Skip to comments.Transcript of Curt Weldon Interview on the Sean Hannity Radio Show
Posted on 10/20/2005 8:45:41 PM PDT by vadkins
Rep. Curt Weldon: 2 weeks before the attack on the USS Cole and then again 2 days before the attack on the USS Cole, saw through their analysis that a major event was going to occur in Yemen. They told the Navy not to bring the Cole into Yemen harbor and it went in and was attacked. That information was also compiled and the analysis was done by Able Danger. That story has not been told. These people will testify to that story as well.
(Excerpt) Read more at qtmonster.com ...
Listening to the Hannity one now. Thanks.
IIRC, I do remember that "chatter" or other intel was received...or that the Navy CO refused/disobeyed protocol on docking to port. AG, any other USS Cole info on this???
Seventeen Sailors Die in Terrorist Attack
USS Cole Returned to United States for Repair
By OTTO KREISHER
Otto Kreisher is a reporter for Copley News Service.
The inherent risk to U.S. forward-deployed forces operating in the Persian Gulf region was again demonstrated with explosive and deadly impact by a terrorist attack on the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, in October.
In a shocking strike that was at once both audacious and abhorrent, a powerful explosive was carried to the port side of the Arleigh Burke-class ship by two terrorists in a motorized skiff during the ships four-hour refueling port visit on 12 October. The explosion blasted a 40-by-40-foot hole in the Coles hull, killing 17 crewmembers and injuring 39. Both terrorists, who were said by eyewitnesses to be waving or saluting at the time they detonated their charge, also were killed in the attack.
The blast caused massive flooding of the Coles number one engine and auxiliary machinery rooms and set off a prolonged and valiant battle to save the stricken ship from sinking.
It also triggered a heated debate in Washington, D.C., and in the Coles home port of Norfolk, Va., over the wisdom of sending warships into Yemen, a known hotbed of Muslim extremists and a refuge for international terrorists. The Navys standard security procedures for protecting ships in port also were challenged as three investigations were launched to determine the perpetrators of the attack and the facts surrounding the USS Coles actions at the time.
A Powerful and Devastating Explosion
The Cole was on its way from the Mediterranean Sea to join the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf when it pulled into Aden to refuel.
Because of Yemens history of terrorist activities, the Navy had avoided visiting the former British colonial-era harbor on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula for a decade. But in an effort to improve relations with the current moderate governmenta move advocated by the former commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command and other senior U.S. officials as part of the U.S. engagement strategythe Navy started using Aden for refueling in 1999. The Cole was the 28th U.S. ship to use the port in two years.
The ship was at "Threat Condition Bravo," the second lowest of the four threat ratings, as it moored at a fueling dolphin just east of the harbor entrance. That status required lookouts and armed Sailors on deck.
In his first news briefing on the attack, Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations, said the Cole still was tying up when one of the small craft assisting it exploded against its hull. Witnesses said two men were standing erect on the boat when the powerful blast splintered their craft into "confetti-size pieces" and tore the gaping hole in the Cole.
A week later, the Navy acknowledged that the Cole had finished mooring and was 48 minutes into its refueling when the bomb detonated, at 11:18 a.m. local time or (4:18 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time).
Investigators said that, instead of slipping in among the other small craft aiding the warship, the suicide boat approached the Cole alone from across the harbor, crossed its bow, and passed slowly down its port side. The two men on the boat waved at the Sailors on the Cole, and the Sailors waved back. That scenario raised new questions about the destroyers security precautions.
The powerful explosion not only shattered and flooded the engineering spaces, it devastated the mess decks above, bending parts of the deck almost to the overhead. Sailors working in the galley or waiting for noon chow were thrown into the air or plunged into the cavern below.
"Blood, Bent and Broken Steel"
Working at first without power, the stunned crew members retrieved and treated their wounded shipmates, bolstered damaged bulkheads, and reduced the flooding that had caused a four-degree list.
