Feb 15 2006
The transcript of the Congressman Weldon’s mid day press conference can be found here at the Able Danger blog. I have posted earlier on the big news of the press conference – Able Danger data still exists and is probably the data sets sent to SOCOM as the lead organization for Able Danger. Before we get to the pre-show for the hearings tomorrow a quick refresher on Able Danger is in order.
Able Danger was a multi-organizational effort inside the government. It has two main phases: the start up phase prior to the great data purge in the spring 2000 and the ‘phoenix’ phase where it was restructured after some down time during the summer of 2000.
Able Danger was a prototype demonstration to show the power of data mining tools which had the fortunate, or unfortunate, result of paying off big early. “Able Danger” was the effort to find Al Qaeda terrorists conceived in 1999, started in late 1999 and first hitting its stride with results in Jan-Feb of 2000.
Some things were happening in parallel through more conventional means – including the German and CIA identification of the Hamburg cell out of which came Atta and the 9-11 terrorists. This set up a competition between old guard intel at CIA and new and emerging capabilities out of the DoD.
Also in parallel another study was initiated to assess China’s infiltration into our industrial complex to steal technology. This China Study used common elements to Able Danger’s terrorist study. Able Danger’s elements in the initial phase of operation was as follows
Orion Inc -> LIWA -> DIA -> SOCOM (Able Danger)
Orion Inc was the private company that had the data mining technology and which went out and purchased publicly available information to process. Orion I believe later became part of SRA International. Orion had a contract with the Army’s Land Information Warfare Administration (LIWA) where Dr Priesser and Kleinsmith (the guy ordered to delete the Able Danger Data) worked. JD Smith worked for Orion.
These two elements, Orion and LIWA, represented the unclassified front end processing for Able Danger which was headquartered at SOCOM and run by Capt Philpott. The SOCOM side merged the public data with intel to further refine Al Qaeda targets. Orion and LIWA did the initial candidate selection and were the ones who first detected Atta and others by early 2000.
What happened next is what is of interest to America and National Defense. While Orion-LIWA had tripped over Atta and others in their initial runs, leading to demonstration charts with Atta and the other 9-11 highjackers on the charts, the China study was also creating results. Very uncomfortable results, for an administration just through impeachment hearings.
The end result was orders from political appointees in the DoD to destroy not only the China Study data, which picked up a high ranking Clinton Cabinet member, but to also destroy the Able Danger data sets as well.
This is the infamous data purge in early 2000 which also removed LIWA-Orion from the Able Danger effort, to be replaced later with the Garland Group in Texas.
Who ordered this over reaction is key to what happened to Able Danger under Clinton. Data mining is a mindless exercise of key words and linkages – which unnerved someone so badly they not only purged the China data, they purged the terrorist data as well and removed Orion and LIWA from the picture. Why and who?
Able Danger reconstituted itself over the summer of 2000 with a new front end from Garland, and that is when SOCOM (Philpott) tried to make contact with the FBI via Shaffer at DIA (who was working a data mining operation with the FBI). Someone high up decided to squash this meeting 3 times in order to stop SOCOM from alerting the FBI of possible terrorists in the US in the late summer and fall of 2000. Before George Bush was even elected President.
Fast forward to 2003-2004 and the 9-11 Commission’s ‘investigation’ and we have Lt. Col. Shaffer in Afghanistan where he testifies to 9-11 commission on the early hits by Able Danger on the 9-11 terrorists. When Shaffer gets back to the US, his copy of a subset of the Able Danger data is now gone. Shaffer is the bridge between the unclassified and classified portion of the initial phase of Able Danger (pre purge) and so it is normal he has some copies of what he passed from LIWA to SOCOM.
So now we come to the big day. And again back to Weldon’s press conference to point out some important new data:
Weldon: I can tell you that here we are in February , and we’re still identifying additional witnesses. At least one additional witnesses has come forward who just retired from one of the intelligence agencies who will also testify under oath that he was well-aware of and identified Mohammed Atta’s both name and photo prior to 9/11 occurring.
This must bring the number of people who saw the charts with Atta and others on it to 5-7 now.
Weldon: And part of the closed hearing is not necessarily due to classified information, but rather witnesses that are concerned for their careers.
