Weldon Speaks Out on Smear Campaign Against LTC Shaffer and Calls for
Weldon Speaks Out on Smear
Campaign Against LTC Shaffer and Calls for Investigation
ABLE DANGER was a Department of Defense planning effort, tasked to Special
Operations Command (SOCOM) by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The task assigned to ABLE DANGER was to identify and target Al-Qaeda on a
global basis and, through the use of cutting edge technology (data-mining,
massive parallel processing, neural networking and human factors analysis) and
enhanced visualization and display tools, present options for leaders
(national command authority) to manipulate, degrade or destroy the global
Al-Qaeda infrastructure. It is important to note that considering the massive
amount of open source date mined for ABLE DANGER, the planning effort was
about linkages and associations of individuals identified with direct links to
Al-Qaeda, and not about dates and times.
Washington D.C. -- October 20,
2005 -- Last night, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), Vice Chairman of the House
Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, gave a speech on the floor of
the House of Representatives decrying efforts within the Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) to smear the reputation and career of 23-year defense intelligence
officer, LTC Anthony Shaffer. Congressman Weldon also brought forth new
information on the destruction of data and findings of the Able Danger planning
Source: Congressman Weldon's Website. Below, is the full text of the floor
speech as recorded in the Congressional Record (Page: H8979).
"The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr.
Reichert). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 4, 2005, the
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr.
Speaker, I rise tonight to talk to our colleagues and through our colleagues to
the American people about an issue that troubles me greatly.
I have been in this institution 19 years, and during those 19 years I have been
on the Committee on Armed Services. Currently, I am the vice chairman of that
committee and chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the purchase of our
weapons systems. In the past I have chaired the research subcommittee. I have
chaired the readiness subcommittee, and I have spent every available hour of my
time working to make sure that our military troops were properly protected and
have the proper equipment and training.
I am a strong supporter of our military. Whether it was in the last 2 years of
the Reagan administration, the four years of the Bush administration, the 8
years of the Clinton administration, or the current administration of President
George W. Bush, I have been a strong supporter of our military. I am a strong
supporter of President Bush. I campaigned for him. I am a strong supporter of
Secretary Rumsfeld. I say all of that, Mr. Speaker, because tonight I rise to
express my absolute outrage and disgust with what is happening in our defense
Mr. Speaker, back in 1999 when I was Chair of the defense research subcommittee,
the Army was doing cutting-edge work on a new type of technology to allow us to
understand and predict emerging transnational terrorist threats. That technology
was being done at several locations, but was being led by our Special Forces
Command. The work that they were doing was unprecedented. And because of what I
saw there, I supported the development of a national capability of a
collaborative center that the CIA would just not accept.
In fact, in November 4 of 1999, 2 years before 9/11, in a
meeting in my office with the Deputy Secrtary of Defense, Deputy Director of
the CIA, Deputy Director of the FBI, we presented a nine-page proposal to
create a national collaborative center. When we finished the brief, the CIA
said we did not need that capability, and so before 9/11 we did not have it.
When President Bush came in after a year of research, he
announced the formation of the Terrorism Threat Integration Center, exactly what
I had proposed in 1999. Today it is known as the NCTC, the National Coun ter ter
ror ism Center. But, Mr. Speaker, what troubles me is not the fact that we did
not take those steps.
What troubles me is that I now have learned in the last 4 months that one of the
tasks that was being done in 1999 and 2000 was a top-secret program organized at
the request of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, carried out by the
general in charge of our Special Forces Command, a very elite unit focusing on
information regarding al Qaeda. It was a military language effort to allow us to
identify the key cells of al Qaeda around the world and to give the military the
capability to plan actions against those cells so they could not attack us as
they did in 1993 at the Trade Center, at the Khobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole
attack, and the African embassy bombings.
