September 2010 Archives
EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon Attempts to Block Book on Afghan War
Published September 10, 2010
On the eve of Sept. 11, Fox News has learned the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has attempted to block a book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called "Able Danger."
In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if "Operation Dark Heart" is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim "Able Danger" successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
In a highly unusual move, the Department of Defense is now negotiating with the publisher, St. Martin's Press, to buy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of the book to keep it off shelves -- even after the U.S. Army had cleared the book for release.
Specifically, the DIA wanted references to a meeting between Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, the book's author, and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. In that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, Shaffer alleges the commission was told about "Able Danger" and the identification of Atta before the attacks. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 report.
Shaffer, who was undercover at the time, said there was "stunned silence" at the meeting after he told the executive director of the commission and others that Atta was identified as early as 2000 by "Able Danger."
"Dr. Philip Zelikow approached me in the corner of the room. 'What you said today is very important. I need you to get in touch with me as soon as you return from your deployment here in Afghanistan'," Shaffer said.
Once back in the U.S., Shaffer says he contacted the commission. Without explanation, the commission was no longer interested. An inspector general report by the Department of Defense concluded there was no evidence to support the claims of Shaffer and others. But Fox News has obtained an unredacted copy of the IG report containing the names of witnesses, who backed up Shaffer's story when contacted for comment.
Atta was the alleged ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers and piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center.
Shaffer spoke to Fox News before he was asked by the military not to discuss the book. He confirmed efforts to block the book and other details.
Calling the move "highly unusual," he explained that the book had already been cleared for release when the DIA stepped in.
"Apparently, Defense Intelligence Agency took exception to the way the Army cleared the book," he told Fox News.
The documents and exclusive interviews, including an Army data collector on the Able Danger Project, are part of an ongoing investigation by the documentary unit "Fox News Reporting" which uncovered new details about American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and efforts by the FBI to track and recruit him for intelligence purposes after 9/11.
9/11 hijacker identified before attacks?
- Updated 7:10 PM PDT -
McAfee Labs is currently investigating a new threat commonly referred to as the "Here you have" virus due to the email subject line the worm uses during propagation. It looks like multiple variants may be spreading and may take some time to work through them all to paint a clearer picture. Here's what we know thus far.
Infectious email messages may have the following properties:
Subject: Here you have or Just For you
This is The Document I told you about,you can find it Here.
Please check it and reply as soon as possible.
This is The Free Dowload Sex Movies,you can find it Here.
Enjoy Your Time.
The URL does not actually lead to a PDF document, but rather an executable in disguise, such as PDF_Document21_025542010_pdf.scr served from a different domain, such as members.multimania.co.uk this URL is no longer active and the email propagation vector is believed to be crippled at this time (though already infected hosts may continue to spread email messages).
Here is some additional information on the threat behavior:
W32/VBMania@MM - http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_275435.htm
When a user chooses to manually follow the hyperlink, they will be prompted to download or execute the virus. When run, the virus installs itself to the Windows directory as CSRSS.EXE (not to be confused with the valid CSRSS.EXE file within the Windows System directory). Once infected the worm attempts to send the aforementioned message to email address book recipients. It can also spread through accessible remote machines, mapped drives, and removable media via Autorun replication.
Troll sent a funny one:
Morgantown, W.Va. -- Microsoft Corp. and the chief rules enforcer for Xbox Live are apologizing to a small West Virginia town and a 26-year-old gamer accused of violating the online gaming service's code of conduct by publicly declaring he's from Fort Gay -- a name the company considered offensive.
The town's name is real. But when Josh Moore tried to tell Seattle-based Microsoft and the enforcement team at Xbox Live, they wouldn't take his word for it. Or Google it. Or check the U.S. Postal Service website for a ZIP code.
Instead, they suspended his gaming privileges for a few days until Moore could convince them the location in his profile, "fort gay WV," wasn't a joke or a slur: It's an actual community of about 800 in Wayne County, along West Virginia's western border with Kentucky.
"At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I was mad. ... It makes me feel like they hate gay people," said Moore, an unemployed factory worker who plays shooters like "Medal of Honor," "Call of Duty" and "Ghost Recon" under the gamertag Joshanboo.
"I'm not even gay, and it makes me feel like they were discriminating," said Moore, who missed a key "Search and Destroy" competition because of last week's brief suspension. His team lost.
Angry and incredulous, Moore contacted customer service.
"I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place,' " Moore reasoned. But the employee was unreceptive, warning Moore if he put Fort Gay back in his profile, Xbox Live would cancel his account and keep his $12 monthly membership fee, which he'd paid in advance for two years.
"I told him, Google it -- 25514!" Moore said, offering up the town's ZIP code. "He said, 'I can't help you.' "
Mayor David Thompson also tried to intervene, but with little success. He told television station WSAZ, which first reported the dispute, that he was informed the city's name didn't matter. The word "gay," he was told, was inappropriate in any context.
"It was so inappropriate for them, they wouldn't even say the word," Thompson told the AP Wednesday. "They said, 'that word.' It's beyond me. That's the name of our town! It's appalling. It's a slap in our face."
Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live blamed miscommunication.
"Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner," Toulouse said. "Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. ... When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."
Complaints, he notes, come to agents with no contextual information, including who the suspected offender is or what games they play. The agent simply looks at the language and determines whether it complies with policy.
The Xbox Live player's contract says users cannot "create a gamertag, avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members," and lists potentially dangerous topics such as drug use, hate speech and racial, ethnic or religious slurs.
Fort Gay has been a community since 1789, when 11 people tried to establish a settlement at the junction of the Tug and Big Sandy rivers, across from what is now Louisa, Ky. It was incorporated as Cassville in 1875 but was simultaneously known as Fort Gay until 1932, when town leaders changed it to the latter for good.
Toulouse said he will contact Moore and apologize. Staying ahead of slang and policing Xbox for offensive is a constant challenge, he said.
"In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made," he said, "and we're going to make it right."