Able Danger Blog

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tim Roemer calls for an investigation

Here is the transcript. While still skeptical of Able Danger, at one point Roemer says, "Well, I think first of all, that the Congress performing its oversight function should have some hearings on this."

Later on he repeats, "Let's get to the bottom of it Lou, let's do an investigation." Other than that, there is not much new from Tim:

DOBBS: Congressman Curt Weldon, as you know, is now calling for a criminal investigation of Able Danger, the Pentagon intelligence unit, that apparently had information about Mohammed Atta and some of the 9/11 terrorists a full year. What is your reaction to that call for a criminal investigation?

ROEMER: Well, Lou, I like Congressman Weldon a lot. By the way he talks about Able Danger these days, you think it would have prevented Pearl Harbor and maybe had Congress spend money responsibly or develop some kind of immigration policy.

We have looked at this problem, Lou, and if you would present, like we did, a report card, evidence, facts, that Atta was attached, associated with these attackers, these terrorists.

And you had the proof of that, Lou, I think the 9/11 commission would have put this evidence, if it was factual, on the front of our book. We would have said, government failed to communicate in the DOD or with the FBI.

It's yet another instance of not sharing information and communicating more effectively. And I just say this too, if Congressman Weldon had this information about Atta, why didn't he come three years ago to the Joint Inquiry of Members of Congress? Why didn't he take this to the FBI three years ago? Why wait until now, four years after 9/11?

DOBBS: Because Congressman Weldon, as you know, Tim, did not get involved until two -- well, actually five members of Able Danger had been basically squelched.

The two most important witnesses by the Department of Defense. Is it not reasonable at this point, and I would like to know your thinking and that of other commission members.

You know, to explain, to ask the Department of Defense to explain, and better yet, to simply permit these people to speak on this issue and to corroborate those statements, rather than squelch them or gag them?

ROEMER: Well, I think first of all, that the Congress performing its oversight function should have some hearings on this. Let's find out if Congressman Weldon gave this chart to Steve Hadley at the White House. Why does Steve Hadley say he hasn't seen it and doesn't have it?

Why doesn't Don Rumsfeld answer questions about what Able Danger was capable of doing and if they ever saw this chart at DOD, at Defense Department. And why, if Congressman Weldon claims that DOD had something like this, and that, in fact, is true. Why didn't they share this with the FBI?

I think Congress should get to the bottom of this, Lou. But we haven't seen any beef. Where is this chart? Have you seen it? Has Don Rumsfeld seen it? He says no. Has Steve Hadley seen it? He says no.

We need to see evidence that this exists, we need to get to the bottom of it. And I think I want to say this too, Lou. Able Danger, other organizations that to do this data mining at the CIA and other places. This is a valuable service for us to find out more about how we piece together what terrorists and jihadists are doing.

Let's see if this did, in fact, create some kind of a spider web that associated Atta with the terrorists. But, we haven't seen any evidence of it. We would have included it in this book if we'd had it ahead of time.

DOBBS: And as you know, Tim, the claim is, that the DOD destroyed that evidence, presumably, as a matter of routine. So, as you say, an investigation might produce some rather interesting revelations.

ROEMER: Let's get to the bottom of it Lou, let's do an investigation. The Senate Intelligence Committee has done a look at this. We enthusiastically encouraged them to come out with their findings. I think they have found no evidence of this so far.

DOBBS: Tim Roemer, thanks for being here.

ROEMER: Thanks, Lou.