I am just going to throw a name out to watch for – I have no idea if this person is culpable or not: Mark Ewing, Deputy Director of DIA (political appointee).
Weldon: So we have General Shelton testifying that he created it.
This will be big. Because the purging of the Able Danger data happened WITHOUT the knowledge of those in charge of the program. No one deletes a General’s data without telling him and gets away with it – unless he has some well placed support higher up the food chain.
Weldon: We had testimony that all of the Able Danger data-mining material was destroyed. I now know that that’s not the case. In fact, I now know there’s data still available.
The purge in 2000 was at LIWA and Orion. The Shaffer-DIA data apparently was lost in 2003-2004. SOCOM-Able Danger would still have their data set. Which I predicted a while back. Which is confirmed here
Weldon: It is outrageous to me that the Defense Department would say, as we will hear from Eric Kleinsmith tomorrow, that, yes, he did destroy the LIWA data, but the LIWA data wasn’t all the data. There was other massive data mining that was collected, that we just don’t know the whereabouts of.
Some was at Garland, phase two of Able Danger.
Weldon: In checking Lieutenant Shaffer’s files, you’ll see that letters of highest recommendation and commendation from every DIA director, from the CIA directors for his work.
Directors of DIA are military officers – it is the Deputy Director who is a political appointee and who would be looking out for the administrationâ€™s ‘exposure’.
Weldon: ..would also add that as recently as two weeks ago additional Able Danger material was found in files at the Pentagon.
Interesting information is still being discovered – but not surprising. The Pentagon is enormous.
Weldon: And I know the Clinton people are not happy.
This could be the understatement of the week.
Weldon: …a whole second data-mining operation that was stood up by Special Forces Command down in Texas, in Garland, Texas, overseen by General Schoomaker, that collected identical data to what the LIWA facility had at Fort Belvoir.
Ahh, sweet vindication. Allow me a brief pat on the back.
QUESTION: You mentioned that Mohammed Atta’s name has come up in pre-9/11 databases that are available at the Pentagon…
WELDON: I didn’t say “at the Pentagon.” I said there are data sets available that were a part of the data-mining operation that allegedly was destroyed that I’m still getting information on, as recently as last week.
FYI – SOCOM is in Florida.
WELDON: You see, there were two separate data-mining operations. There was the LIWA operation at Fort Belvoir. When LIWA shut down because the previous administration was partly embarrassed over an analysis they had done of Chinese proliferation.
More sweet vindication. We need to find out who risked our national security in a political CYA data purge and we need to make sure safe guards are in place so it can never happen again. This is the prime reason for these hearings.
Weldon: But what I’ve since learned is there was another whole complete set of data that we just don’t know the whereabouts of that SOCOM had at the Raytheon facility at Garland that was eventually transferred back to SOCOM’s headquarters.
Bingo! Sweet vindication number 3. SOCOM still has their data sets.
Weldon: But the point is that they had these names identified as potential problems and people that were in this country that needed to be looked at.
And yes, some terrorists of concern were in country. Not good for those who shut this down.
QUESTION: So how do you know it’s the real Mohammed Atta?
WELDON: I don’t. All I can tell you: It’s spelled the same way. It could be some other Mohammed Atta.
If Weldon is out on a limb it is here. Atta was known as Mohamed el-Amir in Germany.
Weldon: These people — and I just named you six of them — there are another dozen people that will testify under oath, that I’ve talked to. They simply want the truth to come out.
That is a lot of collaboration.
The scope of this is enormous:
Weldon: …Our military intelligence efforts, using data obtained overseas, linked into Mohammed Atta and the Brooklyn cell and others, actually knew in the five cells they identified — one was in Yemen; one was in Hamburg, Germany; one was at Brooklyn; one was — was one in Africa? There were two others. Nairobi, and there was a fifth one. They did great work. And all they wanted to do was transfer the U.S.-based information to the FBI.
And they were stopped before they could pass on the information.
Weldon: It’d be like denying what happened in the run-up to Pearl Harbor.
So true. I am going to leave this here since it is the wee hours of the morning and I will be at work all day. Watch for the answers to questions I posed earlier – they are the pivot points.