Able Danger Live-Blogged

Dr. Sanity live-blogged the Able Danger hearings, and the full transcript is available too.

Dr. Sanity's later speculation after watching the hearings shows that it's easy to go the full-on “evil senior official” route:

First, one cannot help but think that the existence of the “Wall” preventing intelligences sharing was a key ingredient in preventing connecting the dots of 9/11. That the main architect of the Wall in both the DoD when she was there; and in the Department of Justice later, on was 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick is pertinent. Was there an attempt on the part of 9/11 Commission members and/or staff to protect one of its members? Were there attempts on the part of members of the Clinton Administration to cover-up this important information (Berger's activities in the National Archives to name one).

This thing reads like a slow-moving X-Files plot, only in the middle of it all the suspects commit suicide by plowing a four jetliners into 3,000 innocent civilians and then the Department of Defense gets all worried that someone might figure out that they were spying on people that might have been American citizens. Frankly, if the Pentagon was doing a relatively cheap project with public information in order to experiment with applying data mining to terrorism it doesn't really bother me. It' not like they actually appear to have done anything with the information. They never officially shared it with anyone. Some people tried. And, behind the scenes, always in the nexus of information-sharing, looms Jamie Gorelick, being (in a junior lawyerly fashion) far-too-conservative in what is allowed, no matter the value.

However, if Atta's name came up before 9/11, even if there were a ton of other false positives, I want to know that. I want to understand what restrictions made it impossible for people to openly talk about it in the intelligence community. I want to know that efforts at sharing useful information are easier now. I want to believe we've learned something. I don't want to believe that we are instead covering up efforts that may have been partially useful and would have eventually borne fruit in advance of events.

Curt Weldon is making a big deal out of this because people don't seem to care. Well, what if only 10 names came up, and Atta and three of his colleagues were in that group? Would that be enough to seriously investigate? Most people would say certainly. What about 100? 1000? At some point it's too expensive to follow-up, and I suspect that was the problem.

But I still want to know how effective it was.

Josh Poulson

Posted Wednesday, Sep 21 2005 03:23 PM

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