Able Danger News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on Able Danger
The Pentagon has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's memoir Operation Dark Heart, his book about going undercover in Afghanistan. A Department of Defense official tells Fox News that the department purchased copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security. The U.S. Army originally cleared the book for release. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attempted to block the 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.
Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why the book is being burned), click here.
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. 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. The Able Danger team had identified Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers by mid-2000 but were prevented by military lawyers from giving this information to the FBI. The Pentagon...blocked several military officers from testifying...about the Able Danger program. The chairman of the 9/11 Commission reacted to Able Danger with the standard Washington PR approach. [He] demanded that the Pentagon conduct an "investigation" to evaluate the "credibility" of Col. Shaffer and Capt. Phillpott. The final 9/11 Commission report...concluded that "American intelligence agencies were unaware of Mr. Atta until the day of the attacks." This now looks to be embarrassingly wrong. The Joint Intelligence Committees should reconvene and, in addition to Able Danger team members, we should have the 9/11 commissioners appear as witnesses so the families can hear their explanation why this doesn't matter.
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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. 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.
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.
A document obtained and witnesses interviewed by Fox News raise new questions over whether there was an effort by the Defense Department to cover up a pre-9/11 military intelligence program known as "Able Danger." At least five witnesses questioned by the Defense Department's Inspector General told Fox News that their statements were distorted by investigators in the final IG's report -- or it left out key information, backing up assertions that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta was identified a year before 9/11. Lt. Col Tony Shaffer, an operative involved with Able Danger [and author of Operation Dark Heart, a recent book which discussed the Able Danger operation, and all copies of which were destroyed by the Pentagon] said, "My last interview was very, very hostile." When asked why the IG's report was so aggressive in its denials of his claims and those of other witnesses -- that the data mining project had identified Atta as a threat to the U.S. before 9/11 -- Shaffer said [the] Defense Department was worried about taking some of the blame for 9/11. Specifically, the Defense Intelligence Agency ... wanted the removal of references to a meeting between Shaffer and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. Shaffer alleges that in that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, the commission was told about Able Danger and the identification of Atta before the attacks. Shaffer, who was undercover at the time, said there was "stunned silence" at the meeting. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 Commission report.
Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why Shaffer's book is being burned by the Pentagon), click here. For a highly revealing Fox News interview with Col. Shaffer on these major deceptions, click here.
Senators from both parties accused the Defense Department on Wednesday 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 complaints came after the Pentagon blocked several witnesses from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a public hearing on Wednesday. The only testimony provided by the Defense Department came from a senior official who would say only that he did not know whether the claims were true. But members of the panel, led by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said they regarded as credible assertions by current and former officers in the program. The officers have said they were prevented by the Pentagon from sharing information about Mr. Atta and others with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 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.
The National Security Agency, headquarters for the governments eavesdroppers and code breakers, has been located at Fort Meade, Md., for half a century. Its nickname, the Fort, has been familiar for decades to neighbors and government workers alike. Yet that nickname is one of hundreds of supposed secrets Pentagon reviewers blacked out in the new, censored edition of an intelligence officers Afghan war memoir. The Defense Department is buying and destroying the entire uncensored first printing of Operation Dark Heart, by Anthony Shaffer, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, in the name of protecting national security. Another supposed secret removed from the second printing: the location of the Central Intelligence Agencys training facility Camp Peary, Va., a fact discoverable from Wikipedia. And the name and abbreviation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, routinely mentioned in news articles. And the fact that Sigint means signals intelligence. Not only did the Pentagon black out Colonel Shaffers cover name in Afghanistan, Chris Stryker, it deleted the source of his pseudonym: the name of John Waynes character in the 1949 movie The Sands of Iwo Jima. The redactions offer a rare glimpse behind the bureaucratic veil that cloaks information the government considers too important for public airing.
Note: Interesting that this NY Times article fails to even mention the "Able Danger" program which Shaffer publicly revealed had identified some of the hijackers before 9/11. For powerful information suggesting government foreknowledge of 9/11 through this program, click here. Yet a Fox News article available here gives all the details. For lots more from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.
