Sep 23 2005

Able Danger, Breaking News, 09/23/05

Published by at 1:26 pm under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions


Fox News confirms pentagon reversal and five witnesses to testify next week in second round of hearings:

The Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement Friday that the Pentagon now will allow five witnesses to testify. Among those are Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer (search), Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott (search) and defense contractor John Smith (search).

And so it continues. The question is will the story still live past the hearings.

MacRanger has responded to my posts here with something that will nail this story as dead:

Then this little tidbit…

Word is – and it’s light at this point, that Weldon is going to get a bit of “plussed up funding” for his trouble.

That was, according to Shaffer the whole purpose of bringing this out in the open – money for the new improved Able Danger.

Well, Weldon?

Mission accomplished! He’s going to get his dough and probably more than he could have asked or thought of.

Yep, if that is true that will kill the story because now these folks will be going to work on what they wanted to do and will not leak another word to the press. The truth may come out sometime in my lifetime, but I am not holding my breath. The hearings will tell. If they collapse then Mac still has his connections.


QTMonster has this breaking news from K-Lo at NRO:

Washington, D.C.–Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, will hold a second hearing on Operation Able Danger on October 5, 2005.

In the initial hearing held on September 21, 2005, the Department of Defense refused to produce five key witnesses relating to the identification of 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. The Department of Defense has now changed their position and will make the witnesses available in a public hearing.

I want to address some points being made by MacRanger at Mac’s Mind in light of this revelation. Mac has been predicting many times over this story would die and go away. I think he has the experience of too many years under Clinton, and too many years in general in the federal government, driving his dire predictions. Normally this kind of story should be controllable. But 9-11 did change a lot of things in this country – some obvious and some subtle. The days of the public not being interested terrorism, espionage, intelligence gathering, etc are long gone.

However, my recommendation to Mac is he predict Able Danger will evolve into a major story. Maybe reverse predicting will do the trick! 😉

All kidding aside, I understand MacRanger’s points and always find my self on the cusp of agreeing with him completely. Let’s begin with this post and the interesting comment that the Bush administration was trying one last time to tamp this story down:

I watched closely, because at 8am, my cell was buzzing, a call from a friend. I had asked him to get some clarification on Shaffer’s story that Rummy told ’em not to testify. The word I got from him was that contrary to popular knowledge, Rummy didn’t pull the plug on the witnesses, it came from “Cobweb”, which is just a little – OK, a lot higher up the chain.

Here’s what I know. Spector is being “allowed” this little foray basically to keep Weldon quiet. Like I said before, “Give him his hearing and maybe he’ll go away”. There are people – active – who want this to go away and have the power to make it go away.

Well, they have the power to make it go away if the public loses interest. That has not quite happened yet. If ‘Cobweb’ wanted to try one last time to avoid the partisan uproar that Able Danger could unleash ,I do not blame him in the least for the effort. As I have followed this story I have wondered over and over why it does not break, why does the Bush administration and 9-11 commission try and hold it back. If it was a nothing story then hearings showing it was nothing would be a solution – not a concern. So logic dictates it is not a nothing story.

In my last post I reference the theory that the Gorelick wall was more a shield to stop the Clinton scandals than an attempt to ensure due process for potential terrorists. I link that to the timeframe of a seriously wounded Clinton administration coming off impeachment, but still with sufficient blood in the water regarding US technology transfers to China and Chinese campaign donations to the Clinton/Gore campaign that another storm was ready to break on them. In response the Clintons tried to deploy their legal forces throughout the ramparts government to tamp things down until 200o.

And then Able Danger, possibly in a rogue move to administer the final blow, goes out and creates connections between Chinese elements and US citizens. This act would and did attract the attention of the deployed Clinton legal eagles without a doubt.

Even if this speculation is inaccurate, the problem is today the Clinton administration would still be opened up to agonizing scrutiny in any Able Danger debate. And what Bush and company do not want is another round of bitter partisan warfare to errupt. They have a war to win. Personally, I think they underestimate America and how we would respond. Like with Clinton’s impeachment we will hear the evidence and decide how to act. We will not open up into civil war. But I can understand their priorities being elsewhere. But this story is going to break just like Katrina and Rita cannot be stopped.

