Enzo Titolo

Politics, Paranoispiricies, neologisms, diary, creative, ruminations

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Questions Raised by Operation Able Danger and the Plane Bombings on September 11, 2001 in NYC and Washington, D.C

This summer it has emerged that the Pentagon had or has a secret domestic spying operation that datamines U.S. transactions to find patterns of terrorist activity planning and execution. Known as Operation Able Danger, it identified Al Quaida terrorist ringleader Mohammed Atta who was living and operating in the U.S. a couple of years before the 9/11/01 attacks. The operation was shut down abrubtly after these patterns emerged and investigative agencies such as the FBI and the CIA were asked to not follow up on this lead which could have prevented the plane hijackings.

Why did Operation Able Danger shut down? Mohammed Atta was not a U.S. citizen, so I don't see a controversy about spying on him, especially if he was linked to an organization that had attacked U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, troops in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and later the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. Al Qu'aida had declared war and made good on its war against the U.S. years ago while this Operation was in effect. According to the news report below: the plug was pulled on the project due to 'feared negative repurcussions' if the project went wrong. What could be a negative repurcussion of such a project going wrong? That we'd blow a larger investigation of something even more important? It doesn't make sense.

I think, instead, the feared repurcussions were political, if the project were to go right, which it was. This project was on its way to nipping the 9/11/01 project in the bud. Perhaps, the datamining project was revealing some uncomfortable links to some of our country's 'allies,' such as Saudi Arabia where many of the conspirators were from and where Atta may have gotten some funding from Saudis of wealth and direct connection to the royal family, which owns the country. Perhaps the State Department pulled the plug on Able Danger. Who drove the demise of Able Danger and why?

The Pentagon, NORAD and the Airforce, was running multiple wargames on 9/11/01. These wargames at the very least confused and slowed down the defensive response to the hijackings since radar screens were populated with false blips as part of wargames' simulations. (It is absurd that the Pentagon could be attacked at all, especially hours after the first planes were hijacked. When the FAA first notified NORAD of the hijackings, NORAD's response was akin to, 'is this real or is this a drill?') I believe that the wargames, some of which included an aircraft hijacking interception excercize, and might have included an attack on U.S. buildings, affected the 9/11/01 attacks. Was there a link between the wargames planners, executioners, and the people who pulled the plug on Able Danger?

This Operation Able Danger (OAD) datamining project is reminiscent of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Project that Admiral Poindexter (of Iran-Contra infamy) was heading until the project, which datamined Americans' purchases and registrations to detect terrorism planning and execution, was shut down due to its spying on Americans and the perception of privacy violations and potential abuse. What is the distinction between TIA and OAD? If they are similar or the same, then was OAD a violation of any laws, and why was its existence only revealed after several years of operation?



Senate Judiciary Committee taking up 'Able Danger' questions
NORRISTOWN - The Senate Judiciary Committee requested material Thursday from the FBI about the former defense intelligence program, "Able Danger," that reportedly linked a 9/11 hijacker to al-Qaida more than year before the Sept. 11 attacks.


About two past weeks ago, the congressional committee, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., began interviewing individuals connected with the defunct intelligence operation that may have been able to disrupt the Sept. 11 plot.

In 2000, the operation's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) team wanted to pool the talents of the FBI and Special Operations Command to track 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta, and other Muslim extremists, that had been linked to al-Qaida in the United States, according to Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a DIA employee who worked on the project.

The Pentagon pulled the plug on the classified program, however, according to Shaffer, because it feared negative repercussion if the operation went wrong.

Shaffer has met with the Judiciary Committee twice recently, he said, and revealed the names of about five Defense Department attorneys who advised shutting down "Able Danger" prior to the terrorist attacks.

In a letter Thursday from Specter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Pennsylvania lawmaker requested correspondence between Shaffer and FBI agent, Xanthig Mangum, dealing with the matter.

Shaffer, who went public with the "Able Danger" revelations last week, claims the former data-mining program could have foiled the terrorist attacks if it had been allowed to continue.
On Sept. 11, Atta piloted American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

The "Able Danger" story was revealed to The Times Herald in June by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7th Dist., and was first published in the Norristown newspaper on June 19. However the story went unnoticed. In August, the operation was reported about in Government Security News, and a few days later, the New York Times.

When the team running "Able Danger" wanted to get the FBI and Special Operations to collaborate to track the Muslim extremists, Shaffer claims, attorneys in the Pentagon ultimately killed the project.

"I know who the lawyers are and have turned (the names) over to the committee," he said. The Reserve officer hopes the legal paper trail will reveal why "Able Danger" was cut short.
"(The committee) needs to get the lawyers' notes," he said.

Shaffer was encouraged this week when Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott and James D. Smith, a defense contractor, came forward to corroborate his story. Phillpott and Smith also met with the senate committee, he said.
Two weeks ago, Weldon blasted the 9/11 Commission staff for ignoring Shaffer's repeated offers to provide information about "Able Danger" during the panel's inquiry. The intelligence project was not included in the panel's final report in July 2004.

