Sunday, December 16, 2007

Information Dominance, Part 4

We continue from Part 3 reviewing testimony from a 2005 Congressional hearing entitled ABLE DANGER AND INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION SHARING.

Chairman Specter thanks Congressman Weldon, who then offers to submit material for the record, which Chairman Specter accepts. Chairman Specter then passes the floor to Senator Biden. Senator Biden has some questions for other witnesses, which he submits for the record, then Senator Biden begins questioning Congressman Weldon:

Senator Biden. There are a number of theories that are bouncing around, Curt, about why would--first of all, time line here. Able Danger was established in September 1999, correct?

Representative Weldon. It was the 1998-99 time frame, but officially 1999.

Senator Biden. When did it go out of business?

Representative Weldon. As best we can tell, it ended in 2000, yet there was a briefing given to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a 3-hour briefing, in January of 2001 using material. Now even though they have claimed they destroyed all the material, there obviously had to be material for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to be briefed, and I just learned that Steve Cambone also was involved in a briefing with the head of the DIA in March of 2001. I was not aware of that information until last week. One of your witnesses would have explained that here today.

Senator Biden. Well, that is what I was hoping we would be able to establish, is that Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, who I understand is in the audience today, who is under Rumsfeld's gag order, attempted to give this information, as well, to the FBI in 2001?

"Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer ... is under Rumsfeld's gag order".

Why was Rumsfeld obstructing a Senate hearing? What was Rumsfeld hiding? Able Danger ended under the Clinton Administration.

Rumsfeld didn't leave the Bush Administration until after the 2006 election results became known, which means that for one full year after obstructing the Senate's hearing on this matter, Rumsfeld continued to serve at the behest of President Bush.

Consequently, President Bush was complicit in the obstruction of this hearing's proceedings.


Representative Weldon. Two-thousand--

Senator Biden. Two-thousand.

Representative Weldon. September of 2000, he arranged three meetings, and the FBI person who was going to testify but was silenced was going to state that she knew the purpose of the meetings.

Senator Biden. And was anyone prepared to testify to the fact that there was a 3-hour briefing for General Shelton?

Representative Weldon. Yes. Tony Shaffer would have done that.

Senator Biden. And for the record, obviously, he was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time, right?

Representative Weldon. Yes.

Senator Biden. And then the March 2001 meeting, that briefing for Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Steve Cambone, there was someone prepared to confirm that today, as well?

Representative Weldon. My understanding is Mr. Cambone was not in his current position at that time. He was a Special Assistant to Secretary Rumsfeld. And the purpose of the brief, my understanding, it was not specifically for Able Danger. It was a briefing on another classified program, but Able Danger came up, it was discussed, and it was discussed by a lawyer who you had wanted to testify named Richard Schiefren by the head of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Wilson, and I believe there was a third person in the room--just the two, Admiral Wilson, Richard Schiefren, Steve Cambone, and Able Danger was discussed in March of 2001 at that meeting.

Senator Biden. My next question, why was Able Danger shut down?

Representative Weldon. There were a combination of reasons. They had done a profile of Chinese proliferation in 1999 that John Hamre had asked for. I was aware of that presentation, and because it was massive data mined that had not yet been vetted, a couple of very sensitive names surfaced because they had been affiliated with Stanford University, where many of the students that were doing this very, very specific research, very sensitive to our country's security, were located, and I think partly because of that, there was a wave of controversy.

In connection with Chinese proliferation during the years of the Clinton Administration, "a couple of very sensitive names surfaced because they had been affiliated with Stanford University".

In fact, in the House, the son of Congressman Sam Johnson was working for the Raytheon Corporation. He went to his father and said, "Dad, they are destroying data." Sam went to Dan Burton, who was Chairman of the Government Operations Committee, and Dan Burton subpoenaed documents that had been used in compiling the Chinese proliferation information. As a result of that, tremendous pressure was placed on the Army, because this was a prototype operation, and they shut down the Able Danger operation.

General Schoomaker was so enamored with this capability that he stood up a separate operation in Garland, Texas, at a Raytheon facility, to try to duplicate what had been done in the Army, and that lasted for about a year, maybe slightly longer than a year.

So the Special Forces Command understood the significance of this data, and as a result of the Chinese proliferation situation, I am convinced Able Danger was shut down.

Senator Biden. Is there anything to the sort of, when you get into this, the sort of buzz that it was shut down because Able Danger exceeded its authority and was dealing with targeting Americans that the Defense Department and others were concerned would cause a real brouhaha? There were even some press accounts that the now-Secretary of State came up on a list as being a suspect somehow, or something ridiculous. What part did that play in it?

Representative Weldon. It was a significant part. In fact--

The "now-Secretary of State" would be Condoleezza Rice, formerly of Stanford University. She was there from -- what was it? -- 1981 to December 17, 2000, when she stepped down from her position at Stanford to serve in the Bush-43 Administration. She served as Provost, chief budget and academic officer, and full professor.

I wonder if hers was one of the "very sensitive names" that came up in connection with Chinese proliferation during the Clinton years?

Chairman Specter. Senator Biden, if you need a little more time, take it. He won't be here for a second round, so if you need a little more time, proceed.

Representative Weldon. In fact, that was a significant part. The Secretary of State's name did come up, along with a former Secretary of Defense because they were both affiliated with Stanford where this research work was being done by Chinese students that were here basically acquiring technology that was very sensitive to our security.

But for them to say that somehow this information should have all been destroyed, to me is unacceptable because the military itself has said it was open source information. It is the same information the Republican and Democrat Party used to target voters. It is massive data you can buy in open sources. It is information you can get. It is magazine subscriptions that you order. It is everything that is available in the public domain. Now if there, in fact, is some classified information blended in with that, then that needs to be dealt with and there are processes to do that.

