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September 22, 2005

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susan

If Able Danger was dissolved in early spring of 2001 how could Bush/Tenet/Rice draw information from a prototype program operating under the radar in which all the information gathered in the period between 1990-2000 had been deleted?

Were the contractors who bought Able Danger's mined data working for the White House? I get the sense that the governmental legal 'wall' not only prevented sharing between governmental agencies but prevent information from being shared with the White House particulary when the White House had several individuals were in the position of knowing about Able Danger since they were responsible for its creation. We heard in the testimony that a 3 hour briefing was given early in 2001 but we don't know if that briefing involved telling the higher ups that Able Danger did not provide useful data.

Perhaps I am missing something but the people who really knew about Atta prior to 9/11 were those who were briefed in 2000. The 9/11 Commission however, established an error that Atta did not arrive in the US until 2001. How come Tenet went along with this timeline when Atta had been identified in 2000? Did Tenet not know about the Able Danger program in 1999-2000?

susan

Also, why did Secretary of Defense William Cohen not correct the 9/11 Commission timeline establishing Atta in April 2001? Surely Cohen must have had some idea about Able Danger identifying Atta in 2000 and that the established 9/11 Commission was in error.

I guess I'm influenced by the testimonies given to 9/11 Commission from those who served in the prior adminstration, none who testified ever mentioned Able Danger. I find it hard to believe that the very people who established the program never once mentioned this program in their testimonies.

Cecil Turner

"My quick version - there was a data-mining program that produced useful intel, and may (or may not) have explicitly identified Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11."

I tend to agree, though we might have to define "useful intel." This was useful in the sense that it painted a better picture of terrorist activity. It certainly wasn't "actionable intel," which would require Atta's precise location . . . and preferably come attached to enough evidence for a successful prosecution--since merely deporting him would obviously not have the desired effect (neutralizing Atta)--and we hadn't yet "taken off the gloves."

It's also worth remembering that this was the same time frame in which we made multiple attempts on Bin Laden, all of which were foiled by a lack of actionable intelligence (and lack of political will for a serious military option).

Patrick R. Sullivan

Maybe Specter can get Sandra Day O'Connor to testify. She seems to be his preferred candidate for everything else.

Syl

If there's nothing that proves Atta was actually here (perhaps only contacts with those in Brooklyn who were here? which is just as important) then it's downright incompetent for the 9/11 commission to dismiss Able Danger because they say Atta was not here then. It's like they simply couldn't be bothered (to put it kindly) to find out what the info actually was.

Well, actually in either case (here or not) they couldn't be bothered.

That really really burns me.

Need more coffee...I'm not sure I'm making sense.

BurbankErnie

TM,
Sounds like you're whitewashing the coverup. I believe there is more here then what is known; unfortunately, we will never know.

The fat lady has sung on Able Danger. The 9/11 Commission's whitewash of 9/11 and the events leading up to it will now be the truth.

A shame more people are not interested in what really happened during the Clinton Administration regarding Terrorism. That is really the great coverup. And now we have Clinton the "World President" rewriting history as we speak.

Did you really think anything different was to come out of Able Danger? The "Good Ole' Boys in Washington would NEVER let the Body Politic suffer a severe blow. I shudder at the thought.

Now please, report on the Hurricane, or Klugman, or Judicial Nominees. This show is over.

Nolan

The fat lady has sung on Able Danger.
If by fat lady, you mean "Cobweb" Cheney.

And yet the paranoiac rightwing obsession with Big Bill does not die.

BurbankErnie

Nolan,
I don't know if it was Cheney or not, but it is someone in the Bush Admin.

Your reference to Clinton paranoia is unfounded in my remark. Clinton was on 4 Sunday Talk Shows glossing over his days in the WH and what he would have done if he was GWB now, just like all the right things he did in the WH back then. His record on Terrorism speaks for itself if you cared to look.

If you had comprehended my post, it show both Repubs and Dems as complicit in the coverup of AD as well as 9/11. My reference to Clinton stands on its own merit, I do not have to resort to anything but facts.

kim

I'm pretty much with BE. What I'd really like to know is what did Able Danger find that got it(that particular little project) shut down? It sure wasn't Atta.
===================================================

kim

Forget thumbs, hang Berger by his toes.
========================================

Cecil Turner

"What I'd really like to know is what did Able Danger find that got it(that particular little project) shut down?"

