Sunday, August 21, 2005


Able Danger in danger

As PW knows, I have held my fire on this story, on the theory that Curt Weldon has been wrong on so much, the odds had to be with him. But of course that's a gambler's myth, and now is the time to start looking for the "Paid" Stamp on his allegation that the Pentagon withheld specific information about the 9/11 hijackers. Via Laura Rozen's always excellent WarandPiece Hosenball(Newsweek): Former Able Danger member Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer told NEWSWEEK that he and other officers remember seeing charts that included most of the 9/11 hijackers. However, former officials of the 9/11 Commission say the Able Danger claims about 9/11 don't hold water. And the Pentagon spokesman said that Defense investigators so far haven't found any pre-9/11 documents with Muhammad Atta's name on them. This is one of a long series of contradictory statements that participants have made. The always readable (if there were only two more hours in the day!) Suburban Guerrilla links a Multinational Monitor piece that suggests that big money might be at stake, with a SAIC facility for data mining in Weldon's district. And Schaffer is getting beat by a Drum over at Washington Monthly, thanks to articles appearing in the righty press. This from Time: Meanwhile, another possible gap in the 9/11 report has emerged. The panel found that hijacker Khalid Almihdhar had left the U.S. from the summer of 2000 until two months before the attacks. But USAID Systems, a Florida ID firm, confirmed last week that he was issued a card—reproduced in a book last year—in New York or New Jersey exactly six years before its expiration date of Dec. 30, 2006. Kean says there was solid evidence that Almihdhar was out of the U.S. at that time but any indication to the contrary "would be important to follow up." "In New York or New Jersey" sounds consistent with the tone of the rest of the Able Danger allegations. Not that it really matters. With 11 million (if I recall correctlythe figure Ed Schultz put forth) people illegally in the United States, it's not like it would have been a big deal to drive down from Montreal or even fly in under a different passport. But why is this information emerging so long after the 911 Commission?
The "Able Danger" allegations all hang on the unsupported word of one guy who has already changed his tune at least once on the key allegation (that Atta was ID'ed by name), against the word of the 9/11 commissioners, who have records to back up their side of the story.

This to me has the faint whiff of Chalabi-style bovine feces.
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