Able Dangerous

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 11 2005 6:38 PM

Able Dangerous

Bloggers discuss allegations that a secret military data-mining operation had named Mohammed Atta as a terrorist threat during the summer of 2000. NARAL's ad attacking John Roberts stirs up controversy, as does the New York City health department's request that local restaurants avoid trans fats.

Able Dangerous: Bloggers eagerly point fingers after reports that a Defense Department operation called "Able Danger" turned up the name of Sept. 11 ringleader Mohammed Atta as a potential threat in 2000. Able Danger was never mentioned in the report issued by the 9/11 commission.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Curt Weldon has been trying to draw attention to the Able Danger findings. But "Weldon is not exactly a reliable source," suggests Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly's Political Animal. "[H]e has a huge axe to grind here (data mining is a longtime hobby horse of his), and [9/11 commission executive director Philip] Zelikow seems to be pretty well regarded in DC circles as a straight shooter."

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Wondering just what documents Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger stuffed down his pants, Brian at the conservative Iowa Voice proposes that the Clinton administration is to blame for 9/11: "Sure, after Bush took office, the Administration could have acted upon the intelligence provided by Able Danger, but if the information was buried, then they probably weren't even aware of it."

Conservative Ed Morrisey has been following the 9/11 commission's changing story (and the Sandy Berger speculation) at Captain's Quarters: "First they never heard of Able Danger. Then, maybe a low-level staffer told them about the program but not the Atta identification. Next, the military met with the Commissioners but didn't specify the Atta identification. Now, we finally have confirmation that the Commission itself—not just its low-level staff—knew that military intelligence had identified Mohammed Atta as an al-Qaeda operative a year before 9/11."

"The 9/11 Commission's purpose was to find and detail the failures and deficiencies that may have contributed to the attacks," notes right-of-center Baldilocks. "It appears that one of those deficiencies is the tendency to discount real, valid information ... and that tendency seems to not be a partisan one, nor confined to military and intelligence agencies."

Read Government Security News on the matter here. Read more about Able Danger here.

Checking the facts: Political-watchers of all stripes are up in arms about NARAL Pro-Choice America's television ad criticizing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan political watchdog, called the ads, which claim Roberts sided with an abortion-clinic bomber and excused violence, "false" and "misleading."

"NARAL misrepresents the Bray case in every particular," argues John Hinderaker at conservative group blog Power Line. "Roberts didn't 'support violent fringe groups' or a 'convicted clinic bomber.' He supported the federal government's position on a specific question of law—correctly, as the Court found." Perry Townsendat youthful Gleepster-ville reluctantly agrees: "[A]s much as John Roberts' record and views scare the sh*t out of me ... I don't think he can be faulted on this one."

Joy-Ann Reid at Reid Report believes the ads are a waste of money. "What on earth was NARAL thinking blowing half a mil on a ridiculous ad that tries to turn the straight laced Roberts into Randall Terry?" asks the left-leaning Florida journalist. "Give it a rest ladies, you're speeding into irrelevancy."