Able Danger Blog

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Monday, January 23, 2006

If they fire him, he can talk to the media

Wes Vernon reports some new developments:

Two Pentagon military officers — Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Philpott — say that a secret unit named Able Danger identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammad Atta as a terrorist one year before the attacks on New York and Washington. Others have since come forward to say they saw the same intelligence chart to which Shaffer and Philpot alluded.

Most of the mainstream media ignored this one. However, in answer to a question, Congressman Weldon told me the other day that "Lou Dobbs on CNN is in this [story] up to his eyeballs, and he's determined to stay with it until the end....The same thing is true with Fox News and one reporter Katherine Herridge. She's very much on it. The New York Times [perhaps surprisingly] is on it. It's all over talk radio." He might have added columnist Michelle Malkin has been following the story. But ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post? The biggies [other than NYT]? "I don't know," says the congressman, "I don't think the mainstream media wants to get into it."

On TV, Weldon said, "You can't let a Lt. Col.'s career be ruined because of a bureaucrat at DIA. We're seeing lying and distortion, Wolf Blitzer [CNN] told me that a Defense Department official [likely DIA or originating with DIA] had told him that Shaffer was having an affair with a member of my staff. He doesn't even know my staff. What do we stand for, if not truth?" Also the Feds leaked to the mainstream media info that Shaffer stole pens when he was 15. That's how desperate these people are.

But it doesn't end there. In a January 18 talk before the National Press Club's American Legion Post #20 here in Washington, Weldon said not only has the DIA denied Col Shaffer his clearance, "they're about to do the unthinkable." Now it turns out, "[t]hey're going to deny his health care benefits for his kids, take away his pay without firing him because if they fire him, he can talk to the media." Pentagon authorities — partly at Weldon's insistence — have backed off on that pending a report from the in-house Inspector General.

There's another angle to this: The 9/11 commission missed the all-important Able Danger scandal on Mohammed Atta, even though the information had been handed to a member of the commission staff. Weldon says Peter Lance, an ABC investigative reporter is coming out in a few months with "an earth-shaker" of a book charging that a staffer for 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick, limited the scope of the commission.

UPDATE: Vi noticed this near the end of the article, too:

Next month or perhaps very soon thereafter, several congressional committees, in both the House and the Senate, will hold hearings on the Able Danger mess. Armed Services, Government Reform, Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs panels reportedly are making preparations. Some hearings may be held behind closed doors.