Alex Constantine open
The Able Danger "investigation" was a simple but
piece of prestidigitation, a psyop.
Who "demanded" a "probe" of Able Danger? Curt
no Abbie Hoffman ? Fox News, "conservative"
"Congressman Duncan Hunter (Chairman, House Armed Services
Committee), Congressman Peter Hoekstra
(Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence),
Congressman Frank R. Wolf, Senator
Charles E. Grassley (Chairman, Senate Finance Committee), Senator
John McCain, and Senator Joseph Lieberman."
Joe Lieberman isn't one to call for legitimate investigations ...
the demand and ensuing "scandal"
was meant to accomplish one thing ? reinforce in our heads the
belief that 19 hijackers on the
military-base and strip-tease circuit plotted the devastations in
New York and Washington. "Able Danger
tracked the HI-JACKERS and failed to intercede ..." Gasp! ... This
assumes the 19 Muslims who entered with
passports (arranged by the CIA) did the deed, so Able Danger was
dangerously enabled to surface ... as a
psyop tool ... to maintain our focus on "outside agitators."
An honest investigation was untenable from the start: " ... a
review of Able Danger records is impossible,
since the Able Danger records were destroyed." In the end, "the
Inspector General report is grossly
incompetent, or deliberately dishonest, in its process of
discovering and reporting facts and in its analysis. ... "
But the psyop, the psychological reinforcement of the media's
"post-hypnotic" suggestions ? hammering it
into our little heads that foreign nationals were responsible for
death from the heavens ? was pulled
off without a giggle from the press. The "scandal" has dissipated,
but our own false beliefs were reinforced.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
ABLE DANGER PROGRAM
Beginning with a letter dated October 7, 2005, from Congressman
Curt Weldon, Vice
Chairman of the House Committees on Armed Services and Homeland
Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General was
directed to conduct an
investigation into allegations: 1) that a DoD intelligence program
called Able Danger
discovered 9/11 terrorists one year before the September 11
attacks; 2) that DoD failed to
share that intelligence with the FBI, thereby losing the best known
opportunity to prevent the airliner hijackings
and attacks on New York and Washington; 3) that DoD
terminated Able Danger prematurely, thereby losing further
opportunities to collect early warning of the impending 9/11
attacks; and 4) that DoD undertook
inappropriate and illegal retaliatory action against Lieutenant
Colonel (LTC) Anthony A. Shaffer for making the
above allegations to the U.S. Congress.
Congressman Weldon?s October 2005 request to the DoD Inspector
General for an investigation was joined by numerous other
members of Congress
who issued letters and verbal directives continuing into 2006
demanding that the Inspector General investigate
the Able Danger affair. Among those pressing the Inspector
General to conduct an investigation were Congressman Duncan
(Chairman, House Armed Services Committee), Congressman Peter
Hoekstra (Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on
Congressman Frank R. Wolf,Senator Charles E. Grassley
(Chairman, Senate Finance Committee),
Senator John McCain, and Senator Joseph Lieberman.
On September 14, 2006, the DoD Office of the Inspector General
issued their report
?Alleged Misconduct By Senior DoD Officials Concerning the Able
Danger Program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer,
U.S. Army Reserve.? The report concludes, ?The evidence did
not support assertions that Able Danger identified the September
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.?
The Inspector General report was released to the press before any
member of Congress requesting the report received a copy or
Moreover, the report itself was unusual for being unclassified,
although it dealt with highly sensitive subject matter both as
regards national security and personnel.
A reliable source working in the DoD Office of the Inspector
General alleged to the Congress that the report was completed and
been released much earlier, in July 2006, but the Inspector General
deliberately delayed release of the report until September 2006.
The timing of the release of the report coincided with the
completion of the FY 2007 National Defense Authorization Bill,
major legislation including border security, and the mid-term
congressional elections, giving the Congress little
opportunity to respond to the Inspector General report
As shall be demonstrated, the Inspector General report is grossly
incompetent, or deliberately dishonest, in its process of
and reporting facts and in its analysis. The bottom line
of the Inspector General report isthat numerous senior members of
Able Danger team are liars, a necessary conclusion in order to
completely exonerate senior DoD and Administration officials of
near ideal opportunity to prevent the 9/11 attacks.
Unfortunately, this erroneous conclusion from the DoD
Inspector General is not surprising,
given the long history of that office in covering-up
embarrassments to DoD and presidential administrations.
