Sep 23 2005

Able Danger, China Connection, 09/23/05

Published by at 11:45 am under Able Danger/9-11,All General Discussions

Had a chance to run through some of the Specter hearings. We missed getting just about all of Weldon’s testimony. Obviously there was little senate interest since there were so few senators there. But the picture did clear as I posted yesterday.

I am going to try to establish another ‘baseline’ of what looks pretty solid and then from there speculate further. To recap the big picture and players we need to go back to well before Able Danger to get some context.

(1) Clinton is in his last year before the 2000 elections. Clinton was just coming through the impeachment nightmare which ran from Jan 1998, when AG Reno had authorized Ken Starr to expand his work to include the Paula Jones and Lewinsky matter, through the impeachment trial itself which started in Jan 1999 and ended in Feb 1999. This is important to recall as it sets the tone of entire country at the time.

(2) Jamie Gorelick’s Biography shows she was General Counsel at Department of Defense may 1993-1994. She then moved to Department of Justice to the position of Deputy AG where she authored her famous ‘Wall’ memo. Finally, she left government to go into private practice in 1997. The notice of her departure for DoJ referred to her time at DoD as:

Before joining the Department of Justice, Gorelick served
from May 1993 to April 1994 as General Counsel of the Department
of Defense. As General Counsel, she supervised the government’s
second-largest “law firm,” consisting of 10,000 lawyers.

(3) In 1997 and through 2000 Douglas A. Dworkin worked as Deputy General Counsel and then as General Counsel for the Department of Defense. He basically had the same position as Gorelick when she was at the Department of Defense. There is not much on Dworkin I could find regarding when he began his tenure as General Counsel. But it is clear he was the lead legal eagle in the Pentagon during some of the time Able Danger was running, and definitely at the end of program.

Dworkin does have one newsworthy role in the year 2000 – he was supporting the Clinton Gore efforts to close polling places on military bases. A move seen at the time as a partisan move to impact the military vote turn out. Here is a WSL article by John Fund and here is a Newsmax article on the same subject. He is mentioned one other place I can find (I am not a Lexus-Nexus user) in a 2000 WorldNetDaily article by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough. In that article they point to Dworkin’s lack of a responsive investigation into who leaked Linda Tripp’s security files. It seems Dworkin was possibly a very political and partisan Counsel watching out for Clinton and Gore.

(4) Daniel Marcus, 9-11 Commission General Counsel (the guy who determines when conflicts of interest arise) was at the Clinton White House as Senior Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel starting in 1998 and into 1999. In 1999 he went on to become Associate Attorney General under Reno. He has been an associate of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering – a law firm set up by Lloyd Cutler. Yes, that Lloyd Cutler who was counsel the Bill Clinton. And the firm Gorelick was once a partner with:

The general counsel is Daniel Marcus, and, as the commission’s website details, his Democratic roots run deep, and prominent. In the Carter adminstration, he was a lawyer for executive-branch agencies, including a term as general counsel of the Agriculture Department. After that, Marcus was for many years, until 1998, a partner — and ultimately part of the management committee — at the Washington law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. That is the firm at which Gorelick became a partner in 2003. Marcus had left the firm by then, in 1998 to be precise. That was when, during the high pitch of the impeachment scandal, President Clinton made him senior counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office — an entity, you may recall, whose sense of the defensible when it came to behavior by public officials was somewhat elastic.

(5) Chinagate was fast becoming the next top scandal in 1999. The combination of key technology being passed to China and the hints of Chinese donations to Clinton/Gore made China a very volatile subject.

As the 9/11 Commission tries to uncover what kept intelligence agencies from preventing September 11, it has overlooked two vital factors: Jamie Gorelick and Bill Clinton. Gorelick, who has browbeaten the current administration, helped erect the walls between the FBI, CIA and local investigators that made 9/11 inevitable. However, she was merely expanding the policy Bill Clinton established with Presidential Decision Directive 24. What has been underreported is why the policy came about: to thwart investigations into the Chinese funding of Clinton’s re-election campaign, and the favors he bestowed on them in return.

Nearly from the moment Gorelick took office in the Clinton Justice Department, she began acting as the point woman for a large-scale bureaucratic reorganization of intelligence agencies that ultimately placed the gathering of intelligence, and decisions about what – if anything – would be done with it under near-direct control of the White House. In the process, more than a dozen CIA and FBI investigations underway at the time got caught beneath the heel of the presidential boot, investigations that would ultimately reveal massive Chinese espionage as millions in illegal Chinese donations filled Democratic Party campaign coffers.

I do not need to connect anymore dots because Dafydd at Captains Quarters has this blockbuster post pointing to the last key name in Able Danger: Frances Fargo Townsend.

