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September 30, 2005
Able Danger: Strip Tease

Col. Tony Shaffer has had his security clearances revoked by the DoD and have officially notified his attorney of the circumstances surrounding the revocation. Although it does not technically affect his membership in the Army reserve, the action effectively ends the career of the former DIA liaison to the Able Danger project. Shaffer cannot pursue his specialties within the Army or DoD without security clearances.

So what led to the revocation of Shaffer's clearance -- his whistleblowing to Congress or his interviews with the press on Able Danger? No, that would look too direct. The Pentagon gave this list of incidents to Mark Zaid, Shaffer's attorney, who then released it to the press:

Shaffer says he received a Bronze Star medal for work on a classified operation in Afghanistan in 2003. According to papers provided by Zaid, the military is now questioning whether he deserved it, including challenging whether at least one person who backed Shaffer's nomination for the medal had firsthand knowledge of his actions.

Shaffer says he showed his government credentials during two incidents in 1990, when he was drunk, and 1996, when he was pulled over by police. The military says he misused his credentials, but Shaffer says he was not told he should not have used them. He also said he has joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been sober for 13 years.

As for the pens and other office supplies taken, he blamed that on "youthful indiscretions" more than 20 years ago.

According to the paperwork, the alleged infractions against Shaffer also include:

Falsely claiming $341.80 in mileage and tolls fees. He said he filed travel expenses based on what he was told by human resources staff.

Obtaining $67.79 in personal cell phone charges. He said the amount was a legitimate expense accrued so he could forward calls.

Going over his chain of command to do briefings. Shaffer said he was providing briefings to higher-ups on projects even his direct superiors did not know about, and he received superior review ratings for that time.

Showing irresponsibility with $2,012 in credit card debt. He said he paid off the debt.

Stealing pens? Getting drunk sixteen years ago? Twenty-year-old incidents, all of which should have been reviewed and considered long ago by the DoD when selecting Shaffer for his various cleared positions, do not suddenly rise to a crisis level that requires his clearances to get revoked. This list looks like a transparent attempt to rationalize stripping Shaffer of his career. In fact, this list insults the intelligence to such a degree that it almost appears as if the DoD wanted everyone to know that its actions against Shaffer are meant to be vindictive.

Why not just revoke his clearances for blowing the whistle on Able Danger and the 9/11 Commission's ignorance? If the Pentagon did that, they would unwittingly endorse everything that Shaffer claims. One can only break rules about classification if the data released accurately reflects the classified data. A cleared NASA scientist cannot lose his access by claiming to the press that the moon is made of green cheese, but if he turned out to be correct, NASA would find other ways to discredit him -- perhaps by claiming that he or she stole pens from the office. In 1985.

Why now? It looks like the Pentagon will not avoid dealing with the Senate hearings on Able Danger and wants to get out in front of the whistleblowers in order to minimize the political fallout. By discrediting the witnesses in petty ways, it makes them look like kooks before the American public gets a chance to see and hear their testimony.

The Pentagon needs to quit playing games and get the first five witnesses on the stand. We need to hear directly from them exactly what they found, when they knew it, who blocked them from cooperating with law-enforcement staff inside the US, and why exactly did the program get cancelled.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 30, 2005 6:18 AM

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» Killing the Messenger (ABLE DANGER) from Voice of the Taciturn
Here is the kicker: Between the first infractions some 20+ years ago and the present day, the government had at least four opportunities to suspend or revoke his clearance, or issue him a letter warning him that his behavior placed his clearance in j... [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2005 8:11 AM

» Able Danger - Now That's from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Ok, I said was gone until something happened. Well it happened. It's crap. [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2005 8:53 AM

» Danger Able Danger from baldilocks
Okay, Captain Ed and AJ Strata, I’m convinced. The Pentagon is trying to hide something in regard to the Able Danger situation, because this is just pathetic:Shaffer says he received a Bronze Star medal for work on a classified operation [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2005 11:58 AM

» Addled Danger from A Blog For All
Why was Shaffer's clearance revoked on the eve of renewed hearings into Able Danger? Lots of questions, but few answers that look good for the Pentagon. [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2005 1:03 PM

» What is going on in the Pentagon? from Tapscott's Copy Desk
Sen. Specter, the list of subpoena candidates is growing. [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2005 1:18 PM

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