Since the DoD Inspector General Office has failed in its duty to
competently investigate the Able Danger affair, the U.S. Congress
exercise its oversight powers and conduct its own independent
This rebuttal to the Inspector General report is a first step in
Congress and the DoD Inspector General: Checks and Balances
Merely because the Congress asked the DoD Inspector General to
investigate the Able Danger affair, some in the press have treated
Inspector General report on Able Danger as definitive, the final
word on the subject.
This reflects a misunderstanding about the constitutional
relationship between Congress and the Department of Defense,
and about how the process of congressional oversight works.
Under the Constitution of the United States, the Congress is
responsible for ?regulating? the activities of the armed forces of
States, including the expenditure of monies, the administration of
programs, and the management of personnel.
Congress routinely tasks the DoD Inspector General to conduct a
fact finding investigation as a corrective
or as a first step in the process of exercising its oversight
Usually Congress can rely upon the DoD Inspector General to conduct
an impartial investigation and administer correctives.
However, most matters of concern to the Congress andthe
DoD Inspector General do not
put at risk the reputations of senior DoD officials, or of
presidents and their administrations, that would pose a special
to the integrity of an investigation conducted by the DoD Inspector
General. Congress understands that in cases of major
national controversy, where careers and reputations of senior
officials are at stake,
the objectivity of the DoD Inspector General may be challenged.
Afterall, the DoD Office of the Inspector General is part of the
Department of Defense and the careers of its personnel depend upon
Department. Common sense suggests that in some cases DoD may
not be trustworthy to investigate itself. For that reason,
founding fathers vested powers to ?regulate? the armed forces, not
in the armed forces themselves,
or in the commander-in-chief (the head of the armed forces), but in
Unfortunately, there are many historical precedents warning that
the Department of Defense cannot always be relied upon to
investigate itself. Indeed, there are cases where the DoD
Inspector General has failed in its duty to faithfully discover
and 4 report facts.
There are cases where the Office of the Inspector General has
become a co- conspirator with DoD, or with a presidential
in trying to conceal facts embarrassing to the Department.
? USS Iowa Affair. On April 19, 1989, a gun turret explosion
on the USS Iowa killed 47 sailors.
The DoD Inspector General defended an attempted Navy cover- up that
leaked false allegations to the press blaming
two sailors for the explosion, supposedly the result of a
homosexual affair turned homicidal.
The sailors were not homosexuals, did not
cause the explosion, and their families protested thedefamation of
The DoD Inspector General defended the false allegations
leaked to the press claiming they did not malign the
character? of the sailors.
The DoD Inspector General even praised the malicious lies against
the sailors stating,
Some of the leaks may more properly be described as good
? Tailhook Scandal. At the September 1991 Tailhook
convention, numerous female U.S. Navy officers were sexually
harassed by some of
their male colleagues. The DoD Inspector General report on
the Tailhook scandal was judged so untrustworthy as to be
as evidence in court. In a 1994 trial on Tailhook
before the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Justice Philip Pro
the DoD Inspector General report describing it as not sufficiently
trustworthy and ?replete with double hearsay
and summaries of testimony attributed to various unidentified
individuals who were not subject to cross examination.
? DoD IG Fails Peer Review. In 1997, 2000, and 2001, the DoD
Inspector General underwent a review of its standards and practices
peer Inspectors General from other departments and agencies.
They found that the quality of work by the DoD Inspector
General was inadequate, did not comply with U.S. government
standards, and was insufficiently documented, reviewed, and
supervised. Moreover, the 2000 peer review found that the DoD
Inspector General altered and destroyed documents in an attempt to
cover-up its shortcomings.
? Strategic Tanker Cover-Up. In 2004, Pentagon plans to
replace KC-135 tankers with Boeing KC-767 tankers, that were
this purpose from civilian aircraft, was found to be against the
national security interests of the United States and the result
of a corrupt deal between governmentand industry
The procurement scandal and investigation by the DoD Inspector
General resulted in the jailing of a low-level DoD official.
Armed Services Committee criticized the DoD Inspector General for
covering-up wrongdoing by senior officials,
and urged Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to ?take actions to hold those
Otherwise the fallout from the Air Force procurement
scandal will have disastrous effects on the integrity
of the acquisition system.
? Atomic Veterans, Agent Orange, POW/MIAs, Gulf War Syndrome.
