Third source backs Able Danger claim

…. z’ plot thickenz:

WASHINGTON — A third person has now come forward to verify claims made by a military intelligence unit that a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it had information showing that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and other terrorists were identified as being in the United States.

J.D. Smith, a defense contractor who claims he worked on the technical side of the unit, code-named "Able Danger", told reporters Friday that he helped gather open-source information, reported on government spending and helped generate charts associated with the unit’s work. Able Danger was set up in the 1990s to track Al Qaeda activity worldwide.

"I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City," Smith said.

Smith said data was gathered from a variety of sources, including about 30 or 40 individuals. He said they all had strong Middle Eastern connections and were paid for their information. Smith said Able Danger’s photo of Atta was obtained from overseas.

Rep. Curt Weldon R-Pa., arranged the media roundtable with Smith. Weldon drew attention to Able Danger by speaking about it on the House floor months ago and has publicly called for the Sept. 11 commission to explain why the intelligence information wasn’t detailed in its final report.

Besides Smith, Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer and Navy Captain Scott Philpott have also gone on the record, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the time.

"This story needs to be told. The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," Weldon told FOX News this week.

Indeed.  The article goes on to say:

Aides to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., are actively discussing scheduling a hearing on Able Danger and the larger issue of information-sharing between the Pentagon and the FBI.

One of the central Able Danger claims — that military lawyers blocked the sharing of the Atta information from the FBI in the late summer and early fall of 2000 — will be a focus of the committee if a hearing takes place, FOX News has confirmed.

Excellent.  Let’s just hope that this is a real hearing and not just an arena for political grandstanding and posturing (I know, I expect too much …).

Of Rep. Weldon, Bryan Preston says:

When the Able Danger saga is done, Curt Weldon will deserve one of two things: a Congressional Medal of Freedom for his courage, or a straight jacket for his lunacy.

Yep – my hunch is that he’s going to come out of this smelling like a rose.

Quite possibly the most ridiculous poll ever

I’m sure the results of this poll will absolutely shock you.  It will take you the entire weekend to recover.   The shocking details:

An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections — a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush’s Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it’s OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

"Part of the Constitution is the First Amendment," said Mike Malone, a salesman from Odessa, Fla. "We have the right to disagree with the government."

Somebody round up all those people calling for dissent over the war to be stifled! 

If you can find anyone who actually advocated that sort of thing, anyway. 

Sarcasm aside, the polling folks (like so many others, mostly on the left) have mischaracterized the issue of dissent during war as being one of stifling it completely, when no one who is thinking clearly has advocated for anti-war folks to just shut up (of course they may have said it one or two times out of frustration, but that’s understandable).  I’ll say once again that the issue is not about the right to say anything, but whether or not it’s right to say it in the way it’s being said (re: anti-war protests).  Big difference.

Linking up with OTB’s Traffic Jam and Mudville Gazette’s open post.

Saturday morning linking: with the Wizbang Carnival of the Trackbacks.

Update on Kobayashi Maru’s brother

Last week I blogged about the news that fellow blogger Kobayashi Maru’s brother had been told the devastating news that his leukemia had returned and that he had been given a 5% chance to live.

Just visited his blog this morning and in a post from earlier this week, KM blogged about some miracles that have been happening with his brother’s treatment and how he is feeling.  The news is truly fantastic! Having said that, his brother is not out of the woods yet.  Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers and if you get a minute, stop by and say hi to KM.

From around the blogosphere …

Here are some noteworthy posts from around the blogosphere for your reading enjoyment this evening:

  • Michael Yon’s latest post (which includes pictures) is up.  If you don’t read anything else tonight, please read that one.
  • Joe Gandelman discusses Pat Boone’s criticism of both Cindy Sheehan’s campaign and her "supporters."
  • Rob Port is on the case of regarding the three thugs who brutally assaulted two Iraq war veterans.  Hopefully Rob’s tips to the Seattle PD will help them crack this case (make sure to scroll down that post for  updates).
  • Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney’s latest post on the Air America scandal is now posted.  Investigative blogging at its finest.
  • Jeff Goldstein continues his brief conversations with the ghost of John Merrick.
  • Gateway Pundit has a great post about the town of Festus, Missouri.  The folks in Festus saw fit to give a heroes welcome to a returning wounded veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Those folks know how to do it right!  (Hat tip: Beth at She Who Will Be Obeyed!

Time for my tired self to hit the pillow :) G’nite, all!