In this post MacRanger highlights questi0ns from the 9-11 Omission. Questions I can dispatch easily.

“If all such documents were destroyed, why did Congressman Weldon write he had such a chart in his possession, and provided it to the DNSA immediately after 9/11?”

Here is the flow of information across the Able Danger domain:

Public Data -> Orion -> LIWA -> DIA -> SOCOM for identifying terrorists.

The areas of Able Danger that had their data destroyed were Orion and LIWA. JD Smith had some of the data in his car, including the chart Weldon supposedly ended up with which he gave to Hadley. It was not caught up when armed military police came to Orion to confiscate unclassified materials. So there was some remnants from there.

Up until 2004 Shaffer had some copies in DIA in his office, which disappeared. There were remnants there. And SOCOM, the ultimate customer, still has their sets and reports. Phillpott is SOCOM, Shaffer is DIA, Eileen Preisser and Kleinsmith are LIWA, JD Smith is Orion.

The Orion and LIWA elements transitioned off Able Danger sometime after the data purging of spring 2000. But SOCOM was still working the same process with new players, specifically Raytheon takes over for Orion and LIWA is replaced with either a DIA or SOCOM element. But data still flows, charts are still made and products still keep coming into SOCOM until they formally end Able Danger in spring 2001. If the 9-11 commission do not know this then they did not do an investigation because I figured this out and I do this part time.

The next question from the 9-11 Omission is

“If all such documents were destroyed, why did Congressman Weldon write he had such a chart in his possession, and provided it to the DNSA immediately after 9/11?”

Simply because not all the documents were destroyed. The order to destroy was taken at LIWA only for data that had not been distributed to other agencies. Same answer as above. Same question: why is the commission so ignorant of simple facts about Able Danger?

There are some hard hitting questions in the 9-11 Ommission’s statements. But I think we need hearings to sort these out – not rash conclusions from a panel that retains membership and counsel from people who were closely tied to the Clinton administration’s efforts in establishing barriers.

Possibly more later.


Ed Morrissey speculates on why the change of heart with the Pentagon and the testifying in the open. He makes some valid points

The reason, therefore, has to involve people at the Pentagon right now.

Like Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the Army? I don’t know. The person or person(s) who made the decisions in 2000, and had the clout to weather the SOCOM general, is not there. I honestly think Bush avoids political ‘gotcha’ when it doesn’t buy him anything tangible and diverts us from the war on terror. It really can be that simple.

I do agree with this statement:

…the 9/11 Commission will be the first casualty, but not the last..

The 9-11 Omission will be a well deserved casualty. Their arrogance on this critical issue has bordered on the criminal.

Baldilock’s posted this link in the comments section and doubts the Pentagon’s changing positions were a cover up

the Pentagon wants to know beforehand what these witnesses are going to say.

It would be ridiculous, however, to take that chance on several different witnesses without debriefing them first.

The fact that this testimony is before the Senate Judiciary Committee and not the Senate Intelligence Committee or the Senate Armed Forces Committee probably has a great deal to do with the Pentagon’s decision also.

Very true. The back and forth on the testimony today could be that simple. But Mac’s message still resonates. If Weldon has his new program all the pressure to find out could evaporate. I want to know what happened, obviously. And things could still turn in surprising ways. October 5th will tell.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Able Danger, Breaking News, 09/23/05”

  1. BurbankErnie says:

    “And what Bush and company do not want is another round of bitter partisan warfare to errupt”

    I seriously don’t think that the reason Bush is covering for Clinton is because of fear of “partison warfare”.

    It goes much deeper then Dems vs. Repubs.

    Did the Bush Admin let Sandy Berger go with a slap on the wrist to avoid partisan warfare? Why the silence during the 9/11 Hearings? Why not show or at least argue the ties with Sadaam and Al Qaeda? The Bush Admin. NEVER defends itself against defensible attacks. One has to wonder why Clinton has been adopted (so to speak) by this Administration.

