Able Danger Blog


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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jack Kelly reviews Triple Cross

Our bumbling FBI

Investigative reporter Peter Lance has just completed his third book describing FBI blunders (or worse) in the war on terror....

Mr. Lance's third book, Triple Cross, focuses mainly on how Ali Mohamed, one of Osama bin Laden's closest aides, bamboozled the FBI into thinking he was helping the bureau even as he was plotting multiple acts of mass terror....

Minutes after TWA 800's destruction, Yousef made a brief telephone call in his native language of Baluch, according to Mr. Lance and Jack Cashill, who wrote a book about TWA 800. It was translated by the National Security Agency: "What had to be done has been done. TWA 800 (last two words unintelligible)."

If what Mr. Lance says is true - if only a small fraction of what Mr. Lance says is true - the best that can be said of the FBI is that it has been grossly negligent.

A recent story in the New York Sun also does not inspire confidence in the bureau. According to an FBI court filing, the files in 22 of 94 investigations into leaks of classified information are missing.

"Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are removed from the FBI, I won't feel safe," said former FBI agent Robert Wright in June, 2001. Reading Mr. Lance's book won't make him feel any safer.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Senate Intel Committee

Either they were inspired by the Grinch who stole Christmas or they were rushing to throw something out there by year end to act like they did a complete investigation.

I'm betting on the latter:

Alarming 9/11 claim is baseless, panel says
By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
7:03 PM PST, December 24, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Rejecting one of the most disturbing claims about the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded as untrue a congressman's contention that a team of military analysts identified Mohamed Atta or other hijackers before the attacks, according to a summary of the panel's investigation obtained by The Times.

The findings repudiate assertions by Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and a few military officers that U.S. national security officials ignored startling intelligence in early 2001 that might have helped to prevent the attacks.

In particular, Weldon and other officials have repeatedly claimed that the team of military analysts, known as Able Danger, produced a chart that included a picture of Atta and identified him as being tied to an Al Qaeda cell in Brooklyn, N.Y. Weldon has also said that the chart was shared with White House officials, including Stephen J. Hadley, then deputy national security advisor.

But after a 16-month investigation, the Intelligence Committee has concluded that those assertions are unfounded.

"Able Danger did not identify Mohammed Atta or any other 9/11 hijacker at any time prior to Sept. 11, 2001," the committee determined, according to an eight-page letter sent last week to panel members by the top Republican and Democrat on the committee.

Weldon, who is also the focus of a Justice Department corruption probe, was defeated last month in his campaign for a 11th term, though his suburban Philadelphia district has a large GOP majority in voter registration. Attempts Sunday to reach a spokesman for Weldon and an attorney representing him in the Justice Department investigation were unsuccessful.

The Senate panel, known formally as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, launched its investigation of Able Danger in August 2005, after Weldon and others close to the program went public with their claims. At the time, Weldon was the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee.

The recently completed probe also dismissed other assertions that have fueled conspiracy theories surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks.

The panel said it found "no evidence" to support claims by military officers connected to Able Danger that Defense Department lawyers prevented the team's analysts from sharing their findings with counterterrorism officials at the FBI before the attacks.

Nor was the alleged chart or any information developed by Able Danger improperly destroyed at the direction of Pentagon lawyers, a charge that has stoked claims of a cover-up.

"Able Danger" was the unclassified name given to a program launched in 1999 by the U.S. Special Operations Command as part of an effort to develop military plans targeting the leadership ranks of Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

Military analysts assigned to the effort did create charts with pictures of Al Qaeda operatives whose identities were known publicly at the time, the committee found. But the committee concluded that none of those charts depicted Atta, and that the unfounded claims made by Weldon and others may have been due to confusion.

One of the charts, titled "The Al Qaeda Network: Snapshots of Typical Operational Cells Associated with UBL" was attached to the letter sent to committee members last week by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the panel's leaders.

"One of these individuals depicted on the chart arguably looked like Mohammed Atta," the committee concluded. "In addition, the chart contained names of Al Qaeda associates that sound like Atta, as well as numerous variations of the common Arab name Mohammed."

The committee also suggested that officials' memories may have been clouded by the flurry of charts and photographs of Atta that surfaced after the attacks. The panel noted that a defense contractor that produced the chart at the center of the controversy subsequently created a follow-up chart, after the attacks, that did include Atta.

Atta, an Egyptian-born Islamic radical, was the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks and pilot of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center.

In June 2005, Weldon generated significant controversy when he declared in a speech on the House floor and in a book released that month that he had met with Hadley at the White House shortly after the attacks and had given the national security official a copy of a chart showing that Atta had been identified by Able Danger.

But the committee concluded that the chart "was not a pre-9/11 chart" and that "at no time did Mr. Hadley ever see a chart with pre-9/11 data bearing Atta's picture or name as described by Congressman Weldon."

Weldon has relished the role of calling attention to national security threats he believes are being ignored by others in government. At times he has carried around a replica of a suitcase-size nuclear bomb to highlight the danger of terrorist nuclear threats. He has also accused Iran of hiding Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Weldon's rising legal troubles played a role in his reelection loss last month. It was disclosed last week that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed congressional records from Weldon's office as part of an FBI probe aimed at determining whether he traded his influence to get lobbying business for his daughter Karen and others.

The House seat was won by Democrat Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral.

The Senate Intelligence Committee noted in its report that its findings were consistent with the conclusions, released in September, of a similar investigation of Able Danger by the Defense Department Inspector General's office.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Triple Cross in the Fresno Bee

Finally papers are realizing, it's not just a good book, it's breaking news.

Dana Ewell, terror and a question of judgment

By Bill McEwen / The Fresno Bee 12/19/06 04:13:28

John Zent was supposed to be the star witness for his daughter's boyfriend, Dana Ewell. Confident in himself and in Ewell's innocence, Zent used his status as a veteran FBI agent to try to poke holes in the prosecution's case.

He testified that he doubted the abilities of Fresno County sheriff's detectives investigating the slayings of Ewell's father, mother and sister, and mocked two detectives as "Bert and Ernie" after the Sesame Street puppets.

But before the trial's conclusion in 1998, Zent's credibility was in tatters. Eleven witnesses disputed Zent's accounts of Ewell's actions and Zent's criticisms of the investigation. A month later, a jury found that Ewell had conspired with a college friend in the 1992 triple slaying so they could split Ewell's $8 million inheritance.

Now, author and five-time Emmy award-winning reporter Peter Lance has linked Zent with Ali Mohamed, the notorious al-Qaida spy who penetrated the CIA, the FBI and the Green Berets in the years leading to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In "Triple Cross," his third book about the war on terror, Lance says that while Mohamed was living in Santa Clara and flying overseas to help Osama bin Laden, he became an FBI informant.

His control agent in the bureau's San Francisco office?

John Zent.

Writes Lance: "But within months of taking on Mohamed as a source, Zent is embroiled in a grisly triple murder case. He becomes the primary alibi witness for Dana Ewell. ...

"The multiyear investigation consumes much of Zent's attention — at a time when he is responsible for monitoring [Mohamed]."

Lance relies on interviews with Fresno investigators who worked the Ewell murders to make the case that Zent was the wrong agent to be in charge of Mohamed — a former Egyptian commando who lived a double life in the United States while serving as bin Laden's security chief.

"If [Zent] couldn't see the guilt of this kid [Ewell], who was an absolute sociopath, after two years — when we had an airtight forensic case with a co-conspirator who flipped — how was he going to sniff out an [al-Qaida] spy?" retired sheriff's detective John Souza says in the book.

Lance, in an interview for this column, says: "To me, the idea that a man like John Zent, who used his position with the FBI to intervene in the Ewell murder investigation and openly declared Dana innocent — even testified for him at trial six years after the murders — shows an incredible inability to judge character or admit that he was wrong — two fatal qualities in an investigator."

Lance says he interviewed Zent briefly for the book, but arrangements for an in-depth interview broke down when Zent sent an e-mail raising several issues, including "compensation" and "indemnity from legal actions."

Zent did not respond to a request for a comment left Monday on his voice mail at Yahoo, where he is a security and risk-management executive.

Mohamed admitted in federal court six years ago to his involvement in plots to kill American soldiers in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, U.S. ambassadors in Africa and American civilians throughout the world.

He is a free man today, hidden by the government he duped for years, in a witness-protection program.


Well, I don't think he's a free man. In the book, Lance reports that Mohamed is in "custodial witness protect" but his wife still goes to visit him, in jail.

Monday, December 18, 2006

U.S. seeks to rein in its military spy teams

From the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Special Forces teams sent overseas on secret spying missions have clashed with the CIA and carried out operations in countries that are staunch U.S. allies, prompting a new effort by the agency and the Pentagon to tighten the rules for military units engaged in espionage, according to senior U.S. intelligence and military officials.

The spy missions are part of a highly classified program that officials say has better positioned the United States to track terrorist networks and capture or kill enemy operatives in regions such as the Horn of Africa, where weak governments are unable to respond to emerging threats.

But the initiative has also led to several embarrassing incidents for the United States, including a shootout in Paraguay and the exposure of a sensitive intelligence operation in East Africa, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter. And to date, the effort has not led to the capture of a significant terrorism suspect.

Some intelligence officials have complained that Special Forces teams have sometimes launched missions without informing the CIA, duplicating or even jeopardizing existing operations. And they questioned deploying military teams in friendly nations — including in Europe — at a time when combat units are in short supply in war zones.

The program was approved by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and is expected to get close scrutiny by his successor, Robert M. Gates, who takes over today and has been critical of the expansion of the military's intelligence operations.

Senior officials at the CIA and the Pentagon defended the program and said they would urge Gates to support it. But they acknowledged risks for the United States in its growing reliance on Special Forces troops and other military units for espionage.

"We are at war out there and frankly we need all the help that we can get," said Marine Maj. Gen. Michael E. Ennis, who since February has served as a senior CIA official in charge of coordinating human intelligence operations with the military. "But at the same time we have to be very careful that we don't disrupt established relationships with other governments, with their liaison services, or [do] anything that would embarrass the United States."

Ennis acknowledged "really egregious mistakes" in the program, but said collaboration had improved between the CIA and the military.

"What we are seeing now, primarily, are coordination problems," Ennis said in an interview with The Times. "And really, they are fewer and fewer."

The issue underscores the sensitivity of using elite combat forces for espionage missions that have traditionally been the domain of the CIA.

After Sept. 11, the Bush administration gave expanded authority to the Special Operations Command, which oversees the Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other elite units, in the fight against terrorism. At the same time, Rumsfeld, who lacked confidence in the CIA, directed a major expansion of the military's involvement in intelligence gathering to make the Pentagon less dependent on the agency.

Officials said this led to the secret deployment of small teams of Special Forces troops, known as military liaison elements, or MLEs, to American embassies to serve as intelligence operatives. Members of the teams undergo special training in espionage at Ft. Bragg and other facilities, according to officials familiar with the program.

The troops typically work in civilian clothes and function much like CIA case officers, cultivating sources in other governments or Islamic organizations. One objective, officials said, is to generate information that could be used to plan clandestine operations such as capturing or killing terrorism suspects.

Ennis said MLE missions were "low level" compared with those of the CIA. "The MLEs may come and go," he said, "but the CIA presence is there for the long term."

In a written response to questions from The Times, a spokesman for the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., described MLEs as "individuals or small teams that deploy in support of (regional military commanders) in select countries, and always with the U.S. ambassador and country team's concurrence and support."

But critics point to a series of incidents in recent years that have caused diplomatic problems for the United States.

In 2004, members of an MLE team operating in Paraguay shot and killed an armed assailant who tried to rob them outside a bar, said former intelligence officials familiar with the incident. U.S. officials removed the members of the team from the country, the officials said.

In another incident, members of a team in East Africa were arrested by the local government after their espionage activity was discovered.

"It was a compromised surveillance activity," said a former senior CIA official familiar with the incident. The official said members of the unit "got rolled up by locals and we got them out." The former official declined to name the country or provide other details.

He said it was an isolated example of an operation that was exposed, but that coordination problems were frequent.

"They're pretty freewheeling," the former CIA official said of the military teams. He said that it was not uncommon for CIA station chiefs to learn of military intelligence operations only after they were underway, and that many conflicted with existing operations being carried out by the CIA or the foreign country's intelligence service.

Such problems "really are quite costly," said John Brennan, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. "It can cost peoples' lives, can cost sensitive programs and can set back foreign policy interests."

Brennan declined to comment on specific incidents.

There have also been questions about where teams have been sent. Although conceived to bolster the U.S. presence in global trouble spots, the units have carried out operations in friendly nations in Europe and Southeast Asia where it is more difficult to justify, officials said.

On at least one occasion, a team tracked an Islamic militant in Europe. "They were trying to acquire certain information about a certain individual," said a former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official declined to name the country, but said it was a NATO ally and that the host government was unaware of the mission.

Critics said such operations risked angering U.S. allies with a dubious prospect for payoff. In some countries where MLE teams are located, "There's not a chance … we're going to send somebody in there to snatch somebody unilaterally," said a government official who is familiar with the program.

At a time when the military is stretched thin, the official questioned the priority of using Special Forces for espionage, noting that the MLE program has not produced a significant success in terms of disrupting a plot or capturing a terrorist suspect.

"These are a highly trained, short-supply resource of the U.S. government," the official said. "What … are they doing there instead of Pakistan or Afghanistan?"

Gates, the former director of the CIA who is to run the Pentagon, has voiced concern over the military's encroachment on CIA missions. In an opinion piece published this year, Gates said that "more than a few CIA veterans, including me, are unhappy about the dominance of the Defense Dept. in the intelligence arena and the decline in the CIA's central role."

In response to such conflicts, the Bush administration previously designated the CIA director as the head of all U.S. human spying operations overseas, with CIA station chiefs serving as coordinators in specific countries.

Ennis, whose position at the CIA was created last year, said the agency and the Pentagon were developing a more rigorous system for screening proposed military intelligence operations.

"Like a pilot with a checklist," CIA station chiefs will be required to sign off on all aspects of a proposed military intelligence operation before it is allowed to proceed, Ennis said. The CIA station chief, he added, "would look at the risk in terms of embarrassment to the government. Do they have the right level of training to do what they claim that they want to do, and is this already being done somewhere else?"

Col. Samuel Taylor, director of public affairs for the Special Operations Command, dismissed the suggestion of coordination problems with other agencies, saying, "We have an excellent, effective and productive working relationship with the CIA."

Peter Lance interview with 1115

Here's the transcript:

We have been following the work of author/investigative journalist Peter Lance since the spectacular 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE was released in 2003. If you haven’t read it (or its follow up COVER UP), we highly recommend that you catch up. We’ve previously interviewed Lance upon the publication of 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE here and COVER UP here.

Lance’s new book TRIPLE CROSS: How bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI - and Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him is out now. As we’ve come to expect from Lance, it is full of startling revelations and infuriating tales of incompetence, dereliction of duty, and willful cover-your-ass behavior by the very people charged with protecting this country. Lance has again granted us an extended interview in which he explains his methods and findings over his last five years of research.

Matt Cohen: One phrase often heard since 9/11 is “9/11 changed everything.” The timeline in TRIPLE CROSS starts 20 years earlier with the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, and continues through the killing of Rabbi Meier Kahane in New York in 1990.

The subject of the book, Ali Mohamed was a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group that killed Sadat, and trained the men (man) who murdered Kahane, with some of the training even showing up on FBI surveillance photographs from a shooting range in Calverton, Long Island (as early as 1989).

Was 9/11 really necessary before it became a bad idea to let Ali Mohamed into the Army - and an elite and highly secure unit, at that - and allow him to operate as a CIA asset?

Peter Lance: In order to answer that question in depth, we need to track back a bit.

TRIPLE CROSS is the last book in my 9/11 investigative trilogy. All three books have sought to answer that question: was 9/11 necessary? By focusing on the New York Office of the FBI (NYO) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), the two bin Laden “offices of origin.”

Keep in mind that up until 9/11 the U.S. conducted the “war on terror” almost entirely as a series of legal prosecutions investigated by the NYO through its Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and Foreign Counterintelligence (FCI) squads and prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorneys of the SDNY.

In 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE I documented gross negligence by the NYO and JTTF in failing to stop Ramzi Yousef, the original WTC bomber who set the 1,500 pound urea-nitrate/fuel oil device in 1993. I also proved that it was Yousef who set in motion the “planes as missiles” plot in Manila in 1994 and that after his capture in 1995, the plot was merely executed by his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohamed (KSM), the man the FBI calls the 9/11 “mastermind.”

In 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE I pointed out multiple opportunities for the JTTF and other NYO investigators to interdict al Qaeda’s juggernaut from the murder of Kahane on Nov 5th, 1990 right up through September 11th.

It was Ali Mohamed who trained the first WTC bombing cell for Yousef. It was Ali Mohamed who trained Egyptian El Sayyid Nosair who killed Rabbi Meier Kahane in 1990. He also trained Clement Rodney Hampton El, an American Muslim who was convicted in 1995 in the “Day of Terror” plot to blow up the bridges and tunnels into Manhattan.

MC: In your two previous books you went beyond proof of gross negligence in the FBI and Justice Department and actually documented obstruction of justice. We cover negligence and obstruction every day, but most of that gets shrugged off as “politics as usual.” When it comes to the FBI/Justice Department, the goal should be to keep the country safe, yet they are just as bad as the politicians who run the show.

PL: In COVER UP – I proved that officials of the NYO and SDNY had actually buried a treasure trove of al Qaeda related evidence from Ramzi Yousef that they had obtained in 1996 from a mob informant who occupied the cell next to Yousef at the Metropolitan Correctional Center – the MCC in Lower Manhattan. Much of that intel was contained on a series of FBI #302 memos that can be accessed on my website.

They include a bomb recipe from Yousef which discusses the use of acetone peroxide as an explosive chemical. You will recall that acetone peroxide was the essential chemical that was to be used in the trans-Atlantic airliner bombing plot uncovered last August by MI-5 – a plot that both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported was a mirror image of Ramzi Yousef’s failed 1995 Bojinka plot. So I proved in COVER UP that ten year earlier the Feds in the FBI’s NYO and the SDNY buried key intelligence that could have alerted counter terrorism officials worldwide of such a plot a decade before.

MC: That sounds like it has chilling relevance to the terror threat climate today?

PL: Absolutely. When you have to take your shoes off before getting on an airline flight, it’s not because of Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber.” It’s because in a “wet test” for the Bojinka plot aboard Philippine Airlines Flight #434 on December 11th, 1994, Yousef had smuggled the 9 volt batteries for his Casio-nitro “bomb trigger” in the heels of his shoes.

The reason there is now a restriction on carrying liquids and gels on flights is because of Yousef – the same restrictions were used for months in Asia in 1995 when his Bojinka plot to blow up a dozen airliners over the Pacific was first exposed.

Most of this (absent the August plot) was reported in COVER UP, published in 2004.

MC: But you still had a number of unanswered questions.

PL: That’s right. And the 9/11 Commission – before which I testified – told only a fragment of the full story – focusing on the years 1998 forward. In fact, a former SDNY prosecutor named Dietrich Snell, — who had prosecuted Yousef for Bojinka in 1996 — became the senior counsel to the Commission in charge of determining the “origin of the plot.”

This was the single most important determination the Commission could make because, if you can’t pinpoint when the “planes as missiles” plot began, you can’t fairly hold U.S. counterterrorism officials accountable for failing to prevent it.

Snell had prosecuted Yousef in the case where that 1996 treasure trove of intelligence was buried. So he was a walking conflict of interest. It was Snell, indeed, who took my “testimony” on March 15th, 2004 in a windowless conference room at 26 Federal Plaza – the HQ of the FBI’s NYO where the Commission had offices.

In the end, Snell reduced the reams of once classified material I gave the Commission from the Philippines National Police to a footnote in the final report. And then he pushed the plot original forward two years from Manila to Afghanistan, claiming falsely that KSM had merely “pitched” the plot to bin Laden and that, at the time he wasn’t even a member of al Qaeda.

What was Snell’s authority in the 9/11 Commission Report – the last official report on the biggest mass murder in U.S. history? Khalid Shaikh Mohammed himself – his word alone – after having been tortured and water boarded following his capture in March 2003. To me this was like taking the word of David Berkowitz for when he did the first Son of Sam Murder. KSM was UTTERLY unreliable as a witness and yet Snell fixed the plot origin allegedly based on KSM’s word.

MC: Why would he do that?

PL: I believe to remove KSM’s nephew Ramzi from the plot and thus relieve the two “offices of origin” from culpability for not stopping 9/11. Because, as I prove definitively in 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE, the JTTF could have stopped Yousef in 1992 – when George H.W. Bush was in the White House. And if they had – they would have stopped 9/11 because Yousef was the criminal genius behind its origin –

An outside the box thinker and engineer trained in Wales who went from building WMDs to be transported to a target by truck like the original WTC device, to these ingenious little “bomb triggers” which, when planted above the fuel tank of a 747, would blow down, acting as “blasting caps” to turn the entire aircraft itself into a bomb.

That was the intent of Bojinka. But for an Act of God – a fire in Yousef’s Manila bomb factory – he might have pulled it off in 1995.

MC: But why would responsible FBI and DOJ officials bury evidence of Yousef’s connection to the 9/11 plot or this 1996 “treasure trove?”

PL: The answers are in COVER UP. But I needed further proof to connect the dots and that’s why I woke up one day and realized that Ali Mohamed was the real key.

Mohamed, an ex-Egyptian Army Major and commando who spoke four languages including Hebrew and had two psychology degrees, was the chosen spy of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri (head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad EIJ) as early as 1984. Mohamed penetrated the CIA in Hamburg in 1994, then al-Zawahiri vectored in toward the U.S.

By 1989 after the EIJ had merged into al Qaeda, Ali Mohamed who had enlisted in the U.S. Army and gotten himself stationed at the JFK Special Warfare Center (SWC) at Fort Bragg – was stealing top secret documents and coming up weekends to New York where he trained – as noted: El Sayyid Nosair who murdered Kahane, Mohammed Salameh and Mahmoud Abouhalima, later convicted in Yousef’s WTC bombing and Clement Rodney Hampton El, a U.S. Muslim later convicted by Patrick Fitzgerald and Andrew C. McCarthy in the 1995 “Day of Terror” case.

MC: So you’re saying that Ali Mohamed by the mid 90’s was on Patrick Fitzgerald’s radar?

PL: Mohamed had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator along with bin Laden, his brother in law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa and 168 others and yet, I was astonished to discover that Ali Mohamed has been working as an FBI informant from 1992 – snookering the two “offices of origin” the way he’s snookered the Green Berets.

After taking a long time to answer your question – the reason, I concluded that the Feds allowed him to operate with such impunity – is that they first thought they could turn him and later, they were terrified that his years of eating the FBI’s lunch would come out if he ever got on the stand so they stuck their fingers in the leaking dike and hoped that it would hold. But it didn’t – and the African Embassy bombings, which Mohamed had personally planned and helped to execute, were the immediate result.

MC: In your reporting, did you come across any theories as to what the government is doing with Mohamed now?

PL: After the Embassy bombings in early August 1998, the Feds took a month to arrest Mohamed. They then held him for 9 months in the MCC on a John Doe warrant, terrified that word of his years of duplicity would get out. They negotiated with him and his lawyers for almost 2 years and finally cut a plea deal in October 2000 which spared him the death penalty.

But as best as I could determine all they got in return was his silence. He’s never seen the light of day in a courtroom – even though under the exception to the Rule Against Hearsay for co-conspirator testimony he would have been the best possible witness for Patrick Fitzgerald to put on the stand in February, 2001 when he commenced U.S. vs. bin Laden, the African Embassy bombing case.

In fact, Ali was never called to testify because as defense lawyers told me, the Feds didn’t want defense counsel peeling back the layers and showing how from the 1984 CIA penetration to the 2 years at Fort Bragg and the six years from 1992 that Ali was interacting with the FBI and federal prosecutors, nobody seemed to realize that he was al Qaeda’s perfect spy – this…

· Despite the fact that as early as 1993 he’d confessed to his west coast control Agent John Zent that he was working for somebody named bin Laden and an organization called al Qaeda that was bent on overthrowing the Saudi Government

· Despite the fact that Andrew McCarthy met face to face with Ali in December 1994 around the time he’d named him as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Day of Terror case and Ali had told him that he was merely running a scuba diving business in Kenya.

· Despite the fact that from 1996 on Squad I-49, the bin Laden Squad in the NYO had a wiretap on the Nairobi phone of Wadih El-Hage, one of the primary bombing plotters, whom Ali was staying with in Kenya.

· Despite the fact that in August 1997, Dan Coleman, a key special agent in I-49, which Patrick Fitzgerald was directing, searched El-Hage’s house and found Ali Mohamed’s phone number and address in Sacramento, California where he was living.

· Despite the fact that in October, 1997 Fitzgerald and two I-49 agents including Jack Cloonan met Ali at a restaurant in Sacramento and tried, in vain, to turn him. At that meeting Ali said that he “loved” bin Laden and that he didn’t need a fatwa or religious degree to attack the U.S. (his adopted country). He also said that he had multiple sleepers that he could make operational on a moment’s notice and that he himself could disappear.

· Despite the fact that after that meeting Fitzgerald turned to Cloonan and declared Ali the most dangerous man he had ever met and vowed not to leave him “on the street.” And yet he did for another 10 months only to have the bombs go off in Kenya and Tanzania – a plot that was more Ali Mohamed’s than any other single al Qaeda operative.

MC: What did the Feds get in return for cutting this deal with Mohamed?

PL: Basically, they got Ali Mohamed’s silence. In return for that Ali Mohamed exists today in a form of custodial witness protection. He has never been sentenced for his crimes and the Judge at his plea hearing in 2000 even raised the possibility that he would someday be released.

MC: Why did he get this special treatment?

PL: Because as I wrote in TRIPLE CROSS in the poker game between the hunters and the hunted Ali held all the face cards.

As soon as they locked him up he knew that he was in the cat bird’s seat because the Feds would rather not bring him to justice than be embarrassed at how he’d eaten their lunches for years.

MC: But as you suggest that decision had catastrophic consequences

PL: Clearly. First because if Ali’s 14 year terror spree had been fully exposed in early 2001 that intelligence on al Qaeda’s bench strength, taken together with all of the other intel that was bombarding U.S. agencies in the spring and summer of 2001 might have alerted the Feds to the 9/11 plot –

Second because Ali himself knew every detail of the plot and the Feds, in giving him a pass, failed to get it out of him.

Worse – I prove in the book in the case of Sphinx Trading that Fitzgerald and McCarthy were onto a mailbox store in Jersey City (where El Sayyid Nosair – the Kahane killer had a mailbox)
as early as 1990.

MC: You write about Sphinx Trading as a sort of epicenter of terror. Yet either no one put the pieces together, or didn’t want to.

PL: Fitzgerald and McCarthy had named Waleed al-Noor, the store’s co-incorporator to that same unindicted co conspirators list that Ali and bin Laden were on in 1994/1995.

Where do you think two of the 9/11 muscle hijackers (al-Midhar and al-Hazmi) got their fake ID’s in July of 2001? Sphinx Trading.

As I detailed on the Huffington Post on November 17th, all the Feds had to do was treat Sphinx the way they’d treated John Gotti’s Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street and they would have been right in the middle of the “planes as missiles” plot.

MC: At what point in your research of this book did you uncover Fitzgerald’s links to Mohamed?

PL: As I noted in the story of Sphinx, Fitzgerald and McCarthy were onto Ali as early as 1994.

In January, 1996, Fitzgerald began directing I-49 in the NYO as a dedicated “bin Laden Squad”. Lawrence Wright in THE LOOMING TOWER covers some of this ground, but he does zero critical analysis of these FBI agents. He just takes their word at face value.

What I’ve done is analyzed their stories against a massive database that I’ve been building for five years that includes dozens of books, more than 10,000 open source news articles, more than 45,000 pages of trial transcripts and dozens of interviews with sources inside and retired from the FBI and the DOJ.

One of my most stunning findings – and there’s a seven page Affirmation sworn to by Fitzgerald and dated June 25th, 1999 – it’s an appendix in TRIPLE CROSS. In it he tried to explain why he buried that treasure trove of intel from Ramzi Yousef in 1996 – including proof of an active al Qaeda cell in NYC – by calling it a “hoax” and a “scam.”

Well I found the wiseguy, John Napoli whom Fitzgerald cites as the primary source for that “hoax” and “scam” story and he categorically denied it.

There are some people who might consider Fitzgerald’s suppression of that evidence as obstruction of justice. The problem is that it would take a federal prosecutor from the Justice Department to make that determination.

Do you see how the dog starts to chase his tail here?

MC: To people who don’t follow such things very closely, Fitzgerald’s media coverage during the Plame investigation seemed to come out of nowhere. But it was always the same people vouching for his integrity and tenacity that drove the narrative. Shouldn’t something as big as his cover up of Mohamed have come out when Fitzgerald was in the headlines every day?

PL: I was able to make these connections after five years of seven day weeks and fourteen hour days. I also had not only the capability – with a J.D. and classical training as an investigative reporter with ABC News – but I had the will –

I kept the mass card of Ronnie Bucca on the wall next to my desk each day as I worked. He was the incredibly heroic FDNY Fire Marshal whose story I told in 1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE. Not only had he been predicting for years that al Qaeda and Yousef’s people would return to hit “The Towers,” but on 9/11 he died on the 78th floor of the South Tower trying to save lives and beat back the flames.

I invite any of your readers to sample the detail that I put into this epic story. They can download a pdf of the 32 page color, illustrated time line in the middle of the book by going to peterlance.com. They can also sample some of the heretofore classified DOJ documents in the book and download pdf’s of some of the FBI 302’s.

Anyone that takes half an hour to read that time line will tell you that a daily deadline reporter – even one with the will – could never have uncovered the story of Fitzgerald’s negligence and intent in the midst of the CIA leak coverage.

MC: In 1000 Years, and Cover Up you exposed a multitude of mistakes and acts of willful subterfuge on the part of FBI/CIA agents and prosecutors, but with the exception of Special Agent in Charge Carson Dunbar’s disastrous intervention into the case of informant Emad Salem, Triple Cross is the first time you’ve really written about anyone in positions of real power.

Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, who has been under attack since 9/11 for her infamous “wall memo” on investigations vs. intelligence gathering, comes under your microscope, but not for the reasons she has up to now. Others in the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s office are called into question as well. Isn’t it the job of supervisors and management to analyze the work product of their organizations and look for the kinds of conflict and incompetence you have illustrated in three successive books?

PL: Sure it’s their job – but even the best managers, as I found – began covering up the incompetence and negligence years earlier. Sen. Chuck Grassley at a Judiciary Committee hearing in September, 2005 called it “the oldest excuse inside the Beltway – CYA.”

What I’ve documented in my three books isn’t some big “Oliver Stone conspiracy.” It’s the repeated failure of the best and the brightest in the FBI and the DOJ to do their jobs and then, when confronted with the consequences of the negligence – like the attacks on the WTC, the Embassies and the U.S.S. Cole – to prevent the American public from getting a true picture of just how at risk they really are from al Qaeda.

MC: You tie the Pentagon’s data-mining project “Able Danger” into the larger cover-up. When the story of Able Danger first broke in 2005, it was typically a very polarizing subject, due in no small part to its source, Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon. But even discounting Weldon’s role, Army Lt Colonel Anthony Shaffer seems to be a very credible witness who has certainly suffered some serious retribution for his public statements. Not much remains of Able Danger’s findings, but you include a link chart in Triple Cross that seems to prove they were onto something. How does Able Danger fit in with the rest of your reporting?

PL: Able Danger was a data mining operation commenced in December, 1999 on the orders of Gen. Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Gen. Pete Schoomaker, head of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

More than a year after the Embassy bombings, they realized that the U.S. military would eventually have “boots on the ground” against al Qaeda, so they commenced a massive “dating mining” operation. Here’s an excerpt from TRIPLE CROSS to give you an idea of how it worked citing an extensive interview I did with Col. Shaffer, whom I consider impeccably honest.

“The operation’s data-mining center was located at the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Known as ‘spook central,’ Fort Belvoir housed the Information Dominance Center—a building full of army intelligence “geeks,” whose bullpen area was designed to look like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

“The lead LIWA analyst running the data mine was Dr. Eileen Priesser, a double Ph.D. The operations officer was a decorated U.S. Navy captain named Scott Phillpott. Army Major Eric Kleinsmith was LIWA’s intelligence chief. J.D. Smith and Jacob L. Boesen, working as a contract analysts from Orion Scientific, designed many of the link charts in which the “deep data points” connecting the key al Qaeda players were represented graphically.