The Department of Defense has often, on matters of major
national concern, failed to adequately investigate itself to
satisfy the American people, moving Congress, the 5 press,
and public groups to conduct independent
investigations. For example, during the 1950s did U.S.
military personnel exposed to atomic tests suffer ill effects and
die prematurely from radiation-induced
diseases? During the Vietnam War, did U.S. military personnel
exposed to the defoliant ?agent orange suffer effects injurious to
Did the United States government make a maximum effort to recover
all U.S. personnel held prisoners-of-war or missing-in- action
during and after the Vietnam War?
During the first Persian Gulf War, did thousands of U.S.
soldiers suffer effects injurious to their health from exposure to
of chemical agents released by U.S. bombing of Iraqi chemical
weapon depots? Unfortunately, the Department of Defense
has not always acquitted itself honorably and well in answering
questions such as these.
Consequently, controversy surrounding many of these
issues has continued for years, even decades.
Congress showed due diligence in the exercise of its
oversight powers by tasking theDoD Office of the Inspector General
to investigate the
Able Danger affair. The Able Danger affair is a major
national controversy, where the reputations of senior DoD
officials?and of presidents and their administrations?are at stake
over responsibility for the failure to prevent the 9/11 hijackings
on New York and Washington. Therefore, it was incumbent on the DoD
Inspector General to conduct an investigation
and produce a report that is factually and analytically
Congressional responsibility does not end with receipt of the
Inspector General report. The Congress would be remiss in its
duty if it simply ?rubberstamped? the Inspector General report.
The U.S. Congress owes to the American people a healthy
skepticism toward the DoD Inspector General report on Able
Even a casual reading of the Inspector General report on the Able
Danger affair raises serious questions?if not impugns? the report
and analytical integrity. What ?s Wrong With The DoD Inspector
Summarizing the problems with the Inspector General report on the
Able Danger affair:
1) The report falsely alleges that there is no evidence that the
Able Danger program discovered Mohammed Atta and other 9/11
prior to the September 11 attacks.
2) The report falsely claims to prove that the Able Danger project
never produced a chart identifying Mohammed Atta, the 9/11
3) The report falsely claims the Able Danger witnesses are not
credible, and is so clearly hostile and biased against those
witnesses that it concocts false ?evidence? in an effort to
discredit them. Generally, as is evident in the examination
that follows of the three
specific analytical failures described above, the DoD
Inspector General did not exercise duediligence
in collecting and reporting facts and interviewing witnesses, and
neglected or deliberately ignored exculpatory evidence.
The report falsely alleges that there is no evidence that the Able
Danger program discovered Mohammed Atta and other 9/11
prior to the September 11 attacks.
The DoD Inspector General concludes, The evidence did not
support assertions that Able Danger identified the September 11,
terrorists nearly a year before the attack More specifically,
what the Inspector General means by this is significantly
clarified in the body of their report (p. 3):
Our review of Able Danger team records found no evidence that Able
Danger team members had identified Mohammed Atta or
any of the other terrorists who participated in the 9/11 attack.?
Yet finding evidence in the ?Able Danger team records? of the
discovery of Mohammed
Atta or other terrorists who participated in 9/11 should no longer
be possible as, according to testimony by the Able Danger team
to the Congress, those records were destroyed. The Inspector
General report confirms that the Able Danger records
were, in fact, destroyed (p. 3): ?We found that large quantities of
data that had been collected at two locations as part of the Able
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
Fort Belvoir, VA
The Inspector General report does not explain how they could have
conducted a review of now non-existent
Able Danger records. The
Inspector General report mentions the destruction of Able Danger
records in order to assert that destroying the Able Danger
data was legal and ?followed established procedure
andviolated no regulation??an issue that was never in dispute.
The Inspector General?s assertion that they reviewed Able Danger
records is glaringly
contradicted by, and cannot be reconciled with, the fact that those
records were destroyed.
The Inspector General report makes no mention of the existence of
pre-9/11 data on Mohammed Atta and other terrorists who
in the September 11, 2001, attacks located in other U.S. government
databases that would certainly have been
collected by the Able Danger data mining operation. Investigation
by the U.S. Congress
found, for example, that Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists
appear hundreds of
times in various U.S. government databases prior to the attacks of
September 11, 2001.
Indeed, Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorists, left
a conspicuous paper trail? in connection with the September 11
that certainly would have been detected by Able Danger. Atta
associated with prominent known terrorists, such as Khalid Sheikh
Osama Bin Laden?s right hand man in planning the 9/11 plot.
Mohammed Atta traveled back and forth to the United States,
Germany, and Spain on a
passport. He had a large bank account in the United States
and conducted large cash transfers in order to finance the 9/11
While in the U.S., Atta enrolled in flight training school to learn
how to fly large commercial airliners.
