Sep 27 2005

Able Danger, Round Up, 09/27/05

Published by at 12:59 pm under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions

The Able Danger story is heading towards a major juncture. MacRanger has information that indicates Weldon is possibly going to get the monies he has wanted to pursue some new data mining ideas. It will not necessarily be the resurrection of Able Danger type activities since it is clear these kinds of technical approaches are still in use today. So whatever Weldon wanted he now has some pet project to keep himself occupied – so the story could whither away. People may be surprised to learn the Specter hearings on Able Danger October 5th are still not finalized on the Senate schedule.

However, there are still a lot of voices out there, and some good questions yet to be answered. So we shall see.

Andrew McCarthy at NRO came out with this article which goes to the question of collecting data and how to ‘US Persons”. While I agree with the general thrust of his arguments, a lot of the specifics he bases his arguments on are not consistent with the Able Danger details as we know them.

From the Zaid testimony last week in Specter’s hearings we have to all realize Atta was never identified as being in the US by Able Danger. That is the claim Zaid made has spokesperson for Shaffer, JD Smith and possibly others willing to testify. So using Atta as an example is totally irrelevant. Atta had to have been overseas when identified.

There were multiple data sets generated for SOCOM, interim runs with preliminary results. We know of one such run because Phillpott recalls seeing a report from Feb-April 2000, which he claims had the reference to Atta and Shehhi and possibly the other 9-11 terrorists Able Danger supposedly tripped upon. We know there was a massive data purge and reorganization of the Able Danger processing chain in March-May 2000 timeframe. We also know the SOCOM request to alert the FBI of possible terrorists in the US happened in the late summer and fall of 2000 – well after the purge. We know Able Danger completed its work in Feb of 2001. So there have to numerous data runs throughout this period – not just one. Which means the investigation continued in some manner after the purge. A fact which McCarthy apparently misses. But any argument that is based on Atta being in the US is erroneous from the outset.

Als0, the data purchased and processed into possible linkages by Orion for LIWA in the early days of Able Danger was unclassified information. There was not any need to destroy this data whatsoever. But what apparently happened is there was a co-mingling of protected and unprotected information in these data sets and they did not have the capabilities at the time to separate out the data on protected “US Persons”. Again, this has nothing to do with the arguments, all sound, McCarthy puts forward. It just points to the fact the when the data was commingled, the solution was a complete purge. I find that ridiculous, but it is a valid argument.

There are numerous editorials calling on the Pentagon to come clean on what happened. I will simply point to this one in the Scranton Times Tribune since it makes a very good point:

According to Mr. Weldon and the Able Danger alumni, the project had identified Atta as an associate of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a terrorist who had launched an earlier attack on the WTC and who had been convicted of seditious conspiracy. Yet the military did not share the information with the FBI.

When you boil Able Danger down to its essence, the thing that stands out is who barred SOCOM from contacting the FBI about terrorists linked to Omar Abdel Rahman and WTC 1? The discussions to date focus too much on charts and Atta, ignoring the group of four 9-11 terrorists supposedly identified, and the fact SOCOM was concerned about terrorists in the US. Who felt it was more important to squash the contact between SOCOM and the FBI, and how do they justify that decision? Because we do need to make sure there never, ever is a way to justify such an idiotic decision again.

Some say it was pre 9-11 mindset. I think it was partially the Clintonistas doing damage control and over reacting to potential issues flaring up. But we need to know for sure. We can develop policies that will not allow political or partisan PR concerns to override national security. But we need to know (a) if this happened and (b) how it was justified so we can eliminate all like justifications.

Here is another call for clearing this up from the Salt Lake Tribune, clearly not a fan of Rumsfeld.

I for one want to know who had the power to destroy Able Danger’s initial data sets, without the knowledge of the General who owned them, and then could weather his wrath. I want to know who had the power to stop SOCOM from communicating the concern of a national threat inside our borders to the FBI. We still need to know how this happened.

In my experience there are three kinds of people working in and around government. The vast majority are the ‘live with the system’ types. They do what they want to and ignore the system around them as much as possible. They might want to coast by or they might want to do something of value, but ‘the system’ is something to avoid.

Then there are those, like the current administration, which try and make the system work. They see solutions and efficiencies and try to leave a better system in their wake than the one they found when they started. Bush and Rumsfeld are classic examples of this type – who are also classically hated for rocking the boat by all those who simple want to ‘live with the system’.

Then there are the last types. They don’t want to ‘live with the system’, or ‘make the system work’ – they want to ‘work the system’ for personal gain. Clinton and his cronies tended to be heavily from this group. Beat the system. Use the system. Find the systems weak points and exploit them. This type of person is the one who spreads fear among the vast majority of those who want to ‘live with the system’, forcing them to look the other way when they play the system for their benefit. They are the ones act like cracks in a damn, weakening its structure to protect the people downstream from the flood waters.

Able Danger could have been an example of where the system needs to be fixed, or an example of where the system was exploited. And it may be both. But we need to know so it cannot happen again.

