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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Able Danger witness statement

The following affidavit was submitted to the House Armed Services Committee on February 26, 2006, following their February 15, 2006 hearing on Able Danger, where Congressman Weldon referred to this incident during his questions to Steve Cambone.

Can not say more here, but contact me if you would like more details (contact at abledangerblog.com). Anyway, here are a few highlights:

2. On November 30, 2005, I took a flight from Reagan National Airport to Los Cabos, Mexico, via Houston, TX. Seated next to me on the flight out of Houston were a man and woman who, as it turned out, lived in Annandale, VA, not far from my home.

3. Even more coincidentally, the man, who personally identified himself to me as Butch Willard, worked at the Pentagon and told me he was staffing the ABLE DANGER issue for OSD....

8. Surprisingly, he then asked me what I thought of Tony and I replied “Do you mean back when I knew him or now with this clearance stuff?” He responded “Both.” I said that all I knew about the clearance was what I was hearing in the news and reading online, but it looked to me like retribution for his interview with the 9/11 Commission staff while serving in Afghanistan. Willard smiled and said this was not what happened, but is the story Tony wants the public to believe. He very clearly remarked that Tony figured he could run crying to his buddy, Congressman Weldon, to get Weldon to help him get his clearance back insinuating this was the reason Weldon went public with ABLE DANGER. He also told me that the DIA/IG had initially handled this case but screwed it all up PR-wise, but now the OSD/IG has it, and things are under control and everything is “back on track.”

...I stated that I hoped Congressman Weldon succeeds in getting to the bottom of it. I wanted to learn the truth of what happened. This remark elicited no reaction or discernable facial expression from Mr. Willard and the conversation on Shaffer and ABLE DANGER ended.


Here is the full text of the affidavit:

I, (redacted), hereby declare as follows:

1. I am a person over eighteen (18) years of age and competent to testify. I make this initial statement on personal knowledge. I am a former Air Force officer who specialized in Human Intelligence Collection. The last duty position I held was as the Executive Officer to the Director, Defense Humint Services, Defense Intelligence Agency, Clarendon, VA, from 1994-1996.

2. On November 30, 2005, I took a flight from Reagan National Airport to Los Cabos, Mexico, via Houston, TX. Seated next to me on the flight out of Houston were a man and woman who, as it turned out, lived in Annandale, VA, not far from my home.

3. Even more coincidentally, the man, who personally identified himself to me as Butch Willard, worked at the Pentagon and told me he was staffing the ABLE DANGER issue for OSD. I told him I was closely following this hot topic by virtue of the fact that Tony Shaffer had been an AFSAC Intel colleague of mine back in the mid-to-late 1980’s, as had been Dr. Eileen Preisser.

4. Our initial conversation lasted about fifteen minutes and consisted of Intel small talk. I did not engage in any discussion of ABLE DANGER or Shaffer because I had initially, erroneously as it turns out, understood Mr. Willard to say he was connected to the OSD/IG (Intel) office handling Shaffer’s clearance investigation. Therefore, I presumed it would be improper for him to talk about it.

5. During most of the flight, I was either reading or talking to Mr. Willard’s girlfriend, who was sitting in the middle seat.

6. However, as the plane approached Los Cabos and passengers were preparing for the landing, I turned and asked Mr. Willard whether Dr. Preisser had red hair. I explained the reason I was asking was to finally confirm to myself that the Dr. Preisser (analyst) I was reading about in the blogosphere was indeed the same Air Force lieutenant Eileen Preisser (collector) who worked in my unit back in the eighties.

7. He rolled his eyes, laughed and said yes, she still has red hair. He added that he had taken Dr. Preisser to the Hill to testify, relating incredulously that she had actually asked him whether she must answer “all” the questions posed to her, and he told her yes. Although I do not remember the precise adjective he used, Mr. Willard volunteered his opinion of Dr. Preisser, which was that she was a bit “quirky” or “different.”

8. Surprisingly, he then asked me what I thought of Tony and I replied “Do you mean back when I knew him or now with this clearance stuff?” He responded “Both.” I said that all I knew about the clearance was what I was hearing in the news and reading online, but it looked to me like retribution for his interview with the 9/11 Commission staff while serving in Afghanistan. Willard smiled and said this was not what happened, but is the story Tony wants the public to believe. He very clearly remarked that Tony figured he could run crying to his buddy, Congressman Weldon, to get Weldon to help him get his clearance back insinuating this was the reason Weldon went public with ABLE DANGER. He also told me that the DIA/IG had initially handled this case but screwed it all up PR-wise, but now the OSD/IG has it, and things are under control and everything is “back on track.”

9. I then said that I wasn’t so much interested in Tony’s clearance case, and that most of my focus had been on ABLE DANGER itself. It seemed, based on my background and ability to read between the lines, to have been a highly successful program. I stated that I hoped Congressman Weldon succeeds in getting to the bottom of it. I wanted to learn the truth of what happened. This remark elicited no reaction or discernable facial expression from Mr. Willard and the conversation on Shaffer and ABLE DANGER ended.

10. If additional information is needed, please do not hesitate to contact me at (redacted).

I do solemnly affirm under the penalties of perjury and upon personal knowledge that the contents of the foregoing paper are true to the best of my knowledge.

Date: February 26, 2006


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(redacted) Major, USAF (Ret.)