While in the U.S., Atta received a traffic ticket for driving
without a license.
Atta applied for a driver?s license under his own name.
Further, former Attorney General John Ashcroft in a recently
published book (Never Again: Securing America and Restoring
reveals that the Clinton Administration National Security Council
had intelligence on an al Qaeda presence in the United States
in the year 2000, just as alleged by the Able Danger
witnesses. According to Ashcroft, the highly classified NSC
Millennium After Action
Review ?warned of a substantial al Qaeda network and affiliated
terrorist presence within the United States, and it was
critical of the nation?s security measures taken prior to 2000.?
Ashcroft notes that it is this classified NSC memo that
former National Security
Advisor Sandy Berger attempted to steal from the National Archives
and destroy, prior to President Clinton?s testimony
before the 9/11 Commission.
It is inconceivable that the Able Danger data mining operation
would have failed to collect some or all of the copious data on
Atta and other 9/11 terrorists in U.S. government and other public
records prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Yet the Inspector General report ignores this data and its
significance to Able Danger.
When the Inspector General briefed Congressman Weldon on their
report, Weldon criticized the Inspector General for excluding
their report any mention of the pre- 9/11 data on Mohammed Atta and
other 9/11 terrorists existing in other government
databases. The Inspector General acknowledged the existence
of this data, but argued that it was irrelevant to their tasking,
narrowly on the Able Danger database.
Therefore, the Inspector General report?s assertion that they
conducted a review of the Able Danger
records, and found no evidence of Mohammed
Atta or other 9/11 terrorists, is highly misleading on two counts.
First, a review of Able Danger records is impossible,
since the Able Danger records were destroyed. Second, the
Inspector General defined their tasking so narrowly as to exclude
on Atta and other terrorists existing in other government
databases, that certainly would have been collected by Able
Sources within the U.S. Intelligence Community have told the U.S.
Congress that some Able Danger records still survive proving that
program detected Mohammed Atta and several of his fellow terrorists
prior to 9/11. These sources have not yet provided
evidence to prove their allegations, claiming they cannot do so
without sacrificing their anonymity, that they insist on preserving
allegedly do not trust the Inspector General and fear retaliation
Perhaps significantly, buried in the middle of the Inspector
General report is what some might describe as a Get Out Of Jail Free card for
the Inspector General, just in case surviving Able Danger records
identifying Mohammed Atta are discovered.
The Inspector General report concedes that Able Danger may
well have detected Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists
prior to September 11, 2001,
but argues such an intelligence coup would be insignificant.
According to the Inspector General report (p. 34),
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.
The concession by the Inspector General that Able Danger might have
detected Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists before
September 11, 2001, is immensely important, is in fact at the heart
of the entire controversy over Able Danger. Yet the
Inspector General fails to include this finding in its summary or
among its key judgments. Nor does the Inspector General allow the
possibility that Able Dangermight have detected Mohammed
Atta to soften or make more circumspect its assertions
about the supposed insignificance of the Able Danger program or the
implied dishonesty of the Able Danger team.
The Inspector General?s attempts to dismiss the significance of
Able Danger?s detection of Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists
Since the purpose of Able Danger was to discover al Qaeda
terrorists, the detection of Mohammed Atta and other 9/11
terrorists by Able Danger would,
contrary to the Inspector General, have constituted the
establishment of a possible link with al Qaeda.
The 9/11 Commission concluded that the discovery by the FBI of
the least important of the 9/11 terrorists,
Zacarias Moussaoui, about one month before 9/11, constituted
the best opportunity to stop the airliner hijackings and attacks on
New York and
Washington of September 11, 2001. Surely, the discovery by Able
Danger of the 9/11 ringleader, Mohammed Atta, about one year before
would have been an even better opportunity to prevent the September
That the Able Danger team appreciated the significance of their
discovery is proven by their thwarted efforts to inform the FBI,
and by their willingness
to risk their reputations by testifying to Congress after 9/11.
But of course, the Inspector General claims that none of the
senior members of the
Able Danger team who have come forward are trustworthy.
On the issue of whether Able Danger detected Mohammed Atta and
other 9/11 terrorists before September 11, 2001,
the single most important fact bearing on this question is conceded
by the Inspector General, but not included in their report.
Pre-9/11 data on Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists exists in
other U.S. government databases.
Through incompetence or dishonesty, the InspectorGeneral
report fails to acknowledge this fact or to deduce the obvious
The existence of pre-9/11 data on Mohammed Atta and other 9/11
terrorists in U.S. government databases proves beyond a reasonable
that the Able Danger data mining operation must have collected at
least this data on Atta and other 9/11 terrorists.