“’You would ask them, for example, to look at Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,’ says Shaffer, ‘and these search engines would scour the internet 24/7 looking at any number of open-source databases, from credit reporting agencies to court records and news stories to Lloyd’s of London insurance records. You name it. Once a known associate of KSM was found, they would go through the same process for that individual.’

“One IDC analyst I spoke to described it as ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon on steroids.”

“Told to ‘Start with the words ‘Al Qaeda’ and go,’ the LIWA data crunchers began an initial harvest in December 1999. The data grew fast and exponentially, and before long it amounted to two terabytes—equal to about 9 percent of the books in the Library of Congress. “It was a mile wide and an inch deep,” says Kleinsmith. “Naturally only a small percentage of the data related to terrorism,” says Tony, ‘So we would have to neck it down —cull it — until we had some substantive hits.’

Within months, Operation Able Danger had uncovered some astonishing intelligence.

“’We found active an al Qaeda cell in the U.S linked to radical Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman,’” says Shaffer, now a lieutenant colonel. ‘That was most frightening—that as late as early 2000 we detected that kind of al Qaeda presence here.’

“Examining Sheikh Rahman’s Brooklyn cell—which operated out of Ali Mohamed’s old stomping grounds, the al Farooq mosque—the LIWA analysts made another alarming discovery.

“We identified lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, who flew UA 175 into the South Tower of the Trade Center, and two of the muscle hijackers aboard AA 77, which hit the Pentagon,’ says Shaffer. That linkage was made months before any of the other Big Five intelligence agencies would trip to their presence.

Coming as it did in early 2000, the identification of Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi was a crucial find for the SOCOM operation.

“Of all the 9/11 hijackers, these two Saudis had the longest records of al Qaeda involvement, and beginning in January 2000, they soon became the most visible of the 19 operatives. In fact, the two failed pilots appeared on the radar of the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI so many times in the eighteen months before 9/11 that the U.S. intelligence community had multiple opportunities to thwart the plot.

“Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi were the poster boys who came to symbolize the “stove piping” between U.S. agencies in their failure to share intelligence before 9/11.

“Until now, most of the blame for failure to track the two Saudis has been leveled at the Central Intelligence Agency. As recently as August 2006, in his 9/11 book THE LOOMING TOWER, New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright charged that the CIA’s hoarding of intelligence on al Midhar, al Hazmi, and another key al Qaeda operative ‘may, in effect, have allowed the September 11 plot to proceed.’

“But even if the FBI had received no help from any other agency, we’ve uncovered compelling evidence that the agents of Squad I-49 should have tripped to the presence of the two hijackers in the U.S. months before they flew AA Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

Atta himself came into the U.S. on or about June 3rd, 2000, and we know that the Able Danger unit swept INS lists – so it is entirely conceivable that they I.D.’d him as Shaffer and Phillpott claimed they did. In fact, Atta rented a room in Brooklyn using his own name. He wasn’t as highly visible as al Midhar and al Hazmi were in San Diego, but his presence could have easily been detected given the kind of sweep Able Danger was doing.

MC: With the reports over the last few years of the government listening to domestic calls without even easily obtainable (and retroactive) warrants, tracing money via the SWIFT bank transfer system in contravention of the laws in Europe, and other quasi-legal intelligence gathering methods, do you have any doubt that a program identical to Able Danger is up and running? And if so, how do you balance privacy with the government’s need to know? Wouldn’t a good example of the conundrum a situation like the FBI going after the Times reporters who broke the domestic spying story or even Judy Miller’s time in prison for defying Fitzgerald?

PL: In my opinion there is a huge difference between doing data mining sweeps of open source data, as was done by Able Danger and then honing down the links related to known terrorists – such as declared members of al Qaeda and spying on U.S. citizens via wiretaps – or chilling reporters with subpoenas – both of which undermine the constitutional underpinnings of this nation.

Here’s the difference: there is no harm in the detection of raw intelligence with a potential connection to terrorism, especially if the intel is collected from open source data bases where an individual would have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

The harm is in the long term storage of data on what are known as U.S. persons – a term defined by Executive Order 12333, an intelligence directive signed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan after the Senate and House hearings into CIA domestic spying abuses in the late 1970s.

“The EO,” as it’s known, was designed to prevent the Pentagon from storing data indefinitely on “U.S. persons,” a term defined to include American citizens, U.S. corporations; even permanent resident aliens.

That kind of storage can produce Gestapo-like files on American citizens, and legal aliens and that is something I would fight tooth and nail against.

But making connections on known terrorists using open source data is not only legal but necessary to thwart the al Qaeda threat. And, in fact, there are two enormous exceptions in EO 12333 for data collected from open sources and terrorism related intelligence.

What we have to fear – and I think Patrick Fitzgerald’s conduct in the CIA leak case represents this problem at its extreme – is the Government interfering with the press in pursuit of an investigation.

The fact that Fitzgerald put Judith Miller away for 85 days is shocking – no matter how you might feel about her flawed reporting on Iraqi intel in the lead up to war. She’s still a reporter and needs to be able to protect her confidential sources.

Clearly we need a federal shield law that protects not only daily deadline print and electronic media journalists, but historians and writers like me who report on the internet and in book form on matters of public interest.

MC: What is your opinion of Fitzgerald’s conduct of the CIA leak case?

PL: Consider this excerpt from TRIPLE CROSS on my sense of how Fitzgerald has already chilled the New York Times, arguably the greatest paper in America:

The determination of whether or not the Bush White House used its media influence to spank a critic who accused the administration of cooking the intelligence books in the lead-up to the war, and put a CIA employee (of any status) at risk, is a question worthy of investigation. If Patrick Fitzgerald botched it through negligence or intent, he ought to be held accountable. There seems to be bipartisan dissatisfaction about the way he’s run the leak probe.
But until he issues other indictments, or backs out of the Libby case and shuts down the grand jury, he deserves the benefit of the doubt on whether his investigation will ever yield the full truth on the Plame-Wilson outing.
Having said that, one thing is very clear: whether he’s uncovered a convictable crime in the leak, Fitzgerald has chilled the press, and that may well be his most damaging legacy.
As recently as September 18, writing in the New York Observer, Michael Calderone noted that a number of New York Times reporters have had to adopt the techniques of drug dealers—literally resorting to disposable cell phones and erasable notes in their efforts to avoid subpoenas and “shake” the Feds.
In a 2006 memo, Times executive editor Bill Keller reportedly cited “the persistent legal perils that confront us.” On September 18, 2006 Keller found himself on the cover of New York magazine in a story headlined “Times Under Siege.” It detailed a December 2005 meeting at the White House in which Keller was confronted by the president, former counsel Harriet Miers, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and former National Security Agency director (now CIA director) Michael Hayden. For a year, the Times had delayed publication of a story that the NSA had been monitoring the phone calls of U.S. citizens without court authorized warrants.
The December meeting in the Oval Office signaled a showdown over the possible publication of the piece. At one point in the meeting, according to reporter Joe Hagen, “Bush issued an emphatic warning: If [the Times] revealed the secret program to the public and there was another terrorist attack on American soil, the Paper of Record would be implicated. ‘The basic message,’ recalls Keller, ‘was ‘You’ll have blood on your hands.’’”
Eleven days after that meeting on December 16, the Times ran a story at the top left of its front page headlined “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” It was written by reporters James Risen, who had done such seminal work on Ali Mohamed, and Eric Lichtblau, who was among the first reporters to reveal the failure of the Trilogy project at the FBI. That first piece, and their ongoing coverage of the NSA wiretap story, earned Risen and Litchblau the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. It also locked the “Grey Lady,” as the Times is known, in a war with the White House that only escalated after the publication on June 23, 2006, of another piece by Lichtblau and Risen (with reporter Barclay Walsh) revealing a secret Bush administration program to examine the bank records of thousands of Americans.
The White House campaign against the Times has led to a grand jury probe of the NSA wiretap leak, and calls by conservative columnists to charge Keller and other Times editors under the Espionage Act.
“The main worry these days is not libel, proving that you actually quoted something accurately,” said Craig Witney, the standard’s editor for the Times, “It’s being subpoenaed.”
Indeed, on August 12, 2006, in researching the Able Danger issue for this book, I placed a call to New York Times reporter Phil Shenon, who (with Douglas Jehl) was among the first to break the data-mining story a year earlier. There was a Fitzgerald-related angle that I wanted to pursue.
Shannon’s response? “Peter, I’m sorry but I can’t discuss anything that might even remotely involve [Patrick] Fitzgerald. He’s subpoenaed my records.”
Last month, in another case involving former Times reporter Judith Miller, a New York appeals court ruled that Fitzgerald could seize her phone records, as well as Shenon’s, in connection with their reporting on Islamic charities.
As an author, I can only wonder whether hypersensitivity to Fitzgerald’s tactics will cause the New York Times or other major media outlets to avoid coverage of the findings in this book. Time will tell.

MC: When the British government broke up a terror cell last summer based on the “bojinka” plot (smuggling liquid explosives and crude digital watch timers onto airlines) originally conceived by Ramzi Yousef in 1994 and live-tested on Philippines Air Lines flight in December of that year, what did it say about our security that government officials expressed surprise and the TSA immediately banned liquids on planes despite the method being 12 years old?

PL: The trans-Atlantic airliner plot was a mirror image of Ramzi Yousef’s Bojinka plot. The primary explosive was to have been manufactured using acetone peroxide. Go to peterlance.com and click #302s and scroll to the bottom of the right hand column to a note from Yousef to Scarpa Jr. in 1996 entitled “How to Smuggle Explosives Into An Airplane.” He cites the use of acetone peroxide.

This was part of the treasure trove of intel from Yousef buried by Patrick Fitzgerald and other Feds in that ends/means decision to save those six mob cases in 1996. Ask yourself which is the greatest worry: that al Qaeda would seek to resurrect a failed plot or that it took MI-5 to detect it because our own FBI and Justice Department are in denial over the Bojinka Yousef-Scarpa Jr. intel.

MC: Also in the area of things I learned first from reading your books is the case of Lindley DeVecchio, the former FBI agent who has figured prominently in your books as corrupt, even providing names and locations to one of his assets knowing that the information would lead to murder. How satisfying was it to have your work lead in part to DeVecchio’s arrest on murder charges? What do you know about the status of that case given the conflict of interest inherent if the Justice Department takes over the prosecution?

PL: “Allegedly corrupt,” since he has not yet been tried on those murder charges stemming – in some part from my research in COVER UP. It is satisfying to me as a journalist to know that I’m capable of uncovering truths, long buried and that there are some government officials that will respond to the truth. But it’s sad that it took the Brooklyn D.A. to open this investigation vs. the Feds themselves. It’s another measure of how the FBI and DOJ routinely circles the wagons in defense of their errors vs. admitting them and attempting to change the system.

MC: After writing about cover-ups, what was it like to become the victim of one when Justice Department officials convinced the National Geographic Channel to withhold interview transcripts that they were contractually obligated to share with you?

PL: In answer to that question I would like to refer your readers to the Huffington Post that I did on the subject.

In effect, the National Geographic Channel acquiesced to a hijacking of my research, but worse, they whitewashed virtually all of my critical findings about how the FBI failed to stop Ali Mohamed. They told half the story – only the fascinating Ali Mohamed part, not the second and most important part of the story about how Patrick Fitzgerald and some key Feds in Squad I-49 failed to stop Ali Mohamed. One of those Feds was Jack Cloonan, who the National Geographic Channel and the producer Towers Productions effective used to replace me as the narrative voice of a documentary they had contracted with me (via Towers Productions Inc.) to be based ENTIRELY on my enterprise reporting.

Fortunately I’ve got the COMPLETE story in TRIPLE CROSS available online and at bookstores everywhere.

MC: In the preface of Triple Cross, you explain that is was your son’s (then in high school) proximity to the World Trade Center and the loss of FDNY marshal Ronnie Bucca on 9/11 that pulled you back into investigative journalism to explore how that day came to pass. How have the last five years affected your outlook, do you feel that this time was well spent, and what would you do differently if you had the chance?

PL: I don’t have a single regret. I feel privileged to be able to use the skills I’ve developed over 30+ years as an investigative reporter to cover the most important story of our era and to cover it in the kind of depth any daily deadline reporter can only dream of.

My hope is that people will find TRIPLE CROSS and then go back and access my first two books (1000 YEARS FOR REVENGE and COVER UP) books, that I hope won’t only educate them to the al Qaeda threat but make them smart about how utterly the FBI and Justice Department played catch up all of those years – from the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan in February, 1989 up through 9/11 and beyond.

The only change will come when the public is sufficiently informed, then angered and finally motivated to act. The first step is getting the intelligence to the people and TRIPLE CROSS does that – naming names and focusing the laser beam of accountability like no other book relating to the greatest mass murder in U.S. history – the ultimate “cold case,” 9/11.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Peter Lance on Fox and Friends

PeterLance.com has the video from yesterday morning.

UPDATE: He'll be on Fox and Friends early Friday morning, as well.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Judyth Piazza chats with Peter Lance

Via the Student Operated Press:

Judyth Piazza chats with Peter Lance Five-time Emmy-winning investigative reporter

by Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Click here for the audio feed.

Peter Lance is a five-time Emmy-winning investigative reporter now working as a screenwriter and novelist. With a Masters Degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, Lance spent the first 15 years of his career as a print reporter and network correspondent. In 1981 Lance became Investigative Correspondent for ABC News.

Lance was a member of the first American crew into Indochina after the end of the Vietnam War, he chased rebel insurgents through Laos and members of the Gambino Family through the toxic wastelands of New Jersey, he tracked knife-happy surgeons in the Deep South, and nuclear terrorists through the twisted streets of Antwerp. Then, in 1987, he took a break from non-fiction.

Lance came to L.A. and began working as a writer and story editor for Michael Mann on two of his acclaimed series: Crime Story and Miami Vice. In 1989 he became the co-executive producer and "show runner" on the fourth season of Wiseguy and in 1993 he co-created Missing Persons. Following the 9/11 attacks Lance began investigating the origins of the FBI's original probe of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.

New Anthrax Vaccine Lawsuit

Not much news going on this week regarding Able Danger. However, long time advocate for the Able Danger cause, Mark Zaid, has filed suit against the DOD on a separate issue. Here is the Washington Post story. Here is Mark's press release:

NEW LAWSUIT FILED CHALLENGING LEGALITY
OF THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT'S ANTHRAX
VACCINATION IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM

Action Against Pentagon, HHS And FDA Seeks To
Again Stop Government’s Illegal Vaccination Program

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Two years after an earlier lawsuit shut down the Department of Defense’s (“DoD”) Anthrax Vaccination Immunization Program, another six military servicemembers and Defense Department civilian contractors filed suit today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to request that a federal judge once again declare that the anthrax vaccine is an unapproved drug and unlawful without informed consent. The identities of the plaintiffs are being withheld for fear of retaliation by the government. Each of the plaintiffs faces either termination from employment or criminal prosecution if they refuse inoculation with the vaccine. The lawsuit is being filed as part of a class action effort on behalf of all military servicemembers and civilians facing inoculation purportedly to prevent aerosolized exposure from anthrax.

This past October 2006, the DoD announced it was reinstituting a mandatory inoculation program (applicable to those serving in the Korean and Middle East theatres) after having administered it on a voluntary basis for two years in the aftermath of a court order to do so. The DoD’s action follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) pronouncement of December 19, 2005 of a Final Rule and Order declaring the vaccine to be safe, effective, and not misbranded as protection against all forms of anthrax. The FDA is aloso a defendant in the current case.

"FDA’s certification of the vaccine, which is based on slipshod statistical analysis, and an improper use of testing data, as well as DoD’s alteration of the vaccine dosing schedule, render the vaccine a drug unapproved for its applied use under current federal law," said John J. Michels, Jr., co-counsel in the litigation and a partner in the Chicago law office of McGuire Woods LLP. "Under these circumstances, the vaccine may not be administered to service members without their informed consent. It is patently illegal", he added.

Internal government documents, many of which are described in the lawsuit, reveal a history of regulatory violations and scientific concerns regarding the DoD's Anthrax Vaccination Immunization Program (“AVIP”). A 1994 report by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee concluded that the vaccine could not be expected to protect troops against airborne anthrax and should be considered experimental. In February 2000, the House of Representative's Committee on Government Reform recommended the termination of the mandatory AVIP. In December 2003 and again in October 2004, a federal judge declared the vaccination program illegal until the FDA acted.

“The AVIP is a public relations program fueled by bureaucratic concerns rather than science that flouts FDA precedent to such a degree that all logic has been thrown out the window. The FDA has disgraced its reputation by statistically manufacturing supporting evidence in order to support an unlawful military policy,” said Mark S. Zaid, Esq., a Washington, D.C. lawyer serving as co-counsel in the litigation. Zaid added that all available threat information indicates the residents of the Washington, D.C. area are likely at far greater risk of exposure to anthrax than members of the military serving in Korea or Iraq.

In December 1997, the DoD ordered the inoculation of all 2.5 million active duty personnel, regardless of duty station or responsibilities. The immunization series calls for six injections of the vaccine over a period of 18 months, followed by annual booster shots. Vaccinations began in March 1998, but in July 2000 the scope of the mandatory vaccination program was reduced due to the continuing inability of the vaccine manufacturer, BioPort, to comply with federal manufacturing standards. After a four-year hiatus, the FDA allowed BioPort to resume production in January 2002. Inoculations were temporarily halted by a federal judge in December 2003, and the mandatory program was permanently stopped in October 2004. Since that time approximately 50% of those offered the vaccination declined.

Nearly 500 active-duty service-members have refused the vaccine, and more than 100 have been court-martialed. Additionally, approximately 500-1000 pilots and flight crew members have quit, resigned or transferred from the Air National Guard or Reserves rather than take the vaccine. The vaccine is voluntary in the Australian, British and Canadian militaries, as well as for U.S. Department of State employees even though they serve in the same geographical region as that of U.S. military servicemembers.

John J. Michels, Jr., is a partner in the Chicago office of McGuire Woods LLP (www.mcguirewoods.com), and previously represented Major Sonnie Bates and Captain John Buck, the highest military officers to refuse the anthrax vaccine, and was the author of a high-profile legal memorandum analyzing the illegality of the AVIP; the subject matter of which he testified on before Congress in October 2000. Mr. Michels served as co-counsel in Doe#1 et al. v. Rumsfeld et al, which declared the mandatory vaccination program unlawful in 2004.

Mark S. Zaid is a Washington, D.C. lawyer who specializes in representing individuals employed within the United States Intelligence and Military communities. He also serves as the Executive Director of The James Madison Project (www.jamesmadisonproject.org), a non-profit organization that educates the public on national security issues including the anthrax vaccine controversy. Mr. Zaid has represented dozens of anthrax refusers, including service as senior defense counsel in nearly one dozen courts-martials. He testified before the House of Representatives regarding the AVIP in March 1999, and was co-counsel in Doe#1 et al. v. Rumsfeld et al, which declared the mandatory vaccination program unlawful in 2004.

A copy of the Complaint is attached.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Searchable text of the IG report

It's available over at cryptome.org for those who are interested. No, they did not figure out any of the Non-OPSEC redacted names. Yes, I am still working on figuring them out myself.

UPDATE: Here is what I know so far.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
CASE NUMBER
H05L97905217

DATE
SEP 18 2006

ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY SENIOR DOD OFFICIALS
CONCERNING THE ABLE DANGER PROGRAM AND
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ANTHONY A. SHAFFER, U.S. ARMY RESERVE


Prepared by the Office of the Deputy Inspector General for Investigations


INSPECTOR GENERAL
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
400 ARMY NAVY DRIVE
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22202-4704

SEP 18 2006

MEMORANDUM FOR

UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (INTELLIGENCE)
COMMANDER, UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
SUBJECT:

Investigation into Alleged Misconduct by Senior DoD Officials
Concerning the Able Danger Program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A.
Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve (Case Number H05L979052l7)
This report provides the results of our investigation into allegations that DoD officials mismanaged an antiterrorist program known as "Able Danger," and that in doing so they reprised against a key proponent of Able Danger, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Anthony A. Shaffer, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve who holds a civilian position in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

The investigation addressed nine specific allegations raised in the media and by various Members of Congress. We did not substantiate those allegations. The evidence did not support assertions that Able Danger identified the September 11, 2001, terrorists nearly a year before the attack, that Able Danger team members were prohibited from sharing information with law enforcement authorities, or that DoD officials reprised against LTC Shaffer for his disclosures regarding Able Danger.

We found some procedural oversights concerning the DIA handling of LTC Shaffer's office contents and his Officer Evaluation Reports. We recommend that the Director, DIA, review these areas and advise us of action taken within 90 days. By separate correspondence we will advise LTC Shaffer of his options for correcting his military record and offer our assistance if he chooses to do so.

We appreciate the courtesies extended to our investigative staff. Should you have any questions, please contact me or Mr. John R. Crane, Assistant Inspector General, Communications and Congressional Liaison, at (703) 604-8324.

[Signed]

Thomas F. Gimble
Acting



FORWARD
The course of this investigation, in particular the central issues, was framed through a series of requests from Members of Congress, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve.

In letters to the Secretary of Defense dated October 7, 2005, and to this Office dated October 18, 2005, Representative Curt Weldon requested an explanation for the suspension of LTC Shaffer's security clearance and "a detailed report on the destruction of LTC Shaffer's documents and other files." In a floor speech on October 21, 2005, Representative Weldon alleged that DIA included Government property and classified documents in a shipment of personal effects to LTC Shaffer.

In a letter to the Secretary of Defense dated October 20, 2005, Chairman Duncan Hunter, House Armed Services Committee, requested that we "conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances surrounding DIA's actions to revoke LTC Shaffer's security clearance."

In a letter to this Office dated October 21, 2005, Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Senate Finance Committee, asked that we review LTC Shaffer's representations concerning Able Danger's "alleged early warnings" of the September 11, 2001 (9/11), terrorist attack and whether LTC Shaffer was "subjected to any action which constituted reprisal for disclosures related to Able Danger."

In a letter to this Office dated December 20, 2005, Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman requested that we investigate allegations that Able Danger identified 9/11 terrorists before the attack, DoD failed to share that information with cognizant Government agencies, and DoD closed down Able Danger prematurely, improperly destroying Able Danger records.

In a joint letter to this Office dated February 8, 2006, Representatives Peter Hoekstra and Frank R. Wolf asked that we "investigate what intelligence the Able Danger program generated regarding al Qaeda, Mohammed Atta, and other 9/11 highjackers," and whether, if generated, that intelligence was shared with the FBI. Additionally, Representatives Hoekstra and Wolf asked us to investigate alleged destruction of Able Danger intelligence and the nature of Able Danger information shared with the 9/11 Commission.

By letter dated November 1,2005, the General Counsel, DIA, asked us to conduct an independent assessment of matters involving LTC Shaffer.

Because the background and fact patterns for allegations involving Able Danger and LTC Shaffer are similar, we address them in a single report to avoid duplicative effort and to provide a single repository for the results of our investigative work.

Although many aspects of the Able Danger program remain classified, this report is unclassified to promote maximum utility and avoid delays that would attend a classified issuance. We believe the issues are fully addressed without the inclusion of classified information.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section Page

I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

II. BACKGROUND ON ABLE DANGER

III. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

IV. FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

A. Did the Able Danger team identify Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists before September 11,2001?
B. Did DoD officials prohibit Able Danger members from sharing relevant terrorist information with the FBI, the CIA, or other agencies which could have acted on that information?

C. Did DoD officials improperly direct the destruction of Able Danger mission related data?

D. Did DoD officials terminate the Able Danger project prematurely?

E. Did DoD officials execute the Able Danger mission in compliance with applicable intelligence oversight guidance?

F. Did DIA officials, when cleaning out LTC Shaffer's civilian office, improperly destroy Able Danger documents that LTC. Shaffer had accumulated?

G. Did DIA officials improperly ship Government property and classified documents to LTC Shaffer's attorney?

H. Did DIA officials take action to suspend LTC Shaffer's access to classified information and revoke his security clearance in reprisal for his communications to Members of Congress or the 9/11 Commission staff regarding Able Danger?

I. Did DIA officials issue LTC Shaffer unfavorable Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) in reprisal for communicating with the 9/11 Commission staff regarding Able Danger?

V. CONCLUSIONS

VI. RECOMMENDATIONS



LIST OF ACRONYMS
Acronym Refers to:

AR
Army G2

CIA

CAPT

CDR

CINC

Col

COL

CPT

DAC

DCID 6/4

DCIPS

DIA

DMSM

DoD

E.O. 12333

FBI

GEN

GOMOR

GPS

HUMINT

INSCOM

IG

IO

JCAG

JWAC

LIWA

LTC

Lt Col

LTG

Maj

MG

NSA

OCWG

OER

OPSEC

OUSD(I)

RADM

RDML

SAB

SCI

SOCC

SOIO

TDY

TOR

TWC

UBL

UC

USSOCOM
Army Regulation
U.S. Army Office of Intelligence

Central Intelligence Agency

Captain (Navy)

Commander (Navy)

Commander in Chief

Colonel (Air Force)

Colonel (Army)

Captain (Army)

Directorate of Administration, Counterintelligence and Security Activity

Director of Central Intelligence Directive 6/4

Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System

Defense Intelligence Agency

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Department of Defense

Executive Order 12333

Federal Bureau of Investigation

General (Army)

General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand

Global Positioning Satellite

Human Intelligence

U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command

Inspector General

Information Operations

Joint Counterintelligence Assessment Group

Joint Warfare Analysis Center

Land Information Warfare Activity

Lieutenant Colonel (Army)

Lieutenant Colonel (Air Force)

Lieutenant General (Army)

Major (Air Force)

Major General (Army)

National Security Agency

Operational Concepts Working Group

Officer Evaluation Report

Operations Security

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Rear Admiral (Upper Half) (Navy)

Rear Admiral (Lower Half) (Navy)

Security Appeals Board

Sensitive Compartmented Information

Special Operations Collaborative Center

Special Operations Information Operations

Temporary Duty

Terms of Reference

Transnational Warfare Center

Usama (Osama) Bin Laden

Unit Chief (FBI)

United States Special Operations Command






ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY SENIOR DOD OFFICIALS
CONCERNING THE ABLE DANGER PROGRAM AND
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ANTHONY A. SHAFFER, U.S. ARMY RESERVE



I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

We initiated the investigation to address allegations that senior DoD officials mismanaged a DoD antiterrorist program known as "Able Danger," and that in doing so they sought to end the military and civilian careers of a key proponent of Able Danger, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Anthony A. Shaffer, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve who also held a civilian position as a senior intelligence officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).1

___________________

1 LTC Shaffer served in DIA as both a civilian employee and, when called to active duty, a military officer. Because the allegations cover time periods and events that relate to both his military and civilian duties, we will refer to LTC Shaffer using his military rank in this report.

Allegations concerning Able Danger became public in August 2005 when media sources reported allegations, made by LTC Shaffer, that the identities of terrorists involved in the attack of September 11, 2001 (9/11), were discovered by Able Danger before the attack, but DoD officials prohibited Able Danger personnel from sharing that information with law enforcement authorities. Subsequently, Members of Congress contacted this Office requesting investigations into unfavorable actions allegedly being taken by DIA officials against LTC Shaffer for making those allegations, as well as into the allegations themselves. In response to those communications, we formulated the following issues/allegations that warranted investigation and will be addressed in this report:

Allegations involving the Able Danger program:


Did the Able Danger team identify Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists before the 9/11 attack?
Did DoD officials prohibit Able Danger members from sharing relevant terrorist information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or other agencies which could have acted on that information?
Did DoD officials improperly direct the destruction of Able Danger mission related data?
Did DoD officials terminate the Able Danger program prematurely?
Did DoD officials execute the Able Danger mission in compliance with applicable intelligence oversight guidance?
Did DIA officials, when cleaning out LTC Shaffer's civilian office, improperly destroy Able Danger documents that LTC Shaffer had accumulated?2
Did DIA officials improperly ship Government property and classified documents to LTC Shaffer's attorney when disposing of what they believed to be LTC Shaffer's personal property?
___________________

2 As discussed in this report, LTC Shaffer was placed on administrative leave from DIA and vacated his office in April 2004. His office was then cleared for occupancy by another employee.

Allegations of reprisal against LTC Shaffer:


Did DIA officials take action to suspend LTC Shaffer's access to classified information and revoke his security clearance in reprisal for his communications to Members of Congress or the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) regarding Able Danger -- or in reprisal for his earlier communications to the DIA Inspector General (IG)?3

Did DIA officials issue LTC Shaffer unfavorable (military) Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) in reprisal for his communications with the 9/11 Commission staff regarding Able Danger?

___________________

3 The 9/11 Commission was created by congressional legislation signed by President George W. BushirLNovember 2002. The Commission's mission was to prepare a full account of circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and report its findings to the President and Congress.

Conclusions concerning Able Danger issues

We found that in October 1999, General (GEN) Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, thenChairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to develop a "campaign plan"; that is, an operational concept that when implemented would obtain detailed information on international terrorist organizations, identifying terrorist leaders, command and control infrastructures, and supporting institutions. The unclassified name for the initiative to develop such a campaign plan was "Able Danger."

An "Operational Concepts Working Group" consisting of six to eight members was established at USSOCOM to produce the campaign plan, which called for the use of state-of-theart information technology tools to gather information on international terrorists from Government data bases and open sources (to include the World Wide Web) with the initial focus on al Qaeda. The campaign plan was presented to GEN Shelton in January 2001. Upon presenting the campaign plan to GEN Shelton, USSOCOM's tasking was satisfied, the Able Danger mission was terminated, and the Able Danger team disbanded. Data mining and visualization tools similar to those employed by Able Danger to formulate the campaign plan were subsequently incorporated into intelligence gathering efforts at USSOCOM.

We concluded that prior to September 11, 2001, Able Danger team members did not identify Mohammed Atta or any other 9/11 hijacker. While we interviewed four witnesses who claimed to have seen a chart depicting Mohammed Atta and possibly other terrorists or "cells" involved in 9/11, we determined that their recollections were not accurate. Testimony by witnesses who claimed to have seen such a chart varied significantly from each other, and in some instances testimony obtained in reinterviews was inconsistent with testimony that witnesses provided earlier. In particular, we found inaccurate LTC Shaffer's assertions regarding the existence of pre-9/11 information on the terrorists and his suggestion that DoD officials thwarted efforts to share Able Danger information with law enforcement authorities. In drawing this conclusion, we found particularly persuasive the sworn testimony of witnesses who disavowed statements and claims that LTC Shaffer attributed to them.

The preponderance of witness testimony indicated that recollections concerning the identification of 9/11 terrorists were linked to a single chart depicting al Qaeda cells responsible for pre-9/11 terrorist attacks, which was obtained but not produced by the Able Danger team.

That chart (Figure 1 of this report) was produced by Orion Scientific Corporation (Orion) in May 1999 and contained the names and/or photographs of 53 terrorists who had been identified and in many cases, incarcerated, before 9/11, including a Brooklyn cell, but it did not identify Mohammed Atta or any ofthe other 9/11 terrorists. Our review of Able Danger team records found no evidence that Able Danger team members had identified Mohammed Atta or any ofthe other terrorists who participated in the 9/11 attack.

With respect to allegations concerning prohibited contacts between Able Danger and law enforcement authorities, we found no evidence to corroborate LTC Shaffer's claims that Able Danger members were prohibited by DoD officials from attending meetings he allegedly arranged with the FBI. All witnesses who were in a position to know denied LTC Shaffer's claim that efforts to meet with FBI antiterrorism units were made, much less thwarted by DoD officials. One Able Danger team member alleged that he was prohibited from providing the chart at Figure 1 to the FBI by a senior USSOCOM official sometime in early 2000. However, the senior official did not recall the incident and we are persuaded that the chart would have been of minimal intelligence value to the FBI. Accordingly, any decision to prohibit transfer of the chart would not have been inappropriate under the circumstances.

We found that large quantities of data that had been collected at two locations as part of the Able Danger data mining mission were destroyed. One intelligence analyst told us that he destroyed approximately "2.5 terabytes" of Able Danger data that had been collected at the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA), Fort Belvoir, V A, where Able Danger activities were initially located. Additionally, an Able Danger analyst testified that a large quantity of "extraneous" data was destroyed when the Able Danger team departed its second location -- a contractor facility in Garland, Texas -- and returned to USSOCOM. We found no basis to conclude that either of those destructions was improper, but rather followed established procedure and violated no regulation.

As indicated above, we concluded that the Able Danger project was appropriately terminated after it had met its objective of producing an antiterrorism campaign plan. Further, we determined that it complied with applicable intelligence oversight guidance.

