Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Able-Danger: What's the Controversy?

I understand that laws forbid the military from doing police/investigative work on American soil and that's why we have the FBI... I also understand it's a check and balance installed to prevent a military coup (at least I think this is the case, but please correct me if I'm wrong...). I guess that's what the "discontent" over Able Danger is about, but why were they able to accomplish what no other agency could? Then again, some are still denying their existence... Why? Are there legal fallouts?

What would be the harm in assembling a group of ex-(or active) military minds to foresee impending catastrophe? Able Danger seems to be the proof that it works. Of course I'm sure that even though the system they used worked --it will be deemed as profiling...

Pennsylvania's Republican Rep. Curt Weldon (who was the driving force in bringing this story to public light) told press yesterday that Mohammad Atta was identified THIRTEEN times prior to 9/11...

"During a Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said the unit - code-named "Able Danger" - also identified "a problem" in Yemen two weeks before the attack on the USS Cole. It knew the problem was tied into the port of Aden and involved a U.S. platform, but the ship commander was not made aware of it, Weldon said.

The suicide bombing of the Cole killed 17 sailors on Oct. 12, 2000.

If anyone had told the Cole's commander that there was any indication of a problem in Aden, "he would not have gone there," Weldon told reporters. "He had no clue."

Weldon would not say who provided evidence of such intelligence to him.

Since August, Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has pushed Congress and the Pentagon to investigate the workings of Able Danger, which used data mining to identify links that might indicate the workings of terrorists. If he is correct, it would change the timeline for when government officials first became aware of Atta's links to al-Qaida.

Former members of the Sept. 11 commission have dismissed Weldon's findings.

Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a Pentagon spokesman, released a statement saying that Pentagon officials welcome the opportunity to address these issues during a hearing scheduled Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee." (source)

Someone explain to me the down side of this program ...and why profiling is wrong if it works and innocent lives are saved? If short blonde's were blowing up bridges in the US, I would be pissed if I wasn't pulled over and searched when I go over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge...

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