What I did not know, Mr. Speaker, up until June of this
year, was that that secret program called Able Danger actually identified the
Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda in January and February of 2000, over 1 year before
9/11 every happened. In addition, I learned that not only did we identify the
Brooklyn cell of al Qaeda, but we identified Mohamed Atta as one of the
members of that Brooklyn cell along with three other terrorists who were the
leadership of the 9/11 attack.
I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000,
again, over 1 year before 9/11, that Able Danger team attempted on three
separate occasions to provide information to the FBI about the Brooklyn cell of
al Qaeda, and on three separate occasions they were denied by lawyers in the
previous administration to transfer that information.
Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday on "Meet the Press,'' Louis Freeh, FBI Director at
the time, was interviewed by Tim Russert. The first question to Louis Freeh was
in regard to the FBI's ability to ferret out the terrorists. Louis Freeh's
response, which can be obtained by anyone in this country as a part of the
official record, was, Well, Tim, we are now finding out that a top-secret
program of the military called Able Danger actually identified the Brooklyn cell
of al Qaeda and Mohammed Atta over a year before 9/11.
And what Louis Freeh said, Mr. Speaker, is that that kind of actionable data
could have allowed us to prevent the hijackings that occurred on September 11.
So now we know, Mr. Speaker, that military intelligence officers working in a
program authorized by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general in
charge of Special Forces Command, identified Mohammed Atta and three terrorists
a year before 9/11, tried to transfer that information to the FBI were denied;
and the FBI Director has now said publicly if he would have had that
information, the FBI could have used it to perhaps prevent the hijackings that
struck the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that landed in
Pennsylvania and perhaps saved 3,000 lives and changed the course of world
Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight because we have been trying to get the story out
about Able Danger and what really happened. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I have
to rise tonight to tell you that as bad as this story is, and as bad as it is
that the data was not transferred to the FBI, and as bad as it is that the 9/11
Commission totally ignored this entire story and referred to it as historically
insignificant even though it was authorized by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, even though Louis Freeh has now said it could have provided
information to prevent the attack against us, the 9/11 Commission ignored it.
Not because the commissioners ignored it, but because someone at the staff level
9/11 Commission staff decided for whatever reason that they did not want to
pursue the Abel Danger story.
Mr. Speaker, in August and September I met with the military officials involved
with Abel Danger and one by one they told their story, until, Mr. Speaker,
leaders in the Defense Intelligence Agency, including the deputy director,
decided they do not want the story told. I think because they perhaps are
fearful of being embarrassed and humiliated.
So what direction had they taken, Mr. Speaker?
They have gagged the military officers. They have prevented them from talking to
any Member of Congress. They have prevented them from talking to the media. And
the Defense Intelligence Agency has began a process to destroy the career and
the life of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer.
Now, it might be easy for us to ignore this, Mr. Speaker. We all have busy
careers and worry about reelections every 2 years and worry about our own
families and our jobs. But I cannot do that in this case and neither can this
body, and neither can the other body. You see, Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer took
an oath to defend our Constitution. He took the words ``duty, honor, country''
seriously and devoted 23 years of his life in four deployed intelligence
operations of our military to protect America.
During the time he served our country, he has received the Bronze Star, an award
that does not come easily, for showing acts of courage, leadership, and bravery
in the course of his activities.
He has received public commendations from previous directors of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, including General Patrick Hughes, including generals at
Special Forces Command, and including Admiral Wilson of the Defense Intelligence
Agency. He has received dozens of letters and commendations for his work. The
laudatory comments I reviewed in his files are unbelievable.
But, you see, Mr. Speaker, there is a problem. The Deputy Director of the
Defense Intelligence Agency was in a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer
almost a year before 9/11, and Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer showed him a disk in
his office with information about al Qaeda and Mohammed Atta, and the Deputy
Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency stopped the briefing and said, you
cannot show me that. I do not want to see it. It might contain information I
cannot look at.
Now, Tony Shaffer was not in the room alone, Mr. Speaker. There were other
people, and we know their names. So we have witnesses. Now, the Deputy Director
has denied that meeting and denied he was there and denied this particular
story, but the fact is he knows that we are going to pursue it.
