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Thread: Pentagon Blocks Testimony at Senate Hearing on Able Danger

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    Pentagon Blocks Testimony at Senate Hearing on Able Danger

    [B]Pentagon Blocks Testimony at Senate Hearing on Terrorist
    By PHILIP SHENON[/B]

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Pentagon said today that it had blocked a group of military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified military intelligence program that, the officers have said, identified a ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

    The announcement came a day before the officers and intelligence analysts had been scheduled to testify about the program, known as Able Danger, at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Bryan Whitman, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement that open testimony about the program "would not be appropriate - we have expressed our security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum." He offered no other detail on the Pentagon's reasoning in blocking the testimony.

    Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the committee, said he was surprised by the Pentagon's decision because "so much of this has already been in the public domain, and I think that the American people need to know what happened here."

    Mr. Specter said in a telephone interview that he intended to go ahead with the hearing on Wednesday and hoped that it "may produce a change of heart by the Department of Defense in answering some very basic questions."

    Two military officers - an active-duty Navy captain and a reservist Army lieutenant colonel - have said publicly in recent weeks that they were involved with Able Danger and that the program's analysts identified Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian-born ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, by name as a potential terrorist by early 2000.

    They said they attempted to share the information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the summer of 2000, more than a year before the terrorist attacks, but were blocked by Defense Department lawyers. F.B.I. officials, who answer to the jurisdiction of Senator Specter's committee, have confirmed that Defense Department abruptly canceled meetings in 2000 between the bureau's Washington field office and representatives of the Able Danger team.

    The Pentagon has said that it has interviewed three other people who were involved with Able Danger and who said that they, too, recalled the identification of Mr. Atta as a terrorist suspect. But Defense Department investigators said they could find no documentary evidence to back up the assertion; they acknowledged that much of the information might have been routinely destroyed.

    Mr. Specter said his staff had talked to all five of the potential witnesses and found that "credibility has been established" for all of them.

    "There are quite a few credible people who are prepared to testify that Mohamed Atta was identified long before 9/11," he said. "Now maybe there's more than one Mohamed Atta. Or maybe there's some mistake. But that's what we're trying to find out."

    Mr. Whitman, the Pentagon spokesman, said that in place of members of the Able Danger team, a senior defense official would be sent to the Wednesday hearing to discuss "what the law and policies are on domestic surveillance and to provide some insights about information-sharing between agencies."

    [url]http://nytimes.com/2005/09/20/politics/20cnd-intel.html?ei=5094&en=f3ac02003e8f8622&hp=&ex=1127275200&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print[/url]

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    Complete bullsh!t.....first they put that c^nt gorelick on the 9-11 omission and now this....why don't the scumbags on the commission who fought like hell to have PDB's declassified show some balls, prove they are not hypocrites and fight to have this info declassified??

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    WASHINGTON -- Sept. 11 family members are protesting a reported Pentagon attempt to close this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a claim that military intelligence had lead hijacker Mohammed Atta in its sights as early as 1999.

    "They want to sweep it under the rug," said Joan Molinaro, a former Eltingville resident, whose firefighter son was killed at Ground Zero.

    "They have been denying this Atta thing up, down and sideways for weeks," she said. "And now they want to cover it up."

    Bruce DeCell of Dongan Hills, who lost a son-in-law and cousin at the World Trade Center, said he has wearied of attempts by government officials to suppress 9/11-related information. "They always plead national security," he said. "But 9/11 was about national security and 3,000 people died because they let it happen."

    "It would be a travesty to keep the facts surrounding this operation from the public," said Kristen Breitweiser of New Jersey, who lost her husband at Ground Zero.

    Judiciary Committee sources confirmed that the Pentagon was negotiating with panel members on whether the testimony of some witnesses due to appear at tomorrow's hearing could involve classified information and should be taken in private session.

    But at this point, the committee intends to conduct an open hearing, the sources said.

    Aides to Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, who requested the hearing, said it was "news to us" that the session might be closed. "It's still public as far as we know," said John Tomaszewski, a Weldon spokesman.

    Weldon has claimed that a military intelligence program known as Able Danger identified Atta as a member of al-Qaida in late 1999 while he was living in this country.

    The claim conflicts with the 9/11 commission's finding last year that Atta did not enter the United States to start taking flight courses until June 2000 and that he did not appear on the radar screen of U.S. intelligence until he flew American Flight 11 into the Trade Center's North Tower.

    Members of the now disbanded commission and the Pentagon have dismissed Weldon's claim as bogus, saying that no confirmation could be found despite a massive search of Pentagon files and numerous interviews with military intelligence officials.

    "Bluntly, it just did not happen," said commissioner Slade Gorton, a former senator from Washington State, at a press conference here last week.

    Weldon has said a Pentagon employee is prepared to testify at the hearing that he was ordered to destroy a large volume of Able Danger documents, including those mentioning Atta.

