Skip to comments.National Security Watch: Disquieted whistle-blowers
Posted on 10/12/2005 11:07:20 AM PDT by vadkins
One of the biggest names of the conference never even uttered a word. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer is the military intelligence operative who recently went public with a controversial claim that a year before September 11, his top-secret task force "Able Danger" was able to identify the man who later turned out to be the lead hijacker as being connected to al Qaeda. Shaffer is a veteran of top-secret operations against terrorists, including some in Afghanistan, and several of his DIA colleagues have come out publicly to confirm that they remember Mohamed Atta being identified in 2000 as part of a project that combed through public databases looking for hidden links. But these allegations have been vigorously denied by the Pentagon and the White House, while several members of Congress are investigating. Shaffer was slated to speak but instead sat quietly by as his lawyer, Mark Zaid, spoke for him.
"Tony is not allowed to talk," Zaid said. "He is effectively gagged from talking. He is gagged from talking to Congress."
(Excerpt) Read more at usnews.com ...
Now, there's a turn of phrase.
""Tony is not allowed to talk," Zaid said. "He is effectively gagged from talking. He is gagged from talking to Congress.""
Isn't it illegal to prevent someone from testifying before congress if they are summoned?
One of the bloggers that has kept an eye on Able Danger updates, AJ Strata, notes an editorial in today's Washington Times written by F. Michael Maloof. 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:
Mr. Weldon first sought help from Eileen Preisser, who ran the Information Dominance Center at the U.S. Army's Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) at Fort Belvoir, Va. He then asked this writer to work with Ms. Preisser to see how the Army initiative could be expanded into a national effort.Who is Maloof and where does NOAH fit into the counterterrorist effort, pre- or post-9/11? Don't bother checking the 9/11 report. It mentions neither, even though the Stratasphere seems to have had no troubles tracking this man down. Strata found out that Maloof worked with Richard Perle, and after 9/11 received an unusual assignment: to find out if Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks specifically, or with al-Qaeda in general. As one of Strata's links note, his work on this assignment appears to have angered some at the DoD:
As Mr. Weldon envisioned it, the national collaborative center would have been comprised of a system of mini-centers or "pods" of some 34 entities from the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement agencies to function in a common operating environment.
It would not have been just another analytical unit. The effect of data-mining information that had already been analyzed was to game-plan particular issues and offer options to policymakers and national commanders to deal with them.
A veteran Pentagon employee who was a key player in the effort to find links between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida has been stripped of his security clearance, according to senior U.S. officials.The excuse for pulling Maloof's security clearance was his contacts with Imad el-Haje, a Lebanese contact that tried to concoct an arrangement between Saddam and the US to avoid war. In May 2003, Maloof had his security clearance revoked for contacting el-Haje. By November, the US had acknowledged that the contact represented a legitimate attempt on our part to resolve the impasse short of military action:
The employee, F. Michael Maloof, is associated with a Lebanese-American businessman who is under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, the West African nation embroiled in civil war. The businessman, Imad El Haje, approached Maloof on behalf of Syria to seek help in arranging a communications channel between Syria and the Defense Department. ... Maloof is on administrative leave and hasn't been charged with wrongdoing. Those close to him contend that his clearances were pulled in retaliation for challenging the official assessment that there were no operational terrorist links between al-Qaida and Iraq.
Maloof was part of a two-man team created at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to find such links. The team was a predecessor to the Pentagon's controversial Office of Special Plans.
Maloof and David Wurmser, who's now an aide to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, claimed they had found evidence that Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups, as well as secular Islamic countries, cooperate to harm the United States despite their many differences.
Early this year, a Lebanese-American businessman, Imad El Haje, relayed word that Saddam would allow U.S. experts and troops into Iraq to verify that he had no weapons of mass destruction, said the officials, who requested anonymity.Maloof also has an attorney -- Mark Zaid, the same attorney as Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer. Interesting, and somewhat coincidental that both figures have the same legal representation.
El Haje sent his message through a Department of Defense official, F. Michael Maloof, who was involved in a Pentagon effort to find links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden, and Richard Perle, the head of a Pentagon advisory panel who was a leading advocate of invading Iraq.
U.S. officials said none of the approaches went anywhere. They were deemed either fraudulent or attempts by Saddam to stall for time to allow international opposition to a U.S.-led attack to build, they said.
"They were all non-starters because they all involved Saddam staying in power," said a senior administration official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are classified.
Be sure to read all of AJ Strata's analysis. However, I have a couple of questions myself. It seems as though the DIA likes to pull clearances on people with interesting testimony to give on issues like 9/11 and the war on terror. Is that why Maloof never gets mentioned or even interviewed by the 9/11 Commission, as far as can be told? If not, what other reason could there be? Maloof has a different opinion on the resources used by the al-Qaeda plotters for 9/11 based on his direct investigation, one of two people who went back and officially looked into the issue.
How could the 9/11 Commission have missed Maloof as a witness?
It's yet another glaring gap in the process used by the supposedly thorough and authoritative "independent" investigation into the terrorist attacks.
Perhaps a ploy to get more L/MSM sucked into keeping the story alive.
I'm at a loss to understand what is going on with the Administration. You would think they would push any credible evidence that bolsters the case for invading Iraq. Yet we never see any effort in that direction. It's as though the Administration takes it for granted that everyone sees the war as justified.
§ 192. Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers
Every person who having been summoned as a witness by the authority of either House of Congress to give testimony or to produce papers upon any matter under inquiry before either House, or any joint committee established by a joint or concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, or any committee of either House of Congress, willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months.
It's like they're willing to fight the war, but they're unwilling to fight for it. I don't get it.
an Able ping
National security and classified information trump unclassified Congressional committee meetings.
"Isn't it illegal to prevent someone from testifying before congress if they are summoned?"
Not if national security is involved (or they pretend it is.)
Another great post, vadim.
The overall quiet is, however, disquieting.
I keep thinking though, more for future battles, how maybe we could make some inroads with congressional staffers somehow. Not sure how.
It's just that it all feels so closed. Not that I'm so naive as to think that's an accident.
Mueller has been a total bloody disaster at the FBI. One of Bush's worst appointments.
It's ironic, to say the least, that the clintonoids in the FBI and the CIA have leaked to the press regularly, trying to damage the administration. But when a loyal agent tries to report a real security issue to his superiors, he is punished for it.
Agents Mulder and Scully used to get in big trouble when they refused to testify before Congress.
I suppose, suspect and wonder if the 5th is at issue here as he can talk and sit in prison for the rest of his days for violating his security agreements as what's classified has to be declassified by someone other than him. Just one possible reason.......
When you sign on with US Mil. Intel, it's written and understood that you'll keep your mouth shut. The rule is that you can open your mouth IF it will keep people from being injured or killed IN THE FUTURE.
Hindsight is BS.
Monday morning quarterbacking does not qualify under this rule.
This article doesn't place Tony Shaeffer in front of Congress, rather, it places him and a handfull of of other whistleblowers ~ Whistleblowers Anonymous, if you will, at a small resort island named CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.
Here is the gist of the story (IMO);
"Most cannot discuss the allegations they are making in detail because the specifics are highly classified. Some even have trouble outlining the alleged violations that ended their own careers. The agencies they work for also refuse to answer questions about the specific cases."
I'm guessing USNews.com needed to fill some white space.
The media keeps intertwining LTCol Schaeffer's military career as a reserve officer with his career as a civil servant at DIA. I find it very disingenous.
Working in a SCI program and having shady foriegn contacts or talking to the media is grounds for clearance revocation. That's the bottomline!!!!