So what has happened to Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, Mr.
Speaker? The Defense Intelligence Agency has lifted his security clearance.
One day before he was to testify before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary,
in uniform, they permanently removed his security clearance. And now our
Defense Intelligence Agency has told Colonel Shaffer's lawyer that they plan
to seek a permanent removal of his pay and his health care benefits for him
and his two children. Why, Mr. Speaker? Because Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer,
like Commander Scott Philpot of the Navy, like J. D. Smith, and like a host of
other Able Danger employees, has told the truth.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I sat here in the 1990s and I sat here
during the 9/11 investigation and watched a ridiculous situation develop with
Sandy Berger, the National Security Adviser under President Clinton. He walked
into the National Archives before he was to testify before the 9/11 Commission
looking through documents. He took documents out of the archives and stuffed
them in his socks and pants so that no one would see them as he left the
National Archives. Now, that is a felony, tampering with Federal documents and
removing classified information regarding our security and information that the
9/11 commission needed to see.
Sandy Berger initially lied about it. He said he did not do it. Then he admitted
it, and he was given a punishment. And, oh, by the way, his security clearance
was temporarily lifted, but he will get it back again, for lying, for stealing,
and for committing an act of outrage against our country's security. Lieutenant
Colonel Shaffer, a Bronze Star 23-year military veteran, simply told the truth
and now his life is being ruined.
His career is ended. He is no longer in military intelligence. They have taken
his security clearance, and they are about to destroy him as a person. They are
about to deny him the basic health care and the salary that he has earned, and
they are doing it in this way. This is outrageous. It is evil. They do not want
to fire Tony because they also do not want him to talk to the media. So by
suspending him and removing his pay and his health care, they hurt him bad, but
he cannot talk because he is under suspension and his lawyer has advised him
that to talk to the media, to talk to Members of Congress, even when he is not
being paid, would cause him further problems and totally prevent him from ever
having this gross problem reversed. Mr. Speaker, this is outrageous. Mr.
Speaker, this is not America.
Over my 19 years in Congress, I have led 40 delegations to the former Soviet
Union. I have sat in the face of the Soviet Communists and confronted them on
full transparency. I sat at the table with President Lukashenko of Belarus, who
has been called by our Secretary of State the last dictator in Europe. I took
both delegations to North Korea, Mr. Speaker, and sat across the table from Kim
Gye Gwan and I told him we abhor the way they treat their people, the way they
lie about what is happening, and the way they distort information.
Mr. Speaker, I took three delegations to Libya to meet with Qadhafi, and I told
him that we are absolutely outraged at what Libya did in helping complete the
Lockerbie bombing and the bombing of the Berlin nightclub.
You know, Mr. Speaker, I never thought I would have to take the floor of this
Chamber and make the same statements about the Defense Intelligence Agency. As a
supporter of the President, as a supporter of the military, Mr. Speaker, if we
allow this to go forward, then we send the signal to every man and woman wearing
a uniform that if you tell the truth, you will be destroyed if a career
bureaucrat above you does not like what you are saying. If you tell the truth,
we will take your health care benefits away from your kids. If you tell the
truth, we will ruin you.
Mr. Speaker, this is not what I have been told by Secretary
Rumsfeld that we are doing with our troops in protecting them, in giving them
the best equipment and the best training. This is not what I spend hours in
committee hearings on. This sends the wrong signal to America's troops. It tells
them, do not be honest. Do not respect the fact that you have to be truthful. If
there is somebody that the truth offends, then you better be silent.
Mr. Speaker, I have today asked for an independent investigation of the Defense
Intelligence Agency and their efforts at destroying Tony Shaffer's life. This is
outrageous, Mr. Speaker. They trumped up charges against him. They said while he
was overseas in Afghanistan, forward deployed, that he forwarded cell phone
calls from his official phone to his personal phone; and when they checked that
out, it ran up a cost to the taxpayers of about $60. The second verbal charge
they gave him was that he went to a course at the Army War College and he got
reimbursed for his travel, his mileage and tolls, 100-some dollars. And they
said he received a commendation for which he was not entitled, even though it
was signed by his commanding officer and the acting Secretary of the Army.