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    You would think they would be able to find a way to hear detailed testimony in private, then summarize for public consumption later without giving away the store. :rolleyes:

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    I've read that the people who are the impetus behind this whole Able Danger thing cannot even testify as to their own recollections, but that the entire story is based on the supposed recollections of others. Perhaps that is why they were barred from testifying, you can't testify to that which you didn't experience personally.

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    Amazing...the only one's covering this story is C-Span...

    CNN? Well their second headline this morning was about Lindy England being retried for prisoner abuse at Abu Grhaib...but no Able Danger to be found.

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    [QUOTE=bitonti]I've read that the people who are the impetus behind this whole Able Danger thing cannot even testify as to their own recollections, but that the entire story is based on the supposed recollections of others. Perhaps that is why they were barred from testifying, you can't testify to that which you didn't experience personally.[/QUOTE]

    I haven't read that. :rolleyes:

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]Amazing...the only one's covering this story is C-Span...

    CNN? Well their second headline this morning was about Lindy England being retried for prisoner abuse at Abu Grhaib...but no Able Danger to be found.[/QUOTE]

    link to live hearing:

    mms://rx-wes-sea152.rbn.com/farm/pull/tx-rbn-sea66:1259/wmtencoder/cspan/cspan/wmlive/cspan3v.asf

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    If anyone is watching this it is sickening; Colonel's had their security clearance revoked after sounding alarms, evidence was ordered destroyed and while the sharing of info was allowed in the Waco incident, it was not allowed here...

    It is MIND-BOGGLING the MSM is not covering this and further, the 9-11 commission is not sitting in listening to this.

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    Unbelievable....Arlen Specter, who chaired the hearings, was not amused to say the least in his closing statement.

    I highly reccomend C-Span watchers look out for this as it will be replayed over the next few days and you know damn well that CBS/ABC/NBC/CNN won't give it an ounce of coverage...like they did the "we can't find the Downing Street Memo".....

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    [B]Intel Chief: Able Danger Might Have Prevented 9/11 [/B]

    A former top Pentagon intelligence official testified on Wednesday that information on four 9/11 hijackers developed by the military's Able Danger data mining project could have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks - had he not been ordered to destroy the data.

    Asked by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter if his team had gathered enough intelligence to have thwarted the worst ever enemy attack on the U.S., Erik Kleinsmith, former head of the Pentagon's Land Warfare Analysis Department, said:

    "I go to bed every night and other members of our team do as well [thinking] that if [Able Danger] had not been shut down that we would have at least been able to prevent something or assist the United States in some way."

    "Could we have prevented 9/11? I could never speculate to that extent," Kleinsmith quickly added. But his previous comments left little doubt that he felt the best chance to avert the deaths of 3,000 Americans had been lost when Able Danger was shut down.

    Kleinsmith detailed a May 2000 visit by a top Pentagon lawyer who ordered him to destroy Able Danger's intelligence data, including critical information on lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers.

    "We were visited by our general counsel," he told the Committee. After citing Army regulations on gathering intelligence on domestic targets, Kleinsmith said the lawyer "jokingly" ordered: "Remember - delete this data or you guys will go to jail."

    Kleinsmith described his reaction: "Ha, ha - very funny. I understand you completely - abide by the regulation."

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]Unbelievable....Arlen Specter, who chaired the hearings, was not amused to say the least in his closing statement.

    I highly reccomend C-Span watchers look out for this as it will be replayed over the next few days and you know damn well that CBS/ABC/NBC/CNN won't give it an ounce of coverage...like they did the "we can't find the Downing Street Memo".....[/QUOTE]

    Seriously - have you ever thought of blogging? :yes:

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    [QUOTE=quantum]Seriously - have you ever thought of blogging? :yes:[/QUOTE]

    I heard that you blow........the bagpipes.

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    [QUOTE=Section109Row15]I heard that you blow........the bagpipes.[/QUOTE]

    If I had quoted Piper, that might have been funny in some alternate universe...

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    Well, a few things...

    First, since the testimony if given would in all likelihood paint the prior Democratic administration in a very poor light (see Gorelick, J and Clinton, W) and second, the testimony would shred the entire previously completed '9/11' commission's findings, I think that the Pentagon WANTS the congress to actually subpoena these guys to testify as opposed to letting them testify 'by invitation'.

    That way it removes any appearance of Pentagon influence when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan....

    It also explains why the MSM won't touch this.....yet.

    But they will soon enough.

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    [QUOTE=bitonti]I've read that the people who are the impetus behind this whole Able Danger thing cannot even testify as to their own recollections, but that the entire story is based on the supposed recollections of others. Perhaps that is why they were barred from testifying, you can't testify to that which you didn't experience personally.[/QUOTE]

    I don't think hearsay rules prevent testimony in the Senate.

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