Thus, the best evidence supports the single most important and most
controversial claim of the Able Danger witnesses who testified
Congress. As the Able Danger witnesses are proven credible on
this crucial point, their general trustworthiness is also proven,
their entire testimony, though there may be the usual inevitable
errors of detail, should be deemed generally credible and true.
The DoD Inspector General report falsely claims to prove that the
Able Danger program never produced a chart identifying Mohammed
Atta, the 9/11 ringleader.
The cornerstone of the Inspector General?s case that Able Danger
never detected Mohammed Atta is a single chart that, according to
Inspector General, is the source of a false collective memory among
the Able Danger team that they detected Mohammed Atta.
However, although several of the Able Danger team recollected a
chart showing Mohammed Atta as an illustration of their program
achievement against al Qaeda, all recognized that the chart was
relatively unimportant, was merely a symbol of the Able Danger
program ?s real achievement against al Qaeda the data mining effor
t? the records of which were all destroyed.
For example, Mr. Erik Kleinsmith, a senior member of the Able
Danger team, who led the data mining project, noted pointedly
in his February 15, 2006, testimony to Congress that the
chart and its picture of Mohammed Atta was unimportant,
compared with Able Danger?s collection of copious data
showing an alQaeda presence in the United States.
Kleinsmith: One of the questions was whether or not I
recognized or remembered seeing Mohammed Atta .
And I reiterate that I do not remember seeing his name or face on a
specific chart. But the more important
point is that we were tracking hundreds of names, and we were
creating dozens of charts for SOCOM. And while most of
charts contained information and intelligence that needed further
analytical vetting, we were still able to identify a significant
footprint with a surprisingly large presence within the United
Kleinsmith in earlier testimony to Congress, on September 21, 2005,
made the same point, that a specific chart was unimportant
to the real achievement of Able Danger, the highly successful data
mining effort against al Qaeda:
We were able to collect an immense amount of data for analysis that
allowed us to map al Qaeda as a worldwide threat
with a surprisingly significant presence within the United States.?
Significantly, Kleinsmith also testified that the Able Danger
program produced its own
charts (that were subsequently destroyed), and that these charts
were more sophisticated than charts (only one or two) provided by a
Orion Scientific: We also had printouts of charts that we had
produced the charts that we had produced, as well as one
chart or two that Orion Scientific had provided to us, but we had
already gone beyond their analysis.
So both soft copy and hard copy was deleted or destroyed.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that the Able Danger program was
about data mining against al Qaeda not about producing charts
Inspector General report focuses its analysis of Able
Danger almost exclusively on ?proving? that Able Danger never
produced a chart showing Mohammed Atta.
According tothe Inspector General report (p. 3),
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
Able Danger team. The chart (Figure 1 of this report) was
produced by Orion Scientific Corporation (Orion) in May 1999 and
names and/or photographs of 53 terrorists who had been identified
and in many cases, incarcerated, before 9/11, including a Brooklyn
but it did not identify Mohammed Atta or any of the other
terrorists who participated in the 9/11 attack.
Yet, as noted in Kleinsmith?s testimony above, the head of the Able
Danger data mining effort stated specifically that the Able Danger
produced its own charts?that were more sophisticated than the ?one
chart or two provided by Orion?and that the Able Danger charts,
both soft copy and hard copy, were
destroyed. Kleinsmith should know the fate of the Able Danger
charts better than anyone,
since he, in reluctant obedience to orders from DoD lawyers,
personally destroyed the Able Danger database.
Why does the Inspector General believe that the Orion chart is
the Mohammed Atta chart, even though the chart does not show
even though the Able Danger team denies that this is the correct
chart? The Inspector General relies on the memories
of the Able Danger witnesses about details of the chart to conclude
that the Orion chart is the correct chart.
According to the DoD Inspector General report, The evidence
indicated that the chart recalled by these key witnesses is the
chart [by Orion]
at Figure 1 of this report?Dr. Preisser?s denials
notwithstanding. It bears the title mentioned by Captain
Phillpott in a contemporaneous memorandum
and contains information described, in various ways, by LTC Shaffer
and Dr. Preisser.?
As to the existence of a chart produced by Able Danger showing
Mohammed Atta, the Inspector General asserts that the collective
of the Able Danger witnesses ?were in error.?