But they went beyond that, Mr. Speaker. They went beyond that with this man.
They said he had $2,000 of debt, personal debt. Well, I would like to have every
Pentagon employee tomorrow, I would like to have the senior leadership show us
what debt they have in the Defense Intelligence Agency so we can make that
They even went to this length, Mr. Speaker: the Defense Intelligence Agency
wrote in an official document that Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer stole public
property. A serious charge. Well, when you check what that public property was,
it was an assortment of pens, government pens. But what they did not say in the
Defense Intelligence report was that he took those pens when he was 15 years of
age and was with his father when he was on assignment at one of our embassy
outposts. He took the pens to give to other students at the school when he was
15 years of age. And by the way, Mr. Speaker, it was Tony Shaffer himself who
admitted to that thievery when he applied for his security clearance. So the
Defense Intelligence Agency knew that during his entire career of 23 years, but
they put that in the document against him.
This is a scandal, Mr. Speaker. It is an outrage. It is a
travesty. Everyone that worked with Tony Shaffer, the Navy officers, the
private citizens have all said the same thing. This is a scandal to get Tony
Shaffer because he has told the truth.
Now, this Defense Intelligence Agency and this Deputy
Director had the audacity to have their legal counsel send Tony Shaffer's lawyer
a letter on September 23. I cannot put that letter in the RECORD because it is
privileged information, but it will eventually come out. But in that letter, in
the second to last paragraph, the legal counsel for the Defense Intelligence
Agency says to Mr. Shaffer's lawyer, he cannot receive any more classified
information from the Defense Intelligence Agency because I checked and his
security clearances have all been removed. Therefore, he is not allowed to look
at anything that is secret or confidential.
Now, that is a letter sent by the general counsel of the DIA on September 23 of
this year. Two weeks later, Mr. Speaker, to show the stupidity of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, they send seven packages to Mr. Shaffer's lawyer
of his personal belongings, which the Deputy Director of the DIA told my staff 3
months ago did not exist any more. And in those seven boxes, Mr. Speaker, were
five classified memos. The Defense Intelligence Agency sent five classified
memos to Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, which they told him on September 23 he was
not allowed to have access to.
Mr. Speaker, that is a felony; and I have asked the Inspector General and the
legal officials to investigate and prosecute the Defense Intelligence officials
who sent five classified documents through the mail or by hand delivery to Tony
In addition, Mr. Speaker, the Defense Intelligence Agency, in its absolute total
stupidity, included in those boxes $500 worth of Federal property, including a
multi-hundred dollar GPS system owned by the Federal Government, which they sent
to Tony Shaffer, I guess to keep. They also sent, Mr. Speaker, 25 pens, brand
new, and marked on them is ``Property of the U.S. Government.'' The Defense
Intelligence Agency, in its absolute utter stupidity, sent Tony Shaffer Federal
property which they accused him of taking when he was 15 years of age.
Mr. Speaker, there is something desperately wrong here. There is a bureaucracy
in the Defense Intelligence Agency that is out of control. They want to destroy
the reputation of a 23-year military officer, Bronze Star recipient, hero of our
country, with two kids because people in defense intelligence are embarrassed at
what is going to come out.
And what is going to come out, Mr. Speaker? Well, we are going to find out, Mr.
Speaker, that that unit, Able Danger, not only identified Mohammed Atta before
9/11, not only did they try to pass that information to the FBI, not only was
that large data destroyed in the summer of 2000, but now, Mr. Speaker, I can add
a new dimension to this whole story. Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I met with another
Able Danger official. I was not aware of this official's knowledge because he
does not live within the Beltway.