    Yes, this runs much deeper then AD. Unfortunately we will never know.

    There is way too much to this story to ever get out to the public. A second round of hearings is great, but will be underwelming.

  2. Able Danger – Great Summer Story – 5

    AJ Strata is saying (via, that Spector plans more hearings in October. I say have at it.

  3. Sirc_Valence says:

    Did you ever consider the possibility that the Pentagon just didn’t want to tip their hand on what they have relating to ongoing sensitive operations that may be based on Able Danger and other efforts related efforts?

    I definitely want to see what the five witnesses will say. I know that the public just wants to know 3 things, but answering those questions would lead to more. Am I right? Its only natural and to be expected. At a certain point those public questions would parallel those of the professionals who are payed to be concerned with such questions about yesterday and how they might indirectly affect operational security today.

    Of course, we are concerned with “the leaves of Whitman”, but I just want to say, Rumsfeld wouldn’t have played the bad guy for no reason.

  4. Juliette says:


    I’m wondering whether the answers to this puzzle might be much simpler. (Forgive me. I would have emailed the link to you rather than link-whoring here, but you don’t seem to have an address available.)

  5. AJStrata says:

    Sir Valence,

    Yes I considered it. But these people know how to point out the ‘no discussion possible’ wall quite easily and do it day in and day out. So the risk of continued questions is not really an issue in my humble opinion. I am not sure why this administration would hide something. But they have been brutally disciplined in avoiding political finger pointing. It is what makes Bush succeed with results while Clinton succeeded with PR.

  6. AJStrata says:


    Your links are always welcomed here. I know about the email – need to get that fixed! I’ll respond in an update and link back


  7. Sirc_Valence says:

    AJ, thanks for the reply. My initial response here was a bit clumbsy. Sorry.

    It is and was obvious to me from reading your postings that you have considered that the Pentagon doesn’t want to tip their hand. You’ve addressed that a number of times.

    I just wanted to emphasize that, even indirectly, operational security could be compromised in a number of ways here that otherwise wouldn’t with public inquiries into Atta and 9/11 being somewhat coterminous with covert follow ups in the WOT.

  8. BurbankErnie says:

    I would be interested in KNOWING that AD led to an operational program, not exposing an ongoing (6 Year?) covert or otherwise “operation” led by the Pentagon that Arlen Spector did not know about. Spector was the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee back in 1999 and I believe would have had to have given Congressional oversight to an Operation such as AD. I find it hard to believe Spector is not “in the know” so to speak about AD and/or any valuable 6 year followup operation. So maybe he does know and that is why the Judiciary Committee is running the Hearing. Who knows. We know what is leaked and the rest is speculation. Afraid that is the way that this will end.

  9. Juliette says:

    Thanks, AJ!

    BurbankErnie: I doubt that every senator on committees past will remember every program of that committee. Senate Intelligence is a bigger oxymoron than Military Intelligence (as we’ve seen during the Roberts hearings). But Specter could have been feigning surprise and smugness before the cameras–another well-observed senatorial trait.

    I, too, am wondering why this stuff is before the Judiciary Committee.

  10. BurbankErnie says:

    Kind of like the 9/11 Commission never being briefed on AD.
    Or Steven Hadley not remembering receiving the chart.
    Or the Pentagon never hearing of AD.

    Oh wait, those were the first responses from the above.
    They have all changed their stories as more info came to light.

    I think Specter would have a similar recollection if someone (Media) asked him about it and had proof. After all, he wasn’t just on the Intellegince Committee, He was Chairman.

    But again, I think we all know it is the staff that takes the heat for lapses in judgement and memory.

  11. […] As I suspected in this earlier post it appears the data still exists. From the transcript: We had testimony that all of the Able Danger data-mining material was destroyed. I now know that that’s not the case. In fact, I now know there’s data still available. And I am in contact with people who are still able to data mining runs on pre-9/11 data. In those data runs that are now being done today, in spite of what DOD said, I have 13 hits on Mohammed Atta, spelled Mu and Mo. Not Mohammed Attif, not Mohammed Attel; Mohammed Atta. […]