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Able Danger


Able Danger is the name of a classified program under the command of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that identified four of the alleged 9/11 hijackers (Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Khalid al-Mihdhar, and Nawaf al-Hazmi) as Al Qaeda operatives working in the United States at least a year before September 11, 2001. Besides the fact that we were apparently tracking these guys and their activities, there are a couple of other troubling aspects to this situation:

  • Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a member of the Able Danger team, reports that he alerted the FBI about Atta et al in September 2000, but three attempts at meetings with Bureau officials were blocked by military lawyers. Shaffer's story is corroborated by Navy Captain Scott Phillpott and a civilian contractor named James D. Smith, both of whom also worked on the Able Danger team.
  • The Able Danger database (2.5 terabytes worth) was ordered destroyed; there is no legal reason for this to have been done.
  • Shaffer and Philpott both testified separately to the 9/11 Commission, but their testimony was ignored (and belittled). The Commission initially denied it knew anything about Able Danger; then it said it heard of it but there was nothing about early identification of 9/11 participants; then finally they said they did hear of the early identification but could not verify it, so they left it out of the report.
  • Shortly after reporting directly to 9/11 Commission head Philip Zelikow about Able Danger, Shaffer found himself suspended and his security clearance revoked, and the subject of repeated attempts to discredit and dishonor him, which ultimately failed.
  • As Able Danger team members tried to share what they knew with various people in defense intelligence capacities, the response was to try to shut down Able Danger, an effort that finally succeeded a few months before 9/11.

Source: The Hidden History of 9-11, Paul Zarembka, editor. Seven Stories Press, 2006.


What can I say? This is a very credible story, very well corroborated, and strongly suggests not only foreknowledge but complicity. And cover-up. A generous interpretation would say yeah, we had them in our sights, but we didn't really know what they were up to, and well, we goofed. Then the cover-up stuff is just guys trying to save themselves from some embarrassment. But why actively prevent the FBI from getting involved? Just bureaucratic red tape? I don't find that very plausible. Rep. Weldon -- a Republican, even! -- says administration lawyers specifically said you can't go after that cell. If they had a good, defensible reason for that, now's the time to say what the hell it was.

No, to me, the most reasonable interpretation is that these guys were working for us, perhaps used as puppets by us, but certainly protected by us. That's complicity at the very least. Also, the fact that Shaffer and others are coming forward is a partial answer to those who say the government couldn't have been involved because "somebody would have talked." Heads up, people. People ARE talking. (And getting harassed and suspended for their troubles...)

Bottom line, me, I give it:

extremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspicious


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