This official, Mr. Speaker, has impeccable credentials. I cannot reveal his name
today. I will to any Member of this body, any of our colleagues that want to
come to me, I will tell you privately who this official is, and you will agree
with me when I tell you his name that he has impeccable credentials. This
official yesterday, Mr. Speaker, in a meeting in my office, told me that he has
never been talked to by the Pentagon. He has never been talked to by the Defense
Intelligence Agency in their supposed investigation. He has never been talked to
by the 9/11 Commission staff in their investigation; yet this official had a
leadership position in Able Danger.
This official told me that there is a separate cache of information collected
from over 20 Federal agencies in 1999 and 2000 on Able Danger that still may
exist. Now, the Pentagon has told us all this material was destroyed, and now I
have a senior official telling me there is a second pot of information that may
well still exist.
Furthermore, at the hearing over in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, when
Senator Specter asked why this data was destroyed, the witness who destroyed the
data said, well, I was told that we could not keep this data for more than 90
days because it might involve information that contains U.S. persons, so we had
to destroy it.
Well, I found out that is not the story. The reason the data was destroyed was
because Special Forces Command asked the Army for that data and within a matter
of days, that data was destroyed so the Army would not pass it to Special Forces
Command. Yet there still is, was and I hope still is a massive pot of data.
But furthermore, that official that I talked to yesterday will also say that
there was no 90-day requirement, as was testified before the Senate Committee on
the Judiciary. He said on a regular basis they kept information from Able Danger
data mining for months and months and months. In fact, he will say he had a
discussion with a lawyer in DOD named Schiffren who told him do not worry about
it, just fill out a document, sign your name that you need it, put it in the
box, and you can keep it as long as you want.
Mr. Speaker, that is entirely contradictory to what the Defense Intelligence
Agency has been telling us, to what DOD has been telling us. Now we have someone
who is willing to come forward and say that 90-day period is not real, they kept
Able Danger information for months and months and months.
Mr. Speaker, there is something desperately wrong here. A sitting President of
the United States resigned his position because he tried to cover up a
third-rate burglary when some low-level operatives from the Republican committee
to reelect him broke into the Democrat headquarters in Washington, D.C. No one
was killed. No money was stolen. No State secrets were stolen. It was a
third-rate burglary, but it caused the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the deaths of 3,000 Americans.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about 2.5 terabytes of data about al Qaeda. That is
equal to one-fourth of all of the printed material in the Library of Congress.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about Mohammed Atta and three of the terrorists that
attacked us on 9/11.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about military intelligence officers, including an
Annapolis graduate who will command one of our destroyers in January of 2006 who
risked his entire career to state on the record I will swear until I die that I
saw Mohammed Atta's face every day starting in January of 2000, a year and a
half before 9/11.
Mr. Speaker, this is not somebody off the street, this is a graduate of
Annapolis, a 23-year Naval officer who will command one of our destroyers in
January who is agreeing with Lieutenant Shaffer. We have three other people who
have testified under oath that they saw the same photograph, and the person I
met yesterday will testify that he had the name of a Mohammed Atta before 9/11
but not the face.
Mr. Speaker, this is not some third-rate burglary coverup. This is not some
Watergate incident. This is an attempt to prevent the American people from
knowing the facts about how we could have prevented 9/11 and people are covering
it up today. They are ruining the career of a military officer to do it and we
cannot let it stand. I do not care whether you are Democrat or Republican, you
cannot let a lieutenant colonel's career be ruined because of some bureaucrat in
the Defense Intelligence Agency. If we let that happen, then no one who wears
the uniform will ever feel protected because we will have let them down. Anyone
who wears the uniform of this country who is serving today expects us to back
him or her up and that is not happening. We are seeing lying, distortion.
Mr. Speaker, do you know, Wolf Blitzer on CNN told my staff that a Department of
Defense employee told him that Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer was having an affair
with one of my employees. How low can we go, Mr. Speaker? How low can we go to
allow this Defense Department to try to ruin the reputation and the personal
life of a lieutenant colonel with a Bronze Star? To Wolf Blitzer, Mr. Speaker.