With respect to allegations concerning the improper disposal of materials located in LTC Shaffer's DIA office, we found no evidence to corroborate LTC Shaffer's assertion that he came to possess a significant volume of Able Danger documents in his DIA office, rendering the allegation of their improper destruction moot. Witnesses whom LTC Shaffer identified as being aware of Able Danger documentation he purportedly stored in his DIA office did not corroborate his assertions in that regard. In particular, Able Danger team members, whom LTC Shaffer asserted had left Able Danger documentation with him for safekeeping on their travel to Washington, D.C., denied doing so. DIA employees responsible for cleaning out LTC Shaffer's office acknowledged destroying some Government documents, but none recalled seeing any documents associated with Able Danger. Accordingly, we concluded the alleged improper destruction did not occur.

We concluded that DIA officials did not improperly ship classified documents or Government property of significant value to LTC Shaffer.4 We confirmed that DIA shipped seven boxes of personal items to LTC Shaffer's attorney. A member of congressional committee staff provided us four classified documents (six pages) that LTC Shaffer indicated were included in that shipment.5 However, the evidence was insufficient to conclude that any classified items were in the boxes at the time that DIA officials shipped them. Additionally, LTC Shaffer provided us a Government-owned Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) unit that he said was included in the boxes that were sent to his attorney. We confirmed, by serial number, that this GPS unit had been provided to LTC Shaffer in Afghanistan by a DIA contractor employee, but we found that LTC Shaffer never returned the GPS unit to DIA. As a result, that GPS unit could not have been included by DIA employees in the boxes that were shipped to LTC Shaffer's attorney.

____________________

4 We acknowledge that some Government office supplies may have been included in the shipment (e.g., commercially available pens, pencils, blank CD ROM disks), but considered that inclusion an oversight not warranting further investigation.
5 LTC Shaffer provided the four documents to congressional staff.


Conclusions concerning reprisal

We concluded that DIA officials did not reprise against LTC Shaffer, in either his civilian or military capacity, for making disclosures regarding Able Danger or, in a separate matter, for his earlier disclosures to the DIA IG regarding alleged misconduct by DIA officials. In that regard, we identified the following communications which warranted consideration during our analysis of alleged reprisal:6


Communications that LTC Shaffer asserted he made to the DIA IG, as part oftwo investigations during the March to December 2002 period. Although our investigation found that LTC Shaffer was not the source of some of the communications, nevertheless, for purposes of this investigation, we assumed that DIA officials believed that he was the source. (The communications and investigation were not related to Able Danger.)
Communications during a meeting with staff members of the 9/11 Commission in October 2003, while serving in Afghanistan. LTC Shaffer testified that he told the 9/11 Commission staff members that Able Danger discovered the identity of 9/11 terrorists before the attack but was prevented from sharing that information with law enforcement authorities. However, four witness also present at the meeting unanimously disputed LTC Shaffer's recollection -- testifying, under oath, that LTC Shaffer made no such claims for Able Danger at that meeting.
Disclosures regarding Able Danger to Members of Congress beginning in February 2005 and to the media beginning in August 2005.
___________________

6 In conducting reprisal analysis, we recognize that whistleblower complaints made by civilian employees in the intelligence community are excluded from the jurisdiction of the Office of Special Counsel under Section 2302 (a)(2)( c) of Title 5, United States Code. However, it is our policy to apply Title 5 standards for all investigations into complaints of reprisal submitted by civilian appropriated fund employees.

The overriding unfavorable action taken by DIA officials following those disclosures was the final revocation of LTC Shaffer's access to classified information in September 2005 and the revocation of his security clearance in February 2006. That revocation essentially ended LTC Shaffer's career as an intelligence officer, both at DIA and in the Army Reserve.7

____________________

7 Based on the revocation of his access and anticipated revocation of his clearance, LTC Shaffer was proposed for removal from his DIA civilian position in November 2005. That action was held in abeyance pending completion of this investigation. LTC Shaffer continued on paid administrative leave.

We concluded that DIA officials would have taken action to revoke LTC Shaffer's access and clearance regardless of his disclosures to the DIA IG, the 9/11 Commission staff members, Members of Congress, or the media. We found that the action was based on misconduct by LTC Shaffer that was substantiated during an official DIA IG investigation taken together with other security-related issues that were not previously sufficient to trigger adverse security action at DIA. Of note, the final decision to revoke LTC Shaffer's access was recommended by a panel of three senior intelligence officers, one of whom was not a DoD employee. Sworn testimony from those panel members compellingly demonstrated that their recommendation regarding LTC Shaffer followed established security guidelines, was justified by circumstances, and would have occurred absent his disclosures. Moreover, our comparison of LTC Shaffer's case to those of other DIA employees who had their access or clearances revoked found no basis to conclude that DIA's actions with respect to LTC Shaffer were outside the norm or otherwise gave evidence of disparate treatment.

Finally, we concluded that an OER issued to LTC Shaffer in September 2004 would have contained the same XXXXXX ratings had he not made protected communications to the DIA IG and the 9/11 Commission staff members and, therefore, was not an act of reprisal. However, we found minor procedural anomalies in the processing of LTC Shaffer's OER that warrant review by the Director, DIA.

[XXXXXX = Redaction]
[Citations below for redaction justification; hereafter omitted.]

b(6)
b(7)(C)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. BACKGROUND

In October 1999 GEN Shelton tasked USSOCOM to develop a campaign plan to deter al Qaeda. As part ofthe tasking, USSOCOM was directed to employ advanced analytical information technology tools. Further, USSOCOM's campaign plan was to be integrated into an overarching interagency plan. The unclassified name for the tasking was "Able Danger." The Able Danger program was classified "Top Secret" and only personnel with a "need to know" were "read-on" to the program.

GEN Shelton testified that he had no specific recollection of term "Able Danger" or the Able Danger program, but did recall that while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he was concerned about al Qaeda and the need to develop a holistic view of al Qaeda. GEN Shelton stated,

the genesis of starting to try to collect on a worldwide basis against terrorists, came about as a result of me looking at all the information that was coming into the Chairman's office, and seeing that we would get -- we were just being inundated with information, and it wasn't really intelligence, but little snippets.
USSOCOM's initial goal was to identify al Qaeda's worldwide operations. GEN Peter J. Schoomaker, current Army Chief of Staff, and formerly Commander, USSOCOM, characterized Able Danger as "an effort to put together a campaign plan to address the al Qaeda terrorist network."

The Operational Concepts Working Group (OCWG) -- a term used to identify USSOCOM personnel assigned to produce the campaign plan -- represented the core personnel working on Able Danger and ranged from six to eight members. Throughout the duration of Able Danger, various USSOCOM officers and civilian employees augmented the OCWG as necessary. For ease of reference in this report, we refer to the OCWG and its augmentees collectively as the "Able Danger team."

Colonel (Col) XXXXXX U.S. Air Force, served as the Director of the Able Danger team from June 2000 to January 2001. Col XXXXXX reported to Major General (MG) Geoffrey C. Lambert, U.S. Army, former Director, Center for Operations, Plans and Policy, USSOCOM. MG Lambert, in turn, reported directly to GEN Schoomaker on issues related to Able Danger. Captain (CAPT) (then-Commander) XXXXXX U.S. Navy, who was assigned to the Center for Intelligence and Information Operations at USS COM, served as the Operations Officer for the Able Danger team from its inception until the end of October 2000. At the time, Rear Admiral (RDML) Thomas W. Steffens, U.S. Navy, was the Director, Center for Intelligence and Information Operations. By the nature of his position, RDML Steffens was involved with the Able Danger mission.

The Able Danger team focused on "identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities associated with al Qaeda's command and control infrastructure, its leadership and supporting organizations." In order to accomplish these goals, the team employed advanced analytic tools and methodologies that were available in the 1999-2000 time frame. It sought to identify linkages and patterns in large volumes of data (data mining) and display the mined data in a userfriendly fashion for intelligence analysts and operations planners (data visualization). The data that the members mined came from Government data bases supplied by various intelligence agencies and organizations as well as open source material. Open source material included information retrieved from the World Wide Web. Additionally, the team attempted to initiate a collaborative environment (chat room) for members of the intelligence community, within and outside DoD, to share information.

The Able Danger team initially arranged to utilize the Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC), Dahlgren, VA, for support. JWAC, at that time, offered the Able Danger team an analytical tool called the Situational Influence Assessment Module (SIAM). SIAM allowed users to "construct graphic depictions of complex, cause-and-effect relationships involving uncertainty." GEN Schoomaker stated, "One of the reasons we went to JW AC is I remember telling people that JW AC-type tools would probably be useful to us because we had used them operationally in the past."

On November 22, 1999, an "Initial Planning Conference Announcement" was communicated to the various Able Danger participants. This conference was held January 10-14, 2000, at JWAC. Attendees to the conference represented a wide cross section ofthe intelligence community and included members of the DIA, CIA, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence organizations. The participants used SIAM to attempt to map out the al Qaeda network. Regarding their results, CAPT XXXXXX testified, "with high-priced help . . . we still couldn't do it . . . it was feckless." Accordingly, other options for support to the Able Danger mission were considered.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that during the XXXXXX conference at JWAC, LTC Shaffer approached him and recommended that CAPT XXXXXX contact Dr. XXXXXX a civilian intelligence analyst then-working for LIWA. LIWA was a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Accordingly, immediately after that conference, CAPT XXXXXX visited Dr. XXXXXX at LIWA and she provided an overview of LIWA's capabilities, showing him various products. CAPT XXXXXX recalled that, within 3 or 4 days of his LIWA visit, XXXXXX provided three charts to LTC Shaffer, who, in turn, delivered them to CAPT XXXXXX at USSOCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

As discussed at Section IV. A. of this report, the three charts that were provided to CAPT XXXXXX included two charts that were produced by Orion and one chart that was produced by LIWA. The Orion charts are depicted at Figures 1 and 2.8 An example of the type of chart that was produced by LIWA and provided to CAPT XXXXXX is depicted at Figure 3.9 All three charts are examples of link analysis.

____________________

8 Photographs of Figures 1 and 2 were retrieved from a laptop computer that contained Able Danger material in a safe at USSOCOM Headquarters. We did not locate the original charts.
9 We did not locate the actual chart that had been provided to CAPT XXXXXX.







Subsequent Able Danger conferences were held at JWAC during the periods January 24-27 and February 9-17, 2000. Dr. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX formerly an active duty major in the U.S. Army assigned to LIWA as Chief, Intelligence Branch, attended the conference that was held January 24-27,2000. During this conference CAPT XXXXXX traveled to LIWA and met with senior officials there to pursue a cooperative association between Able Danger and LIWA.

At the February 2000 JW AC conference, Mr. XXXXXX attended but Dr. XXXXXX was prohibited by the LIWA commander from attending. Mr. XXXXXX stated Dr. XXXXXX did not attend "because they [INSCOM and LIW A leadership] were not happy with her ability to get along well with others." In a timeline prepared by CAPT XXXXXX for this Office, an entry for February 14, 2000, provided, "Dr. XXXXXX removed from program." Dr. XXXXXX testified she was, thereafter, "very limited" in the support she could do for the Able Danger team and that she was "being minimized." Although we agree that Dr. XXXXXX role in the Able Danger program itself was limited, we believe she played a significant role in the Able Danger controversy because she subsequently claimed to have seen Mohammed Atta depicted on charts she provided to CAPT XXXXXX in January 2000. Dr. XXXXXX also claimed that on September 25, 2001, she had a brief glimpse of a chart prepared before the 9/11 attack, which depicted terrorist activities and which she believed contained a picture of Mohammed Atta.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that although he was disappointed with the products that had been produced at JWAC, he was very impressed by what he had seen during his two visits to LIWA as well as by the three charts that had been provided to him by Dr. XXXXXX via LTC Shaffer. CAPT XXXXXX thereby decided that support for the Able Danger mission should be moved from JWAC to LIWA However, he indicated that his chain of command essentially ignored his suggestion to move Able Danger mission support to LIWA Nonetheless, since CAPT XXXXXX was convinced that LIWA could offer the best assistance, he worked through the command's reluctance to move operations to LIWA He testified, "I was pretty adamant that we needed to shift. . .. So I started to hook up systems that would allow us in Tampa to have access to the data [at] LIWA."10

____________________

10 Dr. XXXXXX testified that the Able Danger team did not have access to LIWA's data. Rather, she had provided CAPT XXXXXX file transfer protocol (FTP) access that enabled CAPT XXXXXX to download products that were uploaded by LIWA personnel for him.

Though CAPT XXXXXX was convinced that Able Danger should be associated with LIWA, and appeared to have been receiving some support from LIWA, it was not until mid-March 2000 that USSOCOM established a working relationship with LIWA. CAPT XXXXXX testified that on March 3, 2000, GEN Schoomaker was briefed by the Able Danger team on their progress to date. CAPT XXXXXX testified, "He [GEN Schoomaker] walked over and I sat there and I walked him through a lot of classified discoveries using these tools on the system linked in to [LIWA]." CAPT XXXXXX stated that within 2 weeks of the March 3, 2000, briefing, LIWA was officially associated with the Able Danger mission. Regarding the March 3, 2000, briefing, GEN Schoomaker stated, "I know that JWAC was probably less useful than what I saw at LIWA. So it was a LIWA kind of thing that people wanted."

LIW A offered a facility with cutting-edge technology that enabled the Able Danger team to process large amounts of both Government and open source data. When the Able Danger team became associated with LIWA, Dr. James E. Heath was the Senior Intelligence and Technical Advisor for INSCOM. Dr. Heath testified that the LIWA suite of technologies included "Oracle data bases, parsers, geographic visualization, [and] relationship [constructors], [which were] essential to us from an intelligence standpoint." He characterized the use of this technology as,

You have a lot of cool ways to visualize [data] and interact with it, and so now you have this haystack of information . . . these tools have the capability to interact with it, allow you to find needles within that haystack effectively and quickly.
In anticipation of providing extensive support to Able Danger, Mr. XXXXXX collected approximately 2.5 terabytes of open source data that could serve as a data repository for analytical studies by Able Danger members. However, despite the advanced capability there, LIWA's direct support to Able Danger ultimately consisted primarily of a mid-March 2000 training session for some of the Able Danger intelligence analysts. Dr. XXXXXX, Mr. XXXXXX and two intelligence analysts under Mr. XXXXXX's supervision provided the training support.11

____________________

11 Mr. XXXXXX told us that after he was read on to Able Danger, he began accumulating large quantities of data primarily from open sources. He said that he subjected that data to LIWA analytical tools and found numerous potential al Qaeda links in the United States. However, he acknowledged that he had not vetted this preliminary work and that he did not identify any of the 9/11 terrorists or other potential targets of interest.
Shortly after the March 2000 training session, Lieutenant General (LTG) Robert W. Noonan, Jr., U.S. Army, then-Commanding General, INSCOM, ordered LIWA to limit support for Able Danger to training and familiarizing team members on the LIWA tools. LTG Noonan imposed this limitation because of issues related to collecting data on United States persons that arose during a previous project at LIWA that generated significant interest at the highest levels in DoD. LIWA's decision to limit support to training, without allowing analysis of data, effectively halted meaningful progress by the Able Danger team for about 3 months (March through June 2000).

CAPT XXXXXX testified that LIWA had not produced anything of significance for Able Danger prior to terminating its support. Other than the three charts he received from Dr. XXXXXX he assessed the value of the intelligence that had been gained while Able Danger was associated with LIWA as "zero."

Dr. XXXXXX corroborated CAPT xxxxxx's testimony in that regard, stating that products other than the three charts were of minimal importance to Able Danger. Dr. Heath agreed, describing the LIW A support as "the SOCOM guys come down, just like we had lots of other people come down and sit with the analysts for a week or two, get a sense for what you could do." He added that further support for Able Danger was prohibited by the INSCOM commander until specific authorization from the Office of the Secretary of Defense was received.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that eventually Dr. XXXXXX recommended that he move the Able Danger operation to Raytheon Company's Garland, Texas, facility, since LIWA could not support it. Dr. XXXXXX, formerly Chief Scientist, Intelligence Division, Raytheon Company, told us that Raytheon, which set up the LIWA facility in 1997, constructed a backup center at the Garland facility with capabilities that he believed were "actually better but they were at least the same" as those of LIWA. Thereafter, USSOCOM entered into a $750,000 contract with Raytheon Company to provide support to Able Danger for the period July 17 to October 17, 2000.

Dr. XXXXXX stated that the Garland facility was organized so that Able Danger worked in a secure area separate from Raytheon Company employees, who did not get involved in Able Danger activities. He stated, "Only Special Forces or Government people could go in that room and so they may have had stuff in there, but, you know we weren't allowed to see." Dr. XXXXXX characterized Raytheon Company's support as,

Well we provided them the JWICS [Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System] lines and analyst workstations and interfaces to national collection systems and secure telephones and faxes and so on. And also provided them know-how on the processes on putting together the whole software and setting up the process for collection and analysis.
When the Able Danger team arrived at the Garland facility the members were disappointed that the capabilities they were led to believe would be in place were not.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that though there was a computing system at the facility, "it didn't have the tools on it. The tools didn't migrate well." CAPT XXXXXX estimated that the Garland facility was not operational for "60, 65 [days]" after his arrival on July 1, 2000. Accordingly, the facility was not fully operational until about September 1, 2000. One witness testified that when the Garland facility was finally operational the capabilities exceeded those that had been shown to the team members at LIWA.

CAPT XXXXXX added "When the 3-month time limit expired, Gen Schoomaker gave me yet another month to work it, because I think he was pretty happy." CAPT XXXXXX testified that USSOCOM paid $250,000 for this additional month at the Garland facility. This extension enabled the Able Danger team to continue work at the Garland facility until mid-November 2000.

When the Garland facility became operational, Able Danger team members applied the data mining and visualization tools to data from Govermnent data bases and the World Wide Web. Dr. XXXXXX stated, "They got 6 years of classified data from 18 agencies in one location." With regard to open source data, Dr. XXXXXX testified, "they started from scratch." Dr. XXXXXX estimated the Able Danger team members were collecting data from 10,000 Web sites each day. He said, "What we were doing is collecting data from news Web sites and terrorist's Web sites and things like that." However, we found that the Able Danger team members generally limited their searches to English language Web sites.12

____________________

12 CAPT XXXXXX told us that he performed a number of searches of Portuguese language Web sites.

Dr. XXXXXX testified that sometime in September 2000, she took leave and traveled to the Garland facility in order to interview for a position there with the Raytheon Company. She was hired effective September 28, 2000, and began working at the Garland facility shortly thereafter. As a Raytheon Company employee, Dr. XXXXXX's association with the Able Danger mission was limited. She stated, "I was a contractor. I wasn't a Govermnent person at that time, so there was a lot that happened that I wasn't privy to."

On October 10, 2000, GEN Schoomaker traveled to the Garland facility and was briefed on the progress of the Able Danger program. CAPT XXXXXX characterized the briefing as

What we tried to impart on him at that meeting was, "Hey, we've got the pieces in place. We've got the data sets here. We're starting to process it. We're starting to come up with vignettes that we think are warranted and we need to look at. People are looking at doing it this way. We think it's fast, we think it's robust and it's credible."13
____________________

13 Coincidentally, this briefing occurred 2 days before the attack on the USS COLE (DDG-67) in Aden, Yemen. CAPT XXXXXX told us that Yemen was mentioned as a "hotspot" during the briefing, but characterized any assertion that GEN Schoomaker failed to act on a warning of an imminent threat there as "all crap."

Witnesses who were present at the briefing testified that GEN Schoomaker was very impressed with the technology he observed at the Garland facility. CAPT XXXXXX testified, "Gen Schoomaker said, you know, 'you guys are too far away. This four-month prototype effort in Garland has been fun but I want you guys closer.' "MG Lambert testified that "everyone agreed with that decision [to move the analytical capabilities to USSOCOM headquarters]."

GEN Schoomaker testified he had anticipated USSOCOM having a local capacity of advanced analytical tools and data mining. He stated, "From the very beginning, these things looked [like] they had promise." GEN Schoomaker added, "It was always intended to be brought back into our spaces [at USSOCOM headquarters] so that our analysts would be able to do this every day." GEN Schoomaker provided, "It didn't make any sense for us to have it all the way in Texas. It was there because of the contractor facility."

On October 12, 2000, Col XXXXXX sent a memorandum to the Able Danger team members in which he discussed a meeting h had that day with MG Lambert and Brigadier General (BG) James W. Parker, U.S. Army, Director, Special Operations Information Operations (SOIO), USSOCOM. Based on that meeting, Col XXXXXX outlined "the current picture of the future." In his memorandum, Col XXXXXX advised that the Able Danger team "will dissolve with the 15 Dec [December 15, 2000] publication of the IO [Information Operations] Campaign Plan." He added that as a follow on mission to the Able Danger team, SOIO would take "the lead in developing the SOCC [Special Operations Collaborative Center]." He added, "As you could tell, the CINC [GEN Schoomaker] was and is very happy with your accomplishments." Col XXXXXX also wrote, "your only concern is the IO Campaign Plan." (emphasis in original).

In an attachment to Col XXXXXX's memorandum of October 12, 2000, the vision, charter, and command relations of the SOCC were discussed. The charter provided that "the SOCC will develop and use non-traditional techniques and procedures to define areas for IO applications to obtain the initiative in combating transnational threats." It also stressed the need for "close collaboration between DOD and Other Government Agencies." In a follow-on memorandum of October 17, 2000, Col XXXXXX advised Able Danger team members of GEN Schoomaker's guidance to "capture the Able Danger team capabilities and develop an IO planning cell in USSOCOM/SOIO around them."

In a letter dated October 23, 2000, Col XXXXXX ordered CAPT XXXXXX to return from the Garland facility to USSOCOM headquarters. CAPT XXXXXX characterized this order as being "fired" and expressed his frustration that he was prohibited from continuing with data mining operations. He returned to USSOCOM headquarters on October 30, 2000, and then worked on bringing the capabilities that were at the Garland facility to USSOCOM. He continued to work this issue through May 2001.

Col XXXXXX testified that the Able Danger team was "a hundred percent successful" in regard to being "a proof of concept for data mining and its capability to support operational planning." He added, however, in terms of the other aspects of the mission, identifying al Qaeda and analyzing its vulnerabilities, the team was only "30 percent" successful. He stated the weakness was that, "as far as we got was to identify . . . a proposed indication of the al Qaeda network. It was not validated." Col XXXXXX testified that additional work was required in attaining "more interagency connectivity and then the bridge, once we had developed actionable intelligence, a bridge into operational planning." Col XXXXXX stressed the importance of interagency connectivity and highlighted that "the military targets [account for] maybe five percent of actually engaging the al Qaeda network."

MG Lambert characterized the success of the Able Danger team as "it helped . . . make people realize that you can use automated tools to [discover] that very hard human networking business much more effectively and much quicker." However, MG Lambert testified "we didn't get the mission accomplished." He explained, "It ended up, the final product was just a framework, you know it was . . . just a template." He added, "But it was worth a try and there were some benefits. . . . So it was a success, it was worth the money for that, but we didn't get the mission accomplished."

Similarly, RDML Steffens was favorably impressed by the technology employed by the Able Danger team while at the Garland facility. He stated that those capabilities were "a fabulous tool." He added, "As soon as you saw it, it impressed you with the, what it could do as far as reviewing and linking information and also the visual presentations that it gave you, enabled you to see how things were connected."

CAPT XXXXXX assessed that prior to his departure at the end of October 2000, the Able Danger team "had made very little progress." He commented that the team had collected a significant amount of data from open sources, but "still hadn't set the architecture to analyze it very well."

In summary, the history of Able Danger, from its inception in October 1999 to its termination in January 2001, demonstrated that its work product was limited to the development of a "Campaign Plan" that formed the basis for follow-on intelligence gathering efforts.14 The first 9 months of Able Danger were characterized by "false starts" and repeat efforts to find a suitable operating environment and location. Its initial placement at the JWAC and subsequent association with LIWA achieved nothing other than a basic level of familiarization with state-ofthe-art analytical tools and capabilities. Essentially no significant progress on Able Danger was made until September 2000 when operations at the Garland facility began. Those operations collected data from other agencies and thousands of Web sites in order to apply analytical tools that would make connections and linkages between data points to demonstrate a strategy for attacking the al Qaeda infrastructure. Operations at Garland continued for about 2 months, sufficient to develop such a strategy; i.e., a Campaign Plan, but were then terminated.

__________________

14 The campaign plan itself is classified.

LTC Shaffer's Involvement with Able Danger

Because of the representations that LTC Shaffer made regarding Able Danger, we sought to determine the nature of his participation in, hence knowledge of, Able Danger activities. Based on our interviews with individuals familiar with the Able Danger mission, we determined that his participation was limited. A summary of his involvement follows:


LTC Shaffer testified that in December 1999, while on travel in active duty status from DIA, he met with GEN Schoomaker at USSOCOM headquarters. According to LTC Shaffer, GEN Schoomaker asked LTC Shaffer to contact CAPT XXXXXX to discuss the Able Danger mission. GEN Schoomaker testified he did not recall this meeting or ever meeting LTC Shaffer, but did not deny that the meeting may have occurred. MG Lambert and RDML Steffens, two senior USSOCOM officials closest to the Able Danger program, did not recall meeting LTC Shaffer during the 1999/2000 time period.
LTC Shaffer was one of nearly 500 people who were "read-on" to the Able Danger program.
LTC Shaffer attended the three Able Danger conferences at JWAC in January and February 2000.
LTC Shaffer was responsible for putting CAPT XXXXXX in contact with Dr. XXXXXX at LIWA in order to determine whether LIWA could support the Able Danger mission. Subsequently, LTC Shaffer delivered three charts from Dr. XXXXXX to CAPT XXXXXX that demonstrated link analysis.
LTC Shaffer told us that at the request of GEN Schoomaker he "negotiated" with the LIWA commander an arrangement between USSOCOM and LIWA for LIWA to support the Able Danger mission. However, we could not corroborate this assertion as the LIWA commander (now retired) refused our request for an interview and, as indicated above, GEN Schoomaker did not recall ever meeting LTC Shaffer.
We found that LTC Shaffer traveled to Garland on one occasion, but we found no evidence that he conducted any significant work there. LTC Shaffer told us that, during his one visit to Garland, he was engaged in "looking at the data versus what we're going to do with the data and creating the options."
LTC Shaffer assisted Able Danger team members in receiving special authorization that enhanced their ability to access various World Wide Web sites and coordinated with DIA and other intelligence agencies to provide data bases to the Able Danger team.
Witness testimony concerning LTC Shaffer's involvement and contributions was inconsistent. CAPT XXXXXX and Dr. XXXXXX characterized LTC Shaffer's contributions to the Able Danger mission as significant. CAPT XXXXXX stated that LTC Shaffer got the Able Danger team data bases, provided an analyst who came to the Garland facility, and linked CAPT XXXXXX with LIWA. Another witness, who was a key participant on the Able Danger team, characterized LTC Shaffer's involvement on Able Danger as "basically the delivery boy," referring to LTC Shaffer's assistance in providing "classified tapes from DIA." This witness added that LTC Shaffer "wasn't part of the team as he's claimed to be. He helped us out in bringing some data down and that was about it."



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III. SCOPE

In the course of our investigation, we obtained sworn testimony from 98 witnesses with knowledge of the matters under investigation, including GEN Shelton, GEN Schoomaker, LTC Shaffer, CAPT XXXXXX, Dr. XXXXXX, members of,the Able Danger team, DIA officials who were involved with Able Danger or LTC Shaffer, and contractor employees involved with the program. Because of inconsistencies in testimony and need for follow-up, we conducted re-interviews of key witnesses, including LTC Shaffer who was interviewed four times and CAPT XXXXXX who was interviewed three times. Additionally, we examined relevant documentation.

This report is unclassified, which caused us to omit certain factual information that might be relevant, but not essential, to resolution of the issues under consideration. In our view, the issues are fully addressed with unclassified information.

As indicated above, we evaluated reprisal allegations involving LTC Shaffer from two perspectives -- his status as a Service member and his status as a DIA civilian appropriated fund employee. While the guidelines for conducting such reprisal analysis vary because of the different statutes involved, we focused on the central question in any reprisal case -- would the unfavorable actions have been taken absent the employee's whistleblower activity? To give full consideration to LTC Shaffer's situation, we presumed that his perceived involvement in two DIA IG investigations in 2002; his discussions with the 9/11 Commission staff members in October 2003; and his communications regarding Able Danger with Members of Congress and the media in 2005 all constituted "protected communications" for purposes of reprisal analysis. We then focused our analysis on the basis for unfavorable actions taken against him to determine whether those actions were justified based on factors apart from LTC Shaffer's communications.



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IV. FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

A. Did the Able Danger team identify Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists before September 11, 2001?
Facts

Much has been reported in the media and in Congressional deliberations regarding the possibility that Able Danger identified Mohammed Atta and other terrorists associated with the attack of 9/11. That possibility was based on statements by LTC Shaffer and others who recalled seeing a chart, created before 9/11, that allegedly contained a photograph of Mohammed Atta in connection with an al Qaeda "New York" or "Brooklyn cell" or, at a minimum, displayed his name along with the names of other suspected terrorists.

We found no charts or other documentation created before 9/11 that contained a photograph or name of Mohammed Atta and was produced or possessed by the Able Danger team. Further, we found no contemporaneous documentary evidence that such a discovery had been made by Able Danger. As a result, the resolution of this issue rests on witness testimony -- particularly the credibility and consistency of testimony by witnesses who claimed to have seen such a depiction of Mohammed Atta. We set forth the following summaries of relevant testimony to address this matter.

CAPT XXXXXX

CAPT XXXXXX served as the Operations Officer for the Able Danger team from its inception in October 1999 through October 2000 and was closely involved in all Able Danger activities. We interviewed him on three occasions; December 13, 2005, February 17,2006, and May 24, 2006. During each interview he discussed a chart that allegedly contained a photograph of Mohammed Atta. At the first interview CAPT XXXXXX was "100 percent [certain] Mohammed Atta's image was on the chart." At the second interview he acknowledged there was "a compelling amount of evidence that would make it appear that I did not see Mohammed Atta." In the third interview CAPT XXXXXX stated, "I'm convinced that Atta was not on that chart, the chart we had."

CAPT XXXXXX testified that within "3 or 4 days" of meeting with Dr. XXXXXX at LIWA in January 2000, LTC Shaffer delivered three charts to him at USSOCOM headquarters.15 After initially denying that Figure 1 was one of those charts, CAPT XXXXXX eventually testified that Figure 1 was one of the original charts and that Figure 2 was also one of the charts. He described the third chart that was delivered to him as a "propeller chart," Figure 3 is an example of such a propeller chart, but is not the chart that was delivered to CAPT XXXXXX.

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15 CAPT XXXXXX first met Dr. XXXXXX sometime between January 10 and 14, 2000, while at JWAC for the Initial Planning Conference. On CAPT XXXXXX's time line is an entry for January 23, 2000, "LIWA provides suggestions . . . including demos." Accordingly, we concluded the charts were provided to CAPT XXXXXX between January 15 and 23,2000.

During our initial interview, CAPT XXXXXX testified that he was certain that Mohammed Atta's photograph was on one of the three charts delivered to him in January or February 2000 which portrayed a Brooklyn cell. While he believed that photographs of other 9/11 terrorists were on the chart, he was not as certain as he was about Mohammed Atta's photograph. He testified,

I know 100 percent Mohammed Atta's image was on the chart. I pretty well recollect that there were three [terrorists], at least three others, but I have not gone into any depth in trying to recreate the memory of who any of them were. All I know is what I originally saw on the days shortly after 9/11 and that was him.
CAPT XXXXXX also stated that in addition to the Brooklyn cell there were four other cells depicted on the chart. He recalled the cells were "Dar es Salaam, Kenya, Tanzania, [and] Nairobi."16

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16 We noted that Dar es Salaam is the capitol of Tanzania, and Nairobi is the capitol of Kenya. The U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were both attacked on August 7, 1998.

In our second interview we discussed with CAPT XXXXXX a memorandum dated August 30, 2000, signed by CAPT XXXXXX which addressed a chart entitled "The Al-Qaeda Network: Snapshots of Typical Operational Cells Associated with UBL [Usama Bin Laden]."17 CAPT XXXXXX reviewed the chart depicted at Figure 1 and agreed that this chart appeared to be the chart discussed in the memorandum. CAPT XXXXXX estified,

Well, I mean, obviously there's a compelling amount of evidence that would make it appear that I did not see Mohammed Atta. And I will absolutely grant you that based on what you're showing me my recollection could have been wrong. But I still need to stress that if I told you that I didn't think I saw Mohammed Atta's face, that in fact would be lying. . . . I honestly believe that I saw Atta on the chart.
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17 The memorandum addressed the retention of data involving United States persons.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that the he did not know the current location of the original chart reproduced as Figure 1. He stated that the last time he saw it was when he left the Garland facility (October 2000). During our third interview CAPT XXXXXX testified that the last time he saw the chart was in July 2000 before the Able Danger team arrived at the Garland facility, and that he never possessed any other charts with photographs depicting link analysis other than the two Orion charts that had been provided to him by LIWA.