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 and http://www.WantToKnow.info/abledanger911
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 no media found this key story worth covering? The request was never granted, while the investigation was eventually declared closed by the military without any significant outside investigation.
"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.
For lots more reliable, verifiable information specifically on Able Danger:
The first annual National Security Whistleblowers Conference...has to be one of the more unusual gatherings of intelligence veterans in recent years. The nearly 20 current or former officials from the FBI, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and even the supersecret National Security Agency who make up the core of the conference share an unusual distinction: They are all deeply out of favor with their longtime employers. Most cannot discuss the allegations they are making in detail because the specifics are highly classified. The agencies they work for also refuse to answer questions. The current and former officials at the conference said that today's climate in Washington has never been worse for whistleblowers. One of the biggest names of the conference never even uttered a word. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer is the military intelligence operative who...went public with a controversial claim that a year before September 11, his top-secret task force "Able Danger" was able to identify the man who later turned out to be the lead hijacker [on 9/11]. Shaffer was slated to speak but instead sat quietly by as his lawyer, Mark Zaid, spoke for him. "Tony is not allowed to talk," Zaid said. "He is gagged from talking to Congress." The conference was organized by Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who was pushed out of the bureau after raising accusations of wrongdoing by other FBI translators. She has been barred from discussing the details of her case by the FBI. She created the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition www.nswbc.org to bring whistleblowers like her together to push for legal reforms.
Note: For a detailed article in Vanity Fair on Sibel Edmonds' courageous efforts to expose the truth, click here. For the whistleblowing action which drew international media attention by WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks, click here.
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."
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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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
What may be a bigger scandal is that the staff of the 9/11 Commission knew of Able Danger and what it had found, but made no mention of it in its report. This is as if the commission that investigated the attack on Pearl Harbor had written its final report without mentioning the Japanese. Mr. Weldon unveiled Able Danger in a speech on the House floor June 27, but his remarks didn't attract attention until the New York Times reported on them Tuesday. When the story broke, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat from Indiana, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, at first denied the commission had ever been informed of what Able Danger had found, and took a swipe at Mr. Weldon's credibility: "The Sept. 11th Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of the surveillance of Mohammed Atta or his cell," Mr. Hamilton said. "Had we learned of it obviously it would have been a major focus of our investigation." Mr. Hamilton changed his tune after the New York Times reported Thursday, and the Associated Press confirmed, that commission staff had been briefed on Able Danger in October, 2003, and again in July, 2004. The 9/11 commission wrote history as it wanted it to be, not as it was. The real history of what happened that terrible September day has yet to be written.
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.
Mr. Kleinsmith and the two colleagues who testified with him in [a House Armed Services Committee] open session are convinced that had the information they developed been acted on, not only 9/11, but also the October 2000, attack on the destroyer USS Cole in which 17 sailors died could have been prevented. Through computer scanning of some 2.5 terabytes of classified and unclassified data, the Able Danger team identified five "nodes" of al-Qaeda activity. One was in Brooklyn. Another was in the port of Aden in Yemen, where the USS Cole was attacked. Able Danger linked Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers to the Brooklyn cell, said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, who was the liaison between the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Able Danger team. Colonel Shaffer testified he tried three times to have Able Danger data on the Brooklyn cell presented to the FBI, but that on each occasion Pentagon lawyers forbade the meeting. In a commentary in the Wall [Street] Journal last November, Louis Freeh, who was FBI director at the time, said that if he had been told about what Able Danger had learned, 9/11 likely would have been prevented. In March, 2000, Mr. Kleinsmith was ordered to stop all work on Able Danger, and, later, to delete all the information collected. It is clear there is a cover-up. One would think a Washington press corps obsessing about a hunting accident in Texas would be more curious about it.
Note: Though Able Danger received wide media coverage when first reported six months ago, the amazing revelations of the recent hearings have received very little attention, which is why we include this article from the leading newspaper of Toledo, Ohio. For lots more reliable, verifiable information on Able Danger, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/abledanger911
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