"Senators from both parties accused the Defense Department ... of obstructing an investigation into whether a highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger did indeed identify Mohamed Atta and other future hijackers as potential threats well before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Pentagon blocked several witnesses from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The officers have said they were prevented by the Pentagon from sharing information about Mr. Atta and others with the [FBI]. The Pentagon has acknowledged that at least five members of Able Danger have said they recall a chart produced in 2000 that identified Mr. Atta, who became the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11 plot, as a potential terrorist."
-- New York Times on Able Danger Project, 9/22/05
The Pentagon's Able Danger project is a clear example of how the U.S. government is blocking efforts to reveal failures of intelligence which led to the 9/11 attacks. Below is a compilation of excerpts from major media news stories covering this most important case. These excerpts are taken verbatim from the major media website at the link provided. The articles are listed in reverse date order, with the most recent articles listed first. For a clear picture of Able Danger, consider starting with the last article first and moving up the list. For lots more vital information on 9/11 failures and possible complicity, see our 9/11 Information Center.
Hijackers Were Not Identified Before 9/11, Investigation Says
September 22, 2006, Washington Post
The Defense Department's inspector general has concluded that a top secret intelligence-gathering program did not identify Mohamed Atta or any other hijacker before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, determining that there is no evidence to substantiate claims that Atta's name and photograph were on charts collected by military officials before the strikes. Pentagon officials said that the recollections of several officials involved in the "Able Danger" data-mining operation "were not accurate" and that a chart they said included a blurry image of Atta and his name never existed. The report concluded that there were no efforts to prevent contact between the Pentagon group and the FBI. The investigation began after members of Congress raised concerns over reports that Navy Capt. Scott Philpott and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer remembered seeing Atta's photograph on documents collected by the intelligence program, and that the commission investigating the attacks had ignored their assertions. The assertions gained considerable steam when Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) said...that, two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, he presented White House officials with a chart that depicted people affiliated with al-Qaeda, including lead hijacker Atta. "I am appalled that the DoD IG would expect the American people to actually consider this a full and thorough investigation," Weldon said. "I question their motives and the content of the report, and I reject the conclusions they have drawn." Shaffer has consistently maintained that he believes he saw Atta's image.
Note: This article is a prime example of how the media at times is seriously biased to support the official story of 9/11. I invite you to read the article and then read the many articles below. When a prominent Republican congressman and several military officers have clearly stated the opposite, is it really possible to conclude that "there is no evidence to substantiate claims that Atta's name and photograph were on charts collected by military officials before the strikes." Were these military and government representatives all lying, and if so, why?
Suit airs Able Danger claims
March 4, 2006, Sacramento Bee (Leading newspaper of Sacramento, Calif.)
Two operatives at the center of the Able Danger controversy have sued the Defense Department for denying them contact with their lawyers during closed congressional hearings. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and J.D. Smith were among a dozen intelligence officers and contractors who worked on the clandestine program set up long before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to track al-Qaida. They are accusing the Pentagon...of violating their First Amendment rights by blocking their access to legal counsel during the closed sessions. "Able Danger identified the Sept. 11, 2001, attack leader Mohamed Atta, and three of the 9/11 plot's 19 hijackers, as possible members of an al-Qaida cell linked to the 1993 World Trade Center attack or its participants," the suit said. Shaffer, a Bronze Star recipient who fought undercover in Afghanistan, caused a stir in August when he stepped forward to say that he and other Able Danger operatives had identified Atta as long as 21 months before the Sept. 11 attacks. That claim - later supported by the Able Danger team's leader, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott - contradicted a central finding of the commission Congress had set up to probe the Sept. 11 attacks, which concluded that none of the hijackers had been known to U.S. authorities before the assault.
Note: Though the major media once gave Able Danger good coverage, only the Sacramento Bee has mention that the team's leader is one of the individuals who stepped forward.
National security whistle-blowers allege retaliation
February 16 , 2006, Sacramento Bee (leading newspaper of California's capital city)
Military and intelligence officers told spellbound lawmakers Tuesday that their careers had been ruined by superiors because they refused to lie about Able Danger, Abu Ghraib and other national security controversies. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer...told a House Government Reform subcommittee that he and other intelligence officers and contractors working on the top-secret program code-named "Able Danger" had identified Mohammed Atta, ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, but were prevented from passing their findings to the FBI. "Many of us have a personal commitment to ... going forward to expose the truth and wrongdoing of government officials who, before and after the 9/11 attacks, failed to do their job." Shaffer contradicted recent statements by Philip Zelikow, former executive director of the Sept. 11 commission, who denied having met with Shaffer and other Able Danger operatives in Afghanistan in October 2003. "I did meet with him," Shaffer said. "I have the business card he gave me. I find it hard to believe that he could not remember meeting me." The commission's chairman and vice chairman, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, released a statement saying the panel had looked into the work of Able Danger and found it "historically insignificant."