The former commission defended its actions and final report by saying that information received from Shaffer and a "Navy officer," likely Phillpott, was not compelling enough to include in the report.

Shaffer and former commission staff have differed over recollections of when Atta was first mentioned by name. Shaffer claims he revealed this in his first interview in 2003, while the commission said it didn't receive Atta's name until July 2004, just 10 days before publication of the panel's report.

On Monday, a Pentagon official said the Defense Department had been unable to find any information thus far on the former operation. The following day, Weldon issued a press release advising the Pentagon to keep looking and make a full accounting of the program.

The defense intelligence employees worked on "Able Danger," between 1999 and 2001, at the Army's Land Information Warfare Assistance Center (LIWA), in Fort Belvoir, Va.
Shaffer said as many as 25 individuals supported the LIWA program, though only about a dozen were fully briefed on the project's objective: To identify and target terrorists.

The "Able Danger" group mapped al-Qaida links worldwide, assembling charts that showed the connection between Atta and other suspected terrorists, he said. Though the original chart has not been unearthed, several other facsimiles have been recreated showing the terrorist links. Shaffer said about 20 boxes full of documents existed on "Able Danger" when he was involved.
The Pentagon's Office of General Counsel is ultimately responsible for legal decisions, he said, and he believes getting hold of the legal papers on "Able Danger" is paramount to resolving the controversy.

"If I could have one (set of) documents, I would ask for the lawyers' notes," he said. In Specter's letter to the FBI director, the chairman requested 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.

According to William Reynolds, director of communications for the Judiciary Committee, the committee has not scheduled any hearings on "Able Danger."

Keith Phucas can be reached at kphucas@timesherald.com or 610-272-2500, ext. 211.


Enzo Titolo

Weldon: Atta Papers Destroyed on Orders

By DONNA DE LA CRUZ
Associated Press Writer
Sep 16, 7:24 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" - as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.

A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the witnesses for Wednesday hearing had not been finalized and could not confirm Weldon's comments.

Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials have been "fact-finding in earnest for quite some time."

"We've interviewed 80 people involved with Able Danger, combed through hundreds of thousands of documents and millions of e-mails and have still found no documentation of Mohamed Atta," Swiergosz said.

He added that certain data had to be destroyed in accordance with existing regulations regarding "intelligence data on U.S. persons."

Weldon has said that Atta, the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and three other hijackers were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger," which determined they could be members of an al-Qaida cell.

On Wednesday, former members of the Sept. 11 commission dismissed the "Able Danger" assertions. One commissioner, ex-Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., said, "Bluntly, it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us."

Weldon responded angrily to Gorton's assertions.

"It's absolutely unbelievable that a commission would say this program just didn't exist," Weldon said Thursday.

Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.

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7 Comments:

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

It seems that the Pentagon is doing its best to cover or at least hush up Operation Able Danger's successes or failures.

Pentagon Bars Military Officers and Analysts From Testifying. Here's the latest from the NYTimes today

By PHILIP SHENON
Published: September 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had blocked several military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist a year before the attacks.

The officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify on Wednesday about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that open testimony "would not be appropriate."

"We have expressed our security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum," Mr. Whitman said.

He offered no other explanation of the Pentagon's reasoning.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the committee, said he was surprised by the Pentagon's decision because "so much of this has already been in the public domain, and I think that the American people need to know what happened here."

Mr. Specter said in a telephone interview that he intended to go ahead with the hearing on Wednesday and hoped that it "may produce a change of heart by the Department of Defense in answering some very basic questions."

Two military officers - an active-duty captain in the Navy and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve - have recently said publicly that they were involved with Able Danger and that the program's analysts identified Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian-born ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, by name as a potential terrorist by early 2000.

They said they tried to share the information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the summer of 2000, more than a year before the attacks, but were blocked by Defense Department lawyers. F.B.I. officials, who answer to the jurisdiction of Mr. Specter's committee, have confirmed that the Defense Department abruptly canceled meetings in 2000 between the bureau's Washington field office and representatives of the Able Danger team.

The Pentagon had said that it interviewed three other people who were involved with Able Danger and who said that they, too, recalled the identification of Mr. Atta as a terrorist suspect. Mr. Specter said his staff had talked to all five of the potential witnesses and found that "credibility has been established" for all of them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/politics/21intel.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1127300413-0USwvCW7tYRx+wvYpXPbhA

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

It seems that the Pentagon is doing its best to cover or at least hush up Operation Able Danger's successes or failures.

Pentagon Bars Military Officers and Analysts From Testifying. Here's the latest from the NYTimes today

By PHILIP SHENON
Published: September 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had blocked several military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist a year before the attacks.

The officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify on Wednesday about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that open testimony "would not be appropriate."

"We have expressed our security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum," Mr. Whitman said.

