Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Able Danger Still Alive

This story may be getting firmer. In the New York Times of all places, a colonel is coming forward to spill the story of how lawyers (during the Clinton administration, in line with the Gorelick-Reno "wall") nixed meeting after meeting the Able Danger intelligence team tried to have with the FBI to alert them to a terror cell operating in the United States.

You see, if they had green cards (though apparently they really all didn't), then they were "legal" and military intelligence couldn't touch them -- even if they were planning to wage sneak-attack war against us.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.

"I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001.

He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.
This colonel isn't the only one:
The account from Colonel Shaffer, a reservist who is also working part time for the Pentagon, corroborates much of the information that the Sept. 11 commission has acknowledged it received about Able Danger last July from a Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name has not been made public.
Somebody's lying:
Colonel Shaffer said he had provided information about Able Danger and its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving. Commission members have disputed that, saying that they do not recall hearing Mr. Atta's name during the briefing and that the name did not appear in documents about Able Danger that were later turned over by the Pentagon.
Hmmm, what about those documents Mr. Berger destroyed from the National Archives? The official position, so far, of the 9/11 Commission, is that:
In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant."
But that's the answer we'd expect from a group with Gorelick on it, who was the architect of the Reno-Gorelick Wall that apparently caused the whole botch-up in the first place, isn't it?

Watch for further developments -- will this fizzle...or explode?


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