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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lou Dobbs interview with Congressman Weldon

From CNN on Friday, January 13, 2006:

DOBBS: It's been an eventful couple of months for Congressman Curt Weldon. He's been fighting nonstop to open Able Danger hearings on Capitol Hill. Exactly a month ago, the Pentagon gave its OK for hearings to go forward with the participation of Able Danger intelligence officials who had been prevented from doing so earlier by the DOD.

These officials say they were prevented from sharing top secret information about 9/11 and 9/11 terrorists that they claim they could have prevented the terrorist attacks. Weldon's new challenge is to make sure these hearings begin soon so Americans can finally learn the truth about this controversy.

Congressman Weldon joins me tonight from Wilmington, Delaware. Congressman when do the hearings begin?

REP. CURT WELDON (R) HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE.: Probably as soon as we get back into session, which is in a couple of weeks. We've been methodically relaying the groundwork. There are actually four separate investigations and inquiries under way right now: you've got the IG investigation of DIA's handling of Tony Schaeffer; you've got committee hearings involved both Appropriations and Intelligence; you've got inquiries being done by Armed Services and Homeland Security.

So there's a lot of activity under way, both in the House and separate inquiries over in the Senate. So we're moving along, and I expect that sometime in February we'll begin the formal open hearings.

DOBBS: Right now, you're no longer frustrated, even though it is a slow-as-molasses approach -- you're not longer frustrated by the recalcitrance of the DOD?

WELDON: Well, we've gotten the commitment. Gordon England has really been a fantastic support as the deputy secretary, and we're moving along and I'm confident we're going to finally let the American people see what we knew, when we knew it a year or two before 9/11.

DOBBS: And when you say problems for Colonel Schaeffer, specifically what are you referring to? Share that with our audience.

WELDON: Well, there was a gross attempt to try to -- not just ruin him, but destroy him, an attempt to take away his benefits for his kids, his salary for himself, and ruin his career. With the help of Gordon England and the incoming director of DIA, we got that put on hold until the inspector general completes the investigation. That investigation is underway.

Colonel Schaeffer is currently still being paid. He's still willing to do work and wants to help the country and really wants to help us generate the next capability of this data mining process, a process called Able Providence. And we're working on that as an improvement to allow us to deal with the terrorists in the future.

DOBBS: And you and journalist Peter Lance have both focused on Dieter Snell, who was the counsel for the 9/11 Commission. What do you -- are you going have him come forward, or to what degree are you still interested in him?

WELDON: Well, Peter Lance has done a tremendous amount of investigative work, as a former broadcast journalist, on Dieter Snell and his involvement. I've not focused as much on that. But I think at some point in time, he should willingly come before the Congress and answer some questions why the 9/11 Commission chose the date they did to begin their investigation.

Why did they pick 1996? There had to be a reason. And the reason by he decided not brief the 9/11 commissioners after he debriefed Scott Philpot. Those and many more questions need to be answered so that we can set the record straight and finally give the American people what they've asked for. That is a clear understanding of what happened before 9/11, so it never happens again.

DOBBS: Congressman Curt Weldon, thanks for being here.