He offered no other explanation of the Pentagon's reasoning.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the committee, said he was surprised by the Pentagon's decision because "so much of this has already been in the public domain, and I think that the American people need to know what happened here."

Mr. Specter said in a telephone interview that he intended to go ahead with the hearing on Wednesday and hoped that it "may produce a change of heart by the Department of Defense in answering some very basic questions."

Two military officers - an active-duty captain in the Navy and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve - have recently said publicly that they were involved with Able Danger and that the program's analysts identified Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian-born ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, by name as a potential terrorist by early 2000.

They said they tried to share the information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the summer of 2000, more than a year before the attacks, but were blocked by Defense Department lawyers. F.B.I. officials, who answer to the jurisdiction of Mr. Specter's committee, have confirmed that the Defense Department abruptly canceled meetings in 2000 between the bureau's Washington field office and representatives of the Able Danger team.

The Pentagon had said that it interviewed three other people who were involved with Able Danger and who said that they, too, recalled the identification of Mr. Atta as a terrorist suspect. Mr. Specter said his staff had talked to all five of the potential witnesses and found that "credibility has been established" for all of them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/politics/21intel.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1127300413-0USwvCW7tYRx+wvYpXPbhA

11:34 AM

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

The Pentagon has been asserting that Able Danger's files were deleted to stay in compliance with anti-domestic spying restrictions, even though these wouldn't apply to foreigners and terror syndicate members.

Nonetheless, MSNBC has uncovered that the Pentagon is spying domeestically on domestic peace organizations and members:"Still, the DOD database includes at least 20 references to U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. Other documents obtained by NBC News show that the Defense Department is clearly increasing its domestic monitoring activities."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10454316/

 
At 12:53 AM, Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

Rory O'Connor's Blog has some excellent Able Danger digging. He's been getting the runaround from the Pentagon.

Here's some pith from

http://www.roryoconnor.org/blog/index.php?p=150

[Silenced whistle-blower Lt Colonel] Tony Shaffer wrote recently in an email sent to his supporters, "No one to date has ever been held accountable for the failures that allowed the 9/11 terrorists to conduct a successful attack - yet there is growing evidence (beyond Able Danger) that the clues of the pending attack was very much within the U.S. Government’s grasp - but that the various bureaucrats within the intelligence and law enforcement community failed to act. Many of the very same people who made the pre-9/11 bad decisions remain in place - making the same bad decisions now. Plus the 9/11 Commission may not have ‘connected the dots’ as completely as they could and should have - and that is my concern - and the concern of others working this issue - what else have we missed? Where else are we vulnerable? Was there an effort to ignore specific information? Why is there the appearance of a cover-up?"

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Enzo Titolo said...

Rawstory also has some interesting tidbits involving some Bush2 Admin heavies including Hadley and Cambone...

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Support_grows_in_Congress_to_allow_1117.html

Charts, data and documentation from the program were destroyed in 2000 and 2004. The program itself was reportedly terminated in early 2001 after Able Danger liaison Lt. Col. Shaffer briefed General Shelton at one meeting and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Admiral Wilson, General Counsel Richard L. Shiffrin and then-Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, Stephen Cambone, at another. Cambone was later appointed by Douglas Feith to serve as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

During the final months of the Clinton administration, the officers say Able Danger made three attempts to present their findings to the FBI, each aborted by Pentagon lawyers. They also claim they raised alarm two weeks prior to the October 12, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and that their warning never reached the ship.

On Sept. 25, 2001, just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Weldon, Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) and Chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Emerging Threats Christopher Shays (R-CT) met at the White House with then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Weldon initially said he showed Hadley a copy of one of the charts generated by Able Danger, and left it for Hadley to show to the President.

When asked about the meeting this past September, Hadley spokesman Frederick L. Jones II said, "Mr. Hadley does not recall any chart bearing the name or photo of Mohamed Atta."

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cooperative Research has an excellent Able Danger repository at http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?id=1521846767-2833

My further reflections on this matter is that Able Danger might have been pulled and covered up because of links between the hijackers and the US Military, which runs wargames with code names including 'Danger' and 'Able.' There were many wargames, a record number perhaps, on 9/11/01, which confused FAA and Air Force personnel attempting to defend the country. Perhaps lower level participants in other wargames that day unwittingly helped aid the attacks, thinking that they were only performing simulations.

Able Danger's nexus, its roadblocks, rebirths, and cover-ups -- as well as the the under-reprorted multiple wargames on 9/11/01 seems key to understanding if there were traitors at high levels of the military undermining the constitution in order to increase their individual power and/or affect US policies by running a false flag operation like Operation Northwoods (the US Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to sink a Naval ship off Cuba in the mid 1960s to provoke a war with Cuba), which President Kennedy nixed, or the sinking of the USS Maine to provoke war with Spain about a hundred years ago.

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rory O'Connor's Blog covering Able Danger has moved to http://www.roryoconnor.org/blog/

 

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