I suggest re-reading Podhoretz's post about directives for data gathering. His appears eminently sensible, while Mccarthy's reasoning is clearly out to lunch:

Data mining efforts harvested some information on US persons (essentially, citizens and permanent resident aliens) in the course of investigating al Qaeda (and later, Chinese proliferation). But Atta was not a US person. There was no impropriety in collecting information on him, nor does it smack of any McCarthy-era list-making – these are the lists everyone knows we are allowed to make and should be making.
Sorry, that's not the way it works. If there's a law against collection (which, based on my inexpert reading of similar statutes, I strongly suspect there is), then it doesn't matter if it's a bad list, it's illegal. And the folks involved can't simply sift through the data to find the nuggets, discarding the rest, they have to stop collecting . . . and start complying with the law. For fairly obvious reasons, an out-of-control military agency is particularly dangerous to the Republic, and flouting the law by the military is even less acceptable than for private citizens. (Just as a chief executive deciding to fix court cases is anathema.) If the law needs to be changed, change it. Until then . . .

Bob

Try this:

http://www.madcowprod.com/

Sounds like a 5th column inside job within the intelligence community. Reinhard Gehlen's spawn.

kim

Thanks for the link.

However, what agency is seeking to evade congressional oversight and control if not our military. Now, maybe they're willing to be controlled, but secretly. Why can't the public discuss this issue? It's not as if we don't have a stake.
===============================================

BurbankErnie

According to Weldon and others,the info acquired was from open source material, free off the Internet, and only VERIFIED against private DB's.

It is all mute anyway. Nothing more will see the light of day, except to OFFICIALLY bury this blip in the Political landscape.

Turn out the lights, the party's over....

Cecil Turner

"According to Weldon and others,the info acquired was from open source material, free off the Internet, and only VERIFIED against private DB's."

As I understand it, the law forbids intel agencies from collecting information on citizens. If so, the source doesn't matter. And again (assuming that's correct), an agency can't collect on everyone and then keep only the bad guys' info, because it's the act of collection that's illegal.

As far as the public debate and congressional oversight issues go, it seems to me this folds in with the TIAS system which was soundly rejected with minimal discussion. Considering the history (e.g., Vietnam era FBI files, McCarthy), it's unsurprising that nobody wants the "pro" side of the political hot potato, but there's little doubt this is a political issue. (And personally, I think the chances of it changing are close to nil.)

Bob

The Demo v. Repub argument doesn't work when you are dealing with the military and with intelligence. There's a permanent government, a status quo, which has risen out of post-WWII bureaucratic constructions. Many of the players you see on the stage are just that.

Anyone remember the first fellow whose head got lopped off on video, the Jewish guy carrying the Koran and Iranian literature who was in Iraq selling radio antennas? Does anyone remember the story where one of the 9/11 hijackers had been sharing his computer password at some college in Oklahoma? Whatever happened to that story? How would anyone even KNOW that? Small world.

It sounds like at least some of these hijackers traveled in the rarified air of the intelligence community in the years before 9/11. It's not that these guys may have been tracked by intelligence, they may have been owned by intelligence. Someone's intelligence. Hey, maybe it was another Saudi trick against us, just to let the insiders know who owns us.

BurbankErnie

"As I understand it, the law forbids intel agencies from collecting information on citizens. If so, the source doesn't matter"

Geez, and we wonder why our Intelligence is F'd up. Maybe that is why we have the Patriot Act so we can SPY on the bad guys. As Reagan said, "Ms. Gorelick,tear down that wall!"

Bob,
I have tried to follow Madcow and it makes my head hurt. I would like to know why I don't know the answers to that Rudi guy who owned the Aviation Co. and that 20 yr. old babe he had working for him who filled out Atta's Visa Paperwork. Or the taxi drivers who took Atta and his mates around town. All of the things he mentions seem to have merit, but I cannot find out the outcome to half of what he says, even though the FBI followed all of the leads..

Now my head hurts even more.

