday, February 17, 2006

 

Able Danger Returns, Cont'd

Jack Kelly is covering the Able Danger hearings and reports on the testimony and the ongoing (and apparently bipartisan) obfuscation of the facts:
There definitely is a campaign to intimidate witnesses. Only three testified in open session, for fear of retaliation. They have good reason to be afraid. After Tony Shaffer "outed" himself as one of Weldon's sources,the DIA tried to fire him. The grounds? When Shaffer was being interviewed prior to becoming an intelligence officer years ago, he admitted that at age 13, he'd stolen a box of pens from the embassy where his father worked. That, $67 in disputed telephone charges and $180 in disputed travel charges were the reasons why DIA said he should be canned.
CNS News has more extensive coverage:
The top-secret, military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger" identified Mohammed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, 13 times before the 2001 attacks, according to new information released Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees.

Able Danger has been identified by Weldon and team member Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer as an elite group of approximately two dozen individuals tasked with identifying and targeting the links and relationships of al Qaeda worldwide.

On June 27, 2005, Weldon said that Able Danger had offered in the year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to share its intelligence with the FBI and to work with them to take down the New York City terrorist cell involving Mohammed Atta and two other 9/11 terrorists. Weldon said Clinton administration lawyers prevented the information from being shared with the FBI.

According to Weldon, the lawyers told Able Danger members, " [Y]ou cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card and we are fearful of the fallout from the Waco incident," a reference to the FBI's raid on the David Koresh-led Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in April 1993. Media reports indicated that lawyers for Able Danger were concerned that sharing data with domestic law enforcement was illegal.

Weldon on Tuesday said that despite testimony indicating that Able Danger's data had been destroyed, he has discovered data still available. "And I am in contact with people who are still able to [do] data mining runs on pre-9/11 data," Weldon said. "In those data runs that are now being done today, in spite of what DOD (Department of Defense) said I have 13 hits on Mohammed Atta ..."

Weldon would not name the individual helping him obtain the Able Danger data.

One name to watch, because he seems to want the whole thing to go away: Stephen Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

Strata Sphere presents the hearings in item-by-item detail; it's a massive amount of work, so many thanks, A.J. A fascinating sample, sans any context, of course, which is why you should read it all.:
20th Item: Weldon’s claims that they reran this second repository of pre 9-11 data and had numerous hits on Atta (hopefully the real Atta which, in hindsight, they should be able to easily match with his now known activities and locations) is enormously helpful to his cause. It is not earth shattering Atta was on radar screens of various intelligence groups. But the fact it has been missed in the 9-11 Omission study and now apparently is being covered up a bit might give this story legs.

21st Item: Pre Meehan (D) is trying to rescue Cambone credibility through irrelevant, soft ball questions. The question is why? Why would a Democrat Congressman try and help a Bush administration figure look better in a public forum like this? After all the left’s efforts to find fault with the Bush administration, why is Cambone being helped by the lefty???

22nd Item: The name of “Mr Shiffrin” arises again. We heard this first when Weldon went ballistic over the reprisals being taken against Shaffer. I think I even have some background in the guy, if it is the right guy. Weldon recounts how the meeting with Cambone in the spring of 2001 (which Shaffer probably attended) included Shiffrin. Shiffrin is the person who states unequivocally that there was no reason to destroy the LIWA data on terrorists (or China for that matter) because it contained information on US persons. I still think it was because it had information on certain US persons close to Clinton. The second time we heard about Shiffrin is when Weldon let out he was in contact with Dr. Bob Johnson - Head of the Garland facility. Shiffrin would eat Cambone’s lunch with all Cambone’s silly claims about legal issues regarding the data sets.

23rd Item: Weldon says the more dramatic testimony was in the closed session - drat.

24th Item: Cambone has guts. He just claimed Able Danger was so important that, after having ‘problems getting it up and running’ at LIWA it was reconstituted at Garland. What a crock of bull! Not having the proper data handling paperwork and cross support agreements is NOT what stopped LIWA. These minor obstacles could just as easily been worked for LIWA as they were for Garland! There is no magic in Federal forms. Cambone just insulted everyone with an ounce of knowledge on how the government works. Clearly there was something very dramatic at LIWA that caused the entire effort to be uprooted - and it wasn’t missing forms.

25th Item: Holy Cow! Weldon has a signed affidavit from a witness that talked to one of Cambone’s staff recently and who said Cambone’s group was going to ‘kill this story’ and Shaffer had no credibility. The name is Butch Willard This is right after Cambone claimed no one was not trying to ‘bring the information forward’. If Weldon is right, Cambone just perjured himself and is in hot water now. The witness is an ex intelligence officer (woman). They moved all this to the closed session!

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