In our third interview CAPT XXXXXX stated, "I'm convinced that Atta was not on that chart, the chart that we had." However, he then recalled that, in June 2000 at USSOCOM headquarters, he "saw Atta's face" on a document that an intelligence analyst on the Able Danger team was holding. CAPT XXXXXX claimed he was sitting next to the intelligence analyst who was "sifting through a bunch of paperwork" and said, "Hey, look at this guy . . . This is one mean [son of a bitch]." CAPT XXXXXX testified "I turned, I looked at it and I concurred with him." CAPT XXXXXX explained the incident caused him to believe that the photograph of Mohammed Atta was on a chart because, "I thought he [the intelligence officer] was working on the chart and that's how it kind of played out in my head."

CAPT XXXXXX was certain that the photograph was "something derived from the intelligence community. Some document that the intelligence community has. . . . But it was that picture of Atta." CAPT XXXXXX could not recall whether the photograph was color or black and white and testified he only viewed the photograph for "four seconds, maybe five." He added, "that was the heart of what I recalled all along, not the chart but that damn picture." CAPT XXXXXX did not recall any other instances where Mohammed Atta was identified by the Able Danger team.

In response to whether he had any thoughts as to the reason that others claimed to have seen a chart that depicted Mohammed Atta and a Brooklyn cell as well as possibly other 9/11 terrorists, CAPT XXXXXX testified, "[LTC] Tony [Shaffer] was relying on my recollection, I think, 100 percent. I mean, I think a lot of people are."

We found that following his experience with Able Danger CAPT XXXXXX actively promoted data mining as an antiterrorist tool and, in doing so, suggested with increasing certainty that Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists before the 9/11 attack.

Commander (CDR) XXXXXX, U.S. Navy, who served as CAPT XXXXXX's executive officer from March 2002 to March 2003 aboard the USS ESTOCIN, told us that CAPT XXXXXX discussed his previous assignment at USSOCOM and his interest in data mining. CDR XXXXXX recalled CAPT XXXXXX had discussed seeing some of the 9/11 terrorists prior to the attacks in a general sense and believed CAPT XXXXXX may have mentioned Mohammed Atta. CDR XXXXXX stated,

My recollection of it is he was pointing to they had knowledge of it prior or they had enough data points and enough indication to believe that . . . they had enough knowledge to identify these people as potential possible terrorists that we should be trying to capture or to apprehend.
Although CAPT XXXXXX told us that the last time he saw the charts at Figures 1 and 2 was July or October 2000 (see above), CDR XXXXXX testified that CAPT XXXXXX showed him at least two, possibly three, charts in CAPT XXXXXX 's stateroom aboard ship (about 2 years later).

CDR XXXXXX stated that the charts were approximately three feet by four feet and were unrolled on a table in CAPT XXXXXX 's stateroom where CAPT XXXXXX would use them to explain data mining. CDR XXXXXX testified that there were photographs on the chart and lines connecting the photographs.

CDR XXXXXX was "90 percent" certain and "real sure" that one of the charts CAPT XXXXXX showed him is the chart depicted at Figure 1. He stated, "I do remember this chart. I can't say 100 percent but I believe that this is the chart. . . I believe this is the chart I saw in CAPT XXXXXX's stateroom." CDR XXXXXX had a specific recollection of "the blind, Rahman" and Eyad Ismoil who are depicted in Figure 1. CDR XXXXXX also recalled seeing the chart entitled, "Al-Qaeda and Pan-Islamic Extremism: Associations and Linkages" (Figure 2). CDR XXXXXX was "70 percent" sure that he had seen this chart in CAPT XXXXXX's stateroom.

Mr. XXXXXX, Assistant for Strategic Initiative, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, testified he met with CAPT XXXXXX and LTC Shaffer during April 2003 to discuss their desire to develop an antiterrorism project applying the technology that was used by the Able Danger team. Mr. XXXXXX testified that he discussed with CAPT XXXXXX that they would need to prepare briefing materials that showed examples of the capabilities that were achieved with the Able Danger mission. Mr. XXXXXX recalled:

both [LTC] Tony Shaffer and [CAPT] XXXXXX alluded to the fact -- alluded to the fact -- that prior to 9/11, there were linkages to some of the 9/11 participants that came back to the United States at a time when, for example, Mohammed Atta might have been in the United States. . .. I recall is that they alluded to the fact that three of the 9/11 hijackers had showed up in the Able Danger data base.
What Mr. XXXXXX recalled of the discussion was that it was said "in passing" and "it wasn't clear to me as to whether that information even existed any longer anyway." Mr. XXXXXX was confident, however, that there was no mention of a "Brooklyn" or "Brooklyn, NY" cell.

GEN Norton A. Schwartz, U.S. Air Force, currently, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, and then-Director of Operations for the Joint Staff, testified that in late 2003 or early 2004, CAPT XXXXXX presented to him a PowerPoint briefing related to data mining. CAPT XXXXXX provided us a copy of the presentation, entitled "Strategic Planning Initiative." The three objectives of the briefing were listed on a slide as: "Demonstrate a Strategic Planning approach," "Demonstrate a complete Horizontal Fusion strategy for all-source information," and "Request a Mission."

The briefing contained slides depicting various analytical tools used by the Able Danger mission team and examples of computerized visual displays, but made no mention of having identified Mohammed Atta or other terrorists prior to 9/11. GEN Schwartz confirmed that CAPT XXXXXX did not mention he had identified Mohammed Atta during the brief. However, CAPT XXXXXX disputed GEN Schwartz' recollection, telling us, "Atta was mentioned as a punctuation at the end of the brief. I told him how close we had gotten to catching the bad guys of 9/11."

In early 2004 CAPT XXXXXX sought to meet with the 9/11 Commission and requested authorization for a meeting through his chain of command. The request was coordinated with various DoD offices and on July 12, 2004, CAPT XXXXXX met with staff members of the 9/11 Commission. During his first interview with us, CAPT XXXXXX testified he stated he had four points that he wanted to bring to the attention of the 9/11 Commission:

the [Able Danger] program existed, that we knew about Mohammed Atta prior to the [USS] COLE,18 that transitioning information to the FBI had been thwarted, and that Mohammed Atta was on, was on the chart.
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18 As mentioned above, the USS COLE (DDG 67) was bombed by terrorists on October 12, 2000, shortly after mooring in the Yemeni port of Aden.
During our second interview, we asked CAPT XXXXXX to explain why he waited until 2004 to contact the 9/11 Commission with the foregoing information. He stated it was a "complicated answer" and discussed his frustrations with failing to convince his Navy superiors of the need to embrace data mining and visualization. Accordingly, he elected to e-mail "my boss, that I had this information and I wanted to go forward and get permission to go to the 9/11 Commission and brief them." With regard to the substance of his testimony to the 9/11 Commission staff, CAPT XXXXXX stated,

I didn't know if they had fully understood the struggle that SOCOM was going through to get details on this transnational threat prior to 9/11. I mean, there was hard work being done and I wanted to make sure they understood the level of effort, the community of effort that was going after al Qaeda prior to 9/11. So that's why I went.
On July 12, 2004, CAPT XXXXXX met with Mr. Dietrich Snell, Senior Counsel and Team Leader on the 9/11 Commission staff, who had served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1988 to 1999. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Snell was involved with major al Qaeda cases, including the prosecution of Ramzi Yousef for his role in a 1994-1995 plot to blow up jets over the Pacific (Yousef was convicted) and the appeal processes following the conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. He told us that, prior to his meeting, he was made aware of CAPT XXXXXX's intent to discuss a specific program that had identified Mohammed Atta before 9/11.

Mr. Snell told us that during the interview CAPT XXXXXX strongly promoted computer generated link analysis as tool that needed to be exploited within the Government. He recalled that CAPT XXXXXX expressed "unhappiness about his superiors shutting down the. . . [Able Danger] program" and he spent "most of the interview talking about the program itself and his role in it." According to Mr. Snell, CAPT XXXXXX exhibited excitement about the value of link analysis and thought that it had the support of his superiors in the chain of command, but that Able Danger was shut down after "lawyers within the DoD became too concerned" about data collection involving United States persons. Mr. Snell recalled that the primary focus of their discussion was CAPT XXXXXX's disagreement with that decision.

In order to illustrate how valuable link analysis could be, Mr. Snell recalled that CAPT XXXXXX "described as a recollection -- although not a very solid one -- that Mohammed Atta had been identified through this link analysis and actually had appeared either by photo or by name or both on a chart that [CAPT] XXXXXX said he had seen in the early part of 2000."

However, Mr. Snell considered CAPT XXXXXX's recollection with respect to Able Danger's identification of Mohammed Atta inaccurate because it was "one hundred percent inconsistent with everything we knew about Mohammed Atta and his colleagues at the time." Mr. Snell went on to describe his knowledge of Mohammed Atta's overseas travel and associations before 9/11, noting the "utter absence of any information suggesting any kind of a tie between Atta and anyone located in this country during the first half of the year 2000," when Able Danger had allegedly identified him.

Mr. Snell testified that CAPT XXXXXX "qualified" his level of certainty about whether he had definitely identified Mohammed Atta, emphasizing that CAPT XXXXXX:

was unable to tell me anything at all about what caused him to believe that he had actually seen Atta on a chart. In other words, what was the underlying basis for Atta's name and picture coming up and being linked? . . . he admitted that he had only seen the chart briefly and he was a little vague about whether it was the picture and the name or just one or the other. Even more significantly to me, he couldn't give me any information about why, if assuming Atta actually, he had actually seen Atta, why was Atta there, what was the underlying basis? . . . So factoring everything into the mix, I concluded that CAPT XXXXXX was simply mistaken about what he said he saw.
Mr. Snell addressed the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report was to be printed only 10 days after he met with CAPT XXXXXX. In response to whether anyone had pressured Mr. Snell to discount CAPT XXXXXX's testimony because the impending date of publication, Mr. Snell responded, "Absolutely not."

Dr. XXXXXX

Dr. XXXXXX played a limited role in Able Danger activities, but we interviewed her on three occasions because of her recollection that two charts she provided to CAPT XXXXXX in early January 2000 identified Mohammed Atta. She recalled that one chart was produced by Orion and allegedly contained a photograph of Mohammed Atta. However, she denied that this was the chart at Figure 1. The other chart was a "parentage" or "dot" chart that was produced by LIWA. Dr. XXXXXX described the parentage chart as not having any photographs but, rather containing names of entities such as people or companies designated by small circles, or "dots," on the chart (similar to the propeller chart at Figure 3). Both charts were provided to CAPT XXXXXX in order to demonstrate link analysis. Dr. XXXXXX testified that any link analysis chart with photographs was produced by Orion because LIWA did not have that capability to produce such charts.

Regarding the Orion charts, Mr. XXXXXX recalled that in January 2000 Dr. XXXXXX asked Mr. XXXXXX, an intelligence analyst for Orion, for a chart that she could give to the Able Danger team. He stated Dr. XXXXXX told Mr. XXXXXX "You can advertise your business. . . give me something very slick that we can use." Mr. XXXXXX stated that Orion had prepared the al Qaeda charts which Mr. XXXXXX provided to Dr. XXXXXX as part of a work effort not related to Able Danger.

In our first interview Dr. XXXXXX initially testified that Mohammed Atta was "highlighted" on the Orion chart and associated with wealthy individuals and religious leaders. She specifically identified the Brooklyn cell as being distinct from the area in which Mohammed Atta was located. Dr. XXXXXX stated,

And it [the chart] also associated him [Mohammed Atta] with some wealthy Middle Eastern players and some religious holy men from the region we would be interested in. I also believe that that chart had on it, to the best of my memory, several other cells, one of them being the Brooklyn cell that I had been looking at for a long time.
However, later in that interview, when asked by an investigator where Mohammed Atta was in relation to the Brooklyn cell, Dr. XXXXXX responded, "I believe he would have been part of the Brooklyn cell." Dr. XXXXXX was unable to recall with certainty how many other people were depicted in the Brooklyn cell and stated, "I can't say with any. . . . Four or five." She recalled the photograph of Mohammed Atta was "very unclear," "granular," and "grainy" while the quality of the other pictures was "pretty good."

Dr. XXXXXX described the chart as depicting events in a time line fashion and containing Mohammed Atta's picture in the upper left comer. She stated that the chart depicted terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the embassy bombings in Africa as well as possibly some activity in Europe. She stated, "My memory fades on what that connection to the European group is." Dr. XXXXXX explained,

In my recollection the timeline on this chart was all associated around the events of the African bombings and the World Trade Center bombings and how the personnel from the different groups were related to the Bin Laden network.
Dr. XXXXXX commented that her memory of the chart was not precise. She explained that the chart was produced by a contractor and that it had little analytical value and had been provided to Able Danger just for its visual impact as "eye candy."

During our second interview, Dr. XXXXXX acknowledged she could not recall the chart provided by Orion in detail. Dr. XXXXXX testified,

I have a real hard time remembering exactly what that Orion Scientific chart looked like because to me, it doesn't have the same importance to me that it seems to have for everyone else right now. It was simply a demonstration that whatever data they had confirmed what we were seeing here [at LIWA].
Dr. XXXXXX acknowledged during the second interview that the chart produced by Orion was of limited utility, commenting "So if we go back to what kind of chart was this, to me those charts were not actionable intelligence."

During our third interview, Dr. XXXXXX made statements that were inconsistent with her earlier testimony regarding the Orion chart. During our first interview Dr. XXXXXX testified that she recalled Mohammed Atta "name and picture," but in our third interview Dr. XXXXXX testified that she no longer had a recollection of a photograph but recalled the name "Mohammed Atta" appearing on the Orion chart.

Dr. XXXXXX was consistent in her testimony that she recalled the name "Atta" (did not recall "Mohammed Atta") related to a Brooklyn cell depicted on the parentage chart. She stated, "I remember the name Atta either directly under, next to, or associated with one of these dots." We found noteworthy that, while stating that the name "Atta" appeared on this chart, Dr. XXXXXX acknowledged that the chart was produced using data that had been collected for previous projects related to technology transfers and support to Army units in Bosnia and Korea.

Dr. XXXXXX discussed that only after speaking with CAPT XXXXXX after the 9/11 attacks did she recall that Mohammed Atta was on the charts that had been produced in January 2000. She testified that on September 11 or 12, 2001, CAPT XXXXXX called her and reminded her of the charts. She said CAPT XXXXXX asked her about the chart with the photographs. She recalled him asking her, "Do you remember that first chart you had telling -- bringing to me, that had that horseshoe-shaped cluster around Atta?" Dr. XXXXXX also testified that during this telephone conversation, CAPT XXXXXX discussed parentage or propeller chart that also included Mohammed Atta. She stated, "So he [CAPT XXXXXX] said go back to those briefings. Those dot charts that were unclassified I think are in those briefings." Dr. XXXXXX described the conversation as "We are remembering what happened. We're in agreement. . . . He's adamant. [quoting CAPT XXXXXX] 'I saw that [a photograph of Mohammed Atta]. It was on those charts. I saw this chart. Do you have this chart?' " Dr. XXXXXX added that during the conversation with CAPT XXXXXX she told him that she did not have the charts, but, "If they're anywhere, [Representative] Weldon or one of the congressmen has them." She also stated that CAPT XXXXXX told her, "look for them. Call Tony [LTC Shaffer]. Someone has to have these charts."

CAPT XXXXXX denied that he spoke with Dr. XXXXXX as described above. He told us that on September 11, 2001, he was on board a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea and did not have access to a telephone until his ship came to port in France around September 17, 2001. CAPT XXXXXX denied contacting Dr. XXXXXX from France and stated that he did not speak with her until December 2001 when he returned to the United States. CAPT XXXXXX also testified that though he received information about the 9/11 attacks, it was not until September 15, 2001, that he first saw any pictures of the alleged terrorists from media reports.

Mr. XXXXXX , employed by Orion from 1998 to 2001 as a senior intelligence analyst, told us that he prepared the charts depicted at Figure 1 and 2, which do not identify Mohammed Atta or any other 9/11 terrorist, using Orion Magic, a proprietary software program owned by Orion. He testified that the charts prepared by Orion were either link analysis or timeline charts. He stressed that the charts prepared by Orion depicted historical events and individuals with known ties to terrorist organizations. Mr. XXXXXX testified that Orion Magic was not capable of discovering the identity of unknown terrorists.

Dr. XXXXXX was also interviewed by members of the U.S. Army Office of Intelligence (Army G2) on August 17, 19, and 22, 2005, before we began this Investigation. In her first interview Dr. XXXXXX discussed a parentage chart and recalled a Brooklyn cell. In her second interview Dr. XXXXXX recalled the Brooklyn cell and the name "Atta" on the chart. She did not recall a picture of Mohammed Atta and stated, "Why would I have a picture of him?" and "I remember Atta's name, not a photograph."

Mr. XXXXXX testified that sometime after Dr. XXXXXX spoke with the Army G2, he spoke with Dr. _XXXXXX. He stated, "The first time she talked to Army G2 she said she didn't remember [seeing Mohammed Atta]. And the second time she talked to them she said, 'Oh, wait, I remember.' " Mr. XXXXXX added that Dr. XXXXXX was upset "because nobody would believe her after her first interview that she had changed her story. She said nobody would believe her."

Dr. XXXXXX testified that on September 25, 2001, Representative Curt Weldon possessed a copy of the Orion chart, which included a picture of Mohammed Atta, that she had provided to CAPT XXXXXX in January 2000. She stated she was in Representative Weldon's office and they were preparing to go to the White House to meet with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-Chief of Staff and Assistant for National Security Affairs to Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Before they left the office, Dr. XXXXXX asserted, Representative Weldon retrieved the chart from a closet where he had kept other charts. In response to our question, "Do you recall [Representative Weldon] having a chart with Mohammed Atta's picture or name on it?", Dr. XXXXXX responded, "And Atta's picture, I believe, to the best of my memory, I saw it in the upper left-hand corner in that chart."

Dr. XXXXXX testified the chart was brought to Mr. Libby's office and there were other people in the room. She remembered the people included Representatives Christopher H. Shays and Dan Burton; Mr. Thomas J. Ridge, then-Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Office of Homeland Security, and future-Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and "some of Ridge's kind of deputies in this new departmenw they were setting up." There were other people in the office that she did not recognize. Dr. XXXXXX testified, "I'm going through my mind, and what I have when I walked into Scooter Libby's front reception area, and I unwrapped a lot of charts," but she could not recall whether she presented the chart depicting Mohammed Atta while in Mr. Libby's office.

Dr. XXXXXX testified that she departed Mr. Libby's office with Representatives Weldon and Shays and went to the office of Mr. Stephen J. Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and then-Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor. Dr. XXXXXX testified that she had a "60 percent" confidence level that the chart with Mohammed Atta's photograph was shown to Mr. Hadley. Regarding whether the chart contained a photograph of Mohammed Atta, Dr. XXXXXX stated,

And the reason I have a higher confidence level is I saw the picture of the World Trade Center and what I thought was the World Trade Center and what I thought were the two embassy bombings on it, which to me was the trigger that reminded me of this chart.
Dr. XXXXXX added, however, that she did not see the picture of Mohammed Atta on the chart. She stated "I didn't see it that day. However, from my memory of that chart, I knew that it would have had to have been here."

Representative Weldon wrote about the September 25,2001, meeting with Mr. Hadley in his book Countdown to Terror, which was published in June 2005. At page 18 he wrote,

On September 25, 2001, just 2 weeks after 9/11, I met in the White House with Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser to the President. I presented him with a 2' x 3' chart I had been given in the aftermath of 9/11. The chart was developed in 1999, as part of a Defense Department initiative dubbed "Able Danger." It diagrammed the affiliations of al Qaeda and showed Mohammed Atta and the infamous Brooklyn cell. Hadley's response was "I have to show this to the big man."19
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19 In a response to Representative Weldon's account, a spokesperson for Mr. Hadley, as quoted in a New York Times article published October 1, 2005, stated that Mr. Hadley recalled meeting with Representative Weldon on September 25, 2001, and being shown a chart that was an example of link analysis, but did not recall being shown a chart bearing the name or photograph of Mohammed Atta.

Dr. XXXXXX testified that she had talked with Representative Weldon about whether the chart that was provided to Mr. Hadley was supplied by him or by her. She stated that Representative Weldon told her that she supplied the chart and that she told him that he supplied the chart. She testified that Representative Weldon told her, "That I brought all of the charts into his office and that this one that we're talking about with Atta's picture is among them." Dr. XXXXXX added, "And I have a different memory of the event than he has, regrettably. I wish I had the same memory."

LTC Shaffer

LTC Shaffer testified that in January 2000 he delivered a chart from LIWA to CAPT XXXXXX at USSOCOM headquarters. He stated that he reviewed the chart with CAPT XXXXXX and recalled that it contained a Brooklyn cell and a photograph of Mohammad Atta.20 LTC Shaffer stated there were multiple names listed under the photograph of Mohammed Atta; "It was a photo with several names. There was not one name below it." He added that he recalled the photograph and not the names associated with the photograph. LTC Shaffer added that the quality of the photograph was very poor. He stated that in addition to Mohammed Atta, there were approximately 120 people depicted on the chart, none of whom he recalled. LTC Shaffer also stated that within the Brooklyn cell he believed there were "three other bombers." He added, "It's my recollection, please this is not me saying this, Captain's recollection that there were three other bombers [9/11 terrorists] within that Brooklyn cell.

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20 As indicated above, CAPT XXXXXX testified that the three charts delivered to him by LTC Shaffer consisted of Figures 1 and 2, and a propeller (or parentage) chart similar to Figure 3.

LTC Shaffer testified that he subsequently possessed the chart or a later version of the chart because it had been left with him by one of the Able Danger team members. He explained that the chart was used to brief Pentagon leadership and, therefore, it was stored in his DIA office at Clarendon, VA. He stated, "I was just simply the repository of that" and "I maintained a copy of it in the office during the time, because we, we were one of the forward holding areas of the Able Danger team." LTC Shaffer added,

I subsequently had a copy of the chart that was left in Clarendon because the special operations command guys chose to leave it there. I didn't, these charts that I got were not necessarily my charts. They were not given to me as my, because of my duties.
LTC Shaffer also stated that while he believed the chart retained in his office did have Mohammed Atta's photograph, he could not be certain. He explained that the chart that was left with him might have been a later version of the chart LIWA had produced and he had delivered to CAPT XXXXXX and this later version may not have included Mohammed Atta. He stated, "There were several iterations of the chart made by LIWA. So which exact iteration and if the things were configured slightly different, I can't speak to that, I don't have that level of memory on that."21

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21 As discussed above any link analysis chart that included photographs was produced by Orion. We obtained no evidence that Orion provided LIWA any other iterations of the chart at Figure 1. LIWA did not produce link analysis charts that included photographs.

However, LTC Shaffer testified that he believed that the chart that had been provided to him by a member of the Able Danger team did have a photograph of Mohammed Atta. LTC Shaffer said, "As, as best I can recollect, one of the charts which was brought up by special operations command and left in my possession . . . I believe it was one of the charts with Atta."

LTC Shaffer testified that on September 18, 2001, he met with Dr. XXXXXX at a Starbucks coffee shop after she called him and said, "You'll never believe what, what I found." He testified that at Starbucks, Dr. XXXXXX showed him the chart that included a photograph of Mohammed Atta. LTC Shaffer stated,

And she said look at the chart and I started looking at it and I looked up in the comer and there was Atta's photograph again and it was the same chart that I had seen previously during the runs of data. And that was where the light kind of came on that we had linked these guys, we had had these guys identified before 9/11.
LTC Shaffer recalled that after meeting with Dr. XXXXXX and reviewing the chart that had a photograph of Mohammed Atta he did not return to his office that day. He added that he never confirmed whether he possessed a chart that included a picture of Mohammed Atta. However, LTC Shaffer did testify that in 2002 he had various people who were working with him review all his Able Danger related materials, including charts. He stated that none of these people ever commented to him that there was a picture of Mohammed Atta on any chart. LTC Shaffer explained during our second interview,

No, no one ever commented on the Atta picture. And that's why I told you last time, I'm not 100 percent sure that I have -- I believe on one of the charts we did have the Atta picture. I can't tell you I went back and looked at it for sure.
We interviewed all the people whom LTC Shaffer claimed had reviewed the Able Danger materials he asserted he possessed in his DIA office. As discussed in greater detail in Section IV. F. of this report, none of those witnesses recalled seeing any Able Danger documents in LTC Shaffer's possession.

Dr. XXXXXX confirmed that she met with LTC Shaffer at a Starbucks coffee shop shortly after September 11, 2001. However, Dr. XXXXXX denied that she showed LTC Shaffer a chart at that time. She stated, "Starbucks had those little tables. That chart, I would have had to have rolled out. I can't imagine myself doing that." She added, "I don't remember that chart" and "I did not have a memory of a chart." Additionally, in a document Dr. XXXXXX prepared on September 18, 2005, entitled "Able Danger Timeline," Dr. XXXXXX wrote that at the meeting with LTC Shaffer at Starbucks, "Shaffer remembers seeing a chart [with Mohammed Atta's photograph)." Dr. XXXXXX also wrote in her timeline that she remembered having Able Danger material that "was likely a briefing on the computer not a hard copy chart" which did not contain a photograph of Mohammed Atta.

Dr. XXXXXX testified about an occasion in 2005, after Representative Weldon gave a floor speech in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she and Representative Weldon were discussing their concern that they could not locate the chart that had the photograph of Mohammed Atta. She stated LTC Shaffer told them that he had the chart locked in a safe at his office space in Clarendon. Dr. XXXXXX stated, "So everyone was not very worried about it until Tony's safe didn't yield any data at all any more."

Colonel (COL) XXXXXX, U.S. Army, former Chief of Operations for the Defense Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Service, DIA, was LTC Shaffer's second-line supervisor during the period of Able Danger activities. COL XXXXXX commented that if LTC Shaffer had, as he asserted, seen a chart within 2 weeks of 9/11 that included photographs of unknown individuals as well as a photograph of Mohammed Atta associated with a Brooklyn cell, LTC Shaffer would have brought that information forward for both its intelligence value and LTC Shaffer's personal gain.

With respect to the chart's intelligence value, COL XXXXXX stated that in the period immediately after September 11, 2001, the Intelligence Community was "afraid that because planes got grounded there were other terrorists that may have been waiting to get on flights." COL XXXXXX explained that at that time DIA would no longer be interested in running an operation on the individuals depicted in the chart but would get the names to the FBI. He stated that the mission became "getting the FBI involved in and wrapping all these folks up, because at that point it's more of a shooter's war than an intelligence war. You've got to get them off the street." COL XXXXXX added that at that time the individuals on the chart needed to be apprehended "yesterday. "

COL XXXXXX was asked whether a "minimally qualified" HUMINT officer would have appreciated the significance of having a chart depicting Mohammed Atta associated with a Brooklyn cell on which there were other unknown individuals depicted. He answered,

I think if you've got a HUMINT officer, whether he's minimally qualified or not, I mean, that doesn't take a rocket scientist. That's one of the biggest events that's happened in our history.
So it's something that no matter what, you're going to jump all over that because that is an opportunity to have intel that directly affects and has direct results because you could take that chart and all of a sudden everybody on there is suspect because they're hooked to one guy.

In that regard LTC Shaffer told us that he thought providing the chart to the FBI was a bad idea. He stated, "So the last thing I wanted to do was give it to the FBI and then have them go roll these guys up." LTC Shaffer testified that he took no action with regard to the chart.

Mr. XXXXXX

Mr. XXXXXX who was employed by Orion from October 1999 to August 2000, was never read-on to the Able Danger program and testified he "didn't even know about Able Danger . . . did not know about the name, Able Danger." Mr. XXXXXX told us that he delivered a chart that included Mohammed Atta's photograph to LIWA in January or February 2000. He recalled that the chart was produced in response to a request from LIWA in which Orion was tasked to perform a study related to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He characterized the tasking as "a study of Omar Abdul Rahman . . . and what other personnel may be associated with his particular cell or groups up in New York City."22 While Mr. XXXXXX could not recall the precise request from LIWA, he provided, "The way I remember it, it was 'give us ties and associates of the New York City, what happened in New York City, the people known to cause the New York City issue [referring to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing].' "

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22 Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman is a blind Egyptian Muslim cleric who is currently serving a life sentence for seditious conspiracy in connection with terrorist bombing attempts in the United States. He was arrested in 1993 and convicted in 1995.

In addition to a chart, Mr. XXXXXX recalled he also delivered as part of the tasking from LIWA a significant amount of back-up documentation and a report. He stated,

Also, we had attachments and it was huge and this is, we print every printed report we had that linked them and delivered that. It was, I delivered in boxes literally reams of paper because we couldn't give the software. So what we did was I'd print out every file that supported the pictures.
Mr. XXXXXX testified that based upon the complexity of the tasking the chart required a considerable amount of effort and time to produce; "it was about a 30-day full time effort." He reported, "I'm guesstimating based upon that type of work we were doing and we were gathering information basically 24 hours a day and then looking at it and culling through it during the day."

We had Mr. XXXXXX draw on a sheet of paper what he recalled from the chart. He placed a box representing Rahman in the upper right hand corner of the chart and then drew boxes representing other individuals in a row below the Rahman box with lines connecting those boxes to the Rahman box. He stated, "I don't remember how many but there was multiple spikes or spokes that led to what we called the second tier people." Of this second tier, Mr. XXXXXX recalled, "Oh my, there was, there was more than five and probably less than ten because we filled up the whole chart."

Next Mr. XXXXXX drew more boxes that represented individuals in a lower row. He stated, "Atta's picture was one of the third tier and he was over here somewhere. . . on the extreme left side. . .. So I associated it with whoever this person [on the second tier] was." Mr. XXXXXX had no recollection of how many individuals were depicted in the third tier. He testified, "There was more . . . oh, I have no clue. There was, we had at least double, two and a half times the second tier." Mr. XXXXXX also identified areas on the chart that had contained a photograph of the World Trade Center as well as textual material. Mr. XXXXXX could not recall the number of people depicted on the chart. He provided, "because of the size and we had to cram them in, oh, 30 or 40 people altogether I think."

Regarding the photograph of Mohammed Atta, Mr. XXXXXX testified, "It was a very grainy, but it was clear enough that you could make out that stare, his high cheekbones, the very, the very pronounced his eyes. Yeah, definitely Atta." He also stated, "It was bad. It looked like it had been transmitted over a low line or it was, had been copied multiple times. It was very grainy." While Mr. XXXXXX had a clear recollection of Mohammed Atta's photograph, he did not recall whether there was a name attached to the photograph. Mr. XXXXXX stated,

I'm not sure if it was his name, his name and several others, because on the third level we had so many different names with the same picture we couldn't, we didn't have the ability to, or the intelligence access to, to confirm the names. . .. So I don't honestly remember if it was just Atta or it was a different Arabic name that we had on there, but the picture was very unique.
Mr. XXXXXX had no recollection of any other person depicted on the chart but for Omar Abdul Rahman and Mohammed Atta. He stated, "I don't know. I don't know. I just remember Atta. There, there may have been others on there. I don't recall the others." Mr. XXXXXX did not recall whether the chart had the term "Brooklyn cell" but recalled "New York City." He stated, "I know it said New York City. It may have said, I don't recall. It may have said Brooklyn, I don't know."

Regarding how Mohammed Atta's photograph had come to be on the chart, Mr. XXXXXX stated it was provided by a woman whose name he could not recall during the interview but later confirmed, through his attorney, as Ms. XXXXXX. He stated that Ms. XXXXXX "was going through Los Angeles or going through Web sites in the Los Angeles area for us and she gathered a lot of the raw data for us."

At the Joint Hearing on the Able Danger Program, held on February 15, 2006, by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, in response to a query by Representative Weldon regarding where he obtained the photograph, Mr. XXXXXX stated,

We were getting the information from Arab sources through Los Angeles. We were able to get a lot of inside Arabic information . . . we were able to purchase much of the information and get it from their own countrymen. . . . I believe we got that information directly from a mosque.
In a Fox News article, "Third Source Backs 'Able Danger' Claims About Atta," dated August 28, 2005, Mr. XXXXXX is quoted as alleging the photograph of Mohammed Atta was "obtained from overseas."

