Sep 30 2005
Up until today I was fairly sure the current Pentagon leadership would weather the Able Danger storm with style and finesse. I have had long admired Rumsfeld and others on their dealings with that behemoth of a bureaucracy.
The alleged infractions by Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, 42, include obtaining a service medal under false pretenses, improperly flashing military identification while drunk and stealing pens, according to military paperwork shown by his attorney to The Associated Press.
Stealing cheap pentagon pens!!! What about stealing classified materials and then taking them to your office and cutting them up with scissors to destroy the record of what led to the worst attack on US soil and killed 3000 people!?!? You think that might be cause to revoke someone’s security clearance! Well it seems like it is not – if you are connected and have friends who can get you into see the President.
I have held clearances and this malarky is not grounds for removal of a clearance. Here are the detailed ‘charges':
According to the paperwork, the alleged infractions against Shaffer also include:
â€¢ Falsely claiming $341.80 in mileage and tolls fees. He said he filed travel expenses based on what he was told by human resources staff.
â€¢ Obtaining $67.79 in personal cell phone charges. He said the amount was a legitimate expense accrued so he could forward calls.
â€¢ Going over his chain of command to do briefings. Shaffer said he was providing briefings to higher-ups on projects even his direct superiors did not know about, and he received superior review ratings for that time.
â€¢ Showing irresponsibility with $2,012 in credit card debt. He said he paid off the debt.
It is this exact kind of pathetic, cheap shot power game that led me to leave the democrat party so many years ago and remain an independent. I grew up outside DC and I know the place can be a force for good and evil. Up until this point the Bush team had been doing really, really well. But this is a joke. To lose your clearance on legal matters means to be convicted of a serious crime. Most times even a DUI will not do it. But these are charges that don’t even rank with speeding.
Clearances are evaluated on whether the person is a risk to leak. Not whether the person has been lily white pure. I know people who have had clearances and admitted to drug use. I know people caught taking drugs and gone into counciling with their clearances intact. An affair is a very big deal in the world of clearances – but phone bills????
This is disgusting. Ed Morrissey makes the points succinctly:
Stealing pens? Getting drunk sixteen years ago? Twenty-year-old incidents, all of which should have been reviewed and considered long ago by the DoD when selecting Shaffer for his various cleared positions, do not suddenly rise to a crisis level that requires his clearances to get revoked.
Security clearances are reviewed regularly. The fact these minor infractions did not cause the loss of clearance until now, years later, is defacto evidence this is an attempt to attack a whistleblower. Which is just the kind of PR the Pentagon does not need to put this issue to bed. I appreciate they need to protect intel methods and activities, and there are ways to do that. But Shaffer is not talking about anything classified. Morrissey has another question I can answer:
Why not just revoke his clearances for blowing the whistle on Able Danger and the 9/11 Commission’s ignorance?
Simple. Nothing Shaffer or JD Smith discussed was classified. Go back to the Able Danger sequence:
Open Data -> Orion -> LIWA -> DIA -> SOCOM
Orion’s contract was unclassified. The data they procured and the data mining products they developed for LIWA were unclassified. The events of the purging of the data, the supposed report dating from Feb-Apr 2000 with Atta’s picture, the software tools used – all unclassified. You cannot revoke a clearance for discussing unclassified material. And, theoretically, you cannot revoke a clearance because someone says something politically uncomfortable or about potentially illegal acts.
The Pentagon is now daring Congress to investigate this simply to uphold the Whistle Blower laws. What dunce decided this was the best idea?
All right, taking one deep breath….
There is one possible alternative to a complete melt down of the Bush administration: someone in the current DoD legal counsel side, a civilian, was a key member of the Able Danger events. Other than that completely outside, highly unlikely event – the Bush team is bungling this story big time.
And I am not the only one. MacRanger knows this is a load of bull-hockey and he is none to pleased with it. OK, let’s get Congress into this mess ASAP.
Baldilock has also come on board on this latest nonsense. Love this:
I guess the Pentagon did a little data-mining of their own.
I thought that was illegal to do on US citizens?