NY Times: 9/11 Panel Explains Move on Intelligence Unit
Now we're talking! At least from the standpoint of one of the "intel guys" - an NIS one at that -
I should have known....
"WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 - The Sept. 11 commission concluded that an intelligence program known as Able Danger "did not turn out to be historically significant," despite hearing a claim that the program had identified the future plot leader Mohammed Atta as a potential terrorist threat more than a year before the 2001 attacks, the commission's former leaders said in a statement on Friday evening.
The statement said a review of testimony and documents had found that the single claim in July 2004 by a Navy officer was the only time the name of Mr. Atta or any other future hijacker was mentioned to the commission as having been known before the hijackings. That account is consistent with statements this week by a commission spokesman, but it contradicts claims by a former defense intelligence official who said he had told the commission staff about Able Danger's work on Mr. Atta during a briefing in Afghanistan in October 2003.
The statement was issued by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton after a week in which the Able Danger program, a highly classified operation under the military's Special Operations Command, rose to public prominence. The Sept. 11 commission report made no mention of the unit, disbanded in 2002, and the statement by Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton defended that omission, saying the operation had not been significant "set against the larger context of U.S. policy and intelligence efforts" that involved Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton also noted that the name and character of Able Danger had not been publicly disclosed when the commission issued its public report in 2004. They said the commission had concluded that the July 2004 testimony by the Navy officer, who said he had seen an Able Danger document in 2000 that described Mr. Atta as connected to a cell in Brooklyn "was not sufficiently reliable" to warrant further investigation, in part because the officer could not supply documentary evidence to prove it."
Ok, so this NIS officer comes in and testifies he saw the name "Mohammed Atta" on some now retired analyst's notebook, but can't back it up with documentation.
MAN! This is getting good or what?
We've got a guy from NIS telling us about an AI Project code name "Able Danger" and what they found, but he can't provide the documentation to support his testimony. Swell!
Pour me a Kook Aid.
Am I the only one smelling it here?
"The leaders said the staff learned about the program in the October 2003 briefing and later sought Defense Department documents about it. But those department documents, they said, "had mentioned nothing about Atta, nor had anyone come forward between September 2001 and July 2004 with any similar information."
Ok, so again, the documentation (outside of Weldon, the NYT's, and an anonymouse AP reporter and still unnamed intel officers and agents), is decidedly lacking.
And again, most important - key playas - discounts and denials:
"In an interview this week, a former senior military officer disputed that the unit members had ever presented to their superiors information that identified Mr. Atta or other suspected members of Al Qaeda. A second former officer said any information presented by the team to the leaders of the Special Operations Command would have been unlikely to be shared outside the command in the environment that prevailed before Sept. 11.
The former defense intelligence official, who was interviewed twice this week, has repeatedly said that Mr. Atta and four others were identified on a chart presented to the Special Operations Command. The former official said the chart identified about 60 probable members of Al Qaeda.
In interviews, former military officers have said the Able Danger unit was established in September 1999 by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, then the head of the Special Operations Command, under a charter issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Shelton, now retired, has said he does not recall the program; General Schoomaker, now the Army chief of staff, has declined to comment, as has Gen. Charles R. Holland, who took over the Special Operations Command in October 2000."
Again people, we are still back at step one of the veracity scale.
Remember, Intel 101, VERIFY.
UPDATE: The Washington Post gives us a little more insight. Cpt Ed is getting skeptical, but still on the Commission's butt. Granted, they need it. But my feeling is that after making some phone calls around there is nothing to back up Weldon's take on this, so the Commission "feeling their oates" issues their statement on Friday night.
Which brings me back to my original "radar" about this whole "Able Danger" story: but I'm bending to a new angle here.
In short: Weldon is full of crap
Want to know what I think? I think that Weldon has his little pet project NOAH and spent a lot of Government appropriations and time trying to get it adopted and made the "law of Intelligence Land" the CIA told him to stuff it - "We don't need it", September 11th happens, and two weeks later, almost by magic his "friends" at AIDC bring him a chart with Atta and all the rest of the guys on it. How convenient!
Weldon then immediately takes the chart traight to Steven Hadley and shows it to him.
Seeing it, Hadley asks, "Congressman, where did you get that chart?" Weldon says: (and read this carefully):
"I got it from the military.....this is the the process; this is the result of the process that I WAS pitching since 1999 to our government to impliment, BUT the CIA kept saying we didn't need it!" (Can you hear the "Na, na, na, nana na!"?)
Again, read the speech he gave on the House floor June 27th, 2005. His whole story AS HE TELLS IT, looks as if he was "setting the agenda" all along the way.
Most significant at this point is the FACT there is absolutely NO proof that chart (if it did exist), was put together BEFORE the 9/11 attacks.
Read it that again, NO PROOF. Yes, I know......"General Shelton saw the chart in January 2001"........
Yet if so, then how can you now have Gen. Shelton in 2005, saying, "Able what?",
Besides this, his underling, Gen. Schoomaker has no comment...
NOTE: Sure maybe Schoomaker was running a "after school" program under Shelton's nose (with Weldon's "plussed up funding") - which in that case this whole deal reeks even more. "Pet project; secret funding; misappropriation.......sheesh!"
Yet over all, at least at this point it looks like the whole story is begining to fall apart.
NY Times: 9/11 Panel Explains Move on Intelligence Unit