The reasoning employed by the Inspector General to conclude that
the Orion chart is the correct chart, and the object of a
memory of Mohammed Atta by the Able Danger witnesses, is clearly
erroneous. The InspectorGeneral relies on the memories of
the Able Danger witnesses concerning trivial details to single out
the Orion chart, but rejects their memories as in error and
the central matter of the existence of a chart produced by Able
Danger showing Mohammed Atta. Logically, the Inspector
General cannot have it both ways, cannot deem the Able Danger
witnesses reliable for purposes of identifying the correct chart,
unreliable when they disagree with the Inspector General.
Moreover, the Inspector General?s analytical basis for singling out
the Orion chart is highly dubious. The details provided by
Danger team, such as the chart title, the arrangement of
photographs, colors and etc., were common to charts produced by
Able Danger team too. After all, the Able Danger and Orion
charts were both serving the same purpose, attempting to illustrate
achievements of the Able Danger data mining operation. It is
commonplace in Intelligence Community analysis, indeed in most
analytical endeavors, for charts, outlines or other illustrations
to evolve and be replaced with more sophisticated versions, richer
in data and
analysis, as the analytical enterprise progresses.
Obeying Occam?s Razor?the simplest explanation is themost
logical?the most logical explanation for the conundrum of the
chart is not collective false memory, or collective false
The Able Danger team superceded the work of Orion and
produced their own chart showing Mohammed Atta, that was later
along with the rest of the Able Danger database. This theory
is consistent with the testimony of the Able Danger witnesses, and
known fact that Able Danger should have collected data on Mohammed
Atta and other 9/11 terrorists, as that data existed
and still exists?in other U.S. government databases that were among
the targets of Able Danger collection.
The Inspector General report bases its entire case upon the fiction
that the Orion chart is the correct chart, allegedly the object of
collective false memory about Mohammed Atta. Based solely on
this erroneous conclusion, the
Inspector General dismisses the achievement of Able Danger in
providing early warning of the 9/11 attacks, and slanders
the reputation of the Able Danger team.
The DoD Inspector General report falsely claims the Able Danger
witnesses are not credible, and is so clearly hostile and biased
those witnesses that it concocts false evidence to discredit them. Bias in the Inspector
General report is notable from
its very beginning, where the Inspector General fails to provide
brief biographies or background descriptions of the Able Danger
whose alleged lack of credibility is crucial to the Inspector
General?s case. CAPT Phillpott was entrusted to run the
Danger project because of his stellar performance as an Annapolis
graduate and serving naval officer, and has now been promoted to
destroyer. LTC Shaffer ran another classified
operation associated with Able Danger called ?Stratus Ivy, the
detailsof which are still classified.
He won a Bronze Star conducting lethal intelligence
operations against Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan,
and was recently
promoted to command a U.S. Army battalion. Dr. Preisser is a
double Ph.D. who served in the U.S. Army's Land Information Warfare
at Ft. Belvoir, where she invented the computer software for data
mining against al Qaeda, that made possible the Able Danger
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These facts about the Able Danger witnesses do not support the
Inspector General in making a case against their credibility.
The Inspector General report asserts (p. 34), While
several key witnesses primarily LTC Shaffer, CAPT Phillpott,
and Dr. Preisser?claim to have seen Mohammed Atta's picture on an
Orion chart that was provided to CAPT Phillpott in January/February
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.?
Yet the Able Danger witnesses do not claim to have seen Mohammed
Atta?s picture on an Orion chart. They saw Atta on a chart
Able Danger. They also downplay the importance of the chart,
as it was merely to illustrate the detection of Atta
as an al Qaeda operative by the Able Danger data mining operation
and his being cataloged in the database.
As noted earlier, the Inspector General ignores denials by
the Able Danger witnesses that the ?Atta Chart? was made by Orion
instead?based on very dubious reasoning and no real evidence?that
the ?Atta Chart? was made by Orion, did not in fact
depict Mohammed Atta, and the non-existent picture of Atta on the
Orion chart is a collective false memory by the Able Danger
In a breathtaking example of circular reasoning, the Inspector
General condemns the credibility of the Able Danger witnesses
disagree with the Inspector General theory that the ?Atta Chart? is
an erroneous memory of the Orion chart, a theory that
itself is erroneous, but is treated by the Inspector General like
known truth. Thus, LTC Shaffer, Dr. Preisser, and Mr. Smith
non-credible by the Inspector General because they would not change
their testimony about seeing Mohammed Atta on an Able
Danger chart, and refused to embrace the Inspector General?s theory
about the Orion chart. Smith had the ?Atta Chart? posted on
and saw it every day for over a year, but even his memory is
condemned as unreliable by the Inspector General.
