Saturday, September 17, 2005

Enabling Danger

It's been exactly a month since my last posts on the Able Danger Affair. And in that period, the situation has moved forward quite a bit. There are now several witnesses to the results of the program - that it identified Mohammed Atta while he still lived in Hamburg and three of the other 9/11 hijackers.

Fox News is reporting a former Army officer, so far anonymous, maintains that the program information no longer exists in documentary form because 2.5 terabytes of it was ordered destroyed - under pain of arrest and a jail sentence - by someone or other -- identity still unknown to the general public. The destruction of the records occurred in 2000.

At the hearings to be held this coming week, the Army officer will name the person who ordered its destruction. That should be momentous news if Arlen Specter is allowed to keep the hearings public. He's facing opposition from the Pengtagon who want the hearings closed to the public and is pressuring the Senate Judiciary Committee to that end.

In addition, we now learn that top military generals received military intelligence about "increased al Qaeda 'activity'" in Aden harbor, Yemen three weeks before the bombing of the US Cole. "Shaffer and two other officials familiar with Able Danger said contractors uncovered al Qaeda activities in Yemen through a search of Osama bin Laden's business ties."

That bombing occurred on October 12, 2000. The election occurred on November 7, 2000. And, according to what was leaked, results of Able Danger were ordered destroyed in 2000. If this timeline turns out to be correct, it makes the calculation to destroy the documents appear - at this point - entirely political - perhaps, even, arising from fear of what the Bush administration might reveal to the country about the tactics of the Clinton administration.

Yet according to Curt Weldon's press conference, the documents were destroyed in the summer of 2000. So how could they provide a warning on the Cole in September? Were they destroyed in very late summer? Or was the program still ongoing despite orders to destroy the documents?

Weldon says, "I think here are those, perhaps, that are going to be embarrassed by this: embarrassed in the previous administration, and now it looks like embarrassed in this administration."

Later Weldom says:
The first week the story broke in the New York Times, I was in Pennsylvania that Friday doing district work and I got a call at my office. My chief of staff took the call, and it was from a person I'd never met in my entire life. I'd never mentioned her name. She was on vacation and asked my chief of staff for me to call her back.

Her name was Jamie Gorelick.

I said, "What does she want, Russ? I don't know the woman." I said, "I'm tied up. Would you please call her back and ask her what she wants?"

WELDON: Russ called her back on her cell phone. She was on vacation. And her response to my chief of staff was, "Please tell Congressman Weldon I've done nothing wrong."
Which begs the question, once again, just what were in those important, top secret documents that Sandy Burglar destroyed again? It has certainly been speculated that he removed something that illustrated the lackadaisical approach of the Clinton Administration to fighting terrorism.

Interesting to speculate as well on who at the Pentagon knew all about this unit and *did not* divulge that information to Rummy when he took office. And once again did not divulge it after 9/11.

I'm also wondering whether this investigation comes at an awkward time for President Bush, since he and President Clinton have been all pals-y and mutually scratching each other's back of late. And in a good cause. But if the results of this investigation gets out to the public, there is going to be a firestorm of criticism against the Clinton Administration. And Clinton may not want to continue the good ol' boy, man above politics routine. Then, again, doing precisely that might be his salvation. The man doesn't lack for chutzpah.

However, if a firestorm of criticism against the last, hallowed Democrat Presidential Administration breaks out at this time, it conceivably could be harder to gather the entire country behind him, the way Bush needs, in order to accomplish the reconstruction of the Gulf in a bi-partisan spirit.

Anyway, just some musings on fallout from this situation. And why the Pentagon wants the hearing to be held in secret. Despite any political fallout, however, I think it would be a terrible decision to close these hearings to the public.

The Strata-Sphere analyzes Able Danger here, providing an interesting Timeline. And Captain's Quarter's responds to several of AJ Strata's points here.

Thanks to Macsmind for bringing the Cole information to my attention.


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