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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Able Danger - A Week In Review

Jack Kelly summarizes recent developments in the Able Danger story and their implications:
Since I wrote about the top-secret intelligence unit last week, Able Danger has gained a face, and other pertinent information about 9/11 that didn't make it into the 9/11 Commission's final report has emerged....
Points in this article include:
1) Schaffer and a naval captain both say they personally told commission staff about Atta's detection.

2) Their statements directly contradict statements from the 9/11Commission. Either someone's lying or the information never made it from the staff to the commission.

3) The NY Times has obtained a 1996 State memo arguing against letting Bin Laden move into Afghanistan on the grounds that it would make him more dangerous. This also wasn't included in the 9/11 Commission's report, but they may never have had it.

4) The 9/11 Commission had Mary Jo White's 1996 memo asserting that Gorelik's strengthening of the "wall" was the worst strategy possible. They ignored it.

5) The 9/11 Commission ignored the German intelligence reports of a connection and cooperation between Bin Laden and Iraq. (And the Czech reports, etc.)

So several questions remain.
An undeniable fact is that a program which was apparently effective (TIA) lost its funding in Congress after 9/11. An undeniable fact is that a similar program (Able Danger) produced information that probably could have prevented 9/11. An undeniable fact is that this information was omitted from the 9/11 Commission's report.

Via The Anchoress, I found Captain's Quarters post about communications he had received from people who worked on threat assessment projects about the wall. This is a must-read. It can't be summarized. One part of the communication sounds just like what Tom Carter wrote in a comment:
The rest of the "wall," in reality, is based on laws, executive orders, agency directives and regulations, etc. Many of them are classified, and you wouldn't be able to find out much about them in any case. Suffice it to say that the "wall" was, and to some extent still is, very real. I personally bumped up against it frequently in my past life, and it was serious as hell. Trying to get around it could literally cost you your career.

And by the way, it's interesting that liberals who blabber so much about the "wall" are so opposed to specific steps to overcome it where necessary.
If the wall is so byzantine and unclear, and if it also is, as the statement at Captain's Quarters claims, a culture as well as a set of rules - how may the American people know that the necessary steps have been taken to undo it where necessary? If parts of the wall are built of classified directives, do our Congressional representatives even understand it? Probably not. See this post at Captain's Quarters about other ramifications. See Betsy's Page for more on the Mary Jo White memo. Congress is considering holding open meetings (via CQ).

Maybe Congress needs to hold closed meetings and issue a summary of what could have been done to prevent 9/11/ Once that is done they could review whether we have fully remedied what was wrong. Once Congress has done that it can hold open meetings and let everyone bang their political drums. Politics, rather than a concern for national security, has been running this show so far. Passions are bound to run hot, as the comments on Tran Sient's Able Danger post show.

By the way, I have always been strongly against letting the FBI run wild. The dangers are obvious. I have always had strong opinions against programs such as Able Danger. The facts that are emerging appear to indicate that I was too worried about some dangers and not worried enough about others. My guess is that many other people hold opinions very similar to mine. The facts we weren't told may have been suppressed because some true believers were intent on preventing such a program from gaining legitimacy in the public's eyes.

Nobody who saw FOXNews Sunday this AM will accept this story any more without a hell of a lot of evidence. Chris Wallace tore this guy up. There ain't no evidence (so far), suddenly the guy's memory isn't so clear. Malkin and then I cautioned everyone a week ago about swallowing this thing whole without more than talk. This might be another Bill Burkett out to smear everyone. He's had serious problems in the Military. Stay tuned. Oh, and where are all the other people who will supposedly back this up?
I didn't see FoxNews, so I will go and try to find the transcript. Thanks for the tip.

I did see another guy's name listed as supporting him somewhere yesterday.

I saw another article from years ago about TIA; that article commented that a datamining program had produced the names of some of the hijackers in their top 100 list.
I skim a lot of blogs, and so far yours is in the Top 3 of my list of favorites. I'm going to dive in and try my hand at it, so wish me luck.

It'll be in a totally different area than yours (mine is about danger of smoking) I know, it sounds strange, but it's like anything, once you learn more about it, it's pretty cool. It's mostly about danger of smoking related articles and subjects.
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