Indeed, a pattern evident in the Inspector General report is that
the more strenuously a witness disagrees with the Inspector General
about the Orion
chart theory, the more harshly they are condemned.
However, neither is there salvation for Able Danger witnesses who
agree with the Inspector General?s theory about the Orion
When CAPT Phillpott begins to doubt his own memory and concedes
that the Inspector General might be right?under repeated
cross examination where the Inspector General falsely claims that
their theory about the Orion chart is proven fact?Phillpott?s
condemned, his memory judged unreliable, by the Inspector General,
along with the other Able Danger witnesses.
The Inspector General, in order to support their assertion that the
Able Danger witnesses are ?unreliable? and ?not credible,?
?summaries? of their interrogations of the Able Danger witnesses.
Full transcripts of the interrogations would be far more
objective evidence bearing on the legitimacy
andprofessionalism of the interrogation process, but are not
provided because they would not
serve the Inspector General?s purpose. The ?summaries? of the
interrogations are carefully edited by the Inspector
General to highlight every apparent inconsistency in testimony, no
matter how trivial, in an effort biased to impugn the credibility
of the Able
Conspicuous by its absence from the transcripts are the queries and
cross-examination of the Inspector General.
A skilled interrogator can easily ?set up? a witness to
provide apparently inconsistent or contradictory testimony,
especially when the interrogator has the advantage of editing the
For example, consider the Inspector General?s interrogation of CAPT
Phillpott. The Inspector General report, in their summary of
Phillpott interrogation, gives this admission of error by CAPT
Phillpott, that is by far the strongest evidence offered by the
Inspector General favoring their theory that the ?Atta Chart? is a
CAPT Phillpott testified, ?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.
Reading between the lines of the Phillpott interrogation, it is
obvious that the Inspector General?s cross-examination was not an
search for truth, but an effort to convince Phillpott that
there is ?a compelling amount of evidence? supporting
the Inspector General's theory about the Orion chart.
The Inspector General tried hard to make CAPT Phillpott doubt
and succeeded, but only because they misrepresented themselves as
?honest brokers? in fact finding. CAPT Phillpott mistakenly
the Inspector General who was, in reality, his prosecutor.
Most of the Inspector General?s case attacking the credibility of
the Able Danger witnesses is based on their trivial errors of
over exact dates and precise events found during the interrogation.
However, few people are likely to remember such details
associated with events that transpired a half-decade ago.
In many cases, the Inspector General report attempts to create the
impression of serious contradictions or lapses in memory between
Danger witnesses, where none exist. For example, the
Inspector General makes much of a ?contradiction? between LTC
Shaffer and Dr. Preisser over their memory of meeting at a
Starbuck?s coffee house, where LTC Shaffer remembers Preisser
showing him the
?Atta Chart.? They both remember meeting at Starbucks shortly
after September 11, 2001. But Dr. Preisser,
during her interrogation, denied bringing a large paper ?chart? to
Preisser: ?Starbucks had those little tables. That
chart, I would have had to have rolled out. I can?t
imagine myself doing that.? (p. 28)
But Dr. Preisser did have a ?briefing on the computer not a hard
copy chart? that she did likely show LTC Shaffer at Starbucks.
?contradiction? between LTC Shaffer and Dr. Preisser over the
Starbucks meeting is not really
a contradiction at all, but a strained attempt by the Inspector
General to create the appearance of a contradiction over the
definition of the word ?chart? as used by LTC Shaffer and Dr.
The Inspector General report routinely excludesexculpatory
evidence supporting the credibility of the Able Danger witnesses.
example, the Inspector General strongly implies that LTC Shaffer
lied about DIA
accidentally?and illegally?mailing classified materials and a U.S.
government Global Positioning System (GPS) to Shaffer when
returning his personal property. The Inspector General
implies that LTC Shaffer stole the GPS and put it in the box
received from DIA in order
to make DIA look incompetent. Yet the Inspector General report
fails to mention that two attorneys witnessed Shaffer
receiving and opening the box and discovering classified material
and the GPS from DIA.
The Inspector General report excludes sworn testimony from the
attorneys supporting Shaffer.
The Inspector General report makes a solitary recommendation, that
strongly suggests LTC Shaffer is telling the truth about
classified material and a GPS from DIA, even though the Inspector
General does not want to admit it. The Inspector General
report, Section VII ?Recommendations? comprises this single
sentence: ?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. If Shaffer is lying about receiving
classified material and a GPS from an incompetent DIA, why does the
Inspector General recommend a review of DIA procedures?
