Ask and ye shall receive:
Per Captain's Quarters - the Washington Times has yet more on the Able Danger story:
"Pentagon lawyers, fearing a public-relations "blow back," blocked a military intelligence unit from sharing information with the FBI that four suspected al Qaeda terrorists were in the country prior to the September 11 attacks, after determining they were here legally, a former Defense Department intelligence official says.
Members of an intelligence unit known as Able Danger were shut out of the September 11 commission investigation and final report, the official said, despite briefing commission staff members on two occasions about the Mohamed Atta-led terrorist cell and telling them of a lockdown of information between the Defense Department and the FBI.
The intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Pentagon lawyers "were afraid of a blow back" -- similar to the public's response to the FBI-led assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, which left more than 70 people dead -- and decided to withhold the information from the FBI."
This is infuriating. But I'll try to be calm.
"What in the hell are these people talking about "blow back"?
Please read here, and get this, the rules of dissmenation of intel gathered on US Citizens and/or Resident Aliens, is already covered by Appropriate Military Regulations and Intelligence Field manuals. You didn't need a "wall of separation".......cripes!
Captains Quarters also has a tip that a for real Able Danger Super-Secret Agent is going to be on the Fox Report tonight at 6pm CT. Known as Lt. Col. named "Tony", a 22-year veteran.
We'll see what "Tony" has to say tonight, although I'm glad to see someone "break cover".
I'm with TSK on this:
"We will see. As TKS reader Ted put it:
On something as huge as this, I found it hard it hard to believe that the Able Danger guys would have stayed quiet for four years. It just seems to me that the psychological and emotional pressure on them would have driven someone public a long time ago - "We knew we had those SOB's nailed, the dumb lawyers shut us down (Arrrrgg!!! Not Again!!), and then we watched 9/11 on TV just like everyone else. Do you have any idea what it's like to think you might have that on your conscience? Now it's being swept under the rug by a bunch of butt-covering bureaucrats. This is a whitewash!" If eleven people supposedly were in the loop, odds are one of them would've surfaced a long time ago. But then, you could look at Colleen Rowley, the FBI agent in Minneapolis, and agree "Yeah, see what happens to whistleblowers." So who knows."
Yeah, who knows....
We could have everybody coming forward and the cleaning lady. We're still going to need documentation.
On my own end, I have found some basic confirmation (via landline) to my original theory that General Schoomaker was running a "after school" program under Shelton's nose (with Weldon's "plussed up funding", which explains why General Shelton (retired now) says, "Able What?", and why Schoomaker has no comment.
Which is why this program went bye-bye rather abruptly. Perhaps in that case they were worried in some way what might have happened (public perception) if it got out that the Government (gasp!) was spying on citizens.
It's been going on for years. I believe the reason this operation was shut down had to do with how money was diverted from this to go to that.......
Yet it's always about the money isn't it....Congressman Weldon?
Both Right Wing NutHouse and AJ Strata are on top of this as well.
Anyone seen my Kool Aid?
UPDATE 1: Ok, we have a "witness": Via Laura Rosen (Hat Tip to Captain's Quarters):
"Able Danger official identified. Delco Times columnist Gil Spencer, who has long covered Curt Weldon's Pennsylvania district, has just interviewed the Able Danger official who is going public tonight on Fox News. Spencer is the first journalist I am aware of to reveal the identity of the Able Danger official who originally briefed the 9/11 commission staff about Able Danger's findings back in October 2003 at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. That official is DIA civilian and Army reservist Ltn. Col. Tony Shaffer. He served in a liaison capacity between Able Danger and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, Florida, and he flew into Afghanistan with special ops in a boots on the ground capacity. (Shaffer confirmed to Spencer that he is indeed the "Anonymous" who has posted some comments about Able Danger over at Inteldump, by the way.) "
Ok, we have a "laison officer"? Not one of the actual ops.....
Wait.....it get's worse:
"Update I: Talked to Shaffer's attorney, Mark Zaid. Shaffer apparently is on administrative leave from the DIA...Zaid said over a pretty trumped up clearance issue that may have to do with his role in trying to brief the 9/11 commission on Able Danger, though Zaid says Shaffer had permission from a 2-star general to do so."
Oh, oh...."trumped up...security charges ......sheesh!"
Well, go on Laura...
"Shaffer says that the Able Danger team identified these individuals (previously reported as having included Atta, al-Shehi, al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi) as part of the "Brooklyn cell," but what exactly they had on them, even if they had their names, is still very murky and unclear from this interview. He says he briefed then 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow and commission staff in Afghanistan about Able Danger. But he expressed to Spencer the sense that explaining to the 9/11 commission staff what Able Danger had accomplished was “like showing a wristwatch to a pig.” (Perhaps the vagueness on the details about what Able Danger actually identified may have been an issue in this regard. Calls to the 9/11 Public Discourse Project haven’t been returned yet).
