Feb 20 2006

Able Danger Conference Call

Published by at 9:19 pm under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions

I had the honor of being on an Able Danger bloggers conference call tonight with Mark Zaid, attorney for many of the Able Danger whistleblowers. Thanks to Mike at Able Danger Blog for setting this up.

The usual suspects showed up on line:

Captain Ed
Mark Coffey of Decision ’08
Mike of Able Danger Blog
QT Monster
Rory O’Connor
Pierre from Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill
Bluto from Jawa Report and The Dread Pundit Bluto

The bloggers were excellent, Mark Zaid was open and honest, and Mike deserves a lot of kudos for getting this set up. Mark and Tony are looking for donations to help their cause. More on that once something is set up and I can point to it. But if anyone can help find some financial support for these good folks please help. Update: here is the address for donations:

Mark S. Zaid, Esq.
Krieger & Zaid, PLLC
1920 N Street, N.W.
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20036

Mark Zaid’s status update:

Tuesday’s hearing was the culmination of delayed hearings with Mark covering Tony’s side on whistle blowing, etc. The DIA did try to stop Tony from testifying in uniform. Wednesday’s House hearings were on Able Danger with open and closed sessions. There are some chances for more house hearings, and the DoD Inspector General’s report will be out sometime in May – hopefully it will be unclassified. Mark is submitting a complaint regarding Tony Shaffer’s situation and hopefully that will be out on the blogs in a week or two.


Mark was not in the classified hearings, and apparently neither were any Congressman. Three people stayed for the closed hearing testimony: McKinney, Saxon and Weldon. Zelikow testified but some felt there was nothing classified in his testimony, so the committee may have it reviewed and the unclassified sections made public.

Rory O’Connor asked about Zelikow (9-11 Commission) denying his meeting with Shaffer. Apparently Zelikow’s denial was a miscommunication or confusion by someone else – he has never denied meeting Shaffer.

Senator Specter’s counsel was at the meeting because the FBI has changed their story since his meetings. At the time of Specter’s meetings the FBI submitted statements saying the attempted meetings had happened – since one of their agents has stated as such. Now 2-3 more agents are willing to come forward (per testimony on Wednesday), but the FBI has done a 180 and now say there were no attempted meetings. Go Figure.

Beyond the 3-4 agents and Shaffer, Philpott and his boss Col Worthington were the ones to attend the meetings for SOCOM, and there may even be some documentation showing the meetings being scheduled. Why the FBI is denying this is beyond me. The FBI have not been to any hearings and no affidavits have been generated, just submitted reports.

The one lawyer in SOCOM Tony Shaffer suspected as being the source of the cancellations has denied this to Shaffer and Shaffer believes now the source of the cancellations came from some place else, unknown.

Pierre asked Mark why there was resistance in Congress and the media. Mark responded no one knows, no one can figure it out, but embarrassment – at least at DIA – is one factor (me: but that w0uld not explain, necessarily, the data purges and cancelled meetings in 2000). Bill Huntington is a name that keeps appearing as someone to watch in DIA.

Capt Ed Morrissey asked if Able Danger was getting impacted by the NSA story, if that could be causing cold feet or upheavals to investigate by Congress. Mark Zaid he had not heard that at all, but he was talking about communications with folks around NSA who might not really know.

Mark did remind us that the significance of Atta was not appreciated at the time. He was 3 ‘tiers’ down from the Blind Sheikh Rahman of WTC I fame. The question always is what would have happened if Atta’s name had made it to the terrorist watch list since he entered the country under his real name. In my opinion – nothing. The FISA Court was still in the way of acting.

Bluto asked why was there a lack of interest in the press. Again, Zaid commented he was not sure but there was some folks doggedly following it: Tony Snow from Fox, Lou Dobbs from CNN, they got a lot of time from Chris Mathews at MSNBC.

There were lots of other questions which I did not catch (from QT Monster and Mark Coffey to name a few).

In summary I think Mark is missing an opportunity. The best record of events exists in the blogs, hopefully mine being one of those sources. While there were suggestions to expand the events around the USS Cole, my feeling is you the best that will come of this is clearing the Cole’s Captain’s name – but it will not light a fire under the press or Congress. Stories need to ‘unfold’ into interesting areas.

And while I knowingly wince at the mention of Able Danger being slowed by bearucrats tossing out Orion’s much better commercial SW for a less capable in-house version, thus limiting or delaying the application of this technology, and the sympathy I have learning MITRE is the company that came in and (again) competed with industry to provide a lesser, more expensive solution – this inside baseball is not going to move the story. MITRE always slows down progress and always tries to recreate commercial capabilities. No shock there.

What this story needs is some revelations that solidify the possibility Able Danger, if left alone, had a very good chance of stopping 9-11. The story that will bring in the press and the Congress is the scandal of a CYA effort by skittish political appointees that ended up deleting national security data that could have stopped 9-11.

All other stories are of incompetence, or a pre 9-11 mindset. This one would be of arrogance and stupidity. There would be little room to give these people a break. Prior to 9-11 many tried to warn us and many, without malice or even negligence, did not see the threat that big. But deleting data to cover up a report on China – that is a different story.

If true. It may not be true and this may not be much of a story beyond government still works the way it always did.