In order to clarify from whom Mr. alleged he received the photograph of Mohammed Atta we requested from Mr. XXXXXX through his attorney, clarification on this issue. In an e-mail message, dated Apri 13, 2006, Mr. XXXXXX's attorney provided a statement from Mr. XXXXXX in which Mr. XXXXXX advised that Ms. XXXXXX obtained photographs and other data that were used by analysts at Orion. Mr. XXXXXX stated, "As far as I best can recall today, the Atta photograph was supplied by Ms. XXXXXX." He added, "However, I cannot rule out that we had another source for it." He also stated, "I do believe we also had people obtaining similar information . . . directly from Mosques."

We pursued the alleged source of Mr. XXXXXX's photograph but obtained no information that corroborated his account. Ms. XXXXXX testified that she was employed by Orion as a senior intelligence analyst from April 1999 through May 2001 doing open source intelligence.

Ms. XXXXXX stated that if she had had a photograph of Mohammed Atta prior to September 11, 2001, she would have received it from Mr. XXXXXX. Mr. XXXXXX had previously been associated with the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. Congress.

Mr. XXXXXX told us that the possibility of him possessing data that included Mohammed Atta prior to September 11, 2001, was "Absolute zero."

Mr. XXXXXX testified he had been in possession of this chart and others produced by Orion because he collected charts that were produced for customers but not delivered to them because of quality problems, such as blurred or smudged lines. He stated he originally kept these charts in the trunk of his automobile. He stated that he later moved the charts from his car trunk and placed them under his bed. He recalled that shortly after September 11, 2001, when he first saw photographs identifying Mohammed Atta as one ofthe terrorists, he recognized him. Mr. XXXXXX testified, "Yeah and I'm looking and I said, Jesus, I recognized his picture instantly. . . . Yeah, I went to my chart to compare and I said there he is."

Mr. XXXXXX stated that after discovering Mohammed Atta's photograph on the chart he told numerous people about his identification of Mohammed Atta and showed them the chart. He stated, "I spoke to everybody that would listen to me," "I talked to quite a few people," and "I told them we had previously identified this person as a known terrorist."

When pressed to estimate the number of people with whom he recalled discussing the previous identification of Mohammed Atta and showing them the chart immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Mr. XXXXXX stated, "I'd say four or five. . . . Distinctly remember, yes." Though Mr. XXXXXX refused to provide the identity of any of the people with whom he spoke, he did disclose that one of them is a real estate agent, "and another one's a PhD at the University of Maryland," "The other's a former CIA official who is retired. . . . The other two are coworkers."

Mr. XXXXXX was asked to provide the number of people to whom he had shown the chart from the period of October 2001 and October 2002. He estimated that he had shown the chart to between 30 to 40 people. He stated, "[For] anybody that would listen I would reel it out." He added, "a lot of the people that I contacted in my family, they remember the chart but they don't specifically remember Atta's picture."

Mr. XXXXXX testified that from October 2002 until August 2004 he prominently displayed the chart containing Mohammed Atta's picture while he was employed by Beta Analytics in Maryland. He testified that he placed the chart on the wall directly across from his desk and stated, "I stared at that everyday." Mr. XXXXXX testified that he worked with four other people in the office area, but of those four coworkers, "Some of them recall the chart, but don't specifically recall Atta." Mr. XXXXXX added that on 30 to 40 different occasions, when people came to his office and asked about the chart he would "go right to the picture [of Mohammed Atta] and say there, there is that asshole right there."

Mr. XXXXXX disclosed that he had recently contacted many people whom he believed he had shown the chart which included Mohammed Atta's photograph. He testified that he had only found two who remembered seeing the photograph and that they would not come forward.

He added, "I'm not going to disclose them until counsel releases them." On February 23, 2006, in response to an e-mail request from this Office to Mr. XXXXXX's counsel requesting information regarding witnesses who had seen the chart at issue, Mr. XXXXXX's counsel responded, "I have spoken with two people so far who have informed me that they saw the chart. I am working on getting affidavits though I doubt their names will be referenced -- unfortunately.23

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23 To date, this Office has not received any affidavits or additional information from Mr. XXXXXX's counsel regarding this matter.

Mr. XXXXXX testified that in August 2004 he moved from his office at Beta Analytics and while taking down the charts that he had posted on the walls, two of the charts, including the one he alleged contained Mohammed Atta's photograph, disintegrated. He testified,

And in the process of trying to remove it, it had been up there so long I had quite a lot of tape up there because it had been rolled up. In the process the tape was tearing the chart. It just, they were disintegrating from age and this one [the chart that contained Mohammed Atta] I lost and I believe the pie chart I lost.
Mr. XXXXXX added,

Yeah, it came apart in pieces. It shredded itself as I was trying to pull it off the wall carefully. . . . Oh my God, it was a mess. It was just falling apart because of the age. I think it was, it became very brittle, so it was, it was just a ball of . . . it wouldn't unfold, it wouldn't do anything so I just threw it away.
Witness 124

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24 Based upon operational concerns, Witness 1's identity was shielded.

Witness 1 was previously assigned to the Special Technical Operations Division at USSOCOM and was assigned to the Able Danger team as an operations planner. Witness 1 emphasized that the objective of Able Danger was to identify "systems that could bring this guy [Usama bin Laden] down. That was the purpose of Able Danger." He recalled seeing the name "Mohammed Atta" in the data base while at the Garland facility, stating "I remember his name in the Access data base." (This data base was built by members of the OCWG and tracked all people and entities against whom searches were conducted). Witness 1 had no recollection of seeing a photograph of Mohammed Atta or a chart depicting a "Brooklyn" or "New York" cell.

Witness 1 testified that he never confirmed whether Mohammed Atta's name was in the data base but agreed that if his memory was accurate, Mohammed Atta's name would be reflected in the data base. After interviewing Witness 1, we reviewed a list of all terms stored in the data base built by the Able Danger team. There was no record of "Mohammed Atta" or "Atta."25

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25 A listing of all entities and individuals against whom searches were conducted was printed and retained at us SOCOM when the Able Danger team departed the Garland facility.

In October 2001 Witness 1 was selected to provide a presentation to Representative Weldon about the findings of Able Danger. Witness 1 testified that he described the Able Danger mission, but did not tell Representative Weldon that he saw the name "Mohammed Atta" in the data base at the Garland facility.

On November 9, 2005, Representative Weldon held a press conference at which he alleged that Dr. XXXXXX (formerly Chief Scientist, Intelligence Division, Raytheon Company) had informed him that Mohammed Atta had been identified by the Able Danger team members while working at the Garland facility. Representative Weldon stated,

Doctor XXXXXX told me that his unit also identified Mohammed Atta, not by photo but by name, before 9/11. So now we have two separate data mining efforts [LIWA and Garland] of the military openly and willingly stating on the record that they identified Mohammed Atta before 9/11.
Dr. XXXXXX testified that regarding whether he recalled identifying Mohammed Atta prior to September 11,2001, "It's possible. I just don't remember." Dr. XXXXXX added, "I've heard it [Mohammed Atta's name] a long time so I don't remember when I heard it first."

Dr. XXXXXX testified that he told Representative Weldon, "I didn't recall one way or the other. It might have happened that that name [Mohammed Atta] was on there." He stated that Representative Weldon "exaggerated what I said." However, Dr. XXXXXX added, "I actually think it might have been but I can't say for sure."

Mr. XXXXXX

Mr. XXXXXX was a USSOCOM counter-terrorism intelligence analyst assigned to the Able Danger team. He testified that he recalled seeing a photograph of Mohammed Atta projected on a large screen while at the Garland facility. Mr. XXXXXX stated that Mohammed Atta's face was one of the hundreds of faces that he had seen while working on Able Danger. He did not recall whether a name was associated with the photograph. Mr. XXXXXX stated that the picture was from an open source Internet site and was not stored on the Able Danger computers. He added that at the time "we didn't know how big a terrorist he was, how small a terrorist or anything else or if he in fact, he truly was a terrorist, it was just some kind of link."

Discussion

We concluded that the Able Danger team did not identify Mohammed Atta or any of the 9/11 terrorists as possible threats at any time during its existence. Further, witnesses purporting to have seen a chart obtained by the Able Danger team from LIWA but produced by Orion depicting Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists were in error. Although it is conceivable that the name "Mohammed Atta" or a photograph of Mohammed Atta may have appeared along with thousands of other bits of information examined by the Able Danger team, neither Mohammed Atta nor any other 9/11 terrorist was identified in a manner that would have linked them to al Qaeda or justified more focused information gathering. We set forth the following points to support this conclusion:


Virtually every knowledgeable witness described the mission of Able Danger as strategic in nature -- the development of a campaign plan to obtain information useful for attacking the al Qaeda support inftastructure. Although Able Danger identified various individuals, entities, and corporations potentially linked to al Qaeda in order to achieve that mission, the information itself was for purposes of demonstration and was not subjected to rigorous intelligence analysis.

Although Able Danger was in existence for about 12 months, only a small portion of that time was devoted to mission-related work. The first 9 months were characterized by "false starts" and repeat efforts to find a suitable operating environment and location. Significant mission-related work did not begin until July 2000 and was essentially completed by November 2000. The final product was a briefing in January 2001 that described a campaign plan.

While several key witnesses -- primarily LTC Shaffer, CAPT XXXXXX and Dr. XXXXXX -- claim to have seen Mohammed Atta's picture on an anon chart that was provided to CAPT XXXXXX in January/February 2000, their recollection was not credible. The conflicts and inconsistency in their testimonies, coupled with other evidence concerning the charts at issue, provided overwhelming rebuttal to their claims. In particular we noted:

The evidence indicated that the chart recalled by these key witnesses is the chart at Figure 1 ofthis report -- Dr. XXXXXX's denials notwithstanding. It bears the title mentioned by CAPT XXXXXX in a contemporaneous memorandum and contains information described, in various ways, by LTC Shaffer and Dr. XXXXXX. That chart, as well as the chart at Figure 2 also obtained by Able Danger, were provided to CAPT XXXXXX as examples of link analysis for the Able Danger team. Both charts were produced by Orion and depicted terrorists known to have engaged in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and/or the 1998 African embassy bombings.
Of the three witnesses, CAPT XXXXXX participated in Able Danger on a day-today basis and had in-depth knowledge of Able Danger operations. LTC Shaffer and Dr. XXXXXX did not. The evidence suggested that they based their claims regarding the identification of Mohammed Atta on information provided to them by CAPT XXXXXX who ultimately acknowledged to us that he did not see Mohammed Atta's picture on any chart, but claimed that while at USSOCOM headquarters he had a fleeting glimpse -- 4 or 5 seconds -- of a picture of someone whom he stated he believed was Mohammed Atta. We did not consider that recollection credible. CAPT XXXXXX made the claim in our third interview only after being provided strong evidence that Mohammed Atta never appeared on any chart provided to the Able Danger team.26 Further, we questioned anyone's ability to make an after-the-fact identification of the type claimed here.

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26 We noted that CAPT XXXXXX failed to notify us about recalling seeing a photograph of Mohammed Atta on a document while at USSOCOM headquarters between our second (February 17,2006) and third (May 24,2006) interviews but sent 12 e-mail messages to us during that period updating other information he provided.

Based on the testimonial evidence from GEN Schwartz, CDR XXXXXX, Mr. XXXXXX, and Mr. Snell, it is our conclusion that CAPT XXXXXX inflated his claims regarding Able Danger's success in identifying 9/11 terrorists in order to promote his role as an advocate for data mining in the war against terrorism. His representations to those officials, however, were so tenuous that they were either not specifically recalled (CDR XXXXXX), refuted (GEN Schwartz), or not considered worthy of pursuit (Mr. XXXXXX, Mr. Snell). We considered Mr. Snell's negative assessment of CAPT XXXXXX's claims particularly persuasive given Mr. Snell's knowledge and background in antiterrorist efforts involving al Qaeda. Further diminishing CAPT XXXXXX's credibility was his assertion to us that the last time he saw a link analysis chart (Figure 1) was in July or October 2000, contrary to CDR XXXXXX's testimony that CAPT XXXXXX shared the charts at Figures 1 and 2 with him aboard the USS ESTOCIN during the 2002-2003 time period.27

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27 CAPT XXXXXX did not challenge CDR XXXXXX's recollection.

Dr. XXXXXX provided a variety of scenarios describing her identification of Mohammed Atta before 9/11 -- none of them credible. In her interviews with the Army she had no recollection, but later recalled a chart that included the word "Atta" associated with a Brooklyn cell without a picture of Mohammed Atta. She denied that the chart at Figure 1 was the one she provided to CAPT XXXXXX but the evidence, particularly CAPT XXXXXX's testimony, demonstrated that it was. Moreover, in her first interview she indicated the chart that she saw had Mohammed Atta's picture with "religious holy men" separate from the Brooklyn cell. Later in the interview, she claimed the picture was part of the Brooklyn cell. In a subsequent interview, Dr.XXXXXX no longer recalled seeing Mohammed Atta's picture on the Orion chart she claimed to have provided CAPT XXXXXX and recalled seeing only his name.
We were unable to corroborate Dr. XXXXXX 's assertion that she provided CAPT XXXXXX a second chart that included a dot with the name "Atta" associated with a Brooklyn cell. She testified that this chart was produced in January 2000, prior to LIWA's support for Able Danger and based on data that had been collected for previous projects related to technology transfers and support to U.S. Army units in Bosnia and Korea. Assuming for the sake of argument that a single chart with dot and the name "Atta" associated with a Brooklyn cell existed in January 2000, it would have been of limited intelligence value prior to September 11,2001.
LTC Shaffer had minimal involvement in the analytical work conducted by Able Danger. He served as liaison between Able Danger and Dr. XXXXXX at LIWA, and later assisted in providing logistics assistance to the team. Any information he obtained regarding Able Danger "discoveries" would have been second hand -- primarily from CAPT XXXXXX who ultimately denied seeing Mohammed Atta's picture on a chart. Additioally, as described in detail under Section IV.F. of this report, we found no evidence to corroborate LTC Shaffer's claim that he was a "repository" for Able Danger materials and thereby carne to possess a chart containing Mohammed Atta's picture.
In particular, we consider not credible LTC Shaffer's assertion that he viewed a chart containing Mohammed Atta's picture during a meeting with Dr. XXXXXX at Starbucks on September 18, 2001. As described by LTC Shaffer, the chart was identical to the one he provided to CAPT XXXXXX in January 2000 (Figure 1) and contained Mohammed Atta's photograph, along with photographs of 120 other unknown individuals. Dr. XXXXXX denied possessing a chart at this meeting. Further, we find implausible that, as an intelligence officer, LTC Shaffer took no action to alert his supervisors or law enforcement authorities of the identities of 120 individuals with possible links to Mohammed Atta, given the situation immediately following 9/11. Accordingly, we conclude that the chart, as described by LTC Shaffer, did not exist.

None of the Able Danger team members, who were in a far better position to describe Able Danger findings, made the type of identification of Mohammed Atta that characterized Dr. XXXXXX and LTC Shaffer's claims. Colonel who headed Able Danger during its most productive period, made no claim regarding Mohammed Atta. Similarly the officers who provided the final Able Danger briefing to GEN Shelton made no claims of discovering the identity of possible terrorists, even though doing so may have strengthened the case for Able Danger success. While some of the team members suggested that they may have come upon Mohammed Atta's name or picture, we must consider the fact that those analysts were reviewing thousands of names and pictures at a time when the identities of Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 attackers were unknown. Given those factors, we do not consider such after-the-fact identifications credible.

Finally, we concluded that Mr. XXXXXX did not possess or display a chart with Mohammed Atta's picture on it -- a chart which he claimed had been produced by Orion under contract with LIWA. Although Mr. XXXXXX told us that he showed the chart to over 50 people from September 2001 to August 2004, he was unable to identify a single person willing to corroborate his assertion. Further, Mr. XXXXXX's recollection of the chart was exceedingly vague, even though he claimed to have looked at it daily while at work -- he was unable to recall a single individual on the chart except for Mohammed Atta and Sheik Rahman. Further, Mr. XXXXXX did not recall whether the photograph included Mohammed Atta's name. Finally, we found Mr. XXXXXX's assertion that the chart disintegrated on removal implausible.

B. Did DoD officials prohibit Able Danger members from sharing relevant terrorist information with the FBI, the CIA, or other agencies which could have acted on that information?
Standards

DoD 5240.1-R, "Procedures Governing the Activities ofDoD Intelligence Components That Affect United States Persons," dated December 1982

This regulation establishes procedures to enable DoD intelligence components to perform their functions while ensuring that intelligence activities affecting United States persons are carried out in a manner that protects the privacy and constitutional rights of such persons. The regulation was applicable to Able Danger activities that, incidental to its mission, collected information on United States persons.

The regulation defines a United States person as: (1) a United States citizen; (2) an alien known by the DoD intelligence component concerned to be a permanent resident alien; (3) an unincorporated association substantially composed of United States citizens or permanent resident aliens; and (4) a corporation incorporated in the United States, except for a corporation directed and controlled by a foreign government.

Chapter 4, Procedure 4, of the regulation provides that under certain circumstances information about United States persons that is collected or retained by a DoD intelligence component may be disseminated to the cognizant law enforcement entity of the Federal, State, or local Government. Accordingly, had Able Danger obtained information concerning terrorist activities, restrictions concerning intelligence gathering activities on United States persons would not have prohibited sharing such information with the FBI.

Facts

Various media articles and congressional testimony suggested that the 9/11 terrorist attack might have been prevented if intelligence information obtained by Able Danger had been provided to the FBI. In view of the conclusion in Section A above, we find no basis for this type of speculation. That is, we concluded that Able Danger did not identify Mohammed Atta or other 9/11 terrorists, but rather developed a concept of operations and identified advanced analytical information technology tools useful for future intelligence gathering operations. As a result, the allegation that Able Danger participants were "prevented by lawyers" or other DoD officials from contacting the FBlbecomesless significant. Nevertheless, we sought to determine the extent to which restraints were imposed on Able Danger communications with the FBI and the basis for any such restraints.

CAPT XXXXXX testified that, during the early stages of the Able Danger program, intelligence analysts identified potential issues involving data collection on United States persons and expressed concerns with revealing the identities of the Brooklyn cell members shown on Figure 1. Because of that issue, and his belief in the potential utility of the chart, he concluded that Able Danger should initiate coordination efforts with the U.S. Department of State and the FBI. He testified that on March 16, 2000, he made such a suggestion to MG Lambert, who directly supervised the Able Danger operations. According to CAPT XXXXXX, "Gen Lambert looked at me and he goes are you fucking nuts?" MG Lambert testified that he did not recall the conversation.

However, CAPT XXXXXX's recollections regarding this incident were inconsistent. During our first interview, CAPT XXXXXX testified that when he spoke to MG Lambert he had the chart with him because, "they [Brooklyn cell members] were depicted on this chart." His intent was to "transition the information and be done with it" by providing the chart to the FBI. He stated that there were no other instances during the course of Able Danger in which he had information that he wanted to provide to the FBI.

During our second interview, CAPT XXXXXX denied that he had the chart with him when he spoke with MG Lambert or that he intended to provide the chart to the FBI. Rather, he characterized the interaction with MG Lambert as "I'm talking about al Qaeda in general when I approached him. 'We need to coordinate with FBI and State Department.' "He explained that MG Lambert's decision not to coordinate with the FBI and State Department during the March 2000 time frame was "more a function of timing" than it was a wholesale rejection of FBI involvement. CAPT XXXXXX stated, "GEN Lambert stressed at that point, 'No, don't give this to the FBI yet. Don't bring in the FBI and State yet.' " CAPT XXXXXX stated he did not have any specific intelligence to share with the FBI at the time. Additionally, when asked to discuss instances in which he was told he could not provide specific information to the FBI, CAPT XXXXXX testified, "none that I recall."

Significantly, CAPT XXXXXX testified that in September 2000, after the Able Danger team moved to the Garland facility, he learned that MG Lambert was actively working to coordinate with the FBI. With respect to MG Lambert's intentions regarding sharing information with the FBI, CAPT XXXXXX reflected on the March 2000 conversation as, "So, you know, there's a moment in time that he pushed back. . . . It was just spur of the moment in an isolated setting, 'No, let's not do it now.' "

In our first interview, CAPT XXXXXX told us that after his March 2000 discussion with MG Lambert, he talked with LTC Shaffer about the United States persons issue and that he (CAPT XXXXXX) believed the chart with the Brooklyn cell should be provided to the FBI. While CAPT XXXXXX did not ask LTC Shaffer to contact the FBI, he was under the impression that LTC Shaffer made such contact. In fact, CAPT XXXXXX believed that LTC Shaffer had contacted the FBI and arranged for a meeting between Col XXXXXX and members of the FBI. CAPT XXXXXX testified, "[LTC Shaffer told me] 'I've brokered a meeting with Col XXXXXX and the agency [FBI] and, you know, it's set for such and such a date.' " CAPT XXXXXX stated he subsequently was told by LTC Shaffer that Col XXXXXX did not attend the scheduled meeting.

LTC Shaffer testified that on the recommendation of CAPT XXXXXX he set up three meetings between FBI representatives and Col XXXXXX whom he described as "the chief of Able Danger, the big guy, the actual O-6 [colonel] in charge of the project." LTC Shaffer testified the information that Col XXXXXX was going to provide to the FBI related to the Brooklyn cell. In order to set up the meetings, LTC Shaffer said that he contacted Unit Chief (UC) XXXXXX, FBI, "and asked her for the point of contact I needed to have to set up this meeting.28 He recalled that the point of contact was the Usama Bin Laden Unit, Washington Field Office, FBI.

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28 UC XXXXXX and LTC Shaffer attended the same high school and remained personal friends. Additionally, they had a professional relationship and had worked together on an FBI matter in which DIA provided support.

LTC Shaffer told us that three meetings were subsequently scheduled for Col XXXXXX to meet with agents from the Usama Bin Laden Unit. He recalled that he asked his deputy, COL (then LTC) XXXXXX, U. S. Army Reserve, to schedule the first two meetings between Col XXXXXX and FBI agents, but he personally contacted the Usama Bin Laden Unit to schedule a third meeting. LTC Shaffer could not recall with whom he spoke at the FBI. He testified, "I mean, it's one of those things where I made the phone call, I wrote down the information, I brokered the meeting." He added, "And it wasn't recurring enough that it actually became part of my engraved memory who I was dealing with over there."

LTC Shaffer testified he later heard from CAPT XXXXXX that the "SOCOM lawyers" had prohibited Col XXXXXX from meeting with the FBI. LTC Shaffer also recalled that UC XXXXXX called him to ask why Col XXXXXX failed to show up for the scheduled meeting. He testified UC XXXXXX said, "Why didn't your guy show up to the meeting?" LTC Shaffer added that UC XXXXXX as the only person at the FBI he recalled speaking with on this issue. LTC Shaffer added that he told COL XXXXXX his second-level supervisor at DIA, about the Brooklyn cell and that he was "having problems passing [the] information over to the FBI."

At the Joint Hearing in February 2006 LTC Shaffer testified he arranged the third meeting between the FBI and Col XXXXXX only after an FBI special agent said to him, "Why aren't you guys showing up at these meetings? My colleagues have called me and tell me you guys keep blowing them off." LTC Shaffer testified he thereafter contacted CAPT XXXXXX and inquired why Col XXXXXX failed to attend the scheduled meetings. LTC Shaffer stated:

So I called down to Captain XXXXXX as I recall, and said: 'What's going on? Why aren't you guys showing up for these meetings?' And that's when I was informed that they were told that they couldn't -- they, Special Operations Command, were told by their legal advice, their legal attorneys, they were not supposed to show up for these meetings. And that was the issue.
In a written response to questions from Representative Cynthia McKinney that arose out of the Joint Hearing, LTC Shaffer further discussed his allegation that he had arranged for meetings between Col and the FBI. He asserted, "I was asked in the late Summer and early Fall of 2000 to set up meetings." He added that the meetings "were set and rescheduled at least three times, the September/October 2000 time frame." LTC Shaffer further wrote, "He [Col XXXXXX did not meet with the FBI and I was told by the FBI that he did not make the meeting."

In his response to Representative McKinney, LTC Shaffer asserted that according to CAPT XXXXXX, MG Lambert canceled the meetings. LTC Shaffer wrote, "It is my understanding, as gained from conversations with [CAPT XXXXXX ] that these meetings were canceled by MG Lambert." LTC Shaffer added, "I personally did not, because of the SOCOM OPSEC [Operations Security] restrictions, share specifics of Able Danger with the FBI or any other non-DIA organization."

We found insufficient evidence to corroborate the assertions of LTC Shaffer that DoD officials prohibited Able Danger participants from attending meetings with the FBI.

A statement by UC XXXXXX dated December 12,2005, made to Supervisory Agents, Inspection Division, FBI, explained that in March or April 2000, in response to a request from LTC Shaffer, she gave LTC Shaffer the telephone number of the Usama Bin Laden Unit or the FBI headquarters' switchboard. She stated this was the only conversation she had with LTC Shaffer concerning him requesting a point of contact at the FBI. She further stated that she had "never received any requests to schedule meetings related to Able Danger." After we told LTC Shaffer of UC XXXXXX's statement in which she denied involvement in the alleged scheduled meetings LTC Shaffer testified,

It was either her or someone over there [at the FBI] that we made the meeting with. I, my memory on this is not exact but someone called me and said, "He didn't show up. What's going on?"
CAPT XXXXXX described the purportedly scheduled meetings with the FBI as "something I have the least knowledge of." He denied ever telling anyone, includin LTC Shaffer, that the lawyers at USSOCOM or MG Lambert prohibited Col XXXXXX from meeting with the FBI. CAPT XXXXXX provided, "As I understood it, Col XXXXXX didn't go but I never knew why." CAPT XXXXXX stated, "That was something that happened between Tony [Shaffer] and Col XXXXXX and "I guess Tony was talking to Col XXXXXX primarily."

Col XXXXXX denied that he had ever been scheduled to meet with the FBI in order to provide Able Danger material. When Col XXXXXX was asked to describe his reaction upon reading in press accounts that he had failed to attend three meetings scheduled with the FBI in order to provide information from Able Danger, he responded, "Ah astonishment. Basically a bunch of, well BS. No, I was, I recall nothing of that sort." However, the memorandum prepared by Col XXXXXX dated October 17, 2000, which provided an update on OCWG activities reviously mentioned in the Background section above), also described Col XXXXXX's upcoming schedule, advising that he planned "on going to LIWA and the FBI the latter part of next week." When we asked Col XXXXXX about that memorandum, he stated that he had no recollection of traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with the FBI during October 2000.

Contrary to LTC Shaffer' s assertion, COL XXXXXX denied ever contacting the FBI in order to set up a meeting between Col XXXXXX and an agent ofthe FBI. COL XXXXXX acknowledged that she had contacted FBI representatives on other matters, but under repeated questioning denied ever doing so to convey information obtained by Able Danger. She told us that if anyone made the call regarding Able Danger, "[it] would've been Tony [LTC Shaffer]."

In a letter to Senator Arlen Spector, dated September 20, 2005, Ms. XXXXXX, Office of Congressional Affairs, FBI, reported that the FBI queried their Automated Case System and existing telephone message logs for the Usama Bin Laden Unit and Strategic Information Operations Center for references to Able Danger, CAPT XXXXXX, LTC Shaffer, and Mr. XXXXXX between the period of January 1, 2000, and September 11, 2001, and received negative results. The letter also indicated that negative results were received when current FBI personnel who were assigned to the Usama Bin Laden Unit in April and May of 2000 were asked whether they had any contact of any kind, including meetings, telephone calls, e-mail, or other correspondence with CAPT XXXXXX, LTC Shaffer, and Mr. XXXXXX. On April 14, 2006, in response to an inquiry from this Office, Ms. XXXXXX, Inspections Division, FBI, provided that her office conducted a search of pertinent records to determine whether there were any references for 'XXXXXX' or 'XXXXXX'. This search also produced negative results.

Mr. XXXXXX, Senior Intelligence Analyst, Joint Intelligence Task Force Combating Terrorism, DIA, testified he had been read-on to the Able Danger program in 1999 and had attended the January 10, 2000, conference at JWAC. He added that he had met LTC Shaffer for the first time at that conference. Mr. XXXXXX testified that when he joined DIA in 1997, he was DIA's first full-time al Qaeda analyst and was attached to the Transnational Warfare Center (TWC). He stated that working as an al Qaeda analyst he became a member of a "small, sort of tight knit community with NSA [National Security Agency], and FBI and CIA . . . State Department, other parts of the intel community." He added, "We were talking every single day, multiple times a day about intel that was out."

Mr. XXXXXX added that he was confident that any DIA employee working in Defense HUMINT in 1999 and 2000 who possessed information indicating there was an al Qaeda cell in the United States would have known to provide that information to the FBI or the TWC. Accordingly, Mr. XXXXXX stated that if attempts to transfer the information to the FBI were unsuccessful, the HUMINT office would know to provide the information to the TWC. Mr. XXXXXX stated,

If you are a Defense HUMINT officer [in the 1999-2000 time frame], it means you are a DIA employee. And if you don't know there is a DIA all source fusion center for terrorism [Transnational Warfare Center], then you have done a very poor job.
COL XXXXXX testified that he "had a lot of contact with" LTC Shaffer because LTC Shaffer was working on special projects about which COL XXXXXX "needed to be kept informed. With regard to providing information related to suspected terrorists within the United States, COL XXXXXX discussed that in 2000 a Defense HUMINT officer would have had various options. He stated, "The first thing that [he] would do is that would be passed as an actionable lead for Defense HUMINT Service." He added, after coordinating with the FBI, the Defense HUMINT Service would, "in that particular time frame . . . would have tried to have taken the lead in running an operation against those particular individuals because they were at that point one of our number one targets."

COL XXXXXX added that in 2000 DIA "would have taken it and tried to run with it as a Defense HUMINT Service-led operation." COL XXXXXX added that LTC Shaffer would have been aware that Defense HUMINT would take the lead on such an investigation because "he was involved in a couple of them." COL XXXXXX also indicated that he would be surprised if LTC Shaffer had attempted to schedule meetings with the FBI by contacting the Usama Bin Laden Unit rather than coming to him "and saying, 'We need to have a meeting with the bureau,' because they [HUMINT officers] knew that if we needed a meeting with the bureau we could get one." Finally, COL XXXXXX testified that although he was read-on to the Able Danger program, he was not informed by LTC Shaffer that there had been any problems with passing intelligence information to the FBI.

Discussion

We did not find evidence that DoD attorneys or other senior DoD officials prohibited Able Danger participants from sharing information with the FBI. Further, we did not find credible LTC Shaffer's assertions that Col XXXXXX failed to attend meetings that were arranged with the FBI to discuss Able Danger matters. We set forth the following points to support this conclusion:


As a preliminary matter, we note that Able Danger did not develop the type of intelligence information that would be actionable by law enforcement authorities. Figure 1, provided by Orion in January 2000, contained the names and/or photographs of 53 terrorists who had already been identified and in many cases, incarcerated, before 9/11. We consider it unlikely that the FBI did not already possess the information conveyed by that chart.

None of the principal witnesses in the matter corroborated key activities that LTC Shaffer attributed to them.


CAPT XXXXXX denied telling LTC Shaffer that DoD officials prohibited contact with the FBI. Rather, CAPT XXXXXX testified that the only knowledge he had regarding prohibited FBI contacts was based on information he received from LTC Shaffer.

COL XXXXXX denied contacting the FBI to arrange meetings for Col XXXXXX contrary to LTC Shaffer's assertions.

UC XXXXXX acknowledged LTC Shaffer's request in March or April 2000 for an FBI point of contact, but denied any further conversations with him regarding meetings on Able Danger. UC XXXXXX's statement thus corroborates CAPT XXXXXX's recollection that his discussions with LTC Shaffer regarding contact with the FBI occurred in March/April 2000, not "Summer and early Fall" as LTC Shaffer indicated in his response to Representative McKinney. Further, since CAPT XXXXXX testified that he understood MG Lambert was actively working to coordinate with the FBI in September 2000, there was no reason for CAPT XXXXXX to ask LTC Shaffer to act as an intermediary with the FBI at that time.

Moreover, although LTC Shaffer initially testified that it was UC XXXXXX who complained to him about Col XXXXXX's nonattendance at scheduled meetings with the FBI, he later revised his assertion based on UC XXXXXX 's denial of such contact. In later testimony LTC Shaffer stated that it could have been someone else at the FBI. In view of LTC Shaffer's longstanding friendship with UC XXXXXX we question his inability to recall whether or not UC XXXXXX was the person who registered the relatively serious complaint of DIA noncooperation with the FBI.