Five dead Sailors were recovered quickly. But 12 more were reported missing, their bodies trapped in the flooded spaces or in the twisted steel of the mess decks. It would take five days to recover the last of their remains. Another 36 crewmembers suffered injuries ranging from cuts and burns to broken bones, severed limbs, and head injuries. Three more Sailors later were hospitalized for trauma. U.S. military doctors and nurses arrived by airplane within hours, and by the next day all of the injured had been flown to a U.S. Army hospital in Germany. They later were flown to a naval hospital in Portsmouth, Va.
The Coles tired and emotionally drained crew had to wage a second desperate fight to save their ship when the emergency generators powering the pumps failed and previously emptied spaces filled with seawater.
"For two days and two nights," in the words of Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, "they fought under the most extreme conditionsblood, bent and broken steel, flooding, uncertainty, and danger. They saved their ship, their injuredevery one of themand each other. And then their generators failed. The waters rose, and they had to do it all over again. Waist-deep in water, manning bucket brigades by hand, they did it again."
Those who died on the Cole were a cross section of the Navy. One was an officer: Ens. Andrew Triplett, who earned a commission after 12 years of enlisted service. The other 16 Sailors ranged in rate from seaman apprentice to petty officer first class. Two were womenreportedly the first Navy female crewmembers killed by a hostile act. And most were youngall but five were under 25.
The Navy quickly sent a Marine Corps security force, repair technicians, and other ships to assist the Cole. The guided-missile frigate USS Hawes and the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook anchored near the damaged ship while the amphibious ships USS Tarawa, USS Anchorage, and USS Duluth remained at anchor outside the port.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
On 18 October, while Navy divers and engineers were still recovering the last bodies, the nation and the Navy honored the fallen Sailors in a memorial service at Norfolk Naval Station. Beneath a misty gray sky, 5,000 current and former Navy personnel and senior officialsled by President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Sheltonblanketed Pier 12. Sailors in dress whites lined the rails on two of the Coles sister ships, USS McFaul and USS Ross, dwarfed by the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, moored alongside.
The crowd applauded when 36 of the injured Cole crewmembers arrivedsome of them on stretchers, on crutches, or in wheelchairsand stood in silent tribute when the families of the lost Sailors appeared. Clark told family members and the assembled audience that the Sailors on Cole "... made the ultimate sacrifice for service to the United States of America, and they remind us all what it really means to go in harms way."
Danzig saw in those who died "17 wonders, 17 sons and daughters ... 17 unique people. We cherish them. We grieve because we couldnt protect them. Instead, they died protecting us."
And President Clinton said the "tragic loss" of the Cole crewmembers "... reminds us that, even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military still risk their lives for peace." While honoring the lost Americans, Clinton and other officials issued stern warnings to those who were responsible for their deaths. "To those who attacked them we say, You will not find a safe harbor," the president said. "We will find you, and justice will prevail. America will not stop standing guard for peace or freedom or stability in the Middle East and around the world."
That same day, the House and Senate passed resolutions praising the Cole crew for the heroic efforts to save their ship, honoring the dead and wounded, and sending condolences to their families.
Meanwhile, in Aden, an intense FBI investigation involving hundreds of U.S. investigators and Yemeni authorities was making some progress in finding physical evidence. The authorities also detained a large number of individuals, including some members of the Egyptian-based Islamic Jihad. While praising Yemen publicly for the vigor of its investigation, U.S. officials complained about some lack of access to suspects and witnesses.
Some of the evidence and much suspicion pointed toward the exiled Saudi millionaire and terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who has been linked to other attacks against American citizens and property. As of early November, however, no one connected to the investigation was willing to officially say who is suspected to have been behind the attack.
At the same time, separate reviews were underway in Washington, including hearings by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees (HASC/SASC). Those hearings revealed that U.S. intelligence had detected signs that a militant Islamic group was preparing an attack against American targets and that a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst had resigned in protest because his warnings allegedly "had not been taken seriously." But Pentagon officials insisted that the warnings had not been specific in describing a time, target, or location.
