OK, AJ - any picks for the Powerball? [Apparently not, but here is his latest on Able Danger, with a deeply buried lead - see my "UNBURIED", buried below. [Which is now "UNBURIED AND REVISED".]]
Fine, I'm green - but I did link to his post, so I know a psychic when I see one. And my explanation of why Atta was in the Brooklyn cell even though he wasn't in Brooklyn looks a bit better. [Laura Rozen has more on that as well.]
But I am still green. I may always be green...
More from Mickey.
AND MORE: From Fox, we have this cryptic offering:
Two sources familiar with Able Danger told FOX News that part of its investigative work focused on mosques and the religious ties between known terrorist operatives such as Omar Abdul Rahman (search), who was part of the first World Trade Center bombing plot in 1993.
What two sources might these be, why are they anonymous, and did Fox find them trhough Weldon? Fox runs through the Able Danger roster in their story, and the only person we have heard about that has not yet been identified is the civilian official (aka the female PhD).
On the other hand, in speaking to Fox Weldon added that at least five people on the federal payroll will testify under oath about the validity of the Able Danger intelligence. So perhaps we have two anonymous sources to go with the three that have been identified.
Or perhaps Weldon and Smith delivered that tidbit off the record, since, one might argue, gathering intel about religious activities and groups might be problematic.
Let's also note this:
Smith said data was gathered from a variety of sources, including about 30 or 40 individuals. He said they all had strong Middle Eastern connections and were paid for their information. Smith said Able Danger's photo of Atta was obtained from overseas.
That is not exactly public source data-mining, which is how Able Danger has been described. This sounds more like our spies were spying - not that there is anything wrong with that.
UNBURIED AND REVISED: AJ Strata has the excellent idea of following Rep. Weldon's home-town paper, which reported on this story before anyone else and provides a useful forum for Weldon's witnesses. But here is a shocker:
In Specter's letter to the FBI director, the chairman requested [FBI Agent] Mangum's correspondence with Shaffer, who attempted to arrange meetings at the FBI, according to the letter. The document request asks for "e-mail communication, notes, phone message slips, memos or any other supporting documentation" relevant to "Able Danger."
The letter also requested an interview with Mangum.
In June, Shaffer said he tried to "broker" a working arrangement between Special Operations and the FBI for the operation, but the effort failed.
After reading the letter Thursday, Shaffer said the text was at odds with what he told the committee.
"They got it wrong," he said.
Shaffer claimed he directed the committee to ask for information from an agency other than the FBI, which he refused to identify for The Times Herald.
"This (request) isn't going to get (the committee) the information they're looking for," he said.
Shaffer is scheduled to meet with the committee today, he said.
Hello - how could Specter's staff get that wrong? [See "REVISION]. And how did the Times get that wrong on Aug 9 when they met with Weldon and a fellow later revealed to be Shaffer? [Answer in "REVISION"] And might source credibility be a reason that the NY Times seems to have lost interest in this story?
As a communicator and liason, Shaffer may not have been a great first choice. One might almost wonder if the 9/11 Commission staffers are correct in saying Shaffer did not mention Atta to them in October 2003.
REVISION - Props to Captain Ed and others, who point out that Shaffer's story may have been simple and unchanging - Able Danger tried to liase with the FBI, but some third, currently unidentified agency blocked them.
Fair enough. Now, why did Specter's people not get that simple message? I will stand by my insinuation that Shaffer may not be a great communicator. However, to fully salvage Shaffer, one might point out that Specter's staff may be doing all they can - as noted earlier, this is the Judiciary Committee, with FBI oversight. However much they may want to grill agencies in the DoD, and however little hope they have for useful info from the FBI, this may be the best they can do.
That said, Shaffer should not be bad-mouthing Specter's staff to the press, and he ought to have left his meeting with them with an understanding of their limitations, so I do continue to question his interactive skills.
MORE FOR THE SKEPTICS: This NY Post story, via Mickey, raises questions and eyebrows. James Smith was fired from Able Danger in May 2000? But per Shaffer's original account to the Times, Able Danger did not approach the FBI, or whomever, until the summer of 2000.
Cyber-sleuths working for a Pentagon intelligence unit that reportedly identified some of the 9/11 hijackers before the attack were fired by military officials, after they mistakenly pinpointed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other prominent Americans as potential security risks, The Post has learned.
The private contractors working for the counter-terrorism unit Able Danger lost their jobs in May 2000. The firings following a series of analyses that Pentagon lawyers feared were dangerously close to violating laws banning the military from spying on Americans, sources said.
A Pentagon official said last night that, while the canned contractors worked for Able Danger, the China project was separate from the counter-terrorism assignment.
The Able Danger work was transferred to another Department of Defense contractor — and the program quietly expired later that year when it was completed, the official said.
The China chart was put together by James Smith, who confirmed yesterday that his contract with the military was canceled and he was fired from his company because the military brass became concerned about the focus on U.S. citizens.
"It was shut down in a matter of hours. The colonel said our service was no longer needed and told me: 'You just ended my career.' "
Smith also claims his team came up with 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta's name and photo in 2000.
Baffling. And Weldon's account to the Times Herald in June was that Able Danger was closed down in Feb 2001, not "later" in 2000.