Able Danger News Stories
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on Able Danger from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.
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.
American aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could "seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark," according to previously secret portions of a report prepared last year by the Sept. 11 commission. The officials also realized months before the Sept. 11 attacks that two of the three airports used in the hijackings had suffered repeated security lapses. Federal Aviation Administration officials were also warned in 2001 in a report prepared for the agency that airport screeners' ability to detect possible weapons had "declined significantly" in recent years, but little was done to remedy the problem. The White House and many members of the commission...have been battling for more than a year over the release of the commission's report on aviation failures. A footnote that was originally deleted from the report showed that a quarter of the security screeners used in 2001 by Argenbright Security for United Airlines flights at Dulles Airport had not completed required criminal background checks. Much of the material now restored in the public version of the commission's report centered on the warnings the F.A.A. received about the threat of hijackings, including 52 intelligence documents in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks that mentioned Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. Richard Ben-Veniste, a former member of the Sept. 11 commission, said the release of the material more than a year after it was completed underscored the over-classification of federal material. "It's outrageous that it has taken the administration a year since this monograph was submitted for it to be released," he said.
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.
Note: The New York Times reported that the 9/11 Commission was informed of Able Danger and of lead hijacker Mohamed Atta being identified as a threat and an al Qaeda member more than a year before 9/11. Why was this crucial fact not even mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report?
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.
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.
The federal commission that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was told twice about "Able Danger," a military intelligence unit that had identified Mohamed Atta and other hijackers a year before the attacks. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.,...wrote to the former chairman and vice-chairman of the Sept. 11 commission late Wednesday, telling them that their staff had received two briefings on the military intelligence unit -- once in October 2003 and again in July 2004. Weldon...wrote to former Chairman Gov. Thomas Kean and Vice-Chairman Rep. Lee Hamilton. "The 9/11 commission staff received not one but two briefings on Able Danger from former team members, yet did not pursue the matter. "The commission's 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"
Note: For an abundance of excellent, incriminating information on this, see our Able Danger Information Center.
More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress. In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday. The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas.
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