We need to know the name of that defense official who told Wolf Blitzer who told
my staff, and he is not the only one. I have other media people who will come
forward in this grand effort to destroy the reputation of a uniformed military
officer, to create scandalous accusations. He does not even know my staff, to
accuse him of stealing pens when he was 15, to take away his health care
benefits for his two kids because he is telling the truth.
What do we stand for if not the truth? Is it more important that we be
politically correct? Is it more important that I not rock the boat because my
party is in the White House, because I campaigned for Bush, and support Don
Rumsfeld. Is that more important? If that is more important, I do not want to be
here. I will leave. I will leave my post, but I will not do it until we get
justice for this man and for these people who the 9/11 Commission called
Mr. Speaker, there is something wrong inside the Beltway.
Mr. Speaker, there is something desperately wrong when a military officer risks
his life in Afghanistan time and again, embedded with our troops under
an assumed name with a false beard and a false identity, forward deployed with
our troops, gets castigated, gets ridiculed, gets some low life scum at the
Pentagon spreading malicious lies about this individual, and then say to his
lawyer, we are going to take away his health care benefits, we are going to take
away his salary.
Mr. Speaker, if we allow this to stand as Democrats and Republicans, then none
of us deserve to be here. When we all go overseas and meet the troops, we tell
them how proud we are of them. We provide funding for them. We give them
training and take care of their families. What we are allowing to happen right
now is the Defense Intelligence Agency to ruin the career and the life of a man
who spent 23 years protecting his Nation. If Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer was
telling this story alone in a vacuum, that would be one thing. But he has been
corroborated over and over again. I have met with at least 10 people who fully
corroborate what Tony Shaffer says. Those meetings with the FBI, the FBI
employee still works there and she told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, I
set those meetings up with the FBI to transfer information about al Qaeda and
Able Danger. So she is still there and she testified.
What we have here, I am convinced of this now, is an aggressive attempt by CIA
management to cover up their own shortcomings in not being able to do what the
Able Danger team did: They identified Mohammed Atta and the al Qaeda cell of
Brooklyn 1 year before Ð9/11. But even before that, as the story unfolds, you
are going to hear the story that they also identified the threat to the USS Cole
2 weeks before the attack, and 2 days before the attack were screaming not to
let the USS Cole come into the harbor at Yemen because they knew something was
about to happen.
Mr. Speaker, bad news never comes easy; but in a democracy, the bad news has to
come out so we can make sure it does not happen again.
Mr. Speaker, this whole thing started, not to embarrass anyone, this whole thing
started because none of us knew that Mohammed Atta was identified before 9/11.
It started because this Congress, this body in particular, tried to establish
what is now in place back in 1999, a national collaborative center, but the CIA
said we did not need it. The American people deserve to have the answers here.
They deserve to know why 3,000 people died. They deserve to know what we could
have done and should have done to better prepare ourselves and to work to
prepare for the next incident. The American people need to know where those
multiple terabytes of data is. Is it still being used? We know in January of
2001, General Shelton was given a 3-hour briefing on Able Danger. So even if
they destroyed the data back in the summer of 2000, in January of 2001 there was
enough material to give General Shelton, Commander of the Joint Chiefs, a 3-hour
Mr. Speaker, there is something here. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but there
is something desperately wrong, Mr. Speaker. There is something outrageous at
work here. This is not a third-rate burglary of a political campaign
headquarters. This involved what is right now the covering up of information
that led to the deaths of 3,000 people, changed the course of history, led to
the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and has disrupted our country, our economy
and people's lives.
Mr. Speaker, we could ignore this. I cannot. If it means I have to resign from
this body, I will resign. I will not allow, after 19 years in this body and as a
vice chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, bureaucrats in the Defense
Intelligence Agency to concoct stories, to talk about the theft of pens when
this lieutenant colonel was 15 years old, to talk about this man's personal debt
of $2,000. I would hate to check the indebtedness of Members of Congress. I know
mine is more than $2,000.