At a SASC hearing in October, Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) told retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni that Cole family members had asked repeatedly why the ship visited Yemen despite the State Departments warnings of terrorist activities there. Zinni, who retired this past summer as the commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, said Yemens willingness to refuel ships on their way to duty with the Fifth Fleet was a major change from its pro-Iraq attitude during the Gulf War.
"There are no risk-free ports in the Central Commands geographic area of responsibility, and in Aden "the specific threat conditions were actually better than we had elsewhere," he noted. "So we were limited with a choice, in terms of force protection, that was not very good," Zinni said.
Senators also questioned whether the drop in the number of the Navys fleet oilersfrom 32 a decade ago to 21 at presenthad eliminated the option for at-sea refueling, forcing more frequent port visits for refueling. But Zinni and Navy officials pointed out that oilers are seldom assigned to fuel just one ship.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, meanwhile, created a panel to review the force-protection "lessons learned" of the Cole attack. The panel is headed by Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., the recently retired commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, and retired Army Gen. William S. Crouch, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army.
On 31 October, Cole left Aden on the Norwegian heavy-lift ship Blue Marlin on its way to Litton Ingalls Shipbuildings yard in Pascagoula, Miss. The 35-day transit home will be made by way of the Cape of Good Hope.
Addressing those who expressed doubt that the Cole could be returned to service, her commanding officer, Cdr. Kirk Lippold, declared: "We will save this ship. We will repair this ship. We will take this ship home, and we will sail this ship again to sea."
New York Times 10/14/00 Steven Lee Myers The United States received a general warning of a possible attack on an American warship last month, senior defense officials said here today, but the warning lacked detail and did not specify the country in which to expect the attack. "It was a question of how directly you could tie it to a certain place," one of the officials said. Since the warning, reported by an intelligence source in the Arab world, was not specific enough, "it got put on the shelf."...... Nor was it clear that the warning could have stopped what officials described today as a sophisticated suicide bombing. While the Cole's crew had extensive training in repelling an overt attack by a small boat and even had extra sailors on watch on Thursday, the attack was so meticulously disguised and carried out that the officials said there was little the crew could have done to stop it .
The Drudge Report 10/14/00 Bill Gertz Refueling U.S. warships in the Arabian port of Aden is part of a broader U.S. government effort to develop closer ties with Yemen and to place an electronic eavesdropping post on a nearby island, U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday. Military intelligence specialists hope improving relations with the Yemeni government will lead to intelligence cooperation and the building of a signals intelligence site on the island of Socotra, some 220 miles off Yemen's eastern coast. The island is ideally suited for monitoring electronic signals throughout the region, especially the hundreds of ships that pass daily through the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. ``It's a key strategic collection point,'' said one official. Closer ties with Yemen also might lead to the use of the island as a place to store supplies and equipment that could be used in the event of a regional conflict, the officials said. ..
Center for Security Policy 10/16/00 Decision Brief 00 D 83 The recriminations have begun in connection with the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Unfortunately, the real scandal is not that a government with Yemen's longstanding ties to international terrorism was given over a week's worth of notice that one of the United States' premier capital ships would be placed in a highly vulnerable position in its waters for four-to-six hours. .. Rather, it is that the reckless disregard of the fundamentals of physical, information and personnel security that contributed to this debacle are all-too-common practices under the Clinton-Gore Administration. Consider the following illustrative examples culled from the just the past few weeks' headlines: North Korea: President Clinton is about to compound the mistake of pretending that Yemen is no longer a nation closely associated with terrorism by dropping North Korea from the State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT). This is all the more preposterous insofar as North Korea is arguably the most aggressive abettor of international terror, thanks especially to its aggressive proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ever longer-range ballistic missiles around the world. ..The reason is similar to that used to justify removing Yemen from the SSOT list a year or so earlier: The Clinton-Gore Administration finds it expedient to politicize or otherwise disregard the relevant intelligence in the service of other priorities. ..
