According to the NY Times (hat tip Tom Mcguire/AJ Strata), Senator Spector is going to hold some hearings.....


" WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 - The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday that it was investigating reports from two military officers that a highly classified Pentagon intelligence program identified the Sept. 11 ringleader as a potential terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The committee's chairman, Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in an interview that he was scheduling a public hearing on Sept. 14 "to get to the bottom of this" and that the military officers "appear to have credibility."

The senator said his staff had confirmed reports from the two officers that employees of the intelligence program tried to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2000 to discuss the work of the program, known as Able Danger.

The officers, Capt. Scott J. Phillpott of the Navy and Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer of the Army, have said the intelligence program identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by early 2000. Colonel Shaffer, a reservist, has said three meetings with F.B.I. agents in 2000 to discuss Able Danger were canceled on the order of military lawyers.

Senator Specter's announcement came as the Pentagon said again on Wednesday that while it was not disputing the officers' reports, it could find no documentation to back up what they were saying.

"Not only can we not find documentation, we can't find documents to lead us to the documentation," said Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman."

In a time of war the Pentagon doesn't want to call the officers "liars"...

"Ah, we're not calling them liars or anything, but we can't find anything that tells us that they are telling us the truth..."

No documents. Kiss this goodbye.

Make no mistake, Spector (PA Senator) is doing this to get Weldon (PA Congressman) off his butt -

It's like I said before. Spector needs to get this off his plate - them Robert's hearings are coming up ya know!

Sooo, Spector is just saying, ... "Let's get it out in the open, give Weldon his hearings and hopefully that will shut him up".

I know, sorry to all those getting pumped about this, but everybody who is hoping this is going to turn into some huge hearings that will blow the doors off the 9/11 Commission findings - forget about it.

Cpt Ed is pumped:

"Public hearings will allow Shaffer and Phillpott to get an examination that the nation can judge on its own. We can judge the credibility of the career officers, one of whom may have given up any hope for the Admiralty to take his case to the American people. Private contractor J.D. Smith will also take the stand, yet another witness to the results of the program and the identification of the terrorist cell that killed almost 3,000 Americans."

You heard it here: It ain't going to happen. Although it will be quite the show.

It's not that the story doesn't have some truth to it. No doubt there was a Able Danger Program program. We'll hear all about those niffty tools the "spooks" use like, Starlight, Spire, Analyst Notebook, Themescape, Webmap, Hypherbolic Trees, Dr. Watson, Netgraph, Telltale, Parentage...

However, in my opinion it's very doubtful that any of these tools (in 99/2000) actually pegged Atta, as Weldon said they did...

or/didn't/did/not sure.....Right Weldon?

My personal experience and opinion (I am now an IT tech/programmer) is that the tech just wasn't that advanced at the time. But I won't say it wasn't possible. We just don't have any proof.

Yet one thing is for sure! Weldon's book will sell through the roof and fuel the debate for years to come.

But be asured, these hearings will be quick - real quick, and despite what we hope they will nothing but show.

More at Cpt Ed, Decision 08.

UPDATE: AJ links to this WAPO piece:

"Pentagon officials said Thursday they have found three more people who recall an intelligence chart that identified Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta as a terrorist one year before the attacks on New York and Washington. But they have been unable to find the chart or other evidence that it existed.

Last month, two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, went public with claims that a secret unit code-named used data mining _ searching large amounts of data for patterns _ to identify Atta in 2000. Shaffer has said three other Sept. 11 hijackers also were identified.

In recent days Pentagon officials have said they could not yet verify or disprove the assertions by Shaffer and Philpott. On Thursday, four intelligence officials provided the first extensive briefing for reporters on the outcome of their interviews with people associated with Able Danger and their review of documents.

They said they interviewed at least 80 people over a three-week period and found three, besides Philpott and Shaffer, who said they remember seeing a chart that either mentioned Atta by name as an al-Qaida operative or showed his photograph. Four of the five recalled a chart with a pre-9/11 photo of Atta; the other person recalled only a reference to his name.

The intelligence officials said they consider the five people to be credible but their recollections are still unverified.

"To date, we have not identified the chart," said Pat Downs, a senior policy analyst in the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. "We have identified a similar chart but it does not contain the photo of Mohamed Atta or a reference to him or a reference to the other (9/11) hijackers."

She said more interviews would be conducted, but the search of official documents is finished."

Well at least they are finding "witness". That's great, but no one can find the infamous chart - although these three state (that four years ago) they saw Atta's name or mug on a chart.

Was it four years....or four months? Hmmm.

Well, there is more...

"Navy Cmdr. Christopher Chope, of the Center for Special Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command, said there were "negative indications" that anyone ever ordered the destruction of Able Danger documents, other than the materials that were routinely required to be destroyed under existing regulations.

Shaffer, who is now a civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, also has publicly asserted that military lawyers stopped the Able Danger staff from sharing the information on Atta with the FBI out of concern about gathering and sharing information on people in the United States legally.

Chope said there is no evidence that military lawyers blocked the sharing of Able Danger information with the FBI." evidence that a "extinguish order" was initiated. No evidence of an FBI chop block.....hmmmm. Schaffer's story is biting the dust.

But at least some confirmation of what I've thought about this program:

"Chope also said the nature of Able Danger has been misrepresented in some news stories. He said it was created as a result of a directive in early October 1999 by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to U.S. Special Operations Command to develop a campaign plan against transnational terrorism, "specifically al-Qaida."

He called it an internal working group with a core of 10 staffers at Special Operations Command. Philpott was the "team leader," he said. "Able Danger was never a military unit," and it never targeted individual terrorists, he said. It went out of existence when the planning effort was finished in early 2001, he said."

Yeah! It was this under the radar after school program - run by Schoomaker and funded by Weldon, who just happens to be the author of the book telling the story about the program. Does anyone see the conflict/irony here? I do, and I'm convinced more than ever that Spector's Spectacle will be just that.


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