Able Danger Blog

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Flooding the Zone

No, it's not the New York Times. It's The Rant, a conservative news site, which has an interview by Joe Stener with Curt Weldon, plus a new article by Barbara Anderson.

Here is an excerpt from An Interview with US Rep. Curt Weldon

Q: Rumford’s spin in shutting up the Able Danger members is that it is classified information. Its non-sense, is it not?

A: None of this information is classified. I would never jeopardized classified information to be brought out to the public. This information is all open source information; there is no reason to worry in any way about classification. That is a red herring. That’s an excuse that does not have any merit. I would not be supportive of the telling of the story if it were classified [information]. It is simply an attempt by bureaucrats to cover their rear ends.

Q: Is it bureaucrats, or was it administration officials [that were blocking this investigation]?

A: The bureaucracy within the defense intelligence community does not want this story to come out. There are Clinton administration officials, like Jamie Gorelick and inner cell that do not want this story to come out. And there are a few people that are still within the Bush administration, who were in office in ‘999 –2000, who will also be embarrassed. [But] the American people deserve to know the details of what Able Danger was doing, what information they developed, and why this wasn’t past on to the FBI.

Q: You got the signatures of 246 Congressmen for your letter. This is a majority of congress; yet, why is not the whole congress in [to uncover] a scandal of this kind?

A: If I would have tried another week, I would of hade the entire congress. Everyone I asked signed the letter; I did that in two days. One forty three republicans, one hundred and three democrats [signed on to the letter, including] senior leaders from both parties. Steny Hoyer the number two democrat in the house, Roy Blunt the number two (acting number one) republican in the house, senior leaders of defense, appropriations, [committees], all of them have signed the letter. There is no one that turned me down.

Q: Is the senate working to put pressure on the pentagon, or maybe they are to busy protecting the rights of captured terrorist?

A: I do not know what the senate is doing. [However, senate republican] Arlen specter (PA) has been very supportive; [democrat] Joseph Biden (Delaware) has been very supportive; [Republicans] Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John kyl (Arizona), Jeff sessions (Alabama) [are all supportive]. So there has been senators who had expressed interest. Lindsey Graham has [also] expressed interest. We want to make sure this thing is not swept under the rug. Others want to try to hide this; they want the story to go away. This is not going to go away!

Q: Can you give me the names [of those who want to hide this]?

A: No, I [will] rather not give any names. All I can say is; we are not going to stop until the Able Danger team will [be] able to tell their story publicly.

Here is some of the article Able Danger: Historically Insignificant or Unfinished Business

Representative Weldon’s concerns also include the treatment of the “whistleblowers” of Able Danger, who knew their work was valuable and wanted it to count. When LTC Anthony Shaffer went public, appearing on talk shows, retaliation was swift. Representative Weldon has summed it up:

“They have gagged the military officers. They have prevented them from talking to any member of Congress. They have prevented them from talking to the media. And the Defense Intelligence Agency has began a process to destroy the career and the life of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer”.

Able Danger participants have been effectively silenced. Punitive measures have been enacted against LTC Shaffer and threats made of removing his health care benefits from his two children and loss of pay. The public has not been able to hear anything from them since they were gagged. Before the Pentagon issued its gag order two months ago, forbidding LTC Shaffer and other Able Danger officers from discussing the program publicly, Shaffer wrote in an e-mail to September 11 family members: “The 9/11 commission may not have ‘connected the dots’ as completely as they could and should have - and that is my concern and the concern of others working this issue”.

Some members of the 9/11 Commission have come to the defense of their work. Slade Gorton appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight and told the audience that there really was nothing further worth telling about 9/11. Tim Roemer has appeared twice on the same program, giving the same message. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, members of the 9/11 Commission claimed that “The U.S. is at greater risk for more terrorist attacks because Congress and the White House have failed to enact several strong security measures“. They also took the occasion to scoff at the notion that Able Danger had anything of value to offer the commission’s report.