Note: Though Able Danger received wide media coverage when it first came out six months ago, CNN was the only major media outlet to give significant coverage to this most important news. Yet CNN did not post the text of the program on their website. Why isn't our media covering this vital topic? For lots more on this, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/911information
than half of the U.S. House of Representatives wants open hearings on Able Danger
November 18, 2005, US House of Representatives Website of Curt Weldon (R-Pa)
U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signed by over half of the House of Representatives requesting that he allow "former participants in the intelligence program known as ABLE DANGER to testify in an open hearing before the United States Congress." The letter has 246 signatures (144 Republicans, 101 Democrats, and one Independent), including senior members and leadership on both sides of the isle. "The full story of ABLE DANGER deserves to be heard by the American people," said Weldon. "Secretary Rumsfeld must understand that the will of Congress is behind allowing members of the ABLE DANGER effort to testify in an open hearing about the work they were doing prior to 9-11 to track the linkages and relationships of al-Qaeda worldwide. Congressional efforts to investigate ABLE DANGER have been obstructed by Department of Defense insistence that certain individuals with knowledge of ABLE DANGER be prevented from freely and frankly testifying in an open hearing.
Note: Why did this petition get virtually no media attention, and why was nothing ever done?
Did the 9/11 Commission Ignore 'Able Danger'?
November 17, 2005, Wall Street Journal
This is...a good time for the country to make some assessments of the 9/11 Commission. Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named "Able Danger" have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name...as an al Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents. Why? The Able Danger intelligence, if confirmed, is undoubtedly the most relevant fact of the entire post-9/11 inquiry. Even the most junior investigator would immediately know that the name and photo ID of Atta in 2000 is precisely the kind of tactical intelligence the FBI has many times employed to prevent attacks and arrest terrorists. Yet the 9/11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it "was not historically significant." This astounding conclusion--in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings--raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself.
Note: This amazingly blunt article is written by former FBI Director Louis Freeh! It is a valuable, critical summary of the twists and turns of the Pentagon's Able Danger.
Congressman Curt Weldon's Speech to Congress
October 19, 2005, Official Website of Congressman Weldon (R-Pa)
"I have been in this institution 19 years. I am the vice chairman of [the Committee on Armed Services] and chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the purchase of our weapons systems. I am a strong supporter of our military. I am a strong supporter of President Bush. I campaigned for him. I am a strong supporter of Secretary Rumsfeld. I say all of that, Mr. Speaker, because...there is something desperately wrong here. There is a bureaucracy in the Defense Intelligence Agency that is out of control. They want to destroy the reputation of a 23-year military officer, Bronze Star recipient, hero of our country, with two kids because people in defense intelligence are embarrassed at what is going to come out. I have met with at least 10 people who fully corroborate what Tony Shaffer says. This is not [about] Republicans or Democrats. It is about what is fundamental to this country. I would ask our constituents across America [who] we represent to join us, to express their outrage, to e-mail, make phone calls, write letters to the Secretary of Defense, the President of the United States, to Members of Congress to...let the Able Danger story finally come out to the American people. Let them understand what really happened. Let Scott Philpott talk. Let Tony Shaffer talk. Let the others who have been silenced have a chance to tell their story to Congress and openly to the American people. In the end, the country will be stronger.
Revokes 9/11 Officer's Clearance
September 30, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
An officer who has claimed that a classified military unit identified four Sept. 11 hijackers before the 2001 attacks is facing Pentagon accusations of breaking numerous rules, charges his lawyer suggests are aimed at undermining his credibility. The alleged infractions by Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, 42, include obtaining a service medal under false pretenses, improperly flashing military identification while drunk and stealing pens, according to military paperwork shown by his attorney to The Associated Press. Shaffer was one of the first to publicly link Sept. 11 leader Mohamed Atta to the unit code-named Able Danger. Shaffer was one of five witnesses the Pentagon ordered not to appear Sept. 21 before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the unit's findings. The military revoked Shaffer's top security clearance this month, a day before he was supposed to testify to a congressional committee.
See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
September 29, 2005, New York Times
Republican members of Congress say there are signs that the Defense Department may be carrying out new intelligence activities through programs intended to escape oversight from Congress and the new director of national intelligence. The warnings are an unusually public signal of some Republican lawmakers' concern about overreaching by the Pentagon, where top officials have been jockeying with the new intelligence chief, John D. Negroponte, for primacy in intelligence operations. The lawmakers said they believed that some intelligence activities, involving possible propaganda efforts and highly technological initiatives, might be masked as so-called special access programs, the details of which are highly classified.
