Sep 01 2005

Able Danger Round Up, 09/01/05

Published by at 11:43 am under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions

We are a less than a week away from Senate hearings on Able Danger, and the news leaks should be coming fast and furious leading up to that time. Tom Maguire was kind enough to notify me of this new update from our local WTOP news company.

The unit that was looking for information on al Qaida uncovered the names of prominent American citizens and their questionable connections to China. Those individuals were never accused of any wrongdoing.

The ‘China’ connection was possibly brought out in a NYPost article we covered here (halfway down the post).

“There were two individuals who were ordered by the Army to destroy the documents,” says Mark Zaid, an attorney for several of the Able Danger team members. “I’ve spoken to one of them and confirmed that the documents were destroyed.”

Able Danger was shut down in part because of concerns about intelligence on U.S. citizens that the sophisticated software dug up.

WTOP is tapped into DC quite well, and their recent reports have been providing a lot of inside information from what appears to be the Pentagon and the Able Danger team members coming forward.

Of interest is the names of the programs used, which further supports my theory the Able Danger group was applying existing technology to new information sources.

The elite unit used computer programs, such as Spire, Parentage and Starlight, to track threats to U.S national security.

While not an expert in this field this appears to be the IN-Spire SW system:

The ability to uncover relationships, trends and themes hidden within data can lead to new knowledge and new insights that could be used to assess terrorist threats, determine how to treat a medical condition or gather market research on the competition.

Could not find a system called ‘Parentage’. It is a concept in information management and relationships that pertain to expert systems and data mining. So it is possible ‘parentage’ is a technique which was misunderstood to be a system.

Starllight comes from the same group as IN-Spire. Here is a cached page on Starlight:

Starlight is a 3-D visualization technology that was developed to help solve the problem of information overload. The system is designed to capture and graphically portray relationships among multiple pieces of information of various types (e.g., text documents, database records, images, maps, etc.). Its primary goal is to enable people to comprehend the contents of very large, complex and heterogeneous information collections better and faster. Starlight was originally developed to provide the Intelligence Community with improved tools to combine information gathered from the field with supporting information from a variety of other sources (e.g., statistical databases, maps, photographs, news archives, etc.). The software includes a geographic information system (GIS), and integrates spatial and non-spatial information in a visual display.

I hate to say I told everyone so, but I did! Here is the current Starlight site.

Here is more on the company involved. Who knows how they relate to ABle Danger.

Tom Maguire’s latest on these events can be found here.

Ed Morrissey has some thoughts here.

The eternal pessimist, but too connected with the Intel community not to take seriouslu, Mac at Mac’s Mind sees a big PR non-event. Given Katrina, he may be right.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Able Danger Round Up, 09/01/05”

  1. Almost too good to be true

    AJ Strata points out some of the tools used by AD. Very powerful stuff. Not something run by amateurs or a small amount of people. Claims that documentation on the program can’t be found are getting harder and harder to justify as an admin gaff.

  2. […] Arlen Specter’s Judiciary Comittee is holding a hearing September 14 to discuss Able Danger, a move I heartily applaud. It’s appearing more and more likely that Able Danger was shut down because of intelligence it gathered on American citizens and their Chinese connections. […]

  3. […] Able Danger was a prototype demonstration to show the power of data mining tools which had the fortunate, or unfortunate, result of paying off big early. “Able Danger” was the effort to find Al Qaeda terrorists conceived in 1999, started in late 1999 and first hitting its stride with results in Jan-Feb of 2000. […]