In this week's column, Post-Gazette Columnist Jack Kelly actually attempts to tie 9/11 terrorist Mohammad Atta, former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, and former Congressman Curt Weldon's loss in 2004 to current Congressman Joe Sestak to a vast Pentagon cover-up of the now infamous "Able Danger" intelligence unit. This vast conspiracy comes out of Jack's description of some heavy handed censorship of a recently penned book by Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer.
No, I kid you not.
We'll see, as we usually do with Jack's columns, that there's much more to the story than what Jack wants us to see.
Last month the Department of Defense took the unusual -- and disturbing -- step of buying up the entire initial press run of a book it doesn't like, and then destroying it.This part, such as it is, is true. But the reason for it gets to the heart of the conspiracy haunting Jack's shadows. Take a look:
The book is "Operation Dark Heart," by retired Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, about an intelligence operation in Afghanistan in the early days of the war there.
Mr. Shaffer had submitted his manuscript to the Army for security review, which approved it. But the Defense Intelligence Agency weighed in late with objections.
"Some of the redactions can't be explained by logic, so the only explanation that occurs is that they were trying to conceal what they were after," Mr. Shaffer told me.On the other hand, lest you think that that's the only thing Shaffer's said about the redactions, he told Fox News:
What Mr. Shaffer thinks DIA is most interested in concealing are details about Able Danger, an Army data mining operation on which Mr. Shaffer worked before going to Afghanistan.
"Apparently, Defense Intelligence Agency took exception to the way the Army cleared the book," Shaffer told Fox News in an interview conducted before he was asked by the military not to discuss the book. He confirmed efforts to block the book, a move he called "highly unusual."But let's move on to the conspiracy. The DIA retaliated against Shaffer:
However, Shaffer explained on Sunday that the distinction between the Army and DIA's rules on redaction are traced to the public domain argument. He said while the Army review found that everything he puclished (sic) is in the public domain in some form, DIA notes that much of it is still classified.
"So that's the difference in standards," he said.
DIA yanked his security clearance after charging him with "misuse of a government cell phone in the amount of $67" and the "misfiling of a travel voucher in the amount of $180.00." Then, because he'd lost his security clearance, the DIA fired him.However, Shaffer himself had a somewhat different take on it and that it wasn't just about the $67 and the $180. From the New York Times:
"Based on our investigation of security clearance retaliation it appears the Defense Intelligence Agency used the security clearance system in an improper manner against Lt. Col Shaffer," Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., then the chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee, wrote in October 2006.
Even before the Able Danger imbroglio, Colonel Shaffer admits in his book, he was seen by some at D.I.A. as a risk-taking troublemaker. He describes participating in a midday raid on a telephone facility in Kabul to download the names and numbers of all the cellphone users in the country and proposing an intelligence operation to cross into Pakistan and spy on a Taliban headquarters.But the biggest elements of Jack's scary conspiracy revolve around former Congressman Curt Weldon:
In much of the book, he portrays himself as a brash officer who sometimes ran into resistance from timid superiors.
“A lot of folks at D.I.A. felt that Tony Shaffer thought he could do whatever the hell he wanted,” Mr. Shaffer writes about himself. “They never understood that I was doing things that were so secret that only a few knew about them.”
Bad things also happened to Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who was Mr. Shaffer's chief supporter in Congress. Three weeks before the 2006 midterms, the FBI very publicly raided the home of Mr. Weldon's daughter, Karen, in an alleged investigation of corruption.So the investigation into Weldon was a retaliation from the CIA/FBI/Pentagon to protect Able Danger?
No charges have been filed against Karen Weldon or her father. The Justice Department won't say whether the investigation is continuing.
Not really. From this Washington Post of 10/8/2006, we learn that the FBI was investigating Weldon's ties to Bogoljub Karic, a wealthy Serbian businessman who had close ties to former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic and that:
[T]he Karic family that year signed a contract with Weldon's daughter, Karen, and a business partner that called for monthly payments of $20,000 for "management, government and public relations," according to a copy of the March 2003 contract. In all, the family paid Karen Weldon's firm $133,858 that year for efforts she undertook to set up a foundation for it.And then there was this:
Curt Weldon's visit and that deal are under investigation by the FBI, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the probe. His efforts to assist clients of his daughter's consulting firm in their dealings with the federal government are the focus of that probe, according to sources familiar with it .
FBI raids of six locations in Pennsylvania and Florida on Monday, including one of Karen Weldon's home and another of her consulting and lobbying firm, were part of the bureau's search for evidence of whether the lawmaker used his influence to benefit himself or his daughter's firm, according to the sources.
Besides looking at Weldon's Karic connection, the FBI is examining the lawmaker's contacts with a Russian-managed oil and gas company, Itera International Energy Corp., the sources said. The company's offices in Jacksonville, Fla., were searched on Monday.So yea, the raid was retaliation for Able Danger. Of course it was.
Itera spokesman Steve Koegler declined to answer questions yesterday, but released a statement saying that the government had expressed interest Monday in "any records or information Itera might have with respect to Itera's business relationship with Solutions Worldwide." The name of the firm that Karen Weldon operates with one of her father's close political supporters, Charles Sexton, is Solutions North America Inc.
But we finally get to the heart of Jack's Able Danger haunting: Jamie Gorelick:
Why might Justice have wanted Mr. Weldon to go away? Perhaps because he said it was then Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick who was chiefly responsible for preventing the Able Danger team from sharing its intelligence with the FBI.Know what a "zombie lie" is? It's just what it says. It's a lie that just won't die no matter how often you try to shut it down. Clinton raped Juanita Broderick. Obama was born in Kenya. Two of the more famous zombie lies.
This zombie lie is about the so called "Gorelick Wall." That's the "wall" that made it impossible for the Department of Defense to share information about the 9/11 attackers with the FBI - thus allowing the attacks to happen.
Only it didn't. The "wall" had nothing to do with the Department of Defense at all. As shown by Gorelick's memo dated July 19, 1995:
The procedures contained herein, unless otherwise specified by the Attorney General, apply to foreign intelligence (FI) and foreign counterintelligence (FCI) investigations conducted by the FBI, including investigations related to espionage and foreign and international terrorism. The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that FI and FCI investigations are conducted lawfully, and that the Department's criminal and intelligenceSee that? The guidelines refer to foreign intelligence and counter intelligence investigations by the FBI - not the DOD (where Able Danger was).
Indeed Slade Gorton, Republican former Senator from Washington State and member of the 9/11 Commission stated as much 6 years ago in a letter to the editor of the Washington Times:
[Jamie Gorelick] had nothing to do with any "wall" between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies. The 1995 Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency. The guidelines had no effect on the Department of Defense and certainly did not prohibit it from communicating with the FBI, the CIA or anyone else.A zombie lie at the heart of an irrational conspiracy theory from Jack Kelly.
Congress created the walls that were in place before September 11 -- such as the National Security Act's prohibition on U.S. intelligence agency spying on Americans and the Posse Comitatus Act -- that have nothing to do with the Department of Justice memo.
It's Sunday. It's to be expected.