Note: To see an ABC report on the Pentagon's past plans to foment terrorism and kill Americans in the US: http://www.WantToKnow.info/010501operationnorthwoods
known to Pentagon before 9/11
September 28, 2005, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0509280150sep28,1,3686073.story (Page 1 of 4)
http://mediachannel.org/blog/node/1193 (All four pages)
Four years after the nation's deadliest terror attack, evidence is accumulating that a super-secret Pentagon intelligence unit identified the organizer of the Sept. 11 hijackings, Mohamed Atta, as an Al Qaeda operative months before he entered the U.S. Had the FBI been alerted to what the Pentagon purportedly knew in early 2000, Atta's name could have been put on a list that would have tagged him as someone to be watched the moment he stepped off a plane in Newark, N.J., in June of that year. Physical and electronic surveillance of Atta, who lived openly in Florida for more than a year, and who acquired a driver's license and even an FAA pilot's license in his true name, might well have made it possible for the FBI to expose the Sept. 11 plot before the fact. Anthony Shaffer, a civilian Pentagon employee, says he was asked in the summer of 2000 by a Navy captain, Scott Phillpott, to arrange a meeting between the FBI and representatives of the Pentagon intelligence program, code-named Able/Danger. But he said the meeting was canceled after Pentagon lawyers concluded that information on suspected Al Qaeda operatives with ties to the U.S. might violate Pentagon prohibitions on retaining information on "U.S. persons," a term that includes U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens. Asked by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at a hearing last week whether Atta...was a "U.S. person," a senior Pentagon official answered, "No, he was not."
Senate committee bicker over 9/11 probe
September 23, 2005, ABC/Reuters
The Pentagon and the Senate Judiciary Committee squabbled publicly on Friday about whether lawmakers could question five key witnesses in public about their claims the U.S. military identified four September 11 hijackers long before the 20001 attacks. The panel's chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said at Wednesday's hearing the Pentagon could be guilty of obstructing congressional proceedings. Other lawmakers accused the Defense Department of orchestrating a cover-up. On Friday, the Senate committee announced the Pentagon had reversed its position and would allow the five witnesses to testify at a new public hearing scheduled for October 5. The five witnesses in question were all involved with Able Danger and contend the team identified September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers as members of an al Qaeda cell in early 2000. One prospective witness, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, has said publicly that Able Danger members tried to pass the information about Atta along to the FBI three times in September 2000 but were forced by Pentagon lawyers to cancel the meetings. Much of the information related to Able Danger was destroyed in 2000.
Note: This article has been removed from the ABC website for unknown reasons.
Military Bars 9/11 Intel Testimony
September 21, 2005, CBS/Associated Press
The Department of Defense forbade a military intelligence officer to testify Wednesday about a secret military unit that the officer says identified four Sept. 11 hijackers as terrorists more than a year before the attacks, according to the man's attorney. In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, attorney Mark Zaid, who represents Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said the Pentagon also refused to permit testimony there by a defense contractor that he also represents. The Judiciary Committee was hearing testimony about the work of a classified unit code named "Able Danger." Zaid, appearing on behalf of Shaffer and contractor John Smith [stated] that Able Danger, using data mining techniques, identified four of the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11, 2001 - including mastermind Mohamed Atta. "At least one chart, and possibly more, featured a photograph of Mohamed Atta," Zaid said. Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Defense Department spokesman, said Wednesday that open testimony would not be appropriate. "There's nothing more to say than that," Swiergosz said. "It's not possible to discuss the Able Danger program because there are security concerns." Zaid also charged that records associated with the unit were destroyed during 2000 and March 2001, and copies were destroyed in spring 2004. Former members of the Sept. 11 commission have dismissed the "Able Danger" assertions.
Panel rejects assertion US knew of Atta before Sept. 11
September 15, 2005, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Former members of the Sept. 11 commission on Wednesday dismissed assertions that a Pentagon intelligence unit identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as an member of al-Qaida long before the 2001 attacks. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., had accused the commission of ignoring intelligence about Atta while it investigated the attacks. The commission's former chairman, Thomas Kean, said there was no evidence anyone in the government knew about Atta before Sept. 11, 2001. Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, claimed a classified military intelligence unit, known as "Able Danger," identified Atta before the attacks. Shaffer has said three other hijackers were identified, too. Kean said the recollections of the intelligence officers cannot be verified by any document. "Bluntly, it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us," said a former commissioner, ex-Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash. Weldon's spokesman, John Tomaszewski, said no commissioners have met with anyone from Able Danger "yet they choose to speak with some form of certainty without firsthand knowledge."
