Shaffer and the 9/11 Commission

SHAFFER AND THE 9/11 COMMISSION….One of the key allegations made by Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer in the Able Danger affair is that even though he specifically told the 9/11 Commission that Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta, they failed to follow up on it. Today he recanted that allegation. Here’s the chronology:

August 8: “[Shaffer] said he was among a group that briefed Mr. Zelikow and at least three other members of the Sept. 11 commission staff about Able Danger when they visited the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in October 2003. [Shaffer] said he had explicitly mentioned Mr. Atta as a member of a Qaeda cell in the United States.”

August 12: “As with their other meetings, Commission staff promptly prepared a memorandum for the record. That memorandum, prepared at the time, does not record any mention of Mohamed Atta or any of the other future hijackers, or any suggestion that their identities were known to anyone at DOD before 9/11.”

August 16: “Colonel Shaffer said that he had provided information about Able Danger and its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving.”

August 19: “Shaffer conceded that during his own personal briefing of Sept. 11 commission staffers in Afghanistan in Oct. 2003, he didn’t specifically name the terrorists. Instead, he detailed how Able Danger had uncovered information about three terror cells with the use of then-advanced data-mining techniques.”

Shaffer has been making the same claim for nearly two weeks, a claim that he repeated even after the 9/11 Commission had denied it. Today he had a change of heart.

Fine. But doesn’t this also throw into doubt Shaffer’s claim that Able Danger identified Atta prior to 9/11? After all, if Able Danger really did ID Atta ? complete with a picture and his position in the al-Qaeda organization ? it’s awfully hard to believe that Shaffer wouldn’t have mentioned that when he briefed the 9/11 Commission, isn’t it?

Overall, this is not doing much for Shaffer’s credibility, especially since he’s also maddeningly vague about exactly what he saw vs. what other people later told him they saw. I wonder how accurate the rest of his recollections are?