Contact: John Tomaszewski (202) 225-2011
WELDON REJECTS DOD REPORT ON ABLE DANGER & HARASSMENT OF MILITARY OFFICER
WASHINGTON, Sep 21 - U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, today released the following statement about the Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG) report on "Alleged Misconduct by Senior DoD Officials Concerning the Able Danger Program and Lieutenant Colonel Anthony A. Shaffer, U.S. Army Reserve" (pdf). "The purpose of the DOD IG investigation was to shed light on the pressures and harassment placed on LTC Shaffer and other Able Danger team members. It was also supposed to investigate why Able Danger was glossed over by the Pentagon and why there was such a fight to get information out of the Department of Defense about Able Danger, its findings and the reasoning behind destroying crucial data about linkages and relationship of al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. The IG's report did little to answer these questions.
"The DOD IG failed to brief LTC Shaffer's lawyer before releasing the report. The contents and overall tone and scope of the report were leaked to the media before Congress was even briefed of its findings. The DOD IG failed to explain in their briefing to me and my staff how such information got out to the media. They said they would investigate, but I have very little confidence that anything will come of that. Also, the timeliness of this report, just weeks before Congressional elections, also raises serious questions about the IG's motivations.
"Acting in a sickening bureaucratic manner, the DOD IG cherry picked testimony from witnesses in an effort to minimize the historical importance of the Able Danger effort. The IG narrowly focused their investigation on the witnesses recollections of the 9/11 hijackers and a chart. The report trashes the reputations of military officers who had the courage to step forward and put their necks on the line to describe important work they were doing to track al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.
"To further substantiate the Able Danger effort, within the last three months of the DOD IG investigation, another person who recently retired from the military has come forward and corroborated the work of the Able Danger program. Additionally, another official within DOD has conducted data runs of stored pre-9/11 data that has yielded information about the Brooklyn cell.
"They do not explain why LTC Shaffer and other Able Danger principles were harassed by their superiors. Specifically, the report did not address why the Defense Intelligence Agency trumped up phony charges against LTC Shaffer in an effort to revoke his clearance. When the DOD IG briefed me, they could not account for why they failed to interview key witnesses connected to this harassment, except for claiming that these witnesses 'did not come to us' -- evidence that this was not a proactive investigation.
"The FBI agent that was tasked with setting up meetings between Able Danger and FBI officials -- meetings that were block by DOD lawyers -- was not interviewed in this report, yet it concluded that 'Able Danger members were not prohibited from sharing intelligence information with law enforcement authorities.'
"I am appalled that the DOD IG would expect the American people to actually consider this a full and thorough investigation. I question their motives and the content of this report, and I reject the conclusions they have drawn."