Note: If you read the New York Times article from Aug. 11th, commission officials clearly stated that they were warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing the commission's final report that the account would be incomplete without reference Able Danger and Atta, as confirmed by the commission's own chief spokesperson. Is this more recent article a rewriting of the facts?
Congressman Says Pentagon Employee Was Ordered to Destroy Data Identifying Atta
As a Terrorist
September 15, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday. The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.
Weldon doubts DoD on Able Danger
September 8, 2005, UPI
The congressman who first made public claims that a secret Pentagon data mining project linked the Sept. 11 attacks ringleader to al-Qaida more than a year before the attacks took place says he does not believe the military's account of how the results of the project's work came to be destroyed. "I seriously have my doubts that it was routine," Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Penn., told United Press International. Weldon said he had asked the Pentagon for the certificates of destruction that military officials must complete when classified data is destroyed. He said that there had been "a second elimination of data in 2003," in addition to the destruction acknowledged last week. "For some reason, the bureaucracy in the Pentagon -- I mean the civilian bureaucracy -- didn't want this to get out," he said.
More remember Atta ID'd as terrorist pre-9/11
September 1, 2005, MSNBC/Associated Press
Pentagon officials said Thursday they have found three more people who recall an intelligence chart that identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta as a terrorist one year before the attacks on New York and Washington. But they have been unable to find the chart or other evidence that it existed. On Thursday, four intelligence officials provided the first extensive briefing for reporters on the outcome of their interviews with people associated with Able Danger and their review of documents. They said they interviewed at least 80 people over a three-week period and found three, besides Philpott and Shaffer, who said they remember seeing a chart that either mentioned Atta by name as an al-Qaida operative or showed his photograph. Four of the five recalled a chart with a pre-9/11 photo of Atta; the other person recalled only a reference to his name. The intelligence officials said they consider the five people to be credible but their recollections are still unverified. Navy Cmdr. Christopher Chope, of the Center for Special Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command, said there were "negative indications" that anyone ever ordered the destruction of Able Danger documents, other than the materials that were routinely required to be destroyed under existing regulations.
Naval officer says Atta's identity known pre-9/11
Captain is second military man to say terrorist was named
August 23, 2005, New York Times/San Francisco Chronicle
An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret defense intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks. The officer, Capt. Scott Phillpott, said in a statement Monday that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. His comments came on the same day that the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, told reporters that the Defense Department had been unable to validate the assertions made by an Army intelligence veteran, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and now backed up by Phillpott, about the early identification of Atta. Shaffer went public with his assertions last week, saying that analysts in the intelligence project had been overruled by military lawyers when they tried to share the program's findings with the FBI in 2000 in hopes of tracking down terrorist suspects tied to al Qaeda.
9/11 Commission's Staff Rejected Report on Early Identification of Chief Hijacker
August 11, 2005, New York Times
The Sept. 11 commission was warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing its final report that the account would be incomplete without reference to what he described as a secret military operation that by the summer of 2000 had identified as a potential threat the member of Al Qaeda who would lead the attacks more than a year later. The officials said that the information had not been included in the report because aspects of the officer's account had sounded inconsistent with what the commission knew about that Qaeda member, Mohammed Atta, the plot's leader. [Republican congressman Curt] Weldon has accused the commission of ignoring information that would have forced a rewriting of the history of the Sept. 11 attacks. He has asserted that the Able Danger unit...sought to call their superiors' attention to Mr. Atta and three other future hijackers in the summer of 2000. Their work, he says, had identified the men as likely members of a Qaeda cell already in the United States. In a letter sent Wednesday to members of the commission, Mr. Weldon criticized the panel in scathing terms, saying that its "refusal to investigate Able Danger after being notified of its existence, and its recent efforts to feign ignorance of the project while blaming others for supposedly withholding information on it, brings shame on the commissioners." Al Felzenberg, who served as the commission's chief spokesman, said earlier this week that staff members who were briefed about Able Danger at a first meeting, in October 2003, did not remember hearing anything about Mr. Atta or an American terrorist cell. On Wednesday, however, Mr. Felzenberg said the uniformed officer who briefed two staff members in July 2004 had indeed mentioned Mr. Atta.
For lots more reliable, verifiable information specifically on Able Danger:
For lots more vital information on 9/11 failures, see our 9/11 Information Center
9/11 & Able Danger