Aug 16 2005

Able Danger, Busting Loose, Update XV

Published by at 8:28 pm under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions

The Able Danger people are starting to come forward. In a combined interview with the NYTimes and FOX News we have this information:

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview that the small, highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger had identified by name the terrorist ringleader, Mohammed Atta, as well three of the other future hijackers by mid-2000, and had tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the F.B.I.’s Washington field office to share the 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 plot was 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 Defense Department’s Special Operations Command 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. “It was because of the chain of command saying we’re not going to pass on information – if something goes wrong, we’ll get blamed,” he said.

The Defense Department did not dispute the account from Colonel Shaffer, a 42-year-old native of Kansas City, Mo., who is the first military officer associated with the so-called data-mining program to come forward and acknowledge his role

Colonel Shaffer said he had decided to allow his name to be used in news accounts in part because of his frustration with the statement issued last week by the commission leaders, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton.

So the Able Danger story is probably true. The Pentagon is supposed to make an announcement tomorrow – but I doubt they can refute this completely. They may not even try.

To see all the posts I have done over the days on Able Danger you can go here. They go back to the initial day the NY Times story broke and detail the environment that existed in the spring and summer 2000, the strangely clintonesque denial of the 9-11 commission, the delayed response from the DoD (who held the Able Danger critical files), and the lead up to tonights news.

The two most important posts right now are those dealing with timeline (first one here and updated later here). Next is a post that describes the national security environment at the time per testimony of Clarke and Bergler. I strongly urge people to go back to the 9-11 commission report and realize how much of it is now irrelevant, tossed out the window on these revelations.

I am happy to say I had predicted quite a few things about Able Dangerm, even as the skeptics corner grew and Weldon chased quite few away with his waffling. But in the end the story hung together. What I am not glad to say is it was true, and now we have to deal with the repurcussions.

So where does that leave us? Well, we still need to know:

(1) What organizations were aware of the Able Danger report – supposedly news like this would have been sent immediately up to Clarke and Bergler, even if the FBI was going to remain in the dark?
(2) Who participated in the decision to squash the news?
(3) What does this do to the Atta timeline?

And my favorite, since I connected these dots from day one:

(4) Did the papers Sandy Bergler accidentally stole and destroyed pertain to Able Danger (they existed at the exact same time as the Able Danger issue broke in 2000).

Jim Geraghty has been following this story and providing links to our site as things broke. He has some really good questions of his own on this here.

Capt Ed Morrissey adds his voice on this issue here

Also check in with Mac who is from the intel world for his insights, at Mac’s Mind.

Powerline has comments on this as well here.

Here is the Fox News article

A statement from the commission — formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (search) — said that three staffers attended the meeting, but none, including Executive Director Phil Zelicow, remembers Shaffer mentioning Atta.

Still, the intelligence agent is standing by his claim that he told them that the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had been identified in the summer of 2000 as an Al Qaeda operative living in the United States.

As I said before, I am not surprised 9-11 staffers decided to keep the explosive news that Atta may have been ID’d out of their notes initially until they could assess the veracity of the claim, knowing darn well their notes would be included in the records. The problem is why did they not change their position on this once they went to DIA and researched their files retained at DIA. Unless DIA held back

“None of the documents turned over to the commission mention Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers,” the spokesman said. Shaffer said the commission never received the whole story.

“I’m told confidently by the person who moved the material over, that the 9/11 commission received two briefcase-sized containers of documents. I can tell you for a fact that would not be one-twentieth of the information that Able Danger consisted of during the time we spent” investigating, Shaffer said.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Able Danger, Busting Loose, Update XV”

  1. […] AJStrata has been all over this one from day one, and he gives the latest here on Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer (see also Power Line), a (the) Able Danger source who, by coming forward, has restored at least part of Rep. Weldon’s credibility. […]

  2. 9/11 hijackers discovered by super-spies

    Now I understand the timing and political significance of Clinton’s statement yesterday that he would have ordered a hit on Osama bin Laden if only the intelligence agencies had told him that bin Laden was a threat.

  3. Doug says:

    NY Times:
    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 that 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.


  4. […] The Watcher’s Council has announced their selections for the posts of the last week most deserving of recognition. The winning Council post was Dr. Sanity’s intriguing analysis of a possible relation between former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger’s puzzling “stuffing documents in his pants” behavior and the identification of 9/11 perpetrators by the Able Danger project prior to September 11, “A Motive For Berger’s Bizarre Behavior?”. Tied for second place were The Strata-Sphere’s “Able Danger, Busting Loose, Update XV” and my own musing on the influence of the media on our perceptions of war, “Has Television Changed Everything?”. […]