The Associated Press 10/25/00 Robert Burns "......The Pentagon's top intelligence expert on terrorist threats in the Persian Gulf region resigned the day after the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the official quit in protest of what he believed was an unjustified lack of attention by his Pentagon superiors to terrorist threat warnings he had provided before the Oct. 12 attack on the warship. ....... The actual threat warnings this official provided, and the official's name, have not been made public. ........ Roberts said the official resigned from the DIA's Office of Counterterrorism Analysis on Oct. 13. He said the official's resignation letter refers to an intelligence assessment in June that apparently predicted a terrorist attack in the Gulf. ..... "He indicates his analysis could have played a critical role in DIA's ability to predict and warn of a potential terrorist attack against U.S. interests, and goes further to say he is very troubled by the many indicators contained in the analysis that suggests two or three other major acts of terrorism could potentially occur in the coming weeks or months," Roberts said. ......Roberts said he wanted to know whether the official's reference to a potential for additional acts of terrorism in coming weeks played a role in the decision last weekend to put U.S. forces in Bahrain and Qatar on high alert. ......U.S. military officials have said there were no intelligence warnings of specific terrorist threats against American targets in Yemen at the time of the attack on the Cole, which killed 17 sailors and injured 39. ......"
Washington Times 10/25/00 Bill Gertz ".......The National Security Agency issued a top-secret intelligence report on the day the destroyer USS Cole was bombed, warning that terrorists were planning an attack in the region, The Washington Times has learned. The warning was not received until after the ship was attacked....... Intelligence officials say this raises questions about whether the military could have taken steps to prevent the attack if the alert had been received earlier........ Despite worldwide instantaneous communications, the agency usually requires 24 to 48 hours to gather, translate and disseminate the highly classified reports. The information contained in the report could have been known before the attack, the officials said.... The final report was not distributed until several hours after the bombing, which took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 12, Washington time. ....."
Washington Times 11/1/00 ..Two reports warning of terrorist activities issued before and after the suicide bombing attack on the USS Cole have been discounted by the House Armed Services Committee as not containing specific enough information to prevent the attack. Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of the U.S. Gulf forces, told the committee last week that if he had received specific enough information on an imminent attack, he would have ordered force-protection measures. The committee's defense of this inaction despite the reports issued by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency beg the questions: Why did the USS Cole not receive any warning, and why was the Navy ill-prepared to handle such a threat? .. The site of the USS Cole attack is known to be a base for the Islamic Army of Aden, founded by Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden's brother, Muhammad Khalifa. Yemen itself has been flagged by the State Department as the headquarters of a number of Islamic terrorist groups. Such circumstances dictate that "force-protection measures" should already have been in force at the time of the refueling at the Yemeni port, and that those procedures should have been thoroughly practiced before the U.S. destroyer approached the dangerous region. But such protective measures would still not be enough to guard the servicemen if U.S. intelligence in the region had not delivered the necessary warnings in a timely manner
You're quite welcome!
And I wonder why you are the only one asking this question. I think I've read every article posted here on the Cole and I have not seen it addressed anywhere.
Posted on 11/01/2000 10:16:38 PST by independentmind"
Five years later, Able Danger breaks silence...
"I believe the truth still needs to come out and let the proper people who failed to act on this information pay the price for their incompetence."
Agreed. Incredibly, the cover up may still hold. But I am hopeful it will collapse.
What we need is a "subversive" Congressional aide---someone who will network the Congressional staffs from the inside, to break the logjam.
Surely, very few members of Congress are at risk here---perhaps none.
Congress can easily break the coverup. They have that power. But the first Congressman forward will never get one penny of federal money ot his district for 3 years.
We need someone to orchestrate a "mass action".
"Five years later, Able Danger breaks silence..."
I'm trying to understand. You saved this reference for 5 years?
If so, awesome!
"I believe the truth still needs to come out and let the proper people who failed to act on this information pay the price for their incompetence."
Of course, we can all call Congressional staffers directly (unlike Representatives and Senators). The staffers are the people who pick up the phone when we call their offices!
So theoretically, we could instigate such an action ourselves.
Link to transcript is in post #1.
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Thanks for the ping!