Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Show me the gag order?

Just to resolve a contradiction I ran across a few weeks ago.

From Rory O'Connor of Media Channel:

DIA spokesman Commander Terrence Sutherland denied that DIA had smeared or gagged LTC Shaffer. “Show me the gag order,” says Sutherland, who maintains that it is DOD, and not DIA, which is at the center of the Able Danger affair. And in response to my repeated queries, Commander Gregory Hicks, spokesman for DOD, could only tell me that, thus far, “I am not getting any responses yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.”

From Shaun Waterman of the UPI:

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary sought testimony from several members of the team -- code-named Able Danger -- as part of their investigation into claims that the project identified Mohamed Atta and three of the other 18 hijackers as linked to al-Qaida in early 2000, according to Senate staffers.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing a liaison to the team, Army reserve Col. Tony Shaffer, told United Press International that a letter to his client gave no reasons for blocking the testimony.

The letter was signed by the principle deputy general counsel for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Robert Berry.

Zaid said the team members "were told verbally that they would not be allowed to testify," and that he had requested the decision about his client be put in writing.

It sounds like the spokesman for the DIA and the principle deputy general counsel for the DIA need to get their stories straight. They might also want to check in with Department of Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - 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.

Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that open 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.