Pentagon's Able Danger Program Identified 9/11 hijackers in 2000
"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, 9/22/05
The Senate's stymied investigation of the Pentagon's Able Danger program is a clear example of how powerful factions within the U.S. government are 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. Links to the original media articles are included. The articles are listed in reverse date order, with the most recent articles listed first.
The media lately has dropped this most important story. Let us call on both the media and our political representatives to pressure the Pentagon to allow this important investigation to move forward. You can play an important role now by forwarding this information to your friends and colleagues. And for an abundance of other vital, reliable information on 9/11, see our 9/11 Information Center. Though this information may be disturbing, it is also a powerful opportunity for us all to work together towards a brighter future.
Note: Congressman Curt Weldon's stirring speech to Congress, though quite recent, is the final item listed below as it summarizes the Able Danger case so well and inspires action. Even if you have limited time, this courageous speech is well worth reading. For the most current articles (including all below) related to Able Danger see: https://www.WantToKnow.info/abledanger911
Pentagon 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 News report and released government documents on the Pentagon's past top-secret plans to foment terrorism and kill innocent Americans in the US: https://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)
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...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: The public hearing scheduled for October 5th never happened. Any ideas why?
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. 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.
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. 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...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.
Naval officer says Atta's identity known pre-9/11
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. 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. 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...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.
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.
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