Col XXXXXX denied that he attempted to meet with the FBI in order to share Able Danger information and considered LTC Shaffer's allegations in that regard inaccurate. We acknowledge that Col XXXXXX's denial appears inconsistent with his memorandum of October 17, 2000, which mentioned a forthcoming FBI visit. As Col XXXXXX had no recollection regarding the background for that memorandum, we were unable to determine whether, in fact, such a visit ever took place, and if so, its purpose. Nevertheless, from a broader perspective, Col XXXXXX's memorandum indicates that as of October 17, 2000, when he was planning follow-on Able Danger activities, he was not prohibited from meeting with the FBI.

COL XXXXXX, LTC Shaffer's second-level supervisor, testified that LTC Shaffer never indicated to him a need to set up meetings with the FBI or expressed concerns to him regarding restrictions on Able Danger contact with the FBI. Rather, COL XXXXXX pointed out that LTC Shaffer could have arranged contact with the FBI by working through his supervisory chain (i.e., COL XXXXXX , but failed to do so.

A records review indicated that the FBI had no record of contacts related to Col XXXXXX, Able Danger, CAPT XXXXXX, Mr. XXXXXX, or LTC Shaffer.

LTC Shaffer had other alternatives to providing the information to the FBI, other than direct contact. As Mr. XXXXXX testified there was a section in DIA, the TWC, which was responsible for issues related to terrorism and was in regular contact with the FBI. LTC Shaffer's failure to communicate with the TWC is inexplicable given his introduction to Mr. XXXXXX at the January 10, 2000, conference at JWAC.

C. Did DoD officials improperly direct the destruction of Able Danger mission related data?

Standards

DoD 5240.1-R, "Procedures Governing the Activities of DoD Intelligence Components That Affect United States Persons"

DoD 5240.1-R sets forth procedures governing the kinds of information about United States persons that may knowingly be retained by a DoD intelligence component without the consent of the person who the information concerns. It provides, in part, that information that is incidentally collected on United States persons may be retained temporarily, but not more than 90 days, solely for the purpose of determining whether that information may be permanently retained for an authorized purpose.

Facts Concerning Data Destruction at LIWA

We determined that sometime during the April/May 2000 time period, data that had been collected at LIWA in support of the Able Danger mission was destroyed. This destruction was carried out by Mr. XXXXXX (Chief, LIWA Intelligence Branch), who told us that he destroyed approximately 2.5 terabytes of data that he had collected in anticipation of providing support to Able Danger team members during March 2000. In addition to data, Mr. XXXXXX testified that work products which he had developed during his preliminary analysis of that data were also destroyed. He indicated that the destruction of Able Danger material was carried out to comply with the 90-day limit, imposed by DoD 5240.1-R, regarding retention of information on United States persons.

Mr. XXXXXX testified that he destroyed Able Danger data shortly after LTG Noonan (then Commanding General INSCOM, parent organization of LIWA) terminated LIWA support to the Able Danger program and ordered all analysts to stop work on the program.29 Mr. XXXXXX told us that his actions complied with direction from Major XXXXXX, U.S. Army, the LIWA Legal Advisor and designated intelligence oversight officer, who reminded him at the time: "You guys are going to have to delete this data for intelligence oversight reasons." After receipt of that direction, Mr. XXXXXX testified that he reviewed a copy of the Army regulations to determine for himself whether he did, in fact, need to destroy the data. He told us that his review confirmed the guidance given by Major XXXXXX and thereafter, counted back to when he had collected the data in order to determine the "absolute last day" that the data could be destroyed to comply with the 90-day limit. He stated,

I was upset with the fact that we would lose the analysis, all the work that we had done. And I wasn't completely confident that we would be able to recreate the analysis. We'd be able to collect the data. I didn't care about that. We could go find more data and recreate that process.
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29 See Background section above for additional detail regarding LIWA support to Able Danger.

We found that impetus for the destruction of Able Danger data stemmed from concerns regarding the retention of data on United States persons that was collected as part of a LIWA venture immediately preceding Able Danger. That venture, known as the "Joint Counterintelligence Assessment Group (JCAG) demonstration," had parallels to the Able Danger mission. That is, the JCAG demonstration sought to apply advanced analytical tools to data collected from open and DoD sources in order to identify and assess hostile espionage threats.

Because the JCAG experience caused a heightened sensitivity to collection of data on United States persons at LIWA and ultimately resulted in the decision by LTG Noonan to withdraw support for Able Danger with the attendant destruction of Able Danger data, we believe a summary of the JCAG experience is helpful to understanding the atmosphere that existed at LIWA in early 2000.

In February 1999 Dr. John Hamre, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, proposed a "threat mapping model" for industrial security. Dr. Hamre testified the proposal was a reaction to "an active espionage operation by a hostile intelligence force." As part of this threat mapping model Dr. Hamre established a task force "to find a way to develop analytic tools to try to find out how hostile forces would come at us." LIWA was selected to perform the demonstration. Dr. Hamre testified, "And we said, please use advanced data mining techniques to determine what would be the potential paths or avenues of hostile penetration." He stated that the goal was to evaluate whether DoD had "the proper security structures in place to stop or detect" hostile penetration attempts.

In May 1999 JCAG was formally proposed. Contemporaneous documentation indicated the JCAG demonstration was to follow all applicable intelligence oversight and DoD General Counsel guidance regarding handling of data that included United States persons information. Data for the JCAG demonstration was to be supplied by various Government agencies and obtained from open sources. Further, the demonstration was to be completed in November 1999. The May 1999 documentation also stated that upon completion of the demonstration, data would be purged from the LIWA system.

In late October 1999 the Department of the Army provided guidance to LIWA that stated that upon completion of the JCAG demonstration, all data would be purged from the LIWA system and data bases would be returned to the agency that supplied the data base. It added that under no circumstances would data be maintained for more than 90 days without a "collection determination" in accordance with DoD 5240.1-R.

Dr. Heath was tasked to oversee the JCAG demonstration. He testified, "The whole intent was to do a 90-day proof of principle so they would understand what legal and policy issues needed to be addressed as we moved into a digital age." He stated that he clearly understood from the inception of the JCAG demonstration that at the end ofthe 90 day period "we were supposed to get rid of the data because it was meant to be a proof of concept." He added, "we didn't want a pot of data that would potentially have U.S. citizens . . . without clear guidance from the lawyers in terms of how we had to treat the data."

Dr. Heath selected Dr. XXXXXX, Mr. XXXXXX, and two analysts working for Mr. XXXXXX to work on the JCAG demonstration. Beginning in August or September 1999, the LIWA team applied data mining and data visualization to the Government data bases that had been provided as well as to large amounts of data from the World Wide Web they had "harvested."

LTG Noonan testified that in November 1999 he became aware of interest by Members of Congress in the JCAG demonstration project and subsequently briefed several Members of Congress, using charts depicting link analysis. LTG Noonan stated he was not comfortable with sharing that information because of his concerns that the information LIWA collected "was not vetted, and by vetted, I mean it hadn't been analyzed." LTG Noonan stated, "There were a bunch of . . . things on there that I inherently knew probably weren't right."

Although LTG Noonan told us that he repeatedly reminded the Members of Congress "that this hasn't been vetted," the Members expressed keen interest in the charts, some of which suggested links between United States persons and foreign sources. Because of concerns that LIWA might destroy the data, a congressional subpoena was issued on November 16, 1999, for JCAG demonstration documentation. LIWA complied with the subpoena and provided a copy of all the data that had been produced during the JCAG demonstration.30 Immediately after the subpoena was received all work on the JCAG demonstration ceased.

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30 Approximately 30,000 pages were provided pursuant to the subpoena.

During interviews with us, Dr. Hamre and LTG Noonan expressed concern with the release of raw data on United States persons that had not been subjected to any type of rigorous analysis. They noted that the information released to Members of Congress was easily misinterpreted because it implied associations and linkages between United States persons and foreign sources that were attenuated and without any intelligence significance. LTG Noonan explained, "When you do link and node analysis, names just pop up, and then you've got to vet every link and every node. That was the part of the JCAG site that we had not [yet] done."

LTG Noonan testified that based on the experience of the JCAG demonstration he was unwilling to permit LIWA to support the Able Danger mission without first receiving guidance from higher Army authorities. We reviewed e-mail that showed that on April 5,2000, Commander (CDR) XXXXXX, Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Navy, former Chief of International Operational Law, USSOCOM, met with Army officials, including active duty attorneys from INSCOM and the Office of the Army Judge Advocate General (International and Operational Law Directorate), to discuss LIWA support to the Able Danger team. The e-mail indicated that "in [the] best interest of the Army" a proposed "LIWA Methodology" setting out parameters for LIWA's support to the Able Danger mission would be provided to the Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for review and comment. This LIWA methodology addressed issues regarding collection of data on United States persons.

By memorandum to the Army dated April 14, 2000, Rear Admiral (RADM) Michael F. Lohr, Judge Advocate General Corps, U.S. Navy, then-Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed concern that LIWA would be data mining both Government data bases and open source data which would enable it "to pull together into a single data base a wealth of privacy protected U.S. citizen information in a more sweeping and exhaustive manner than was previously contemplated." RADM Lohr added, "We . . . need to think carefully how we want to deal with a capability which can gather such information into one cross-referenced super-data base." He also stated that the decision for DoD to operate such an extensive data base with potential "domestic collection restrictions" concerns "should be decided at a very senior DoD policy level." RADM Lohr indicated that he had consulted with an attorney in the Office of the DoD General Counsel and the attorney agreed that "the best course of action in the shortterm would be to limit LIWA to DoD data bases for purposes of supporting the USSOCOM planning effort [Able Danger]."

Shortly after receiving RADM Lohr's memorandum, LTG Noonan terminated LIWA's support to the Able Danger mission and ordered LIWA analysts to stop work supporting the Able Danger mission. As described above, Mr. XXXXXX destroyed the data collected for Able Danger training purposes shortly thereafter.

Facts Concerning Data Destruction at the Garland Facility

Mr. XXXXXX testified that when the Able Danger team left the Garland facility to return to USSOCOM headquarters a large quantity of "extraneous" data that had been collected by the Able Danger team was destroyed. Mr. XXXXXX provided, however, that the team retained all the data they considered useful. He stated, "I know because I helped retain it back here in [the current USSOCOM facility] . . . I was involved with the CDs . . . helping to load the CDs onto the system."

According to CAPT XXXXXX, however, the Able Danger team "made very little progress" at Garland by the end of October 2000 when he left. He acknowledged that the team "collected a lot of stuff," but we "never got any product partially because nobody had a firm agreement on what the product should be."

Discussion

We determined that the destruction of Able Danger data at LIWA and at the Garland facility was appropriate. The LIWA experience with JCAG clearly demonstrated the danger of data collection on United States persons which was not rigorously controlled and safeguarded.

Accordingly, LTG Noonan's decision to terminate LIWA's support to Able Danger, and the destruction of data which would no longer be needed, was reasonable in the aftermath of JCAG and the requirements of DoD 5240.1-R.

Likewise, the destruction of unneeded data at Garland, which may have contained information on United States persons, complied with DoD 5240.1-R and was a sound management decision. Based on CAPT XXXXXX's testimony, the data at Garland consisted of large volumes of information obtained via searches of Web sites, but the data had not been subjected to any type of rigorous analysis. The Able Danger team retained any useful data and brought it back to USSOCOM headquarters where it could be used for follow-on projects.

D. Did DoD officials terminate the Able Danger proiect prematurely?

Standards

We found no regulatory standards that could reasonably be applied to the decision to terminate the Able Danger project. Rather, we reviewed the facts and circumstances surrounding the termination of Able Danger to determine whether there was any indication of an effort to undermine or suppress worthwhile intelligence gathering efforts.

Facts

In evaluating this issue, we drew on facts presented in previous sections of this report and reiterate the following relevant information concerning Able Danger.

The Able Danger project was created in October 1999 when GEN Shelton tasked USSOCOM to produce a campaign plan to deter the al Qaeda terrorist organization. In turn, GEN Schoomaker, then Commander, USSOCOM, assembled a team of military planner, operators, and analysts to develop the required plan. The evidence indicated that GEN Schoomaker initially anticipated that the Able Danger team would complete the campaign plan by October 1, 2000.

Dr. XXXXXX testified that when she first met CAPT XXXXXX in January 2000 at JWAC he was frustrated because he was unhappy with the products that were being produced and had a "drop dead date" of October 1, 2000. CAPT XXXXXX testified that after LIWA was unable to support the Able Danger mission he entered into a contract with Raytheon Company for use of the Garland facility for 90 days which was subsequently extended by GEN Schoomaker for 30 days.

The evidence established that GEN Schoomaker was favorably impressed during the October 12, 2000, presentation at the Garland facility and directed that the campaign plan would be published by December 15, 2000. He further directed that the capabilities of the Garland facility would be brought to USSOCOM headquarters. Thereafter, the Able Danger team was ordered to work exclusively on preparing the campaign plan. On January 8, 2001, the campaign plan was presented to, and accepted by GEN Shelton. Accordingly, GEN Shelton's tasking was satisfied and the Able Danger mission was completed.

Discussion

We concluded the Able Danger mission was not prematurely or unwisely terminated. Further, there was no indication that the decision to terminate the Able Danger program was based on a desire to suppress intelligence gathering efforts. Rather, the termination decision must be understood in terms of the objective of Able Danger -- the development of a campaign plan; i.e., a strategy for using advanced analytical tools to target the al Qaeda infrastructure.

Having achieved that objective, Able Danger was appropriately ended and its technology applied to follow-on intelligence operations at USSOCOM.

E. Did DoD officials execute the Able Danger mission in compliance with applicable intelligence oversight guidance?

Standards

The focus of intelligence oversight is to ensure that the collection, retention, and destruction of intelligence information concerning United States persons complies with the following standards.

Executive Order (E.O.) 12333, "U.S. Intelligence Activities," dated December 4, 1981

This order authorizes agencies within the intelligence community to collect information concerning, and conduct activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the United States, international terrorist and international narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the United States by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents. This includes information collected about United States persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities.

DoD 5240.1-R, "Procedures Governing the Activities ofDoD Intelligence Components that Affect United States Persons," dated December 7, 1982

This regulation implemented E.O. 12333 in DoD. It allows information about United States persons to be retained temporarily, for a period not to exceed 90 days, solely for the purpose of determining whether that information may be of permanent value as defined in E.O. 12333. It requires that all personnel assigned to, or supervising, intelligence components must, at a minimum, be familiar with the general provisions and guidance on collection, retention, and dissemination of United States person information, employee conduct, and procedures for identifying, investigating, and reporting questionable activities.

Facts

In evaluating this issue, we reiterate evidence set forth above. Additionally, we determined that in order to overcome the issues regarding United States persons which arose during the JCAG demonstration and motivated LTG Noonan to terminate LIW A's support for the Able Danger mission, Terms of Reference (TOR) were drafted by CDR XXXXXX who worked closely with Mr. Richard Shiffrin, DoD Deputy General Counsel, Intelligence, and members of Mr. Shiffrin's staff. The TOR set out the parameters on how the Able Danger team would conduct their mission, with specific attention paid to Intelligence Oversight as it related to searching the World Wide Web and retention of data related to United States persons. The TOR was signed by Col XXXXXX and the USSOCOM Staff Judge Advocate on July 17, 2000. LIWA signed the TOR on September 26,2000, but, as indicated previously, LIWA ceased support to Able Danger in April 2000.

Once the TOR was finalized, the OCWG implemented a process to ensure compliance with the procedures regarding United States persons. Members of the Able Danger team built a Microsoft Access data base application, which they called the Information Management System, to track search targets. This application was completed by mid-August. Shortly thereafter the team began operations.

The TOR described the data sources, methods, and process that would be used by the Able Danger team members. It also discussed retention of United States person data and the disposition of data upon completion of the Able Danger mission. Signed acknowledgment documents indicated that Able Danger team members were required to review the TOR prior to working on Able Danger. Witness testimony indicated personnel understood the TOR.

The TOR directed a Special Operations Judge Advocate be assigned to Able Danger as well as an Intelligence Oversight officer. Documents established that the Special Operations Judge Advocate conducted appropriate intelligence oversight training for the Able Danger members.

Testimony and documents indicate that a legal review of the Able Danger project was conducted before work began at the Garland facility. The USSOCOM Inspector General conducted an intelligence oversight inspection in August 2000. In November 2000, Mr. Shiffrin inspected the Able Danger intelligence oversight program. Both inspections assessed the oversight program as "Excellent."

Discussion

We reviewed the TOR, which remains classified, and determined that it complied with E.O. 12333 and DoD 5240.1-R. Further, based upon our interviews and review of applicable data we determined that the Able Danger team members complied with the TOR. Accordingly, we determined that the DoD properly applied intelligence oversight to Able Danger.

Moreover, we found the intelligence oversight program established for Able Danger to be well planned. The program required and documented training, inspections, and reporting. Each person involved in the project was required to read and sign the "Able Danger Terms of Reference and Concept of Operations" as a condition to participate. Witnesses testified that the TOR did not prevent them from executing their mission, but in fact facilitated their efforts.

With regard to retention of data on United States persons, we determined that the TOR set out appropriate methods for retaining such data. Further, we determined that data was retained in compliance with the TOR. We also determined that data that was destroyed when the Able Danger mission departed the Garland facility was properly done so in accordance with the TOR.

F. Did DIA Officials, when cleaning out LTC Shaffer's civilian office, improperly destroy Able Danger documents that LTC Shaffer had accumulated there?

Standards

We found no regulatory standards that applied to possible destruction of Government documents that were not stored in a system of records, but were abandoned by the former occupant of a Government office, other than established procedures for the destruction of any documents that were classified. In this case, we sought to determine whether, in fact, LTC Shaffer left behind significant Able Danger documentation in his DIA work spaces when he vacated them in March 2004 and, if so, whether the disposition of that documentation evidenced impropriety.

Facts

LTC Shaffer testified he accumulated a significant amount of Able Danger related documents in his office at the Clarendon DIA facility. Regarding the volume of the documents he alleged he possessed, LTC Shaffer stated "[it] was probably about four boxes of Office Depot, the, the standard box size. That would include charts, background documents and other related material."

LTC Shaffer explained how he came to possess documents and charts related to Able Danger by asserting that he served as a "forward operating headquarters" or "repository." He provided, "During the, the time of the running of Able Danger . . . I functioned as the forward headquarters of the Able Danger task force." LTC Shaffer estimated that Col XXXXXX and CAPT XXXXXX provided 80 to 90 percent of all the Able Danger documents that he came to possess.

With regard to his duties related to Able Danger LTC Shaffer stated,

I became the repository for whatever the Able Danger team, that meant Captain XXXXXX, that meant Colonel XXXXXX, who was the Chief, whatever they wanted to have, I became the repository for them in Clarendon. That way, they could just pop by Clarendon, coming off a plane from Tampa or Texas, come by the building, grab the stuff, go over, take the metro over to the Pentagon, brief and then bring it back. They had a secure holding area at the top secret level they could keep, keep all this secure. So that's why I had all these charts.
We interviewed both CAPT XXXXXX and Col XXXXXX regarding the assertion that LTC Shaffer stored documents for them in his office at Clarendon. Both denied they had left any documents with LTC Shaffer. Further, neither recalled ever having been to LTC Shaffer's office at Clarendon.31 Both CAPT XXXXXX and Col XXXXXX testified that they were unaware of anyone associated with Able Danger leaving anything with, or picking anything up from, LTC Shaffer. CAPT XXXXXX did, however, add, "I think he volunteered for that. He says, you know I'll store all this data here in Clarendon." With regard to LTC Shaffer's assertion that CAPT XXXXXX had left charts with him, CAPT XXXXXX testified, "That's false."

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31 CAPT XXXXXX testified that LTC Shaffer talked with him about being in LTC Shaffer's office. However, CAPT XXXXXX told us, "He says I was [in his office] but I don't recall."

CAPT XXXXXX did recall providing LTC Shaffer with the TOR, a document which set out standard operating instructions and applicable legal guidance, while LTC Shaffer was at the Garland facility. CAPT XXXXXX estimated the TOR to have been 10 to 15 pages long.

After we informed LTC Shaffer that Col XXXXXX and CAPT XXXXXX both denied being at his office and leaving materials with him, LTC Shaffer stated,

I can't attest to XXXXXX ever being there. I don't know that for a fact. But I do know 100 percent, 110 percent, that XXXXXX came and dropped off the documents at least on one occasion.
In April 2003 LTC Shaffer and CAPT XXXXXX worked together to develop a briefing in order to reconstitute the tools that were at the Garland facility. When CAPT XXXXXX was asked whether LTC Shaffer made Able Danger documents or charts available at that time, CAPT XXXXXX responded,

I don't think he had anything. He always referred to documents at a DIA site that he was trying to get a hold of and back-up documents that he had when we did briefs up in D.C., but I never recalled them generally. Nothing ever came to my desk.
LTC Shaffer provided us with specific details regarding a portion of the Able Danger documents he had in his possession that he alleged were classified "collateral top secret" and required special handling, which included keeping them in a safe and inventorying them annually. He estimated that he had stored in a safe "probably about six linear inches of [collateral] top secret documents." LTC Shaffer testified, "[then-] Lieutenant Colonel XXXXXX was my, my primary deputy, principal deputy, who actually controlled these doc- these control documents."

COL XXXXXX testified that while she had heard the term "collateral top secret" she did not know what it meant. Further, she testified she had never in her career inventoried any classified documents and had no knowledge of documents stored in a safe at the Clarendon DIA facility. CAPT XXXXXX testified that he did not know the term "collateral top secret."

LTC Shaffer testified that though a portion of the documents in his possession were "collateral top secret" and, therefore, required being locked in a safe and periodically inventoried, when COL XXXXXX was transferred to another position in DIA he took control of the documents and thereafter "kept it all in a briefcase." He stated he kept this briefcase and "all the different data . . . hidden under my desk on the, wherever I went, it was, it was physically under my possession wherever I went at that point in time." He added, "I did not have a safe after a certain point, so since we were authorized open storage, I just kept it with me."32

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32 The inventory of personal belongings shipped to LTC Shaffer (discussed in the following section) listed a leather briefcase, but the individuals who took the inventory told us they found no Able Danger related documents in it.

Regarding the Able Danger documents LTC Shaffer alleged he possessed, LTC Shaffer testified that after the September 11 attacks he had various members assigned to DIA review the documents. He added that he "talk [ed] to them about the fact that we identified Atta and some of the other terrorists before 9/11." He testified that COL XXXXXX; Captain (CPT) XXXXXX, U.S. Army Reserve; Mr. XXXXXX, who was a Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and an individual we designated as "Witness 2"33 reviewed the Able Danger documents that were in his possession.

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33 Witness 2's identity was shielded for operational security reasons.

COL XXXXXX testified she never reviewed any Able Danger documents after September 11, 2001, that identified any of the terrorists prior to the attacks. She discussed that though LTC Shaffer had on occasion told her that he had identified some of the 9/11 terrorists prior to September 11, 2001, he never offered to show her any documents supporting his assertion. COL XXXXXX added, "And Tony gets real hyper in his beliefs and talking. . . . How much of it was in his. . . I'm not even going to say in his mind. . . how much of it was actually factual, I'm not sure."

CPT XXXXXX, a friend of LTC Shaffer who had worked with LTC Shaffer while assigned to DIA, stated he did not recall reviewing any Able Danger documents. He testified, "I don't have any memory ofthat at all . . . I do not remember that." However, CPT XXXXXX discussed a conversation LTC Shaffer had with him in 2005. CPT XXXXXX testified,

He told me that, you know, in passing, 'XXXXXX, you know, I even -- you know, you were there. I showed you those Able Danger documents.' And I just kind of, you know, nodded my head . . . But I don't -- I'll just go on the record right now. I don't ever remember -- I don't think that I was ever shown those documents.
CPT XXXXXX also testified that he had no memory of LTC Shaffer telling him that prior to the 9/11 attacks he had identified Mohammed Atta. CPT XXXXXX expressed certainty that he would have remembered being told such a fact. He testified, "Because I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, and I understand the significance of that." CPT XXXXXX added that not until "after this whole kind of Able Danger thing broke" had he heard LTC Shaffer mention Mohammed Atta.

Mr. XXXXXX testified that he was an Air Force Reserve officer and had been on active duty assigned at DIA from October 2001 through October 2002. Mr. XXXXXX testified that in 2002 LTC Shaffer showed him a document regarding a project that LTC Shaffer was attempting to organize out of an office at the Pentagon. He said that LTC Shaffer told him that the document was very sensitive and that he was showing it to Mr. XXXXXX because he wanted Mr. XXXXXX to join him on the project. Mr. XXXXXX testified that LTC Shaffer told him, "Why don't you come also? I mean, we're going to go off of active duty. We can get jobs over there." Mr. XXXXXX testified,

I read it. I don't remember any of the details of it. All I remember is the gist of it was it was going to be some type of information gathering type of project based out of the Pentagon. And Tony said he had contact with the people that were trying to stand this thing up, get it moving. I don't know that he used the word 'stand up,' but trying to get it underway.
Mr. XXXXXX denied that LTC Shaffer had ever shown him any charts. Further, he testified that LTC Shaffer never mentioned to him that he had previously worked on a project in which Mohammed Atta, or any of the other 9/11 terrorists, or any terrorist, had been identified. When we asked whether he was surprised that LTC Shaffer had not disclosed to him that he had identified Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists, Mr. XXXXXX responded,

But, I mean, right now it does surprise me. . .. That if he had known that why he wouldn't have come to this committee? I mean, he knew I worked on the committee since 2003. So yeah, I mean, in that sense that is surprising.
Witness 2 denied seeing any Able Danger related documents in LTC Shaffer's office, and told us that there were no rolled up charts in LTC Shaffer's office as LTC Shaffer alleged.

LTC Shaffer testified that he met with staff members of the 9/11 Commission while deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in October 2003. He stated that he returned from his deployment in December 2003 and went on leave. He returned to the Clarendon facility in January 2004. He testified,

At that point in January of '04, is when I actually physically put all these documents together in one location preparing for my belief that the 9/11 Commission would want to have a look at them based on the fact that I did have, and, and again, I'll say this for the record . . . I had actual top secret documentation regarding the actual mission orders and focus of the operation.
LTC Shaffer stated, "The key stuff was in this briefcase." He added, "The briefcase was actually located right next to my desk in Clarendon. I had stuck it underneath right next to my feet, next to the boxes." LTC Shaffer also told us that he never reviewed the materials that he had collected in order to provide it to the 9/11 Commission. He stated, "I didn't feel it was my job to sort through and inventory just to turn it over to them."

As set forth in the following section, the DiA employees who cleaned out LTC Shaffer's office spaces inventoried a leather briefcase, but testified that they found no documentation pertaining to Able Danger.

Discussion

We determined that LTC Shaffer did not possess Able Danger related documents as he alleged. He testified that he possessed documents that were provided to him primarily by Col XXXXXX and CAPT XXXXXX both of whom denied providing LTC Shaffer any such documents. Further, each witness LTC Shaffer alleged he had shown the Able Danger documents denied seeing any such documents. Accordingly, we concluded DIA officials did not improperly destroy Able Danger mission related documents in LTC Shaffer's possession.

G. Did D1A officials improperly ship Government property and classified documents to LTC Shaffer's attorney?

Standards

The DoD 5200.1-R, "Information Security Program," dated January 1997

Chapter 6 , "Safeguarding," paragraph C6.1.1.1. states that components shall have a system of control measures that ensure that access to classified information is limited to authorized persons. Paragraph C6.2.1. states no person may have access to classified information unless that person has been determined to be trustworthy and access is essential to the accomplishment of a lawful and authorized Government purpose.

Chapter 7, "Transmission and Transportation," paragraph C7.1.3.4. states that Secret information may be transmitted by U.S. Postal Service registered mail within and between the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Paragraph C7.1.4.4. states that Confidential information may be transmitted by U.S. Postal Service first class mail between DoD Component locations

Paragraph C7.2.1.1. states when classified information is transmitted, it shall be enclosed in two opaque, sealed envelopes, wrappings, or containers, durable enough to properly protect the material from accidental exposure and facilitate detection of tampering.

DIA Regulation 50-2, "Information Security," dated July 15, 2003

Paragraph 7a states that individuals are responsible for protecting classified information in their possession or for which they have been given custodial authority.

DIA Regulation 12-30, "Mail and Distribution Management Program," dated October 27, 1995

Paragraph 10f provides direction for mailing/pouching classified material, following guidance contained in DoD 5200.1-R.

Facts

LTC Shaffer testified that seven boxes, which contained his personal property, property of others, and Government property, were mailed from DIA to his attorney's office.

LTC Shaffer stated that on October 7,2005, he opened one of the boxes in his attorney's office and observed an empty camera box and several documents relating to his employment that were addressed to him. He thereafter opened the remaining boxes at his residence and asserted the boxes contained a variety of items that did not belong to him.

LTC Shaffer also alleged he found six classified documents in the boxes that were sent to his attorney's office.34 We reviewed the six documents (actually four documents totaling six pages) which included two documents that had "Confidential" classification markings on the top and bottom of each page (a 1992 TDY travel request and a 2002 document regarding an administrative matter related to LTC Shaffer); and two OERs that consisted of two pages each with no classification markings on the top and bottom, but did have classified "S/NF" (Secret/No Foreign) paragraph markings.

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34 LTC Shaffer stated he provided the classified documents to Representative Weldon's Chief of Staff who, in turn, forwarded them to Mr. Counsel, House Armed Services Committee. Mr. XXXXXX subsequently provided the documents to this Office.

On December 16, 2005, LTC Shaffer delivered to this Office one box of items that he alleged were included in the shipment to his attorney, but were not items of his personal property. We inventoried the contents and itemized 61 items that included a Garmin Global Positioning System (GPS) V Personal Navigator, a box for a Garmin GPS V Personal Navigator, one pair of stereo headphones, 25 felt tip pens ("Skillcraft"), 11 blank compact discs, various mementoes, and 24 pieces of unopened mail many of which were postmarked in 1998-1999 and addressed to unknown individuals. Other than some unclassified documents (aged, incomplete performance appraisals for DIA employees, travel vouchers, and Army regulations), none of the items were obviously Government property. However, it is reasonable to conclude that the 25 markers/pens and 11 compact disks were Government property, although not labeled as such.

We found that between the fall of 1999 and March 2004, LTC Shaffer was assigned to three different divisions (and three different office spaces) in the DIA facility located in Clarendon, VA. He was assigned to the Sub-Sahara Africa Division, located on the 13th floor, until April 21, 2003, when he transferred to "Focal Point and Cover Staff', a 24-hour watch section in the Clarendon Situation Room. On January 5, 2004, LTC Shaffer was assigned to the Asia Pacific Division, located on the third floor in the Clarendon facility.

LTC Shaffer went on temporary duty (TDY) to Afghanistan from March 9, 2004, to April 3, 2004 (a Saturday). Upon LTC Shaffer's return to the Clarendon facility on Monday, April 5, 2004, he was escorted by an unidentified Navy noncommissioned officer to the Personnel Security Division office, notified that his Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) access had been suspended, and was escorted out of the Clarendon facility. LTC Shaffer was thereafter prohibited from entering the Clarendon facility unescorted and did not enter the facility again until February 2006.

When LTC Shaffer was assigned to Focal Point and Cover Staff from the Sub-Sahara Africa Division in April 2003, he left approximately 8 to 10 boxes of personal and work related belongings in his Sub-Sahara Africa Division work cubicle on the 13th floor of the building. Mr. XXXXXX, Senior Intelligence Officer, Sub-Sahara Africa Division, testified that after LTC Shaffer was assigned to Focal Point and Cover Staff, he spoke with LTC Shaffer and also sent him several e-mail messages asking him to clean up his old cubicle and remove his belongings. Mr. XXXXXX stated that new employees were arriving in the Sub-Sahara Africa Division who needed LTC Shaffer's former work space. Eventually, Mr. XXXXXX requested that Ms. XXXXXX, Sub-Sahara Africa Division Administrative Officer, e-mail LTC Shaffer regarding his boxes. Mr. XXXXXX further stated that sometime after January 2004, when LTC Shaffer did not respond to Ms. XXXXXX's e-mail messages, he directed the boxes be moved to LTC Shaffer's new location in the Asia Pacific Division on the third floor.35

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35 LTC Shaffer was TDY in Afghanistan from late July to early December 2003.

