Able Danger Blog


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Peter Lance on Lou Dobbs tonight

Lou Dobbs Tonight
Tuesday, January 3, 2005

Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist Peter Lance sits
down with Lou to share the latest information on Able Danger,
the pre-9/11 intelligence controversy.

UPDATE: Not much new, but here's the transcript:

DOBBS: Wolf, thank you very much. Looking forward to it.

Capitol Hill is gearing up for hearings into what could be one of the most explosive intelligence failure controversies in our history. Officials in the top-secret Able Danger army intelligence unit say they identified 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 radical Islamist terrorists more than a year before those attacks.

And they say they were prevented by U.S. army attorneys from sharing information with the FBI. Last month, the Pentagon announced that it no longer objects to having Able Danger officials testify in congressional hearings. Hearings could begin as soon as next month. Joining me tonight with his insight into these latest Able Danger developments, Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Peter Lance. The author of the book, "Cover Up."

Peter, you say the Bush administration's secret wiretap program boosts the credibility of Able Danger. How so? PETER LANCE, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, the idea that the NSA, which is the biggest of all the big five intelligence agencies was using data mining, the same technique as the Able Danger operation shows that this was not some rogue operation that they had just done a one-off intelligence investigative technique.

When, in fact, the government itself for years has been practicing this data mining, where they sweep the Internet and look for connections. So I think it enhances the credibility of people like Tony Shaffer and Scott Philpot who have come forward at great risk to say that they had this information on Atta, et cetera.

DOBBS: Well, and Shaffer and Philpot, as they have expressed themselves in this limited way to this point, apparently they're going to be able to speak straightforwardly and openly. We don't know yet whether there will be open hearings or closed, but at least they're going to be appearing before elected representatives. What do you expect that the American people will be learning, if not directly at least through their elected representatives?

LANCE: Well, again, as I've said with you before, the most important information is the corroboration between -- that they found between the active al Qaeda cells in 1999 and the original World Trade Center bombing cell of the blind sheik and Ramzi Yousef.

DOBBS: In 1993.

LANCE: '93 -- that's a crucial, crucial piece of information.

DOBBS: Which you've been investigating for years.

LANCE: Which has been the contention in the findings of the my two books, but also it was ignored by the 9/11 commission. That's like a massive difference of opinion as to what happened on the road to 9/11.

DOBBS: Well, let me ask you this, because I talked with a number of the 9/11 commissioners, former commissioners, and each one with varying degrees of reluctance have either defended the commission's work or denied altogether that there is any relevance here whatsoever for Able Danger. How do you analyze it? How do you react?

LANCE: The reason I believe, Lou, is -- and I had a source inside the commission. I believe that this commission on the Democratic and the Republican side as it was conceived, they made a decision to limit the investigation to the last few years prior to 9/11 from '96 forward.

They intentionally decided not to go back to 1989 when they had these same guys on the radar of the FBI, not to look at World Trade Center bombing in '93, and the reason being, I believe, to remove the culpability of the FBI's New York office and the southern district, the offices of origin, from any culpability for not stopping Yousef in '93. If you take him out of 9/11 plot, then effectively then they're not liable for having not stopped him in '93. DOBBS: Do you think these hearings will produce real, tangible results for the American people, a real understanding of what happened?

LANCE: It's the best chance to reopen the investigation, and they have to get this fellow Dietrich Snell, put him under oath, subpoena him. And if Dietrich Snell tells the truth about what happened when he was on the 9/11 Commission in the southern district, we will get the truth on 9/11.

DOBBS: Peter Lance, thank you very much for your contributions to truth. And we'll be talking throughout. Thank you.

LANCE: Thanks, Lou.