When I see them, here will be the links to others covering the conference call:

Captain Ed
Mark Coffey of Decision ‘08
Mike of Able Danger Blog
QT Monster
Rory O’Connor
Pierre Legrand from Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill
Bluto from Jawa Report and The Dread Pundit Bluto

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Able Danger Conference Call”

  1. […] It’s little surprise, then, that he should be the attorney for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the man who is Curt Weldon’s primary source for information on Able Danger, a Pentagon data-mining operation that Shaffer says ID’ed Mohammed Atta prominently, on several occasions, pre-9/11. For a background on all things Able Danger-related, AJ Strata is a valuable resource. […]

  2. Conference Call on the Able Danger Hearings With A

    The biggest question I have is this: why isn’t the mainstream media all over this story? It stinks to high heaven of coverup. NBC can provide nightly coverage of the Katrina aftermath for five months, but a story that has profound implications for na…

  3. Able Danger on WTVN Radio in Ohio

    The Dirk Thompson Show on WTVN, an Ohio talk radio station, did an hour on Able Danger from 7pm to 8pm tonight. You can download the mp3 files of the show here-or just listen below: asdfjk adsflkj vadkinsQT Monster Blog

  4. Able Danger Conference Call with Attorney Mark Zaid

    I was privileged to attend a blogger Able Danger teleconference tonight with Attorney Mark Zaid who represents Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer. Special thanks to Mike at the Able Danger Blog for arranging this meeting. At the time of this post,

  5. […] Anyways, AJ Strata has an excellent update about the status of the Able Danger situation from Mark Zaid: Tuesday’s hearing was the culmination of delayed hearings with Mark covering Tony’s side on whistle blowing, etc. The DIA did try to stop Tony from testifying in uniform. Wednesday’s House hearings were on Able Danger with open and closed sessions. There are some chances for more house hearings, and the DoD Inspector General’s report will be out sometime in May […]

  6. Snapple says:

    Re: Able Danger

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    Professor Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado at Boulder opposed the U.N. sanctions on Iraq that were intended to curb Saddam’s weapons programs. Churchill also celebrated the 9-11 terrorists in his infamous article “Some People Push Back.”

    Churchill even told a reporter that he read all the obituaries of the people who died in the World Trade Center on 9-11 and satisfied himself that they were overwelmingly “Little Eichmanns.”

    Because of Churchill’s assumption of Indian identity, some people may think American Indians are supporting Middle Eastern terrorists. In fact, Mohawk Indians have historically been employed building New York’s skyscrapers, not blowing them up! I read in an Indian publication that on 9-11, an Indian construction team was working on one of the towers and even rescued people:

    “Mohawk ironworkers helped build the World Trade Center and other monuments of the New York City skyline, and one crew was actually at work in the flight path of the plane that struck the second tower. St. Regis Mohawk Chief James Ransom noted that they joined rescue teams at great personal risk.” http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096410295

    Congress is holding hearings about a Pentagon program called Able Danger. This program used something called data mining to track Al Qaeda.

    According to Congressional testimony on Wednesday, February 15, 2006, one of the Able Danger heroes may be an Indian policeman named J.D. Smith. I will try to find out more details about this and post updates on this thread.

    The testimony just said that Mr. Smith was a retired Indian police officer who used traditional law enforcement investigative techniques plus data mining.

    According to Congressional testimony, Smith developed a new form of intelligence collection that identified M. Atta and other terrorists a year or more before the 9-11 attacks.
    Page 15

    The faux Indian Ward Churchill will only be remembered for talking through his hat, but real American Indians will always be remembered for their contributions to signals intelligence during both world wars. They were famous as code talkers who spoke languages that the enemy could not understand.

    “At Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, declared, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.” Connor had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. Those six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error.

    The Japanese, who were skilled code breakers, remained baffled by the Navajo language. The Japanese chief of intelligence, Lieutenant General Seizo Arisue, said that while they were able to decipher the codes used by the US Army and Army Air Corps, they never cracked the code used by the Marines. The Navajo code talkers even stymied a Navajo soldier taken prisoner at Bataan. (About 20 Navajos served in the US Army in the Philippines.) The Navajo soldier, forced to listen to the jumbled words of talker transmissions, said to a code talker after the war, “I never figured out what you guys who got me into all that trouble were saying.”
    In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members. As of 1945, about 540 Navajos served as Marines. From 375 to 420 of those trained as code talkers; the rest served in other capacities.”

    One of the Navajo code talkers, Albert Smith, was only 15 years old. “Late in his life, Albert Smith explained, the code word for America was, “Our Mother.” Our Mother stood for freedom, our religion, our ways of life, and that’s why we went in. ” http://usgovinfo.about.com/blwhrelease15.htm

    Here is a recent interview with Albert Smith:

    “I was enlisted in 1943, in April. I had to fib about my age, ’cause my brother and I, we wanted to go into the war together… we wanted to stay together… He was seventeen, so he move his age up two years and I move mine from 15 to 17. http://www.thenavajocodetalkers.com/bios_albertsmith.htm

    Another code-talker was Samuel Jesse Smith:

    “My purpose for joining the Marine Corps was to get even with the Japanese for December 7, Pearl Harbor attack.” http://www.thenavajocodetalkers.com/bios_smith.htm

    Ward Churchill attended a September 23, 2005 conference about Able Danger even though he celebrated 9-11 as a victory for America’s historical “victims.” The organizers of the September “conspiracy theory” conference even suggested that President Bush had warnings about 9-11 because of Able Danger but allowed the attack to happen so that Bush cronies could make war profits.

    Churchill’s views about 9-11 are not characteristic of American Indians. Here is how the Navajo Code Talkers Association responded to the 9-11 attack:

    NCTA Proclamation In Response to Sept 11, 2001 Attack —
    In response to the terrorist attack on America, September 11, 2001, the Navajo Code Talker Association, at their NCTA meeting Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001, a proclamation was read and approved:


    HELPFUL LINKS: Here is the testimony of Mr. Smith

    Here is a general article about the contributions of American Indians to the American military
    Here is the link to the famous Navajo Code Talker’s Dictionary, which was once classified: