Operation Able Danger: A Lt. Col. steps forward

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The crap is getting ready to hit the fan on this one, methinks:

Officer Says Pentagon Barred Sharing Pre-9/11 Qaeda Data With F.B.I.

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. The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the F.B.I.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview that the small, highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger had identified by name the terrorist ringleader, Mohammed Atta, as well three of the other future hijackers by mid-2000, and had tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the F.B.I.’s Washington field office to share the information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 plot was still being planned.

“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 Defense Department’s Special Operations Command 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. “It was because of the chain of command saying we’re not going to pass on information – if something goes wrong, we’ll get blamed,” he said.

Sigh. So many missed opportunities. Frankly, I’m at a loss as to what else to say at this point about this.

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here again. We need to break out the summonses and get every one of the people involved with the Able Danger revelations in front of Congress and the American people, under oath. Nothing less will suffice.

Agreed.

Junkyard Blog comments on this and also discusses Shaffer’s believability. See Captain Ed for more as well. Mark in Mexico has a blogger round-up.

Clinton legacy reality check

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On the same day we read about Bill Clinton’s wish that he had been President for six more months in order to find out that OBL was behind the USS Cole bombing so he could have attacked Afghanstian, we read this, from the NYTimes:

State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996

State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden’s move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam “well beyond the Middle East,” but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show.

In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that “his prolonged stay in Afghanistan – where hundreds of ‘Arab mujahedeen’ receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate – could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum,” in Sudan.

The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times, shed light on a murky and controversial chapter in Mr. bin Laden’s history: his relocation from Sudan to Afghanistan as the Clinton administration was striving to understand the threat he posed and explore ways of confronting him.

(Sidenote: Since when did Judicial Watch become a “conservative advocacy group”? Ok, on with the rest.)

Before 1996, Mr. bin Laden was regarded more as a financier of terrorism than a mastermind. But the State Department assessment, which came a year before he publicly urged Muslims to attack the United States, indicated that officials suspected he was taking a more active role, including in the bombings in June 1996 that killed 19 members American soldiers at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Two years after the State Department’s warning, with Mr. bin Laden firmly entrenched in Afghanistan and overseeing terrorist training and financing operations, Al Qaeda struck two American embassies in East Africa, leading to failed military attempts by the Clinton administration to capture or kill him in Afghanistan. Three years later, on Sept. 11, 2001, Al Qaeda struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in an operation overseen from the base in Afghanistan.

Critics of the Clinton administration have accused it of ignoring the threat posed by Mr. bin Laden in the mid-1990’s while he was still in Sudan, and they point to claims by some Sudanese officials that they offered to turn him over to the Americans before ultimately expelling him in 1996 under international pressure. But Clinton administration diplomats have adamantly denied that they received such an offer, and the Sept. 11 commission concluded in one of its staff reports that it had “not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim.”

The newly declassified documents do not directly address the question of whether Sudan ever offered to turn over Mr. bin Laden. But the documents go well beyond previous news and historical accounts in detailing the Clinton administration’s active monitoring of Mr. bin Laden’s movements and the realization that his move to Afghanistan could make him an even greater national security threat.

Just more evidence that this guy was not “obsessed” with OBL, as he’s asserted.

I think the Clinton approach to handling terror could be summed up here (hat tip: reader/commenter Mr. LCVRWC): See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

Say hello to Chad

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… over at 4TheLittleGuy. Chad has a great blog with good solid conservative commentary – make sure to check out the article archives.

And I didn’t post the link in this blog post for a reason … it’s posted on the right hand side of this page in the blog ad. So give it a click and check it out! :)

Most idiotic sports fans

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Courtsey Ray Amati/ NBAE/Getty ImagesThis collage of idiotic sports fans brought back memories. Saying that, I didn’t realize New York now had a “Calvin Klein” rule to prevent fans from coming out onto the court – or more to the point, I didn’t realize Calvin Klein ever went out onto the basketball court. LOL

Note to Cubs fans-pictures of Bartman included ;)

Any of you have a wacky sports fan experience or perhaps a wacky sports event experience you’d like to share?

Clinton legacy revision watch

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Former prez Bill Clinton was quoted in an interview with New York magazine as saying he “wished” he could have been president long enough to find out that OBL was behind the USS Cole bombing so he, rather than GWB, could have attacked Afghanistan:

“I also wish” he continues, “I desperately wish, that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early. I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11, but it certainly would have complicated it.”

Right, Bill. As Ace points out, that was already established.

Besides, why did it take you until the Cole bombing to figure out that handling OBL and his terrorist band of thugs was more than a law enforcement issue? How about the first WTC attack? Or the embassy bombings? Remember those?

Captain Ed comments:

Besides, take a second look at the wording used by the consummate lawyer in his assertion to Jennifer Senior. He would have “launched an attack”. That is what he did after the embassy bombings; in the words of his successor, Clinton launched a two-million dollar missile at a ten-dollar tent and hit a camel in the butt. Did it disrupt anything else that al-Qaeda had planned? Not at all.

The long record of gross ineffectiveness based on the faulty premise that terrorism required indictments and civil trials created the Clinton legacy on al-Qaeda, not a lack of opportunities. Clinton’s whine about “proof” demonstrates that very clearly. He had all the “proof” he needed to order military action in November 2000 to retaliate against bin Laden and the Taliban for sheltering him and chose not to do so. His attempt now to recast himself as a terrorism hawk who had the misfortune of bad timing makes him even more pathetic than ever.

Exactly.

If you want to read a book that really exposes the Clinton administration’s less than stellar efforts against OBL, I once again recommend Richard Miniter’s Losing Bin Laden : How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror. Don’t let Clinton’s revisionist tactics (along with those of many of his supporters) fool you.

Hat tip: Outside the Beltway

Acting like a Dem will doom Pirro

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So says Bill Hammond, in today’s NY Daily News:

ALBANY – The biggest problem with the launch of Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro’s campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton wasn’t the flubbed speeches, the balky microphones or the embarrassing revelations about campaign donors with mob connections.
It was her utter lack of substance.

Pirro’s announcement speech – when she finally got it out – included a boilerplate pledge to debate ideas, not engage in personal attacks.

“Hillary Clinton is going to have to campaign on substance and the merits of the issues,” she said.

Which would be great – if only Pirro and Clinton had something to argue about. Both support the war in Iraq. Both oppose gay marriage but favor civil unions. Both like gun control and legalized abortion.

The one area of clear disagreement is taxes. Clinton opposed President Bush’s tax cuts, and Pirro said she would vote to make them permanent.

“I’m Republican red on fiscal policy … but I’ve got broad blue stripes on the social issues,” she said.

The worst thing she could find to say about Clinton last week is that the former First Lady might run for President in 2008. As if the fact that Clinton ranks among the most popular Democrats in the country should count against her.

The Republican leaders rallying behind Pirro seem to think the best way to defeat Democrats in this blue state is to act just like them. There are at least two flaws in this strategy: Their candidate will lose the Conservative Party endorsement, without which no Republican has won statewide office in recent history. And voters who gave Clinton the majority last time won’t have any good reason to jump ship.

He makes some good points, but I often wonder – as it relates to NY politics – if a truly conservative Republican ever could get elected there. I’m not a New Yorker so I don’t know their complete election history, but on the surface it seems that the only Republicans who can get elected there are moderate to liberal Republicans, so maybe someone from NY could weigh in on this and give me their thoughts?

Related Toldjah So post:

The 2006 Senate Race to watch