Posted by Curt on 14 August, 2005 at 3:39 pm. Be the first to comment!


Mike Kelly has interviewed one of the Able Danger operatives and gained some interesting information:

A former member of the military intelligence team told me in an
interview that it had enough data to raise suspicions. “But we were blocked from passing it to the FBI.”

The connect-the-dots tracking by the team was so good that it even knew Atta conducted meetings with the three future hijackers. One of those meetings took place at the Wayne Inn. That’s how close all this was – to us and to being solved, if only the information had been passed up the line to FBI agents or even to local cops.

…The story begins a year before the attacks. A top-secret team of Pentagon military counter-terror computer sleuths, who worked for a special operations commando group, was well into a project to monitor al-Qaida operations.

The 11-person group called itself “Project Able Danger.” Think of them as a super-secret Delta Force or SEAL team. But instead of guns, they relied on advanced math training as their key weapons. And instead of traditional spying methods or bust-down-the-door commando tactics, the Able Danger group booted up a set of high-speed, super-computers and collected vast amounts of data.

The technique is called “data mining.” The Able Danger team swept together information from al-Qaida chat rooms, news accounts, Web sites and financial records. Then they connected the dots, comparing the information with visa applications by foreign tourists and other government records.

From there, the computer sleuths noticed four names – Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

All four turned out to be hijackers. Atta and al-Shehhi took a room at the Wayne Inn. They rented a Wayne mail drop, too, and even went to Willowbrook Mall. Al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi took rooms at a motel on Route 46 in South Hackensack.

…On the phone last week, the former Able Team member I interviewed told a depressing story of that cooperation that never took place.

His story, he says, tells us just how close U.S. officials could have come to breaking up the 9/11 plot before it unfolded. But there was one problem: The U.S. government did not want to hear what this sleuth and his 10 teammates had to say – before and even after the 9/11 plot.

By mid-2000, the Able Danger team knew it had important information about a possible terrorist plot. Because of a peculiar series of computer links that went through Brooklyn, the team began referring to the four future hijackers as the “Brooklyn cell.” Their movements and communications were raising too many suspicions.

The Able Danger sleuth, whose interview with me was arranged by the staff of Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., asked that his name not be revealed so he could maintain his top-secret counter-terror role. He emerged from the shadows of spying and intelligence analysis last week because he wanted to set the record straight.

One of his targets is the 9/11 commission. The commission’s staff, he says, ignored him when he approached them on two occasions to spell out Able Danger’s work.

Another target are Pentagon lawyers. The sleuth says he and other Able Danger team members became so concerned during the summer of 2000 that they asked their superiors in the Pentagon’s special operations command for permission to approach the FBI. Their superiors approached Pentagon legal experts. Those experts turned down the request.

…Perhaps just as alarming, even the Able Danger team understood its limits. When lawyers blocked Able Danger’s request to approach the FBI, the team simply went back to its work and kept quiet – even after the 9/11 attacks occurred.

Why? If the Able Danger team was so concerned about U.S. security, why didn’t it approach Congress or even the press to sound an alarm?

When I posed that question in my interview with the Able Danger team member, he fell silent. Listening on a speaker phone, a congressional staffer interrupted: “Have you ever seen what happens to whistleblowers?”

Again, the Able Danger member had no answer.

Which brings us to this haunting question: Is silence a form of
incompetence or it is just the way things are?

More confirmation that this information was indeed passed onto people who should have done something with it but did not. It also refutes the 4 page excuse given today by the Commission. Someone is lying here, and based on the past denials by the Commission of any knowledge whatsoever of this Able Danger information…and then their sudden recollection of it, I believe it’s not the Able Danger guy.

Add this up with the Sandy Berger burglary and we got some real shananigans going on here.

UPDATE 8/14 1815hrs

Via Rightwing Nuthouse comes news that a person commented on Intel Dump who claims to be a Able Danger member. Jon Holdaway, one of the authors on Intel Dump and a former Intelligence Officer in the US Military is checking out this guys credentials as we speak. Will be interesting to find out if this guy is telling the truth:

OK smart guys – with your “smell tests” and “Thats just flat out wrong” opinions shown above – I hope you don’t mind, but let me clear up a few things – I was there and I lived through the ABLE DANGER nightmare.

First – yes – The lawyers involved in this (and similar projects) did interpret the 9-11 terrorists as “US persons” – so while you can second guess them all you want – but that was their “legal” call as wrong as it was and is. Unfortunately, the chain of command at SOCOM went along with them (and this, I expect, will be a topic that will become more clear in the near future).

And lawyers of the era also felt that any intelligence officer viewing open internet information for the purpose of intelligence collection automatically required that any “open source” information obtained be treated as if it was “intelligence information”…does this sound like idiocy to you? It did to me – and we fought it – and I was in meetings at the OSD level, with OSD laywers, that debated this – and I even briefed the DCI George Tenet on this issue relating to an internet project.

And yes, Virgina – we tried to tell the lawyers that since the data identified Atta and the others as linked to Al Qaeda, we should be able to collect on them based on SecState Albright’s declaration of Al Qaeda as transnational terrorist threat to the US…well the lawyers did not agree…go figure…so we could not collect on them – and for political reasons – could not pass them to the FBI…I know because I brokered three meetings between the FBI and SOCOM to allow SOCOM to pass the informaton to the FBI. And, sadly, SOCOM cancelled them every time…

Oh – and as to your opinion that ABLE DANGER was a precursor to the IDC – you are flat out wrong – and obviously not keeping up with what is coming out in the press. ABLE DANGER partnered with LIWA/IDC to use the LIWA/IDC capability to obtain the data on Atta and the other 9-11 terrorists. I brokered the relationship…
And – wrong again on the IDC using only “classified” databases – IDC used 2.5 terabytes (a whole hell of a lot of data) – all open source – to identify Atta and the others that have been identified. Classified data bases were only use to “confirm” the links subsequent to the open source data runs.

Oh – and DATA MINING is not overt or clandestine – it just “is” – it is something that is done with either open source or classified information. ABLE DANGER used an array of both open and close databases…

So…good try, gentlemen – good to see there is intellectual riggor here…but before you start doubting the story, perhaps you need to do better research.

Oh, and it seems some people on the right are starting to backtrack a bit on their support for this story. I am not one of them. This whole thing added together sounds quite plausible. I am not one who will stick with a story just because I WANT it to be true, if this turns out to be hogwash I will post all about it. But until it is refuted with evidence I will not be backtracking.


The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, update IV
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update III
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update II
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger, Update
The Gorelick Wall & Sandy Berger

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x