October 6, 2010 | National Review Online

Better Late Than Never on “Able Danger”?

Five years ago, I called for an investigation of “Able Danger” and the 9/11 Commission. Able Danger was a military intelligence program members of which have stated that the program identified Mohammed Atta (and perhaps other 9/11 hijackers) long before the 9/11 attacks — directly contradicting the 9/11 Commission’s conclusion that the government was unaware of Atta before he struck. The 9/11 Commission knew about Able Danger but did not include any information about it from the commission’s ballyhooed Final Report. The Defense Department, meanwhile, purged goo-gobs of Able Danger documents. The whole thing was handled in what I’ll charitably call a most peculiar manner. And I’m not the only one who thought so — former FBI director Louie Freeh said as much in a 2005 op-ed that is quoted at length in my NRO essay.

As Greg notes at The Feed, Catherine Herridge of Fox News has a report that reopens this can of worms, with the fresh news that the Defense Department purchased and destroyed 9,500 copies of a new book by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the Able Danger operative who says he told the 9/11 Commission about theprogram and the identification of Atta.

There has never been any appetite to pursue this story. Like the strange matter of Sandy Berger’s filching of classified documents regarding the Clinton administration’s counterterrorism preparedness, it has been ignored. I’m glad Fox is on the not case, even if I’m not holding my breath that we’ll actually get to the bottom of it.

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