Sources close to the ongoing Department of Defense investigation into the controversial Able Danger data mining intelligence program, which purportedly identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks in US history, say the mystery person who actually obtained a much-disputed photograph of Atta for the Able Danger team has now been identified.
Ever since the Pentagon-ordered destruction in 2000 of 2.5 terabytes of data unearthed by Able Danger – allegedly including a chart featuring Atta’s photograph that revealed terrorist links and patterns when clicked on – skeptics have long raised doubt about the very existence of the chart and the photograph in question.
It has now been confirmed that a female contract employee of defense contractor Orion Scientific, which provided personnel and proprietary software to the original Able Danger operation, has been identified as a result of investigation by the Pentagon’s own Inspector General.
Identification of the mystery woman lends more credence to claims by Able Danger members, such as team leader Captain Mark Phillpott, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, and Orion analyst J.D. Smith, among others, that the Able Danger program did in fact identify four 9/11 hijackers well before the attacks.
Despite their best efforts, however, Able Danger members were unsuccessful in several attempts to relay their information to the FBI for further investigation and/or action. And although the team did meet with staff members of the National Commission charged with investigating the 9/11 attacks, their data was largely ignored, dismissed as “historically insignificant” and “not fitting the story the Commission wants to tell.” There is no mention of Able Danger, its identification of five active Al Qaeda cells and other pre-attack threat assessment information contained in the voluminous official account of the 9/11 attacks.
In addition, the Pentagon, at the very highest level, has gone to great lengths to quash public discussion of the Able Danger findings. DOD actions to cover up the Able Danger data include gagging, muzzling and threatening Able Danger team members, last-minute cancellation of permission for team members to testify before Congressional committees looking into the affair, holding up promotions of military personnel, and in particular the vilification of LTC Shaffer, a Bronze Star-awarded twenty-two year veteran of the US Army Reserve, after he went public with the Able Danger story despite Pentagon opposition.
The DOD Inspector General probe began at the behest of Representative Curt Weldon, (R-Pennsylvania) who was upset by the Pentagon retribution aimed at LTC Shaffer. Weldon, vice-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and an avowed supporter of the Bush Administration, surprisingly went to war with the Pentagon and his own party in an effort to bring the truth about the Able Danger program to light.
Weldon’s efforts finally resulted in hearings last week before the House Armed Services Committee. Although much testimony was offered only in closed session, Undersecretary of Defense Stephen Cambone did partially testify in open session. Notably, Cambone called the Able Danger program “an enormous success” – a far cry from the previous Pentagon stance that there was little of value discovered by the program.
Representative Weldon continues to push for full disclosure of what he has termed “a massive cover up much bigger than that of Watergate.”
This is a reprint from: Media is a Plural BlogDepartment of Defense, Able Danger, 9/11, Pentagon, FBI, Al Qaeda, Representative Curt Weldon, Watergate