MacRanger has two new posts worth checking out. The first (earlier) post is on what was Able Danger meant to be and how did it get off track – two areas Mac and I tend to agree on quite a bit. At the end he has some good questions:

But let’s get to the gist of the Able Danger story shall we? After all, this is the question all concerned want answered: “With what Able Danger found out, could it have prevented 9/11?”

For some people that may be it, but not for me. It is possible 9-11 would have been delayed, but our complacency would lead us to be hit at some point in time. My question is have we fixed the processes and organizations so that errors or misdeeds will never get in the way of national defense.

And then there is this question posed by Mac:

But I hate to bring up Jack Nicolson’s line, but, let me ask, “Can we handle the truth?” Think about it before you answer. It’s important becuase the truth may just go farther than anyone could have ever imagined, or that anyone would really even want to know.

Yes. Because we have to face it and deal with it.

Mac’s other post here, points to an interesting post at Top Dog’s recent post here:

After hearing last night that Curt Weldon would be on 540AM in Orlando at 8AM this morning, I signed up for their free registration so I could listen online. For once, I didn’t sleep through my alarm clock, and it was worth it for the five minutes that Weldon was actually on, starting at about 8:47AM.

First, Weldon said Hadley’s staff had told his staff “this morning” that the Washington Post misquoted him. That the reporter “got it wrong” and that what the Post printed was not what he meant to say. It’s not entirely clear from Weldon which part Hadley now says the reporter got wrong, but I hope Hadley will clarify that point. Weldon also referred to some evidence he was considering bringing forward to “prove” his own version of the account. Very interesting.

OK, I am not buying Weldon’s claims right off, but I couldn’t help but notice how weak the Hadley statements were in the Washington Post story. We shall see, Hadley I am sure will speak out if there were inaccuracies.

Ed Morrissey discusses the recent Hadley comments here.

Tom Maguire lastest post on Able Danger is here.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Able Danger, Round Up, 09/27/05”

  1. BurbankErnie says:

    Geez, I made the comment “you can’t handle the truth” on MacsMind on the 23rd of this month in the comments section.

    The story is over. Face it.

    Wether it was for more funds for intel projects or for noteriety for Weldon’s book, we as Americans cannot handle the fact that their are people who want to see bad things happen to us. Wether it is a sham of a commision, or a hearing, the facts are terrorists are ot there.

    So the 9/11 Commission is taken for fact, or the AD Hearings are a farce, so what. Politicians get what they want and we get a kick in the ass, because we let it happen.

    Thw=e solution? Who knows. But I do not think I will se it happen in my lifetime.

    Please, put credit where credit is due.

  2. liontooth says:

    If Weldon is going to be ‘paid off’ now, why didn’t the insiders ‘settle’ before this whole controversy got stirred up? Why let a light shine in a dark corner to begin with?

    And the papa insider that was at the head (aka money and authority), Shoomaker, was brought back by Rumsfeld. The only negative to Shoomaker was that he was linked into Waco and there would be a conflict over Posse Comitatus. Post 9/11 that’s a distant memory.

    S0 in conclusion, here is where we stand:

    – Weldon uses SOCOM data mining in Clinton adm. It gets results the FBI and CIA can’t.
    – Able Danger identifies Al Qaeda cells in the US, but something won’t let it share with the FBI.
    – Data is destroyed, but mysteriously it still exists in Jan&Mar of 2001.
    – Weldon gives what’s his name the chart. What’s his name tells Weldon he’ll show the big man (presumable Bush).
    – 9/11 Commission talks to Shaffer, then Shaffer’s copy of data is destroyed.
    – Weldon writes his book which says Iran is behind all the mischeif now and want to detonate a nuke in US (at least from my reading of first 1/3 to half of book).
    – etc.

    After 9/11, Bush and Co. realize that SOCOM are the only ones that have a handle on what’s really going on with terrorism and are letting them do the bulk of the ‘investigating’?

    So Weldon was just PO’d because he was left out in the cold and not let in on the secret?

  3. theodore says:

    ” Data is destroyed, but mysteriously it still exists in Jan&Mar of 2001.”
    The point that is missed is that it was the raw data that was destroyed. The phone calls, atm transactions, flights, border crossings etc. that were used to makethe connections is what was destroyed. If you had a database of every phone call made to pakistan from everywhere in the world, how would you sort out those made by US persons?
    It would have been impossible to filter out US persons from a database with 2.5 terabytes of information.
    It is obvious that they kept the processed data. Which is what they wanted in the first place, then they could filter out however many people qualified as US persons because they were then IDed as individuals not phone numbers or bank transactions. The end result data also probably included a few hundred at most a few thousand potential Al Qaeda members. The incoming data probably included calls and transactions of a billion people.

  4. liontooth says:

    “The point that is missed is that it was the raw data that was destroyed. The phone calls, atm transactions, flights, border crossings etc. that were used to makethe connections is what was destroyed.”

    Where did you get this info from? I don’t recall the Pentagon saying anything regarding the data.