Shaffer says he was trying to broker a connection between SOCOM and the FBI. Shaffer told Spencer that one reason that Able Danger got denied permission to brief the FBI on their findings was that there was a fear not just among Pentagon lawyers but among Special Ops command that if things went badly with any FBI operation to take out the al Qaeda cells they had identified, it would be “another Waco."
Spencer says, “He didn’t blame the DoD lawyers so much, but the command” (for blocking the team from sharing their findings with the FBI). “Not Schoomaker….It rose to the level of a 2-star, 3-star general,” who he didn’t name...
So....Did SOCOM or other military command block dissemination of Able Danger's findings because.....they didn't want it to be uncovered that the US military had been given US person data to mine? Or they didn't see the value of what Able Danger had found? Fear of another Waco? Some other reason?"
Alright, someone get me a TALL GLASS .....quick.
Ok, first the good stuff - which is the stuff I think is plausible. On the fact that I stated here and AJ Strata as well, that more than ever I believe this "operation" was "practicing" data mining on the public at large. No doubt this would explain the "fear" of letting information about ANYTHING they were doing to get out to the press. You could imagine that this would have caused a meltdown if it got out (like it hasn't been happening for years), that a "Special Government Project" was gathering "big brother" information on US Citizens and Resident Aliens,......especially before 9/11.
Yet the question we all want answered, "Did this group stumble on to something/nothing/or what?" Or, "Did they actually finger the hijackers?" Remember it's 1999, 2000, not post 9/11. Schafer is saying they identified Atta and gang, but he didn't say they uncovered a plan. Still it would have been swell if we could have had a "talk with them", but sometimes, if you're not careful that does more harm than good.
The big highlight for me here is the affirmation that this operation was shut down from the top - and quick. Again, the "money trail" above.
You know, I've got the feeling that General Schoomaker, and some other brass were sleeping a lot better before Weldon began to sing....
Continuing with Laura..
"Shaffer told Spencer that one reason that Able Danger got denied permission to brief the FBI on their findings was that there was a fear not just among Pentagon lawyers but among Special Ops command that if things went badly with any FBI operation to take out the al Qaeda cells they had identified, it would be “another Waco."
Yes, it would have been difficult to roundup Qaeda cells without "flushing the nest". I guess I see that reasoning. It's like a hornets nest. It looks easy until you try to extract it. Would have caused a media orgy and that would have brought attention to the rest of the party.
Ok, I can buy that.
Still, We still don't know what this group uncovered anything all in relation to 9/11 - plan wise.
It's nice we have a liason stepping forward - IF, and that is a big IF, he is reliable. Yes, I called over to Tampa today, but that ship is tighter than Jessica Simpson's g-string on a Walrus. NADA.
The Pentagon might be listening, but I've got the feeling that they got this pup on a short leash. I'll be surprised if we see much more info than what we've heard before they issue a short memoranum to put it to bed.....or try to...
AJ has some good analysis on this as well here.
UPDATE: 2: Ok...stop the emails, I just read the NY Times article. Yet here is what I see as the fly in the ointment:
"Colonel Shaffer said that because he was not an intelligence analyst, he was not involved in the details of the procedures used in Able Danger to glean information from terrorist databases. Nor was he aware, he said, which databases had supplied the information that might have led to the name of Mr. Atta or other terrorists so long before the Sept. 11 attacks.
But he said he did know that Able Danger had made use of publicly available information from government immigration agencies, from internet sites and from paid search engines such as Lexis Nexis.
(Cripes! They were using google......somebody hold me!)
But here is the part that nearly made me spit my Kool Aid on my screen...
"We didn't think (sic) that Atta's name was significant" at the time, he said, adding that "we just knew there were these linkages between him and these other individuals who were in this loose configuration" of people who appeared to be tied to an American-based cell of Al Qaeda."
Well Col, if you guys didn't see the significance, how in the hell were you going to get the FBI to listen to you even IF you could have talked to them? I mean, you had "something", "loosely connected", that "appeared to be tied".
Hell man! Did you guys have something or not!
Yet, I know, this is all the more reason that the FBI was brought in.
I'm going to be fair to the good Col. He came forward, he should be applauded at this point. But he hasn't really given us anything of "meat" other than we had before - except that he puts "flesh" on Weldon's story. But we NEED to have REAL team members.
I also think that since it is now post 9/11 (sadly), and the same (outcry) that might have occured in 1999, wouldn't happen now, I think it's time that a that a new commission look into this, if for no other reason so that we LEARN something from it. Denials, stallings and bull crap will get us killed! Let's forget about the "who's going take the fall" garbage, and just take a look at the whole damn operation and find out what really happened.
Ask and ye shall receive: