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November 17, 2005
Louis Freeh: Let's Get Hearings On Able Danger

The former head of the FBI writes a recap of the Able Danger story that serves as a good entre for those who may have missed all or part of the issue. Louis Freeh, who served as head of the agency for most of the Clinton administration, wants better explanations made public from the 9/11 Commission -- a group that he correctly describes as bureaucrats somewhat besotted by their fanciful treatment by the media:

It was interesting to hear from the 9/11 Commission again on Tuesday. This self-perpetuating and privately funded group of lobbyists and lawyers has recently opined on hurricanes, nuclear weapons, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and even the New York subway system. Now it offers yet another "report card" on the progress of the FBI and CIA in the war against terrorism, along with its "back-seat" take and some further unsolicited narrative about how things ought to be on the "front lines."

Yet this is also a good time for the country to make some assessments of the 9/11 Commission itself. Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named "Able Danger" have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name (and maybe photograph) as an al Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents, even though appointments had been made to do so. Why?

There are other questions that need answers. Was Able Danger intelligence provided to the 9/11 Commission prior to the finalization of its report, and, if so, why was it not explored? In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it?

That used to be the primary question of Able Danger, but now that we have seen what the DIA has done to the primary whistleblower, the questions have to run deeper than the incompetence of the Omission Commission. The Defense Intelligence Agency stripped Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer of his clearances over a series of old and bogus charges relating to the use of pens and pads of paper from more than twenty years ago. That effectively ended his career in civilian intelligence work, although it doesn't affect his status in the Army Reserve. The DIA's attack on Shaffer on transparently stupid and baseless points of trivia shows that Able Danger has more than just the bureaucrats of the Commission worried. Why?

Freeh calls for the resumption of public hearings on the Able Danger program and its identification of terrorist cells by Congress as soon as possible. That probably means late January at the earliest if the Judiciary Committee takes the case as it promised earlier. We need to press Arlen Specter and Pat Leahy to fight the DIA and issue subpoenas if necessary. One man has already sacrificed his career for this effort, and that sacrifice should not pass unrewarded.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 17, 2005 5:53 AM

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» Welcome Back. We Missed You from A Blog For All
Able Danger is back in the news, courtesy of former FBI Director Louis Freeh... [Read More]

Tracked on November 17, 2005 9:17 AM

» Able Danger - The Ramp Up! from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Look for the stall from the DOD on this - there's more the story - and more than most people know now. Also, apparently there is more coming on Schaffer (smear or otherwise) I don't know but something is definitely coming. [Read More]

Tracked on November 17, 2005 9:23 AM

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