Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Uh Oh!

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE: Dr. Sanity provides a community service of providing notes on the hearings today. She was able to watch a webcast from a government site. Here is a transcription of Curt Weldon's testimony.

Dr. Sanity is able to tease out of the testimony that the major chunk of the Documents was destroyed in mid-2000; likely, then, before the information on the U.S.Cole was passed to the authorities, in September 2000. But the date has not been made more specific.

The question is once again why is the DoD so aggressively shutting down these hearings at this juncture. As stated below there is a positive explanation - that intelligence information would be compromised - and a negative one - CYA motive mixed with Government meglomania. And of course all kind of mixed motivations, where CYA mindset is made to look like a situation where intelligence information is being compromised. In any case, the public deserve more of an explanation than already given.

The one thing that is clear is that this erratic behavior is troubling. A point stressed by Andy McCarthy over at the Corner.

Now it turns out that volumes upon volumes of documentation from the program were ordered destroyed in 2000. That also appears to have been a rather widely known fact (the guy who did the deleting voluntarily testified at the hearing). If that was the case, why were these witnesses assailed the way they were? And why did we continue hearing about how the Pentagon was looking under every rock but not finding anything when, in fact, it had to have known that the entire quarry had intentionally been destroyed five years ago?

What is unfolding here is an embarrassing storyWeldon testified this morning that two weeks ago, at an informal briefing to House members, a Pentagon lawyer said that there had been no need to get special clearance to destroy Able Danger materials because they were open-source, not classified. Now, the Pentagon is blocking the Senate from conducting its oversight function by claiming it is worried about disclosure of classified information – even to the point of declining to allow witnesses to testify in closed session.


WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Here's a new and dismaying twist. According to last night's interview of Colonel Shaffer, Donald Rumsfeld himself gave the order to stop the DoD personnel from testifying at today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Able Danger. "It was DoD's decision based on whatever they did internally which has now been determined that they will not permit me, Captain Philpott, Dr. Eileen (inaudible), or any other uniformed or civilian member of the Dept. of Defense to testify."

So who are they trying to protect? The charitable explanation is that these techniques may still be being used in the field and the DofD wants to protect agents in the field as well as ongoing intelligence operations. The less charitable explanation is that they want to cover their asses, a conjecture strengthened by the timing of the destruction of the documents -- which Colonel Shaffer is now suggesting was in the spring of 2001.
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. So I can't tell you what the philosophy was, I can't tell you who actually was behind it, I can just tell you that obviously my observations, the fact that it happened, the fact that we had Atta, we had other information which we tried to pass to the FBI. Plus, Jerry, I don't know if your listeners are aware, Captain Philpott actually told the 9-11 Commission about the fact that Able Danger discovered information regarding the Cole attack. The USS Cole which was attacked in October of 2000. There was information that was Able Danger found that related to Al Quaeda planning an attack. That information unfortuantely didn't get anywhere either. So that is another clue that was given to the 9-11 Commission to say, hey, this capability did some stuff, and they chose not to even look at that.
Last weekend, however, from the transcript of the Press conference with Curt Weldon, we had been told that the date for the destruction of the documents was fall of 2000. So there seems to be some ongoing confusion about the date at which this occurred in the story getting out to the public. A muzziness likely to prevail if this unfortunate DoD ban is allowed to stand.

Tom Maguire points to the foreshortened witness list here.

And the Daily Pundit points out that this makes the Bush Administration look as stupid as the "First Reign of the HillBilly."

Last Night: Stolen whole from the Corner:
ABLE DANGER STAND-DOWN? [Andy McCarthy]
The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to convene a hearing tomorrow on Able Danger. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, however, just told Sean Hannity that he has been told to stand down, that the Defense Department will not be permitting witnesses to testify, and that Shaffer’s security clearance has been pulled. Developing.
It this is true, this is not going to be a popular decision, yet again, on the conservative side -- where Bush's support comes from. We better get an explanation.

UPDATE: The NYTimes has more.
The Pentagon said today that it had blocked a group of military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified military intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The announcement came a day before the officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Specter has said he is planning to go on with the hearings tomorrow in any case.

This just looks like a big fat cover-up. Which will succeed in convincing everyone that Government doesn't trust the people with their own safety.

I think it is a terrible move for the Defense Department. And it's going to leave unsatisfied and disenchanted and angry many people from Bush's base.

Previous Posts on Able Danger:

3. Enable Danger
2. Watching Enabled
1. Defending America From The Truth

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