The Able Danger folks knew that there was the possibility of information coming out about American nationals and they knew how to deal with it. I don't understand for the life of me how that would justify destroying 2.5 terabytes of data, and especially not in telling the customer before you are going to do that, "I am going to destroy all your data," if Madeleine Albright has declared Al Qaeda the top international terrorist organization in the world, which she did, and furthermore, for them to brief General Sheldon in January of 2001 meant they didn't destroy all the information.

So who decided to keep information and what led to the fact that some of that information was kept for later briefings? So I don't accept the position, and furthermore, what I would say is let them come and explain that publicly. I am not making any accusations.

They were investigating Al Qaeda, and they came up with sensitive names from Stanford University that were connected to Chinese proliferation.

Recall the Sibel Edmonds case, where Edmonds tells us that the documents she saw dealt with not just Al Qaeda, but with narcotics trafficking, etc., including the nuclear arms black market.

It is also worth recalling that we know from other sources (I won't list them here -- feel free to Google it) that China is a big recipient of nuclear technology via the nuclear black market. Wasn't there a scandal associated with the Clinton Administration, sensitive technology to Beijing (Clinton Lax On Technology, Red Face Over China, Time Line, Quid Pro Quo), and Chinese money for the DNC?

China and Pakistan are de facto allies. They both have a common opponent in Asia -- India -- and China sells arms to and works business deals with Pakistan. They get their nuclear secrets from the US via a variety of illegal means, utilizing false end-user certificates. A major transshipment country for this technology is Israel. Again, I won't go into it in this post; I merely ask you to explore the relationship between Israel and China. Another relationship to consider is the one between Pakistan and Israel.

Why, you ask, would Israel provide critical technology to Pakistan, a nation which would logically pass such technology on to enemies of Israel?

Just as there are criminals in America who do not have America's best interests at heart, so are there criminals in Israel that do not have Israel's best interests at heart. There is American organized crime, Turkish organized crime -- and Israeli organized crime.

It is worth recalling that Sibel Edmonds spoke of "semi-legit" organizations, including AIPAC (again, Google it if you don't know what that is).

It is also possible such technology could be passed to Pakistan or China by the Israeli government, if the Israelis had the impression that the US government wanted to use Israel as an unofficial conduit. In other words, if somebody in the US State Department, or perhaps the CIA, wanted to get restricted technology to China or Pakistan, they might be able to do it via Israel, and Israel might go along with it -- despite reservations the Israelis would reasonably have -- if they thought they were doing so as a favor to Washington.

Pakistan has been a big player with Al Qaeda ever since that organization was born. Through Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear weapons technology proliferation ring, Pakistan has also been a big player in the nuclear black market.

Might these be connections that were being made by Able Danger?

Senator Biden. Well, that is the only point I am trying to get at here. This is a bit--your assertions are not confusing. I am inclined to accept what the witnesses would have said based upon staff and based upon assertions that have been made by you. You wouldn't be saying this with them sitting behind you if these guys weren't ready to say what you said they were going to say. One of them would, at this point, gagged or not, would say, "Hey, I wasn't going to say that." So it is pretty compelling.

It is compelling, isn't it?

The part that, quite frankly, confuses the devil out of me as I try to figure this out, Mr. Chairman, this started in the Clinton administration and it morphed into or it leached into the beginning of the Bush administration. It is not like there is an attempt to nail politically anybody here. I don't understand why--it is not self-evident to me why the Defense Department would be so focused on this not coming forward.[snip]

Why would the Defense Department be so focused on this not coming forward that Rumsfeld, with the full complicity of President Bush, gagged witnesses who were supposed to testify to Congress?

What was (is) the Bush Administration hiding from Congress?

It's nothing political....

Sibel Edmonds has tried to tell us that she has been gagged to cover up criminal activity -- criminal activity that connected Turkish heroin traffickers to Al Qaeda and to US government officials (elected, appointed and career personnel) from both political parties.

Let me go back to the beginning of Senator Biden's last paragraph:

The part that, quite frankly, confuses the devil out of me as I try to figure this out, Mr. Chairman, this started in the Clinton administration and it morphed into or it leached into the beginning of the Bush administration. It is not like there is an attempt to nail politically anybody here. I don't understand why--it is not self-evident to me why the Defense Department would be so focused on this not coming forward. I don't understand, quite frankly, why the Commission and Slade Gorton, if he was--if, in fact, folks were briefed, why they would say, "No, it is absolutely"--I forget, but he has a very, very strong statement saying--

Representative Weldon. They were never briefed.

Senator Biden. [continuing]. That they were never briefed and no one knew anything about this.

And I don't get why the coverup. I mean, I don't get the purpose of the coverup. Is it to protect the Clinton administration? The Bush administration? Is it to protect something that was going on that was illegal under the law? I mean, I don't get it. I don't understand why people aren't just coming forward and saying, "Here is the deal. This is what happened."

Sibel Edmonds has been telling us that it is criminal activity, in high circles, where terrorism, narcotics trafficking and the nuclear black market converge, activity that involves both political parties and that had been going on for years when she saw the documentation in late 2001 and early 2002.

And Able Danger, while looking at publicly available information to learn about Al Qaeda, connected Al Qaeda to key figures in Washington, D.C. -- key figures who had been in Washington during the Clinton Administration, and who were in a position of great authority in the Bush Administration.

While looking at publicly available information to learn about Al Qaeda, Able Danger came up with Stanford University and nuclear proliferation to China!

Whatever it was they found, Rumsfeld did not want it getting out, and Bush was complicit!

What are they hiding in this War on Terror? And what are they hiding about 9/11?

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