Now we have established the tone in around the US government in 1999, which was one of high tension and legal wrangling. And Clinton cronies were well placed throughout administration in key positions. Their charter could reasonably be assumed to be one of salvaging the remainder of Clinton’s term. To use the barriers put in place to stop the blood letting that culminated in the impeachment.

In the fall of 1999 Able Danger starts up and begins two prototype studies to determine what can come of data mining on public information. Able Danger selected technology being used by LIWA, under Dr. Eilleen Preisser, using the Orion company as contractor to purchase and process the information. Orion and JD Smith developed the charts with potential terrorists and linkages – including the one(s) with Atta and the other 9-11. All this work was unclassified (per testimony by attorney Mark Zaid in the hearings). This means destruction of this information at LIWA and Orion in March 2000 was not required. But it happened just the same. What happened to the data SOCOM had received is unclear. It is not even clear they had any yet. They did at some point because Phillpott requested assistance from Shaffer in contacting the FBI regarding terrorists in the US 3-6 months after the Able Danger data purge.

What happens in the first 6 months of Able Danger is pivotal. One study is on terrorists associated with Al Qaeda and the other is on China and its infiltration into the US. Orion and LIWA run their data and then everything breaks lose.

The China chart was put together by James Smith, who confirmed yesterday that his contract with the military was canceled and he was fired from his company because the military brass became concerned about the focus on U.S. citizens.

“It was shut down in a matter of hours. The colonel said our service was no longer needed and told me: ‘You just ended my career.’ ”

I would love to know the name of that colonel.

Apparently this small prototype effort, simply trying to do something new with existing technology, attracts the kind of attention that results in data sets being destroyed on the direction of someone who can weather the anger of the General who commissioned the data. Because whoever closed down the data acquisition and processing front end of Able Danger made a big mistake. They shut down both the China and Terrorist studies together.

So what was it that Able Danger uncovered? I doubt finding the name of Dr. Rice would do much. But how about the name John Podesta? Podesta was Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998 – 2001. And his name should have been picked up by an information search process which is 100’s of times more sophisticated than what I can find on Google:

In 1994, John Podesta was charged with Clinton computer technology export policies such as high-speed systems. In 1994, Sun, Silicon Graphics and Cray supercomputers were all suddenly authorized to travel with Ron Brown to Russia, India, China and other points on the globe.

In 1995, during John Podesta’s employ at the White House, computer CEOs and a lobbyist from Tony Podesta’s company attended a secret meeting at the White House on supercomputer exports. The group of computer companies then represented by Tony Podesta admitted in writing that they attended more than one “classified” briefing held by the Clinton administration.

This is just one example of a name that could easily be hit in a data mining study on China during a period of time when China connections to the Clinton were rampant (and many substantiated). There is a connection between Tony Podesta and China, this is not in dispute. But during that time period it would have raised a lot of angst in an administration trying to win an election for the VP.

The answers to Able Danger lie in who ordered the destruction of the data, who ordered the halt to meetings between SOCOM and the FBI, and who, at the end of the Clinton administration, was trying to tie up all the lose ends to this mess before the Bush team transition in:

Shaffer: I tried to explain to him how that’s not their job. We’re human intelligence. This is just an aspect of human intelligence. He disagreed with me. It came to the point where we brought up Able Danger, where I was explaining the operation to him — as you know it now, plus more — and he looked at me and he said “Well, Tony, that’s not your job.”

I said, “Well, sir, with all due respect, this is an important operation focused on the global Al Qaeda target,” and he said, “You’re not hearing me, Tony. This is not your job.”

“Well, sir, this is basically using human methodology, combined with data mining to…”

“Tony, you’re not listening to me. This is not your job.”

And again here:

Shaffer: I was ordered out of the operation by a 2-star Army general named Rod Isler, who came to the point where he was yelling at me, demanding that I stop supporting this. Each individual within the group had their own horror story at how we attempted to say, look this is pretty important stuff, global terrorism, you know these guys have killed Americans we should continue this. And we were told to a man and woman, no, sit down, shut up, move on, it’s time to forget about it. And this all happened in the spring of 2001 right before the attacks.

And how is it two people from the Clinton administration ended up on the 9-11 commission in key roles? Was Condi Rice a commission member? Tenent?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Able Danger, China Connection, 09/23/05”

  1. liontooth says:

    Excellent summary. I’ve posted this in another thread but I think it bears repeating.

    Gorelick ‘wall’ memo cites :
    … significant counterintelligence information has been developed related to the activities and plans of agents of foreign powers operating in this country and overseas, including previously unknown connections between separate terrorist groups. (link)

    What happened to this ‘significant counterintelligence information’?
    Was it deleted?

  2. […] Interesting post by AJStrata today regarding the wiretap issue. The one point that stuck out was this update: Would anyone be surprised that Judge James Robertson who resigned his post from the FISA court from some unknown reason, has a linkage to 9-11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick and 9-11 staffer Daniel Marcus (here, then here)? […]