The Inspector General report employs a double standard in treating
Able Danger witnesses on the one hand,
and witnesses hostile to the Able Danger team on the other.
For example, the Inspector General speculates why one
or more of the Able Danger witnesses might lie about detecting
Mohammed Atta before 9/11.
The Inspector Generalreport never speculates why
those hostile to the Able Danger witnesses might lie.
Indeed, two of the hostile witnesses, Dieter Snell of the 9/11
Commission and COL. Worthington, are praised by the Inspector
report, as if their testimony is unimpeachable. Yet Snell and
Worthington would suffer damage to their professional
reputations, and in the judgment of history, if the Able Danger
witnesses are believed.
The Inspector General report attempts to discredit two of the most
important Able Danger witnesses LTC Shaffer and Dr. Preisser
by suggesting that they played merely minor roles in the Able
Danger program, a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
Although CAPT Phillpott, who ran the Able Danger program, describes
LTC Shaffer as an important member of the team, the Inspector
gives equal weight to an anonymous source describing Shaffer as
merely an errand boy.
The Inspector General simply asserts, without proof, that Dr.
Preisser?s role in Able Danger was minor? neglecting to mention the
fact that she invented the
software for data mining against al Qaeda that made Able Danger
possible. It is no exaggeration to say that the Able Danger
would not exist were it not for Dr. Preisser?s expertise.
The Inspector General makes much of the absence of many witnesses
able and willing to corroborate the testimony of the Able Danger
they detected Mohammed Atta before 9/11. But as Able Danger
was a small, deeply classified program, there would not
be many more witnesses than those principal actors in the Able
Danger program who have already come forward.
Nor is it surprising that other witnesses may be reluctant to
volunteer, since the Inspector General vilifies the character
of every witness supporting the Able Danger team.
Finally, the Inspector General has not earned the right to
challenge the credibility of the Able Danger witnesses by
exercising due diligence in
the conduct of their investigation. For example, the Inspector
General did not exercise its power to subpoena witnesses and
evidence. Cooperation with the Inspector General by
departments, agencies, and individuals was voluntary.
The Inspector General did not polygraph witnesses, including
hostile witnesses. The Inspector General allowed hostile
witnesses to offer testimony
anonymously. The Inspector General failed to discover, and
then ignored discovery by the U.S. Congress, of pre-9/11 data in
government databases on Mohammed Atta, that confirms the
allegations of the Able Danger team.
The Inspector General failed to discover, and then ignored
discovery by the U.S. Congress, of at least one more
witness, a former member of the Able Danger project, who confirms
the detection of Mohammed Atta about one year prior to 9/11.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General
report, Alleged Misconduct By Senior DoD Officials
Concerning the Able Danger Program And Lieutenant Colonel Anthony
A, Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve,? shows strong
evidence of bias and is deeply flawed analytically.
Therefore, the DoD Inspector General report is untrustworthy
serve as a basis for public policy or history regarding the Able
This critique of the DoD Inspector General report does not
constitute a point-by-point or line-by-line rebuttal, although such
a rebuttal in
detail is certainly possible. The errors in methodology and
analysis found in the Inspector General?s treatment of the key
the Able Danger affair are repeated and replete throughout
the Inspector General?s report,including on issues of lesser
consequence, such as the
reprisal by DIA against LTC Shaffer for revealing to Congress that
the Able Danger program detected Mohammed
Atta before 9/11.
On the key issues of the Able Danger affair, this critique has
demonstrated that the preponderance of evidence points to
exactly opposite those drawn by the DoD Inspector General.
Contrary to the Inspector General, the preponderance of
evidence indicates the Able Danger team did detect Mohammed Atta
and other 9/11 terrorists about one year prior to the terrorist
of September 11, 2001. Contrary to the Inspector
General, the preponderance of evidence indicates that the Able
did make a chart depicting Mohammed Atta. Contrary to the Inspector
General, the preponderance of evidence indicates that the
testimony of the Able Danger witnesses to the U.S. Congress is
credible and true.
The DoD Inspector General having failed in their task to provide a
credible and trustworthy investigation of the Able Danger
it is now the responsibility of the U.S. Congress to exercise its
oversight powers and conduct an investigation. The DoD
Inspector General should be included as an object of that
investigation, as their report is apparently a cover-up for senior
officials at DoD, and
has made the Inspector General part of the Able Danger affair.
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