Monday, October 10, 2005

Able Danger: Aloof and Maloof

Both Captain Ed and AJ Strata have found a most curious Washington Times article that was written by F. Michael Maloof. Who is he? Well, apparently he was tasked by Richard Perle to determine whether Saddam Hussein had any involvment in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or with al Qaeda in general. That may have pissed off the DoD, which wanted to conduct its own investigations in its own manner. Captain Ed notes:
Maloof reveals that Congress at one point wanted a national network of cross-functional centers doing work pioneered by the Able Danger team and its mother program, LIWA, but that the Pentagon wanted to pursue its own program instead. Maloof argues that the failure to push NOAH into existence lost us our best shot at stopping the 9/11 terrorists.
For the record, neither Maloof nor Able Danger is mentioned anywhere in the 9/11 Commission Report, either in the main text or in any other materials or footnotes. Ed also notes that Maloof and Shaffer both share the same legal representation. That's a curious fact, considering there are quite a few lawyers running around these days looking for work.

Why was Maloof never called to testify before the Commission seeing how he claims that he was tasked to determine whether Saddam had any links to al Qaeda and/or the 9/11 attacks? It seems that the 9/11 Commission went out of its way to avoid asking or addressing any issue that related directly to the state-sponsorship angle of the terror attacks as well as the US intel posture before 9/11. These deficiencies need to be addressed. Unfortunately, much is going on behind closed doors that we are not privy to.

Also, AJ Strata notes that Able Danger may have been scuttled because of a China connection - that there were technology transfers that the DoD wasn't keen on exposing via the Able Danger data mining project. He thinks that the Able Danger fight is about to become a turf war between CIA and DoD. It certainly seems plausible.

Once again, we're seeing bureaucratic politics getting in the way of national security. CIA and DoD are supposed to be on the same side (ours, for those that have lost track), but they're spending an awful lot of time fighting each other over resources and trying to undermine the others' positions. That is anything but good for US national security. And fixing that situation starts at the top and works down. This isn't to say that we want or should demand a uniform intel picture and if DoD did make technology transfers and other actions that are undesirable or questionable, they (meaning those who approved those actions) should be held accountable. The same thing goes for those intel agency chiefs who undermined US national security by undercutting programs and taking actions that limited how the country could react to a terror threat.

As usual, MacsMind is playing the cautious note.

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