Cecil Turner

"Maybe that is why we have the Patriot Act so we can SPY on the bad guys."

My reading of the Patriot Act is that it still doesn't allow us to gather intel on the good guys. Maybe we're doing it quietly, but my sense from the TIAS debate is that nobody is willing to take the political heat (and suffer the inevitable charges of McCarthyism, etc), and that we're not doing it. If not, we desperately need a change in the law (and again, I'm not optimistic that'll happen).

"I have tried to follow Madcow and it makes my head hurt."

I might not have given him a fair reading, but it seemed long on implication and short on verifiable facts. The "self-described former Navy Seal" Joe Gesell is a case in point. The ranks of SpecOps impersonators are legion . . . so much so that there are several organizations who verify records (e.g., this one). To spin a convincing conspiracy theory, the angry bovine ought at least to check if there ever was a Seal named Gesell.

BurbankErnie

The Patriot Act will at least allow spying on Alleged, or supposed bad guys, and that is more then we had pre 9/11.

Give Madcow. another try Cecil. It is very entertaining, and like I said, some of the stuff is crap, but there are some juicy nuggets also. If you like to play Internet Detective, I have seen worse sights.

Bob

Read the Welcome To Terrorland a few weeks back. I don't know ultimately that Hopsicker (the author and Mad Cow website guy) will come up with enough answers to satisfy anyone. I suspect he won't. But he points to certain things, like the presence of Atta and others at those two pilot schools down there in FLA after they'd already left, that directly contradicts the official story and suggests that there was someone in government (think FBI, think Mueller) covering up things. He points out that one of the co-owners of Atta's flight school seems to have been involved in heroin smuggling immediately prior to when all these Arab flying students started showing up. A plane of his was busted at the Orlando airport with lots of heroin packed inside. He and the pilot (from Venezuela) seemed to be immune to any kind of prosecution (the DEA did seize his plane though). Being involved in drug runs and not getting prosecuted suggests friends in high places, usually somewhere in the intelligence, were giving someone protection. This same guy (Wally Hilliard) also had business with a flight school in Sag Harbor, WA, whose owner (named Boelke) seems to have been involved in an organized crime bustout of a union pension plan in Portland OR.

When you have lots of people doing criminal things and they seem to be immune to government examination, something is going on. My guess is that Hopsicker is not going to get the definitive answer of what happened, but there's enough there to suggest that someone within the federal government, the permanent gov and not the guys and gals passing through DC for a decade, is involved. This does not translate to remote-controlled airliners or satchel charges inside the WTC, but then it doesn't need to.

Something's wrong. I've live through the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. These investigations are always the same: they tiptoe near the edge of the water but everyone's afraid to get their feet wet.

Able Danger probably stepped on someone else's foot and was shut down. What happened to Operation Green Quest? My guess is that it got too close to friends of Grover Norquist.

Like I said, I read the book a few weeks back, I'll give it a few more weeks of rest and probably reread it.

Cecil Turner

"The Patriot Act will at least allow spying on Alleged, or supposed bad guys, and that is more then we had pre 9/11."

Yes, but the Able Danger (and TIAS) methodology relies on a much wider net, which the Patriot act doesn't appear to authorize.

"Give Madcow. another try Cecil. It is very entertaining . . ."

Sorry, I read a couple more of the articles, and it didn't improve with exposure. This one, on FL elections, is just silly. And the "Welcome to Terrorland" (chapter one) wasn't much better. For example, he suggests FL in July is an odd choice because it's "steamy" . . . obviously he's never been to Dharan. He also reads dark significance into the choice of the FL Gulf Coast for flight school (hey, that's where I went to flight school!), and odd that they pay top dollar and go to the same place (anybody ever notice how folks paying top dollar at ritzy locations get treated better--and asked fewer questions--than those at the lower rent locales?). To put it mildly, I was underwhelmed . . . though admittedly entertained.

BurbankErnie

As Bob notes, I was relating the reading of Madcow solely for his rants on AD, not for any other conspiracies.

Oh well, maybe Monday we can have another well placed leak to get us all going again.

kim

We can but hope, but I want it now so they can yak it up on Sunday.
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vch

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