Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Able Danger: what did they know?
Two items of interest from reader DL. The first from AP news: WASHINGTON (AP) - An Army intelligence officer says his unit was blocked in 2000 and 2001 from giving the FBI information about a U.S.-based terrorist cell that included Mohamed Atta, the future leader of the Sept. 11 attacks. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer said the small intelligence unit, called "Able Danger," had identified Atta and three of the other future Sept. 11 hijackers as al-Qaida members by mid-2000. He said military lawyers stopped the unit from sharing the information with the FBI. The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks left the Able Danger claims out of its official report. The second is from the New York Times. WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly. ... "I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001. He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.