August 19, 2005 [LINK]
The "Able Danger" flap
This story broke while I wasn't following the news as closely as usual. (Hey, it's August.) Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) caused an uproar by disclosing that an Army officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, had complained that his repeated pre-9/11 warnings about Mohammed Atta were ignored. Shaffer was part of a secret military intelligence "data mining" unit called "Able Danger." For the gung-ho philosopher-soldier Austin Bay, the mere possibility that intelligence reports were squelched or hushed up is worth looking into, and he urges the White House to address this issue head on.
Reaction in the blogosphere has been typically hasty and in some cases ill-considered. thinkprogress.org launched a mass spam e-mail attack on InstaPundit and other right-leaning blogs, claiming that they had "lied" about Clinton Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick's role in keeping intelligence gatherers and law enforcement officers separate, so as not to compromise criminal prosecutions with evidence gathered by irregular means. The memo she wrote in 1995 (see above link) could be construed as pertaining to strictly FBI counter-terrorism activities, but the irony here is that the FBI was given responsibility for monitoring foreign spies on U.S. soil, rather than the CIA, out of concern that the CIA might become too powerful and even corrupt if it kept tabs on Americans coming into contact with foreigners. The general principle that American spies and Federal detectives are supposed to stay out of each others' way is well understood by all. Anyway, the comments on that page provide a textbook display of the Loony Left in full rage, e.g., "Nostradammit": "How can anyone who cites Rush Limbaugh as a credible source on any subject not be banned for impersonating a sentient being?" Huh? I cite Rush every so often, so does that mean I'm not a sentient being?? To me, it's fairly obvious that both President Bush ("W") and President Clinton could have been more alert to the threat of terrorism, and even more obvious that partisan bickering over which of the two leaders did a better or worse job in that regard is not only pointless, but serves to divide us further, which is exactly what our enemies want.
Lately I've become increasingly weary of the monotonous screeching, contemptuous attitude, hyper-cynical tone, and profane language on most leftist blogs, so for the sake of maintaining my own (mostly) positive outlook on life, I've sharply restricted my intake of their bile. Maybe someone else can work on "building bridges" for a while...