8/24/2005

War and Piece: More Able Danger, you ask?

Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott is going to be issuing some sort of public statement today, I'm told. The statement will supposedly assert how AD was allegedly able to identify Atta, (the 9/11 Atta, not the other Atta who was deported from the US to Israel), in early-mid 2000, and assert that the photograph of Atta the team allegedly came up with was not the visa one we have seen since the attacks, but from other sources. Able Danger was apparently stood up in 1999 even before the bombing of the USS Cole. And Able Danger was killed in March 2001, during the Bush administration, under whose orders, it's not totally clear. One thing I've heard today suggests that Phillpott's statement to the 9/11 commission in July 2004 involved allegations of linkages between Al Qaeda and the leadership of foreign countries, say the one where the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from. So stay tuned.

Another source says that DoD did complete an investigation, interviewed everybody, and 'there's just nothing there. . . Able Danger never produced any kind of documents of the type being described.' DoD is going to brief various Congressmen and Senators, including Weldon's House Armed Services committee but not issue a public statement more definitive than the di Rita one I posted earlier. But I've also heard that there's a separate Army investigation of the Able Danger claims than the Pentagon one being led I believe by Steve Cambone's office.

(Editor's note: I've updated this post).

Update: Here's more on Phillpott's statement from the New York Times. And a third source has come forward as well:

...The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement today that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. "My story is consistent," said Captain Phillpott, who managed the program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command. "Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000." [...]

The statement from Captain Phillpott , a 1983 Naval Academy graduate, who has served in the Navy for 22 years, was provided to The New York Times and Fox News through the office of Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania, who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a longtime proponent of so-called data-mining programs like Able Danger...

Representative Weldon also arranged an interview with a former employee of a defense contractor who said he had helped create a chart in 2000 for the intelligence program that included Mr. Atta's photograph and name.

The former contractor, James D. Smith, said that Mr. Atta's name and photograph were obtained through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. Mr. Smith said that he had retained a copy of the chart for some time and that it had been posted on his office wall at Andrews Air Force Base...

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