Carol Platt Liebau: Able Danger Hearings

Monday, September 19, 2005

Able Danger Hearings

These should be worth tuning in for.


Blogger cookie jill said...

First the Pentagon had never heard of Able Danger, then it was "merely" a planning effort that ran it's course in early 2001, now it is so top secret and vital to national security - more than four years after 9/11 - that no one can testify about it to Congress. From the New York Times:

The Pentagon said today that it had blocked a group of military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified military intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The announcement came a day before the officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Pentagon must have realized their testimony would show that Bush stopped efforts against Al Qaeda in early 2001 that could have stopped 9/11.

Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that opened testimony about the program "would not be appropriate - we have expressed our security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum." He offered no other detail on the Pentagon's reasoning in blocking the testimony....

Mr. Whitman, the Pentagon spokesman, said that in place of members of the Able Danger team, a senior defense official would be sent to the Wednesday hearing to discuss "what the law and policies are on domestic surveillance and to provide some insights about information-sharing between agencies."

"Not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum?" The Pentagon HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON IT two weeks ago. The only thing not possible is for the truth to get out about the mistakes of this administration and their culpability in 9/11.

Clearly, the tune changed after they realized Able Danger was an embarassment to them, not the Clinton administration. Listen to Republican Congressman Curt Weldon of all people:

I can tell you, to not have this covered by the 9/11 Commission, to not have it mentioned, for them to say, as they did initially, that it was historically insignificant -- 2.5 terabytes of data about Mohammed Atta and Al Qaida, a three-hour briefing for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is historically insignificant? A briefing that included Richard Schiefren (ph), with Steve Cambone, in March of 2001, five months before 9/11, is historically insignificant? I don't think so....

And so I felt, after seeing what I thought was a ridiculous press conference yesterday and knowing what's going to come up on Wednesday at the Senate hearing -- unless somebody is gagged between now and Wednesday, because I have talked to all the witnesses -- there are some serious questions that need to be answered.

Serious questions like this one

SHAFFER: We all realized that we had these guys. And then we started asking some questions to ourselves. Why was Able Danger, why was this whole technology piece turned off four months before the 9/11 attacks? In the spring of 2001, it was dismantled, all, completely...

Update: Who was planning to testify before they were gagged?

The list includes:
• Naval Capt. Scott Philpott, an Able Danger team leader, according to the Pentagon, who approached the September 11 commission with what he knew about Atta in 2004.
• Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the Defense Intelligence Agency employee who acted as liaison with Able Danger team members. Col. Shaffer was the first to come forward with allegations that Pentagon lawyers rebuffed his attempts to coordinate a meeting between Able Danger analysts and the FBI.
• An FBI agent, who, according to Mr. Weldon, will testify under oath that she organized the meetings between the FBI and Able Danger analysts to discuss Atta.
• A Pentagon employee, who will testify that he was ordered to destroy 2.5 terabytes of information Able Danger had compiled, which is roughly equivalent to one-fourth of all the printed material in the Library of Congress. According to Mr. Weldon, this person, as yet unidentified, will also name the officer who gave the order.

8:35 PM  

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