Ms. XXXXXX testified she tasked two of her subordinates to assist her move the boxes into LTC Shaffer's cubicle in the Asia Pacific Division. Ms. XXXXXX also told us that some of LTC Shaffer's belongings were already in boxes and that some boxes were closed but not sealed, and other boxes were open. Ms. XXXXXX stated she and the other two employees boxed items that were not already packed. She stated approximately 6 to 8 boxes of LTC Shaffer's belongings were deposited in LTC Shaffer's cubicle in the Asia Pacific Division. Staff Sergeant XXXXXX, U.S. Air Force, and Mr. XXXXXX, the Sub-Sahara Africa Division employees who boxed and moved LTC Shaffer's articles, corroborated this sequence of events.

We found evidence that LTC Shaffer's belongings were next shipped from the Asia Pacific Division to DIA headquarters, Bolling Air Force Base, but shortly thereafter returned to the Clarendon facility -- this time positioned in the Middle East/North Africa Division on the 13th floor. Ms. XXXXXX testified that approximately 2 to 3 weeks after LTC Shaffer's boxes were moved to the Asia Pacific Division, the same boxes were returned to the 13th floor, but that the returned boxes had LTC Shaffer's name lined through and Mr. XXXXXX's name printed on the boxes?36 Based on that notation, Ms. XXXXXX assumed that the boxes had been sent to Mr. XXXXXX at the DIA headquarters, and then returned by Mr. XXXXXX to the Clarendon facility. The boxes were then returned to the Asia Pacific Division.

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36 Mr. XXXXXX was LTC Shaffer's supervisor when LTC Shaffer was assigned to the Sub-Sahara Africa Division. He had moved from the Clarendon facility to DIA Headquarters.

CAPT XXXXXX, U.S. Navy, former Division Chief, Asia Pacific Division, confirmed that Mr. XXXXXX had LTC Shaffer's office contents delivered to the Asia Pacific Division while LTC Shaffer was on TDY in Afghanistan during March 2004. Because CAPT XXXXXX understood that LTC Shaffer would not be allowed back into the Clarendon facility on his return from Afghanistan, he initiated action to segregate any personal belongings in those contents and deliver them to LTC Shaffer. CAPT XXXXXX testified he directed Mr. XXXXXX , Administrative Assistant, Asia Pacific Division, to go through the material in the boxes and separate the official Government documents from LTC Shaffer's personal belongings and arrange to return LTC Shaffer's personal belongings to him.

Mr. XXXXXX testified that some time in March 2004, someone delivered approximately 12 boxes of LTC Shaffer's office contents to an area in the Asia Pacific Division where extra computer equipment was stored. Because the boxes were taking up space allocated for new personnel and cubicles, CAPT XXXXXX told him to separate LTC Shaffer's personal belongings from the Government property and place Government documents, including classified material, in burn bags for destruction.

Mr. XXXXXX told us he went through the boxes whenever he had a free moment, sometimes 15 minutes at a time, over the period of approximately 2 to 3 months. Mr. XXXXXX told us he separated LTC Shaffer's boxes into two categories and put what appeared to be documents with classification markings and official documents into burn bags and what appeared to be LTC Shaffer's personal belongings into boxes for shipment. Mr. XXXXXX also told us that the documents that appeared to be personal and had no classification markings were grouped with LTC Shaffer's belongings. Mr. XXXXXX testified that he observed no documents that had "code words" or "collateral top secret" on them. Mr. XXXXXX asserted that he did observe "Secret," "Secret/No Foreign," and "Confidential" documents in LTC Shaffer's office contents but never saw anything marked "Top Secret," "TS," or "Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS SCI)." Mr. XXXXXX told us he did not read the documents, but reviewed them for classification and if documents did not appear to be LTC Shaffer's personal property, they were put in the burn bag. In response to the alleged inclusion of classified performance appraisals, Mr. XXXXXX testified he recalled seeing copies of LTC Shaffer's performance appraisals but did not see any classification markings on them so he retained them with the personal belongings.

Mr. XXXXXX further testified that he observed no ringed binders, charts, or maps in any of the materials he reviewed and no oversized pieces of paper that were laminated (e.g., charts) and no paper that was rolled up. Mr. XXXXXX testified that for the most part, everything was in folders or piled in stacks. Mr. XXXXXX further told us that he did observe various pieces of personal mail and testified that even though LTC Shaffer was not the addressee on the mail, he thought the mail belonged to LTC Shaffer or someone LTC Shaffer knew, and that was why he did not destroy it. Mr. XXXXXX testified he did not recall seeing any document with a picture of Mohammed Atta in any of LTC Shaffer's belongings and that the only photos he observed were personal photos belonging to LTC Shaffer. He further testified that at no time did he observe any documents with the words Able Danger stamped or written on them.

In response to the allegation that a Government GPS unit was included in the shipment to LTC Shaffer's attorney, Mr. XXXXXX testified he did not observe a GPS unit but recalled an empty cardboard box for a GPS. He told us that if there had been a GPS, he would have set it aside as Government property. Mr. XXXXXX recalled that he found a laptop computer and small printer in LTC Shaffer's office contents and he, in fact, set those aside as Government property.

Mr. XXXXXX told us that he placed LTC Shaffer's belongings inside of 8 to 10 boxes, taped them shut, marked them with LTC Shaffer's name, and moved them into a corner of the Asia Pacific Division conference room sometime in July 2004. Mr. XXXXXX testified he called LTC Shaffer at his residence on three separate occasions and left messages in an attempt to have LTC Shaffer retrieve his belongings, but that LTC Shaffer never responded to his messages.37

___________________

37 LTC Shaffer recalled receiving telephone calls but stated it was not clear to him what DIA' s expectation was with regard to him retrieving his personal property.

The boxes remained in the conference room for approximately 13 months, until August 17, 2005, when Mr. XXXXXX turned them over to two individuals from the Personnel Security Division at DIA. Bye-mail to Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX, Special Agents, Personnel Security Division, Mr. XXXXXX summarized his efforts to segregate LTC Shaffer's personal belongings during the March to July 2004 time period, stating that the task took him about 15 work hours, during which he removed and destroyed all classified documents. Mr. XXXXXX acknowledged that he did not make an inventory of the personal items he put aside for LTC Shaffer.

Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX told us that on August 17, 2005, they were directed by Mr. XXXXXX, Chief, Personnel Security Division, DIA, to take custody of the boxes containing LTC Shaffer's personal belongings, inventory the contents, and ensure the classified material had been removed. In separate interviews, Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX stated they brought the boxes to the office of Mr. XXXXXX, Chief, Counter Intelligence and Special Investigations Unit, DIA, at the Clarendon facility.38 They both testified that they received no specific tasking regarding Government material and when they observed items such as pens, blank compact disks, and headphones that could belong to the Government, they left them with LTC Shaffer's belongings. However, Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX emphasized that if they had observed anything that was clearly identifiable as Government property they would have inventoried it and removed it from the boxes of LTC Shaffer's belongings. Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX testified they took the task seriously and painstakingly conducted the inventory.

____________________

38 Mr. XXXXXX was then on leave.

Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX told us that although Mr. XXXXXX told them he checked all the documents in the boxes for classified information, they found seven classified documents in the boxes during their inventory and assumed Mr. XXXXXX overlooked them. They retained those classified documents separately. Mr. XXXXXX told us that they looked at the top and bottom of each document for classification markings, and that even if the documents were not marked on the top and bottom they looked for markings at each paragraph throughout the document.

Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX testified that they recalled a box for a GPS unit that included accessories and software, but there was no GPS unit inside the box and there was nothing on the box indicating it belonged to the Government.

Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX testified that they did not see any charts or any documents with pictures on them, they did not observe any type of document or chart with Middle Eastern names on them, and they did not see any documents marked with the words "Able Danger."

Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX provided a detailing listing of the items that were contained in the seven boxes. That listing described the seven classified items and itemized other items with generic descriptions. No items were identified as Government property, although some could have been Government owned, such as "Flags--US and USMC," "CD Read/Write disks-unopened--10," "Office supplies--pens," "Rolodex," "Box of accessories for GPS device," and "Typewriter print disk, Elite font." Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX testified that when the inventory was completed, the classified documents were removed and the boxes were sealed with tape. They remained in Mr. XXXXXX's office until they were transported to the mailroom on September 26, 2005.

In communications to us, LTC Shaffer represented that the GPS unit itself -- an item of Government property -- was in the GPS box included in the shipment to his attorney -- contrary to the assertion of DIA employees that only a box with GPS accessories was included in the shipment. As a result, we sought to resolve the disparity. We noted that the serial number on the box that LTC Shaffer provided to us from the shipment was 93048763. The serial number on the GPS unit that LTC Shaffer provided was different -- 93086668.

Mr. XXXXXX Chief of Logistics, Defense HUMINT, DIA, conducted a records check and found no record of DIA having purchased a GPS unit that matched serial number 93048763, identified on the box shipped by DIA to LTC Shaffer. However, he did confirm that DIA had purchased the GPS unit with the serial number, 93086668, that LTC Shaffer provided.

Mr. XXXXXX, a contractor employee, worked in the Asia Pacific Division and participated in the TDY to Afghanistan in March 2004 in which LTC Shaffer was the team leader. Mr. XXXXXX testified that he was issued two GPS units from DIA and that he brought them to Afghanistan. Mr. XXXXXX testified that along with several other members of the team, he returned to the United States, but LTC Shaffer remained in Afghanistan for several more days.

Mr. XXXXXX testified he personally handed the two GPS units to LTC Shaffer prior to leaving Afghanistan on March 26, 2004. Mr. XXXXXX acknowledged he did not have LTC Shaffer sign a receipt for the GPS units. Mr. XXXXXX testified that he had no further knowledge regarding the disposition of the two GPS units and had not seen LTC Shaffer since he departed Afghanistan on March 26, 2004.

Mr. XXXXXX provided a DD Form 2062, Hand Receipt, dated March 3, 2004, that confirmed that two GPS units (serial numbers 93086541 and 93086668) were issued to Mr. XXXXXX on March 3, 2004. Mr. XXXXXX further testified that DIA HUMINT supply records indicated that the GPS unit with serial number 93086541 was transferred to a DIA satellite office overseas, and that there was no further record for the GPS unit with serial number 93086668 (the one that LTC Shaffer alleged was shipped to him with his personal belongings).

LTC Shaffer did not recall receiving two GPS units from Mr. XXXXXX but acknowledged that he received other equipment from him before departing Afghanistan. LTC Shaffer suggested that one of the GPS units (i.e., number 93086668) may have been left behind in his office at Clarendon and never brought to Afghanistan. He told us that the team did not take all the equipment they had been issued and that the GPS unit he allegedly found in his shipment could have been left behind.

Discussion

While we viewed DIA's handling of LTC Shaffer's office contents and personal belongings as lacking in due care, we found insufficient basis to conclude that the shipment to his attorney contained Government property of any significance or any classified documents.

With respect to DIA's handling ofthe matter, we noted that LTC Shaffer's office contents were first collected and boxed in April 2003, when he moved from the Sub-Sahara Africa Division to Focal Point and Cover Staff. Although LTC Shaffer remained employed in the Clarendon facility, no effective action was taken to have him review and properly dispose of the material. Nine months later, LTC Shaffer's office contents, which contained some classified material, were moved to the Asia Pacific Division (3rd floor), then shipped to DIA headquarters at Bolling Air Force Base, returned to the Clarendon Building (13th floor), and moved to the 3rd floor (Asia Pacific Division) where they were finally segregated into personal and Government property. Items considered personal were forwarded to the Personnel Security Division for inventory and shipment to LTC Shaffer. The simple task of gathering, inventorying, and disposing of contents of a single office cubicle went on for over 2 years. We found no reasonable explanation for the disorganized manner in which DIA officials carried out this basic task.

That observation notwithstanding, we concluded that DIA ultimately took effective action to dispose of LTC Shaffer's belongings. Special agents from the Personnel Security Division conducted an inventory of the boxed contents, removed classified material, and shipped the boxes to LTC Shaffer's attorney. While we question the inclusion of some of the material in that shipment (unclassified Government forms and vouchers, pens, and compact disks that were of the type commonly purchased for Government use), we consider the value and significance of those items minimal and further action unwarranted.

In that regard, the preponderance of evidence leads to the conclusion that DIA did not include a GPS unit in the shipment as LTC Shaffer alleged. Rather, we concluded that LTC Shaffer was provided the GPS unit (serial number 93086668) by Mr. XXXXXX while TDY in Afghanistan and carried that unit with him when he returned to the United States. Because LTC Shaffer was not allowed to enter the Clarendon facility when he returned, it could not have become part of the inventory that had been held in boxes at the Clarendon facility since April 2003. We considered Mr. XXXXXX's testimony credible and supported by the hand receipt that he signed. Further, we considered it highly unlikely that the GPS unit (serial number 93086668) was returned to DIA from Afghanistan by Mr. XXXXXX (or someone else) and somehow placed in a box containing LTC Shaffer's office contents.

Regarding LTC Shaffer's assertion that he was sent classified materials by DIA, we concluded that no such items were sent to him. Ms. XXXXXX and Mr. XXXXXX testified they reviewed every document in his belongings and removed any classified documents. They told us that they looked for classification markings at the top and bottom of each document as well as every paragraph. Accordingly, we concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the classified documents LTC Shaffer indicated were mailed to him by DIA officials were likely to have already been in his possession separate from the boxes mailed by DIA.

H. Did DIA officials take action to suspend LTC Shaffer's access to classified information and revoke his security clearance in reprisal for his communications to Members of Congress or the 9/11 Commission regarding Able Danger?

[1/2 page redacted.]

Pages 63 through 88 are being withheld in their entirety
in accordance with the FOIA under exemptions
(b)(6) and (b)(7)(C)
[1/2 page redacted.]

VI. CONCLUSIONS

A. The anti-terrorist program, Able Danger, did not identify Mohammed Atta or any of the other 9/11 terrorists before the 9/11 attack.

B. Able Danger members were not prohibited from sharing intelligence information with law enforcement authorities or other agencies that could have acted on that information. In fact, Able Danger produced no actionable intelligence information.

C. The destruction of Able Danger documentation at LIWA and Garland was appropriate and complied with applicable DoD regulations.

D. The Able Danger program was not terminated prematurely. It concluded after it had achieved its objective and its work products were used in follow-on intelligence gathering efforts at USSOCOM.

[6 lines redacted.]

E. DoD officials executed the Able Danger program in compliance with applicable intelligence oversight guidance.

F. DIA officials did not improperly destroy Able Danger documentation when cleaning out LTC Shaffer's office spaces. We concluded that LTC Shaffer did not serve as a repository for Able Danger documentation as he alleged.

G. DIA officials included some Government property in the personal belongings that were shipped to LTC Shaffer after they were removed from his office spaces. However, the Government property was of minimal value (pens, aged Government documents, and computer disks). DIA officials did not improperly include classified documents or the Government GPS in that shipment.

H. DIA officials did not suspend LTC Shaffer's access to classified information or revoke his security clearance in reprisal for his communications regarding Able Danger. Rather, the adverse actions taken with respect to LTC Shaffer's access and security clearance followed established process and were justified apart from his protected communications.

I. DIA officials did not issue LTC Shaffer an unfavorable OER for his protected communications to the 9/11 Commission. The OER would have been issued absent those protected communications.

J. LTC Shaffer's OER did not properly reflect non-rated time pursuant to applicable Army regulations and he could have been issued an optional 60-day OER for service in Afghanistan. By separate correspondence we advised LTC Shaffer of his options for correcting his military record and offered our assistance if he chooses to do so.

VII. RECOMMENDATIONS

We recommend that the Director, DIA, review procedures concerning disposition of personal belongings when abandoned by DIA employees and procedures for rendering military performance reports to ensure that Service requirements are met.

FBI Probes Media Leaks Against Weldon

From the AP:

The FBI has begun several internal investigations, including at least one that could result in criminal charges, over leaks to the media about public corruption probes shortly before last month's elections.

At least one of the alleged leaks involves the federal inquiry of Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. He lost his House seat weeks after the FBI raided the homes and offices of his daughter and her business partner.

"There are a series of investigations we've undertaken, some by our inspection side, and some, at least one we're looking at as a criminal investigation," FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"Although I usually say I can neither confirm nor deny an investigation, I think it's fair to say in this particular case we are pursuing it, and by that I mean (the leak involving) Congressman Weldon," Mueller said.

Mueller described himself as "exceptionally disappointed, and that is being charitable, in terms of my response upon hearing about the leak."


From Ken Timmerman:

Defeated Pennsylvania Republican Curt Weldon believes that the CIA and the FBI are "out of control," and that the next Congress must do better oversight to prevent them from continued interference in domestic U.S. politics.

The charge by the outgoing Republican congressman and deputy chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, one of the top targets of the Democratic National Committee in November's congressional election, was not idle speculation.

"Just yesterday, FBI Director Mueller took the unusual step of publicly acknowledging that the FBI had launched a criminal inquiry into the activities of two of its agents for misconduct in a federal investigation," Weldon said. "Even more unusual, Mueller said that the improper leaks involved Congressman Weldon."

Weldon spoke to NewsMax on Friday just outside the House chamber in the Capitol building on his last day as a United States congressman. He planned to stay for votes scheduled to continue until 11 p.m.

Six weeks before last November's election, Weldon continue to dominate his Democratic opponent in the polls. Then, out of nowhere, "anonymous law enforcement sources" leaked to the press that the FBI was conducting a federal probe into the Pennsylvania Republican for alleged influence peddling.

Weldon has been in Congress since 1986, and was re-elected in 2004 with 59 percent of the vote. After a televised FBI raid on his daughter's townhouse on Oct. 16, Weldon dropped like a rock in the polls.


Timmerman then reports:

Weldon also charged the former CIA station chief in Paris, Bill Murray, of attempting to smear the incoming chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes, by alleging that Reyes attended a meeting in Paris with Iran-contra figure, Manoucher Ghorbanifar.

Those allegations appeared in a left-wing Internet publication on Nov. 17 that was clearly aimed at thwarting Reyes's candidacy to take over the sensitive intelligence oversight position. "What does this say about Reyes' judgment, meeting with a guy like this?" left-wing journalist Laura Rozen wrote.

Impeached former federal judge Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., was in line to become chairman of the intelligence committee, but was facing stiff opposition from security-minded Democrats as well as Republicans, who argued he was unfit for the job. Reyes was seen as a compromise candidate for the job.

"Bill Murray's aim was to impugn the reputation of the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee," Weldon said. "This is outrageous. And it is a blatant lie, because Reyes never met with Ghorbanifar in Paris."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gates to be sworn in December 18th

Gates confirmed as secretary of defense

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to confirm Robert Gates as defense secretary, with Democrats and Republicans portraying him as the man who will help overhaul President Bush's Iraq policies.

The 95-2 vote was a victory of sorts for Bush, who named Gates to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Nov. 8, a day after voters gave Democrats control of Congress for next year....

The White House said Gates would be sworn in Dec. 18. Explaining the delay, spokeswoman Dana Perino said Gates had commitments he had to fulfill at Texas A&M University, where he is the president. Bush called Gates with congratulations.

The book the Ex-Feds don't want you to read

This is great, Peter Lance posts his rebuttal of Larry Johnson's latest spin on the Huffington Post, even before Johnson posts it on the site. Of course, if Johnson was not recycling his posts all over the net that might be harder to do. From Google News:

Peter Lance's Flawed Triple Cross
Huffington Post, NY - 4 hours ago

Triple Cross: the Book the Ex-Feds Don't Want You to Read
Huffington Post, NY - 5 hours ago


We discussed Larry's post yesterday. Here's an excerpt from Lance:

On Sunday, less than two weeks after publication, Triple Cross, my third investigative book on the failure of the FBI and Justice Department on the road to 9/11 hit #4 on amazon.com's terrorism best seller's list. But the book's initial success is causing a pair of ex-Feds to see red. In my Friday blog for The Huffington Post, I noted how Andrew C. McCarthy, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney in the Southern District, had drafted a review of the book for The N.Y. Post.

Since the book had questioned McCarthy for failing to stop al Qaeda's master spy Ali Mohamed, a "review" by him in any paper, particularly Rupert Murdoch's flagship U.S. tabloid would have been the equivalent of Donald Rumsfeld critiquing State of Denial. Ultimately, The Post killed the piece, but one prominent reviewer who had raved about Triple Cross e-mailed me to report that McCarthy had called him to denigrate the book.

Any author has to expect that kind of reaction from a controversial book. But now Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst who worked counterterrorism at State is papering the internet with attacks, not just on my findings, but my credibility as a reporter. Johnson was also criticized in Triple Cross. He's an interested party who felt stung by the book and normally I wouldn't respond to him. But on Wednesday, respected journalist Amy Goodman quoted one of his erroneous allegations during her interview with me on Democracy Now!. This blog is intended to set the record straight.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Maybe Larry should find a quarter

So he can call someone who has a clue.

On his personal blog "NO QUARTER" Larry Johnson complains:

Peter Lance presents inaccurate and misleading information about me on page 384 of his book. Lance writes:

He [Johnson] then compounded that mistaken assessment five weeks later with a Times Op-Ed piece entitled “The Declining Terrorist Threat,” describing al Qaeda as a “a loose amalgam of people with a shared ideology, but a very limited direction.”


Peter is flat out wrong. At no point in that July 2001 op-ed did I write what he says I wrote (here is the link to the op-ed, read it for yourself). At no point did I refer to Al Qaeda in that piece because I was focused on the broader trends in terrorism.

Lance leaves the clear impression that I minimized the importance of Osama Bin Laden. That also is not true.


Here is the May 31, 2001 article Lance was citing:

"To listen to some of the news reports a year or two ago, you would think bin Laden was running a top Fortune 500 multinational company -- people everywhere, links everywhere," said Larry C. Johnson, a former deputy director of the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. "What the evidence at trial has correctly portrayed, is that it's really a loose amalgam of people with a shared ideology, but a very limited direction."


In other words, Larry is not saying he did not minimize Bin Laden. He is not saying the quotes are inaccurate. The entire focus of his argument is which quotes came from which edition of the New York Times, the May 31st 2001 issue or July 10th 2001!

As far as whether his op-ed ever referred to Al Qaeda or Osama, judge for yourself. Here is the July 10, 2001 op-ed Lance mentions:

The Declining Terrorist Threat

By LARRY C. JOHNSON

Judging from news reports and the portrayal of villains in our popular entertainment, Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism. They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal. They are likely to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists. And they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism.

None of these beliefs are based in fact....


This is three years after the African embassy bombings and just six months after the attack on the USS Cole. Larry, if you weren't talking about Al Qaeda when you referred to "extremist Islamic groups" who the heck were you talking about?

Larry goes on to claim, "The debriefing and interrogation reports paint a completely different picture of events than the one describe by Mendoza to Lance." While, he himself points out that the reports he is referring to are not from Mendoza's interrogation of Murad! "Anyone see Mendoza’s name? Nope." Finally, Larry goes on to conclude this shows the PNP had no idea at all about the planes as missles plot:

There is no other reference in any of the seventeen (17) reports by the Philippine National Police referring to any plot to hijack commercial airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center or any other building in the United States.


First of all, Mendoza is not the only one who has said this. Among others, Lance cites the Presidential Spokesman of the Phillipines in 2001, Rigoberto Tiglao. In addition, Larry completely ignores the issue of Ramzi Yousef's laptop, which is actually the kwy to Lance's new revelations in "Triple Cross", not the interview with Mendoza which he already documented in "Cover Up" and "1000 Years for Revenge".

From page 185 of Triple Cross:

Mistrustful of U.S. intelligence operatives, especially the CIA, the PNP had decided to copy the Toshiba's hard drive before they turned it over to U.S. authorities. The presence of a radical Islamic cell in this heavily Catholic country - especially one that had threatened the Pope himself - was considered a threat to the government of President Fidel Ramos, a former general. So the NBI called in Rafael "Raffy" Garcia III, president of Mega Data, one of Manila's largeste information technology companies. Shortly after 9/11, Garcia spoke to Luis F. Francia from the Village Voice on the condition that his name not be used. In the Voice piece, one og the best accounts of the Feds' prior warnings about the 9/11 plot, Garcia told much of the story - but not all of it.

Realizing that the Toshiba was a key puzzle piece, I kept searching, and ultimately uncovered an obscure confession Garcia had written for a Philippines magazine not available in the States. So I contacted him just before Easter in 2005.

Garcia told me he owned a condo in the San Francisco Bay area and would be willing to meet on an upcoming trip to Los Angeles. He'd just bought a Mercedes SL65 roadster and was anxious to test drive it. On March 27, 2005, we had the first of two face-to-face meetings. Sitting with me in my Santa Barbara office, Garcia confirmed precisely what he had written in the Philippines publication:

Decoding Yousef's computer was not difficult. I bypassed the passwords and immediately accessed the files. This was how we found out about the various plots being hatched by the cell of Ramzi Yousef. First, there was the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Then, we discovered a second, even more sinister plot: Project Bojinka. The planes would have come from Seoul, Hone Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, and Manila. Even the airlines and the specific flight numbers had been chosen. There was a document where calculations had been made on how to set the timers on the bomb to be placed on each flight so that they would explode within a set time.


But Garcia was even more surprised to discover the audacious third plot. "We found another document that discussed a second alternative to crash the eleven planes into selected targets in the United States instead of just blowing them up in the air. These included the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia; the World Trade Center in New York; the Sears Tower in Chicago; the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco; and the White House in Washington, DC. Murad himself was to fly the plane that would be crashed into the CIA headquarters."

During our second meeting, in May, Garcia told me he was worried.

"I got a lot of threats after that story came out," he said. "There were people in the U.S. intelligence community that didn't want to admit that the full-blown 9/11 plot had been uncovered by the PNP in 1995 and turned over to the FBI." To protect himself, Garcia said, he kept a copy of the hard drive in a safe location.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dan Meyer from the DODIG office

Is enjoying his newfound fame as the man who dismissed the Able Danger allegations. You can watch him on C-SPAN at the American Bar Association's 16th Annual Conference on National Security Law if you have the stomach for it. Pretty depressing actually:

From C-Span.Org:

ABA Panel on National Security Secrets in a Democracy

American Bar Association's 16th Annual Conference on National Security Law continues with a round table discussion on national security secrets in a democracy. Washington Post National Security Correspondent Dana Priest and others discuss leaks, whistleblowers & the press.

12/1/2006: WASHINGTON, DC: 1 hr. 45 min.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lance vs McCarthy

Andy, answer the question! Did you meet with Mohamed in December 94?

Email exchange published at PeterLance.com:

Mr. Lance:

I did not respond to your email because I believe you are an irresponsible journalist. That, obviously, is why National Geographic and Towers Productions parted ways with you this summer.

Had you not been involved in the project, I would gladly have cooperated with it, as I did with their earlier, very well done production. And as I routinely do even with journalists who disagree vigorously with me ... as long as they are professional.

Save your bravado for someone who might be impressed by it. You bore me.

What I told the O'Reilly producer was mild compared to what your atrocious book merits. As you presumably know (although with you, one can't be sure), it matters not how many pages you write nor how long your "time-line" is. For example, in the narrow matter of what you say about me, it is very simple.

You falsely accuse me of obstructing justice by advising a witness, Ali Mohammed, to ignore a defense subpoena from Sayyid Nosair -- in a case in which I have a lengthy record of providing the defense with voluminous evidence unfavorable to the government, and in a career in which I have a lengthy record of advising all witnesses that it is mandatory to comply with court orders, regardless of whether their evidence would help or hurt prosecutions.

You base this scurrilous allegation on the uncorroborated word of Ibrahim Elgabrowny (Nosair's cousin), a convicted terrorist with a long track record of making false claims.

Of course, your book fails to note not only Elgabrowny's checkered record but also that the allegation at issue is one neither Elgabrowny and his many counsel nor Nosair and his many counsel ever dared make in court ... even though, had I done what you claim I did, it would doubtless have called for a reversal of Nosair's convictions.

You exacerbated that smear by speculating falsely -- and based on no evidence -- that I provided material support to al Qaeda by giving what's been called a "co-conspirator list" to Ali Mohammed, notwithstanding that he was one of those I named on the list.

Though you claim to be a thorough researcher, you've plainly managed to miss the several articles I have published which discuss this event, all of which note that Mohammed got the list through defense channels.

Of course, you are under no obligation to believe my version of events (after all, I have never claimed to be able to identify which defendant was responsible); but a responsible journalist would at least have acknowledged my statements.

Then again, a responsible journalist would not so cavalierly make such a weighty and preposterous an allegation in the first place.

In any event, I will comment on your libelous work as I see fit. I am not going to do anything jointly with you to help you sell books. As for who is "man enough,"

I welcome the prospect of the public looking at your record and mine, at your version of events and mine, and making up its own mind.

Very truly yours,
Andrew C. McCarthy



Andrew,

In your e-mail response you did a number of things that merit comment: 1) First you avoided answering my demand for a retraction. You made several false statements about my book on "The O'Reilly Factor" on the day of the book's publication, when it was virtually impossible for you to have digested the 670 page work. TRIPLE CROSS had only been offered for sale for the first time that morning. a) You failed to explain your false and sweeping allegation that I relied "on convicted terrorists and convicted murderers as sources" for the book. b) you didn't address your false allegation that "Everything he says we were hiding about Ali Mohamed was presented in open court."

2) Second, you engaged in the classic forensic device of extension. I never relied on El-Gabrowny's allegation. I reported it for what it was -- hearsay -- and cited two dozen pieces of evidence including the verbatim interview statements of defense attorney Roger Stavis and retired FBI SA Jack Cloonan, along with the sworn affidavit of SA Dan Coleman that put you in California with Mohamed on December 9th, 1994. I'm going to attach the precise section of the book dealing with your interaction with Ali Mohamed around the time of the "Day of Terror" trial. The section from Chapter 17 is documented with 24 end notes including multiple references to federal trial transcripts.

3) The thoroughness of my research -- the book includes 50 pages of such end notes -- puts to lie your libelous allegation that I am "an irresponsible journalist." 4) Fourth, you jumped to the false conclusion that "National Geographic and Towers Productions parted ways" with me because of this.

All you had to do was read the Huffingtonpost I did on August 29th documenting that Towers' breach of contract was entirely the result of the refusal by Jack Cloonan, Mary Jo White and Tommy Corrigan to allow me to see their interview transcripts -- In short NGC knuckled under to a trio of your Justice Department colleagues. My removal from the documentary, which was based entirely on my work, had nothing to do with my accuracy as a reporter.

5) Fifth, you describe TRIPLE CROSS as an "atrocious" book and make additional false allegations concerning what I reported about you.

a) I never accused you of obstructing justice. b) I never accused you of telling Mohamed to ignore a subpoena. I stated the allegation of El-Gabrowny, whom I made clear was a convicted terrorist. But more importantly through my research, I put you in the room with Mohamed -- an admitted terrorist who not only planned, but helped to execute the African Embassy bombing plot.

Once again you never answered the questions set forth in my July 13th e-mail to you. Why didn't you indict Mohamed? Further, why did you feel compelled to fly across the country to meet with him? If you were in the man's presence and you were so concerned about complying with Brady Rules, why didn't you help to facilitate his testimony?

6) Sixth, you alleged that I "smeared" you "falsely" based on "no evidence." Examine the 24 end notes below. El-Gabrowny's allegation was one of 24 separate pieces of the mosaic that I drafted to tell the story of your interaction with Ali Mohamed. As to why El-Gabrowny never raised the allegation in court, he makes it clear in his statement (which I sent to you in the June 13th e-mail) that he only learned of your alleged advice that Mohamed ignore the subpoena, when he was on the same tier of the MCC with Mohamed in 1999 -- four years after the trial.

7) Finally, I NEVER alleged (as you falsely state) that you provided the un-indicted co-conspirator's list to Mohamed. Another extention. You're making false allegations, asking me to defend ground that I never took.

Your e-mail is the equivalent of that old legal saw: "If you don't have it on the facts, pound on the law. If you don't have it on the law, pound on the facts. And if you don't have it on the facts or the law, pound on the table. Your e-mail, like your attack on me for "O'Reilly" is an exercise in table pounding. I understand where your anger is coming from Andy. You and the SDNY Feds have enjoyed an unchalleged reputation as terror busters and my three investigative books are the first to connect the dots on your mistakes.

Why should anybody care? Because there has not been sufficient reform in the FBI and Justice Department with respect to counter-terrorism to prevent the next al Qaeda attack. I make that clear in Chapter 41 of the book, relying, in part, on a series of DOJ Inspector General reports. Clearly you're hurt that your attempt to do another drive-by on me in Sunday's New York Post got derailed. But I still expect you to be man enough to admit when you are wrong and either apologize or retract the libelous statement you made on "O'Reilly."

As for me, I stand by every word of TRIPLE CROSS.

