Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rep Weldon: Able Danger warned of attack on USS Cole

While I sometimes have felt that Rep. Weldon comes off as a little - overzealous- if this is true, I'm joining his crusade:
Senior Pentagon officials were warned not to let the USS Cole dock in Yemen two days before terrorists attacked the ship five years ago killing 17 sailors, according to Congressman Curt Weldon, who said the crucial intelligence was gleaned from the former secret defense operation, "Able Danger."

Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, revealed the information in a House speech last Wednesday evening that blasted the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) attempts to discredit Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a DIA employee who worked as a liaison with the "Able Danger" team.
In June, Shaffer told The Times Herald during an interview on Capitol Hill that the now-defunct data mining operation had linked Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta to an al-Qaida cell in Brooklyn in 2000 - more than a year before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The military's Special Operations Command ran the high-tech dragnet that searched for terrorist linkages. The terrorist associations were mapped out on large charts, according to Shaffer and other of "Able Danger" colleagues, during the program that operated between 1999 and 2001.
However, following Shaffer's attempts to broker an arrangement that would draw the FBI into the operation, the program was shut down.
Weldon and Shaffer believe "Able Danger" intelligence may have disrupted - or even prevented - the Sept. 11 attacks if it had continued.
In August, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott and James D. Smith, a defense contractor, corroborated Shaffer's story.
On Wednesday, Weldon again criticized the Pentagon for dragging its feet in its probe of the defense program's history, and continued his criticism of the CIA, which he said tried to protect its own intelligence turf from other government intelligence agencies.
"What we have here, I am convinced of this now, is an aggressive attempt by CIA management to cover up their own shortcomings in not being able to do what the Able Danger team did," he said.
My, oh my!

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