Respectfully,

Peter Lance


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

HIDING BEHIND THE WALL

One of the most bitter critics of Gorelick, and the “wall” she raised with her memo, was a former prosecutor in the SDNY who once technically worked under Gorelick. Andrew C. McCarthy was a street-smart AUSA who put himself through Columbia College by working as a U.S. marshal The day after Gorelick sought to defend herself in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece entitled “The Truth About the Wall,” McCarthy wrote a scathing critique for the conservative National Review Online asserting that Gorelick “belongs in the witness chair, not on the commissioner’s bench.”
Pointing out accurately that the “wall memo” was completely unnecessary, McCarthy branded Gorelick “a key participant” in the government’s “pre-9/11 intelligence failure.” As it turns out, however, in December 1994—the very same moment when Gorelick and Secretary of State Christopher were pushing to extradite Khalifa—McCarthy himself was engaging in his own disconnection of the dots.
At the center of his attention was Ali Mohamed.
After years of missing the connections between Ali Mohamed’s trained cell members, from Nosair to Abouhalima and Salameh, the Feds of the Southern District had assembled an extraordinary body of evidence linking Sheikh Rahman and his eleven co-defendants in what they called “a “jihad army” bent on waging a war of urban terrorism in the streets of New York.
In late December 1994, McCarthy and his co-prosecutors Patrick Fitzgerald and Robert Khuzami were gearing up for the “Day of Terror Trial,” in which they would seek to convict the blind Sheikh and his cell for the “bridge and tunnel plot,” which Emad Salem had helped to break. This was the Feds’ way of mopping up for their failure to see the conspiracy in the Kahane murder in 1990, and the FBI’s inability to stop Yousef in 1992 before he planted the World Trade Center bomb.
The months-long trial, grounded in a seldom-used Civil War era law prohibiting seditious conspiracy, would allow the SDNY to connect the al Qaeda links going back to the rabbi’s killing. Nosair himself would be charged along with the Sheikh; and this time the Feds would nail him for the Kahane murder—not just the low-level gun charge the Manhattan D.A. had been forced to accept in 1991.
For this second trial Nosair would be represented by Roger Stavis, a brilliant criminal defense attorney who avoided the theatrics of a William Kuntsler. As Stavis prepped for trial, he was shocked to find, among the documents seized from Nosair’s house, those Top Secret training manuals from Fort Bragg. This caused him to start asking questions about the mysterious “Ali Mohamed,” the U.S. Army sergeant who seemed to have played some role in training Nosair and his cohorts.
Stavis immediately began investigating Mohamed himself.
“I got down to Bragg months before the FBI ever thought to show up,” recalls Stavis. “You would have thought that those documents the FBI recovered on the Joint Chiefs and those Top Secret manuals would have prompted the Bureau to figure out who Ali Mohamed was, long before this trial.”
His defense for the Prozac-popping Egyptian was that Nosair was trained by Ali Mohamed, who had been an “asset” variously of the CIA and the U.S. Army, and thus the U.S. government itself should share culpability for Nosair’s shooting spree. The Kahane murder, in Stavis’s argument was “blowback” from America’s covert support for the Mujahadeen and Ali Mohamed .was a merely an expeditor.
In the course of his investigation, Stavis connected more dots about Mohamed than the government itself had ever managed.
“I have him in Fort Bragg,” recalls Stavis. “I have him here [in New York] training these people. And then I have him in Afghanistan, because one of the witnesses who trained with him in New Jersey went to Afghanistan, saw him there, and also saw him in New Jersey. And he stayed at Nosair’s house. I refer to that as completing the triangle.”
So Stavis wrote up a subpoena for Ali Mohamed and started looking for him.

A DEFENSE LAWYER’S SEARCH FOR ALI MOHAMED

“This was late ’94,” says Stavis. “I wanted him. And I tried everything to find him.” But Mohamed, it seemed, had disappeared. “Even his wife hadn’t seen him out in California,” Stavis says. “I invoked the Classified Information Procedures Act [CIPA],” a special set of legal procedures for getting witness testimony in potentially classified matters. “I think a lot of bells went off in Langley,” the CIA headquarters. “People went running around.”
Finally some bells went off in the New York office of the FBI and the SDNY.
At the time, Ali Mohamed was in Africa, staying in a Nairobi safe house and interacting daily with Wadih El-Hage, one of the leaders of the embassy bombing cell. Earlier that year Mohamed had been in Khartoum, staying in Osama bin Laden’s own house. After surviving an assassination attempt, bin Laden had personally asked Ali to train his bodyguards.
Now, with Stavis seeking Mohamed’s testimony, prosecutor Andrew McCarthy was worried. At that point, no one outside the Bureau or the SDNY knew that Ali had been an FBI informant. McCarthy could only guess what the former army sergeant might say if he got on the stand under oath in open court.
“If Ali would have been put on [the stand] at that point in time, [he] would have been viewed as an agent provocateur,” says retired special agent Jack Cloonan. “Maybe there would have been an issue of entrapment raised. It wouldn’t have helped the government’s case.” That subpoena became “a huge, huge issue for Ali” as well, remembers Cloonan.
As an al Qaeda spy who was playing two FBI offices off each other by that point, Mohamed had reason to be concerned. If he was compelled to testify in federal court with the national media covering the trial, the truth about his espionage career from Fort Bragg onward would have been exposed by defense attorneys like Roger Stavis. “That would have effectively blown his cover as an FBI informant,” says Stavis, and “shut him down as a spy then and there.”
By the first week in December 1994, al Qaeda’s military commander, Mohammed Atef, met with Ali at El-Hage’s house and ordered him to do surveillance of U.S., British, French, and Israeli targets in Senegal.

HELPING ALI AVOID A SUBPOENA?

But according to Cloonan, prosecutor Andrew McCarthy was so desperate to get to Mohamed. that he contacted the FBI’s San Francisco office, and Ali’s control agent, John Zent, called his wife Linda Sanchez to find out where he was. Nairobi bombing cell member L’Houssaine “Joe” Kerchtou later testified that Mohamed “received a call from the United States from a friend of his saying that he had some problem and he should come back.”
The “friend” was Khalid Dahab, the Egyptian who was running Mohamed’s Santa Clara cell in his absence. Dahab placed the call to El-Hage’s house after Linda told him that the Feds wanted an audience with her husband.
Mohamed later confirmed that after receiving a phone call in late 1994 from “an FBI agent who wanted to speak to me about the upcoming trial of United States v. Abdel Rahman,” he abruptly canceled the Senegal surveillance and headed back to the States. As Jack Cloonan recalls, he even expressed anger when the Feds failed to reimburse him for his airfare.
By that point, however, McCarthy was so worried about Stavis’s subpoena that he actually flew to California with New York FBI agent Harlan Bell to interview Mohamed. True to form, Ali shined them on. A master at spinning lies that seemed odd enough to be credible, Ali told them that he was working in Kenya in the scuba diving business. He admitted that he’d made two prior trips to Pakistan, but claimed that the first in 1988 was as an “observer,” and the second in 1991 was in response to a request by the late Mustafa Shalabi to move Osama bin Laden out of Afghanistan.
It was the second time in two years that Mohamed had revealed his association with . the al Qaeda leader.
Keep in mind that during his treasonous support for the terror network, Mohamed was a U.S. citizen. As recently as August 1994 he had been in the U.S. Army reserve. His enlistment oath bound Ali to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same . . . so help me God.” When he was sworn in as an assistant U.S. attorney, McCarthy had taken a similar oath. Given the extraordinary case he’d built against the Sheikh and his cohorts, McCarthy knew full well who Mustafa Shalabi was. In fact, McCarthy had even named the dead Egyptian as an unindicted co-conspirator in the upcoming case, along with 171 others, from Osama bin Laden to the Murteza brothers, the Connecticut gun dealers who dealt with Nosair. Even the murdered Abdullah Azzam was on the list, along with Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, whom Jamie Gorelick was about to help eextradite from U.S. custody.
McCarthy and co-prosecutors Fitzgerald and Khuzami were about to argue in front of a jury that the Sheikh’s cell (which Ali had trained) was part of a “jihad army” fighting a war against America in a series of battles. The Kahane murder was one battle. The Trade Center bombing another and the Day of Terror plot represented just the last outbreak in that war.
Having read the Nosair files, McCarthy knew that Mohamed had commuted up from Fort Bragg to train what his colleague Robert Khuzami would call the “soldiers in this army.” As lead prosecutor on the case, McCarthy must have realized that Ali played a key role in that “military” hierarchy. In fact, he’d even named Ali himself as an unindicted co-conspirator. And yet now, on December 9th in Santa Clara, McCarthy sat listening with Special Agent Bell, as Ali handed them a story about going off to Africa to run a diving business.
“I didn’t disclose everything I knew,” Mohamed said later, in a masterpiece of understatement.
From what we know on the public record, after McCarthy and Bell left that meeting and returned to New York there were no immediate repercussions for Mohamed, short of his name turning up on that unindicted co-conspirators list. But at this point in the story, the question is, Why? Why did McCarthy and Bell fly more than 3,000 miles to speak to the al Qaeda spy? Were they after the truth? Did they really want to know just how deep his roots ran with al Qaeda and the EIJ? Were they hoping to get enough on Ali to convert him from an unindicted co-conspirator to a full blown defendant in the Day of Terror Trial? Or was the meeting really about damage control?

NOSAIR’S COUSIN ACCUSES McCARTHY

The answer may lie in a hand-scrawled letter from El Sayyid Nosair’s cousin Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, which he wrote as part of his appeal after being convicted in the Day of Terror plot. In it he contends that in October 1999, four years after his conviction, he found himself in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), the federal jail in lower Manhattan. In the cell next to his on the Nine South tier, where all terror suspects are housed, was Ali Mohamed (whom the Feds finally arrested in September 1998).
Referring to himself in the third person, El Gabrowny described his interactions with Mohamed:
El Gabrowny and Ali Mohamed engaged in several conversations . . . At one time El Gabrowny asked Ali Mohamed whether or not he ever received the subpoena that Nosair’s lawyer sent to him [and] further if he did received the subpoena, why he did not come to testify.
El Gabrowny then makes a shocking allegation:
Ali Mohamed . . . added that regarding the subpoena that was sent to him by Nosair’s lawyer, he actually received it and was prepared to abide with the order and come to testify on Nosair’s behalf. But . . . Mr. Andy McCarthy ‘the AUSA on El Gabrowny and Nosair’s case’ came accompanied with an FBI agent and paid him a visit. Ali Mohamed further added, during this visit Mr. McCarthy told him that he ‘i.e. Mr. McCarthy’ knew about the subpoena . . . Then Mr. McCarthy advised Ali Mohamed to ignore the subpoena’s order and not to go to testify on Nosair’s behalf and that Mr. McCarthy will cover up for him regarding that.
In his appeal, El Gabrowny—who by then had become something of a jailhouse lawyer—argued that “Ali Mohamed’s testimony was crucial to refute a major part of the Government’s allegation, and that would substantially effect the case for Nosair, El Gabrowny and the rest of the co-defendants. Accordingly, if Elgabrowny’s claim is true, this will represent a sever[e] Brady violation, since the Government through it’s representative Mr. Andy McCarthy acted maliciously to destroy evidence and withhold exculpatory information from the defense, that if they were revealed—they would substantially effect the jury’s mind and change the whole outcome of the trial.”
Here El Gabrowny refers to a federal rule promulgated after the historic 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady vs. Maryland, which held that “the suppression by prosecutors of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.”

BIN LADEN’S PHANTOM SPY

Later at trial, when defense attorney Roger Stavis sought to question Norvell De Atkine, the Fort Bragg officer who used Ali Mohamed in the training videos, Andrew McCarthy objected on grounds of “competence,” arguing to the judge that “This witness is being proffered so that they don’t have to put Ali Mohamed on the stand to ask him about it himself.” In short, McCarthy was attempting to use Mohamed’s absence from the trial to his advantage.
Later that day, after Stavis tried to enter Mohamed’s army service record into evidence, McCarthy objected: “He [Stavis] wants to put in pages of stuff, detailed minutia about the guy’s career in the army which is not relevant to the case.”
But the army career of Ali Mohamed couldn’t have been more relevant to that case. He had infiltrated the army as a phantom spy for bin Laden, as surely as he had infiltrated the FBI—and trained the key cell members of the very “jihad army” that was currently on trial for waging war against the United States.
In legal terms, El Gabrowny’s note amounted to double hearsay. But was it nonetheless an accurate account of a conversation he had with Ali Mohamed? Clearly the allegation was serious enough to warrant further investigation. If a federal prosecutor like McCarthy had actually intervened with Mohamed to keep him from honoring a federal subpoena, that might constitute a violation of the Brady rules.
On June 9, 2006, I contacted McCarthy by e-mail, sending him a copy of El Gabrowny’s note and asking him for a comment. He never responded.
When I interviewed Roger Stavis on March 17, 2006, he said he’d never heard the charge that McCarthy had encouraged Mohamed not to testify. But he emphasized that “we couldn’t find Mohamed,” and suggested a reason: “You have to understand, the Feds didn’t want Afghanistan in the case at all. It undermined the entire theory of their prosecution.”
In any case, as the Day of Terror trial commenced on January 30, 1995, Ali Mohamed ignored Stavis’s subpoena and never showed up at court. Even if we dismiss El Gabrowny’s hearsay allegation that McCarthy told him to stay away McCarthy was certainly aware that Stavis wanted him on the stand. He’d been in contact with Mohamed as late as December 9th, and could have acted to facilitate his appearance at trial. But he didn’t..
“They didn’t want him to testify for the same reasons that I did,” says Stavis. “I’m telling you that I would have done anything to get him on the witness stand.”
Ali might have been protected by the Feds that December 1994, but he certainly wasn’t loyal to them. Immediately after his meeting with McCarthy and Special Agent Bell, Mohamed informedf on them to Mohammed Atef, al Qaeda’s military commander. Perhaps fearing that the FBI was getting too close, Atef told Mohamed not to return to Nairobi.

MCCARTHY STAYS IN TOUCH WITH ALI

Still, to maintain his cover as an FBI informant, Mohamed continued talking to the Feds. On December 22, an hour and twenty minutes after talking to Wadih El-Hage in Kenya, he called Andrew McCarthy. If the Bureau had been vigilant enough to monitor that single phone call, it might have led them to Osama bin Laden.
Why? Because as they eventually learned, the cell phone Mohamed used to call McCarthy was later used by El-Hage just before he went to see bin Laden.
But Mohamed continued to snooker McCarthy. On February 2, 1995, just after the start of trial, McCarthy sent the list of unindicted co-conspirators to various defense attorneys in the Day of Terror case. Somehow Ali Mohamed got a copy of it. Did McCarthy give it to him? We don’t know, but a copy was found in Mohamed’s house when the Feds searched it more than three years later. Ali later admitted that “I obtained a copy of the co-conspirator list for the Abdel Rahman trial. I sent the list to El Hage in Kenya expecting that it would be forwarded to bin Laden in Khartoum.” Using the code words of the tradecraft he knew so well, Ali addressed the list to “the Supervisor” (bin Laden), and signed it “Haydara,” one of his many aliases. Thus, while pretending to cooperate with the Feds, he was betraying their most confidential communiqués.
Throughout his dealings with Andrew McCarthy, Mohamed remained loyal to al Qaeda. And yet McCarthy, who fully understood the deadly power of the “jihad army,” seemed almost protective of him. Why? Why would an ex-U.S. marshal and savvy federal prosecutor like McCarthy, so willing to criticize Jamie Gorelick for raising the “wall,” fail to connect the dots on Mohamed himself after meeting with him face to face at the end of 1994?
Whatever the reason, Mohamed would thrive for another four years before his espionage career came to an end.
1. Andrew C. McCarthy, “The Wall Truth,” National Review Online April 19th, 2004.

2. U.S. vs. Omar Abdel Rahman et. al. S593CR.181 (MBM) January 30th, 1995.

3. Author’s interview with Roger L. Stavis March 17th, 2006.

4. US v Ali Mohamed, S(7) 98CR.1023 (LBS Sealed Complaint, September 1998 (Affidavit of Daniel Coleman, FBI Special Agent; bin Laden unit New York Office).

5. Author’s interview with FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan (ret.) May 4th, 2006.

6. U.S. vs. Ali Mohamed, S(7) 98CR.1023 (LBS) transcript of plea session U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, October 20th, 2000.

7. U.S. vs. Osama bin Laden, et al. S(7) 98 CR.1023 (LBS) Testimony of L’Houssaine Kerchtou, February 22nd, 2001.

8. Ibid. Plea session transcript.

9. US v. Osama bin Laden et al, S(7) 98 Cr. 1023, March 26, 2001. Testimony of Patrick Fitzgerald. February 22nd, 2001.

10, US v. Osama bin Laden et al, S(7) 98 Cr. 1023, March 26, 2001

11. Ibid Coleman affidavit.

12. U.S. Military Enlistment Oath. http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/l/blenlistoath.htm

13. U.S. vs. Omar Abdel Rahman et. al. S593CR.181 (MBM) January 30th, 1995.

14. Ibid. Pleas session transcript.

15. Handwritten note of Ibrahim El-Gabrowny attached as exhibit to the appeal of his conviction in U.S. vs. Omar Abdel Rahman et. al. S593CR.181 (MBM).

16. Laural L. Hooper, Jennifer E. Marsh and Brian Yeh, Treatment of Brady v. Maryland Material in United States District and State Courts’ Rules, Orders, and Policies Report to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules of the Judicial Conference
of the United States October 2004

17. U.S. vs. Omar Abdel Rahman et. al. S593CR.181 (MBM) transcript p. 14165. July 13th 1995.

18. Ibid Stavis.

19. Ibid. Pleas session transcript..

20. U.S. vs. Osama bin Laden, et al. S(7) 98 CR.1023 (LBS)
May 1st, 2001.

21. Ibid March 26th 2001 pp. 3337-3338,

22. Ibid.

23. U.S. vs. Ali Mohamed, S(7) 98CR.1023 (LBS) transcript of plea session U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, October 20th, 2000. Ibid. Plea session transcript.

24. Letter to Judge Leonard B. Sand from Mary Jo White, U.S. Attorney for the SDNY and Alan R. Kaufman, Chief of the Criminal Division requesting that Ali Mohamed’s letter and attachments remain under seal. August 27th, 1999.

Able Danger supporters to chair HASC and HPSCI

Both Ike Skelton, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Silvester Reyes, the incoming chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, signed Weldon's letter calling for full public hearings on Able Danger.

Aides: Reyes to chair Intelligence panel

Known as "Silver" to friends, Reyes is a Purple Heart winner who was drafted into the Army and served during 1966-68 as a helicopter crew chief and gunner. His service included 13 months in Vietnam.

Under Democratic control, his committee is expected to conduct more public oversight of some of the most difficult issues facing the United States, including terrorism, Iraq and government surveillance. Given the committee's inherently secret nature, much of the work will have to be done behind closed doors.

In an interview this month, Reyes said he will insist on more information about the Bush administration's most classified programs and how they are working. The Republicans, he said, have made a habit of rubber-stamping those programs.

He also wants to look at the role of intelligence three years after the war in Iraq and the state of traditional spycraft, known in spook lingo as "human intelligence."

"We haven't required or haven't had the administration give us the details, evaluation or plan of how these classic programs are functioning," he said. "There is plenty to do on the role of intelligence, the programs that are vital and critical to our national defense, and certainly to our war fighters."


Interestingly, Reyes also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and was one of the few members to attend the Able Danger hearing in February and ask serious questions:

SAXTON: I'd now like to recognize the ranking member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Mr. Reyes.

REYES: Thank you. And I want to thank both of you chairmen, Mr. Everett and Mr. Saxton, for holding this joint hearing today of the Strategic Forces and the Terrorism and Unconventional Threats subcommittees.

This hearing, as my colleague has said, provides the subcommittees a unique opportunity to explore pre-9/11 intelligence gathering and the operational planning against al Qaeda by focusing on the activities of the Able Danger project. U.S. Special Operations Command created Able Danger in late fall of 1999 in response to orders from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to develop a campaign plan to counter transnational terrorism.

Able Danger attempted to map the al Qaeda network as a way of preparing the groundwork for operational planning against the terrorists. The mapping was performed through sophisticated data analysis techniques, such as link analysis and data mining.

We are here today because individuals associated with Able Danger have raised issues about the restrictions placed on their efforts to map the al Qaeda network in the pre-9/11 era. Among the issues that we will discuss today is whether restrictions on collection of information on U.S. persons hindered the creation and use of data based on these potential terrorists.

We will also hear testimony on the claim that Able Danger uncovered information about Mohammed Atta, a picture and a potential relationship to the Brooklyn cell that carried out the first World Trade Center attack, which was in early 2000, prior to Atta's arrival in the United States in June of 2000.

Finally, we will discuss the question of whether Able Danger could have developed information about the 9/11 plot prior to the attack, if the project had not been ended in late 2000.

As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am acutely interested in assuring that our nation's intelligence professionals are able to gather and disseminate information rapidly to effectively perform their missions. Hopefully, the changes enacted by Congress through the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 have helped ensure that the United States does not suffer future intelligence failures as a result of restricting information sharing. But I will be listening carefully today to identify any additional structural changes that should be made.

On the other hand, I want to remind us all that our intelligence community is helping to protect a free society that safeguards our civil liberties. I am hopeful that the testimony today can help us to better understand how to improve intelligence gathering, the analysis and dissemination within the bounds of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time....

SAXTON: The gentleman's time has expired.

Mr. Reyes?

REYES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And I know my good friend from Pennsylvania believes in when he says that we're trying to get at the truth. And that's exactly why I think it's important that this information not only be provided, but be part of the record.

I'm told by members of the staff that they, in fact, interviewed Bob Johnson. And I have copies of the -- or actually, the original notes here about that interview.

And I was wondering, Mr. Chairman, is it possible to either enter into the record their notes, or maybe have them write up a report on the interview with Mr. Johnson? Which would be preferable, so it would be part of the record?

SAXTON: Ask Dr. Cambone to enter into the record...

REYES: No, no. No, these are two of our staff members that actually interviewed Mr. Johnson, Bob Johnson, who I'm told was in fact, at least from what I can tell from the notes, was not running the facility in Garland, but was there in some capacity working for Raytheon. That...

SAXTON: I'm told by counsel...

WELDON: Would the gentleman yield?

REYES: Yes.

SAXTON: I'm told by counsel there's absolutely no problem in entering those notes into the record. Objection?

WELDON: I don't have objection, but I would prefer that we get Bob Johnson up here to talk to him. I've interviewed him with my staff in the office. And I think we ought to get him up here, and we ought to have a conversation with him.

SAXTON: You want to make your unanimous consent request?

REYES: Yes. I would ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record.

SAXTON: Without objection.

REYES: And we'll -- in deference to the request by my friend from Pennsylvania, are we going to bring him up and interview him? Or how is that going to work? Or is that going to take place?

SAXTON: I believe, if there are future hearings, that's a possibility.

REYES: OK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I also would like a unanimous consent to enter into the record a statement from Governor Kean and Mr. Hamilton on Able Danger, because I think it speaks to one of the issues that my friend from Pennsylvania was talking about. And I'd just like to read a small portion of it, if I could.

It says, on October 21, 2003, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, two senior commission staff members and a representative of the executive branch met at Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan, with three individuals doing intelligence work for the Department of Defense. One of the men, in recounting information about al Qaeda's activities in Afghanistan before 9/11, referred to a DOD program known as Able Danger.

It goes on to explain that that program was now closed, and talks a little bit more about all the information there. But it goes on and it says, as with other meetings, commission staff promptly prepared a memorandum for the record. The memorandum prepared at the time does not record any mention of Mohammed Atta or any of the other future hijackers, or any suggestion that their identities were known to anyone at DOD level before 9/11. Nor do any of the three commission staffers who participated in the interview or the executive branch lawyer recall hearing any such allegation.

But the interesting part here that I find significant is, while still in Afghanistan, Dr. Zelikow called back to the commission headquarters in Washington and requested that staff immediately draft a document requesting -- draft a document request -- seeking information from DOD on Able Danger. The staff had also heard about Able Danger in another context, related to broader military planning involving possible operations against al Qaeda before 9/11.

That's in this document. My question...

WELDON: Will the gentleman yield on that point?

REYES: I will.

WELDON: Would you include in your unanimous request an inclusion of an interview with Dr. Zelikow, just on February the 10th, where he said -- and I quote -- "never briefed about Able Danger while in Afghanistan," which appears to me to be in direct contradiction to what my friend, and gentleman, just said?

REYES: Absolutely. I'll be glad to.

WELDON: Thank you.

REYES: And the reason I read that was because I wanted to ask Dr. Cambone, relative to this statement, the staff had also heard about Able Danger in another context, related to broader military planning involving possible operations against al Qaeda before 9/11.

Can you comment on that? Or tell us in what context those broader possible operations might have been?

CAMBONE: I can't answer for the 9/11 Commission having heard of Able Danger prior to the conversation that took place in Bagram. So, I'm not sure how they might have heard.

But I can tell you what engaged in. And that is, there was a good deal of conversation with staff, committee staff -- commission staff -- about the department's activities in the period of '99, 2000, 2001, with respect to counterterrorism activities, operations in Afghanistan, support to those operations, planning that was being done by the Joint Staff -- things of that nature. And we had an ongoing conversation about that.

I can get for you when we began providing them with the actual documentation on those broader planning efforts. And it is possible, although I don't know, that they may have derived it from that or some other source. But we were in a constant communication with them.

And if I may, Mr. Reyes, the first time I heard about Able Danger was in the context that you're just talking about, because the commission came back and asked us -- as I said in my statement -- for materials in the department on Able Danger. And we went about the business of trying to find what we could on that subject at the time.

REYES: For me, at least, there are several issues that add to confusion. First and foremost, the issue of whether Mr. Zelikow -- who was mentioned in one context here as having acknowledged that he met with and also called back and said, hey, let's -- bring us up to speed on this program of Able Danger.

And then, in the other context that my good friend from Pennsylvania speaks about, where he denies ever having met in Bagram.

So, I think it's vitally important that we sift through all this stuff and find out what is fact and what is fiction.

Having said that, for me at least, it isn't too clear if the mention of Able Danger -- in whatever context, you know, whichever side might be correct, or whichever side might speak to the truth. Was Able Danger in context as a operation, and as a strategy that had been set up -- which I think I agree with a number of my colleagues; it was cutting edge type stuff. I mean, it's a good news effort by the U.S. government to get ahead of the curve now.

How it broke down, or where the disconnect was, is for me as important as whether or not we did have the information that is claimed was there.

So, in trying to -- in helping me understand that, Dr. Cambone, what -- from you being there -- what is the downside of fully having people understand that Able Danger was in existence, the work that they were doing, the information that they provided and the way that it has subsequently either been represented or misrepresented, whichever -- however the truth comes out.

CAMBONE: Yes. Mr. Reyes, there is no downside. There is no downside to letting you know what was done in that project known as Able Danger, first.

Second, I don't believe it broke down in any way, shape or form. It actually provided what it was set up to provide. And what it was set up to provide was what is called an information operations plan, campaign plan, which itself was subsequently rolled into a larger campaign plan, which, again, in the parlance of the department, used all of the elements of power available to the department -- information operations, maritime operations, airborne operations, bombing, boots on the group -- all of that was rolled into a much larger campaign effort, of which the work that was done in the Able Danger compartment was lifted and inserted in proper ways -- not in toto, but in proper ways -- into that larger campaign plan.

It was a success. There is no question about its being a success.

Third, the issue of data mining and Able Danger get intertwined with one another. And the data mining is a technique meant to support the planning. So, it's a technique, it's a tool. And it was designed to demonstrate what could be done in a campaign plan.

They were not, as I understand it, Able Danger was not set up to go find targeting, actionable intelligence and the like, against al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization.

It was perfectly natural and reasonable, however, that they focused on what was the number one problem that the country had at the time in the counterterrorism world, which was al Qaeda. So, if you're going to do a campaign plan against for counterterrorism, you're going to do it, first and foremost, with respect to al Qaeda.

And I have no problem whatsoever in bringing forward to this committee or any other committee what was learned in that process. All I've come before the committee here to say is, in having made the effort, to answer to the concerns, we haven't found that data and material.

If it exists, I am happy to bring it forward. I told Mr. Weldon, I'll go to the server. If he can tell me where it is, I'll go there and extract the data myself.

SAXTON: I thank the gentleman.

CAMBONE: So, we have no problem...

REYES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SAXTON: The gentleman's time has expired....

EVERETT: Thank you.

Mr. Reyes?

REYES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In the context of your comments about sharing information, what were the Department of Defense procedures for sharing the Able Danger information with other agencies? Were there -- and I'm interested in finding out were there clear-cut guidelines, procedures and processes on how that was to be done and what criteria?

SHAFFER: Right. The answer, I'll give you in two parts.

First, there were standing agreements between intelligence organizations regarding information sharing. For example, one of the roles my unit provided to Able Danger was to provide the DIA whole top secret database and the NSA whole top secret database. Regarding the fact we got that and we gave it to SOCOM -- and keep in mind, SOCOM was a Title X organization. The intelligence committee is Title 50. So that took some doing.

So we legally found ways to bring information out of the intelligence community, provide it to SOCOM for the purposes of Able Danger.

REYES: When you say database...

SHAFFER: Right.

REYES: ... is this the lookout classified system?

SHAFFER: We did a combination of things. We actually obtained raw data from both NSA and DIA which were essentially copies of the IDB, which is the DIA's big database -- and then also NSA's databases regarding their SIGINT searches.

I have to go more into this in closed session. But suffice to say, we played this concierge role, essentially as a kind of a middle man, to get these databases. So we did have agreements.

The FBI, being law enforcement, was a bit of a different animal. Part of the issue was the fact that we did have existing relationships with the FBI and law enforcement community, but there was a feeling that: Hey, you know, we need to be careful about what we give law enforcement.

And I don't know if we had any formal documents which said you couldn't do it, but considering the fact Able Danger at the time was a top secret planning mission, I would not approach any organization outside of SOCOM without getting SOCOM's permission first.

Even though I'm a DIA guy, I'm assigned to support them. Therefore, I had to take my lead from them. When it came to the FBI, I made several strong recommendations over the year 2000 that we partner with the FBI. And I referenced the fact that I was doing a joint operation with them regarding another target, which we'll talk about in closed session. I felt it was in our best interest to share and work together with them.

That was not the feeling of SOCOM. I had to respect their feeling regarding operational security, that that needed to be kept within their control. Therefore, although there was nothing technically prohibiting me from giving the information, it was an operational call on their part, saying that they did not want at this point in time to share that information with the FBI.

REYES: So, if I'm understanding you correctly, it was that there wasn't any concrete direction -- if you get written standard operating procedures, if you get this kind of information, this is...

SHAFFER: No.

REYES: ... what you do?

SHAFFER: No.

REYES: Is it your testimony that it was handled on a case-by-case basis?

SHAFFER: Yes, sir.

REYES: Or sensitivity basis or...

SHAFFER: Sensitivity basis was one of the big concerns. I would say common sense was the best guide we tried to use. If something was time-sensitive, the rule was if -- my personal rule and I think the rule as my organization was in charge of it, if it's going to result in a U.S. citizen being killed or an attack occurring, you give that to whoever needs it, no matter what the classification is, period.

If it's planning information regarding what we were doing -- and we'll talk about in closed session -- you need to be careful about how they use that information, regarding the fact that if you're especially using raw intelligence, not finished intelligence, intelligence relating to targeting, you needed to be very judicious in its use. And if it really didn't meet the criteria that someone was about to get killed or something was about to happen, then you would make a judgment on the need to know.

And the standard was need to know and must know. In some cases must know means you had to know the information to do your job. In other cases, need to know sufficed. We kind of used that as our rule.

In the case of Able Danger, it was SOCOM's decision, and I respected that, to not share the information with the FBI. Although I dealt with the FBI on a daily basis.

REYES: So, hearing you say that you dealt with the FBI on a daily basis, was there in fact any information shared with the FBI?

SHAFFER: Significant information regarding the target set. I think that's one of the things we'll talk about in closed session in more detail.

The methodology that we (inaudible) were using to support Able Danger was in many instances being recreated for the FBI to use on one of their terrorism targets. That is to say, what we'll talk about in closed session -- a combination of technology, the psychological profiling, looking at leadership nodes and functions -- was being developed for the FBI.

Now, we developed an artificial operational firewall, based on the -- we weren't going to tell SOCOM about what we were doing for the FBI. We're not going to tell FBI about what we're doing for SOCOM, out of respect to both organizations.

(UNKNOWN): If the gentleman...

SHAFFER: But, that didn't change the fact that I fought several times to bridge that gap.