Mr. Speaker, this is not America. I had a group of college students down from
Drexel University. There were about 20 of them, including representative
students from eight other nations. We talked about this. Of course we have
talked about all of the problem countries in the world. We talk about our values
as a Nation, the need for a democracy to have people involved, to have
transparency, to have people who respect the rule of law and the Constitution.
How do I tell them that is what is working here, Mr. Speaker, when the Pentagon
says that these people who simply want to tell the truth are not allowed? They
are saying it is for classified purposes, yet the DOD lawyer on the Senate side
there is nothing classified about any of the information. It is not about
classified programs. I would be the last to want to see anything classified
revealed. I have seen many, many instances where I have been given sensitive
information that only a few people in the Congress and the country had. I would
never reveal it. It is not about that. This is not about the DIA, this is not
about the CIA, this is about CYA. It is about CYA by bureaucrats in the Defense
Intelligence Agency and possibly some political operatives that do not want the
facts to come out about Able Danger and the information that the Able Danger
team put together. And in the process, they are going to destroy a man, a man
who has been recognized by his country, who has a family, and who simply wants
to do the right thing.
Mr. Speaker, I hated to take the floor tonight, but I did not know what else to
do. We have committees of Congress working on this. I want to thank the
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf), chairman of the FBI Appropriation Committee
on Oversight. He is as outraged as I am. I want to thank the gentleman from
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner), who is looking at this, and the gentleman from
California (Chairman Hunter). The Committee on Armed Services has a full-time
staffer assigned to get to the facts of this. I want to thank the gentleman from
New York (Mr. King), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, because he
is looking at this. I want to thank the gentleman from Michigan (Chairman
Hoekstra) and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has met with
Tony Shaffer and has offered to get more information. I want to thank my
colleagues on the other side of the aisle for standing up and beginning to ask
questions, and I want to thank Senator Specter and Senator Biden, who attended a
Committee on the Judiciary hearing and expressed their outrage. I want to thank
Senator Sessions, Senator Kyl, and Senator Grassley, who were all there. In fact,
Senator Grassley called it a coverup.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell you the number of Members who have come to me and
said this is unacceptable. I would hope that as a result of what we have heard
tonight every Member of Congress will ask for an inquiry. The gentlewoman from
Georgia (Ms. McKinney) wrote a letter to the chairman of the Committee on Armed
Services asking for an investigation. We have from Republicans to Democrats,
left to right, conservatives to liberals. What is happening here is unacceptable.
It is unimaginable. It is un-American. All over the world tonight, young
Americans are wearing our uniforms. They are doing a great job. They make us all
proud when we travel overseas. They make us proud because of the pride they
have. When I talk to them, they say I am glad to be doing what I am doing. I am
doing the right thing for our country. I will go any place the Commander in
Chief sends me. Whether I am in Afghanistan or Iraq, they will tell me that.
Whether we are in Kosovo or Somalia, they will tell us that. Whether we are at
Hurricane Katrina, whether we are at Hurricane Andrew, or whether we are out in
California, the earthquake, or the Midwestern floods, our troops are all the
same. They respect our country. They respect our Constitution. If we allow this
travesty to continue, Mr. Speaker, then we have let all of those people down for
some nameless, faceless bureaucrat who is fearful that the information will
finally come to light, that the DIA just did not get it.
Back in 1999 and 2000, they did not have a clue. They had millions of dollars,
hundreds of millions of dollars, and could not do what a 20-member team did in
being able to identify Mohammed Atta before the 9/11 attacks. DIA does not want
that to come out, Mr. Speaker. They do not want that to come out. Heaven forbid
the Defense Intelligence Agency, with hundreds of millions of dollars, would
have a 20-member team do what they could not
do because they were using new technology and new software. They do not want
that to come out. That is why that Deputy Director, when he was at that meeting,
said, I do not want to see this. Do not show it to me. And that is why today
that Deputy Director is trying to ruin the career of Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer.
I have asked Secretary Rumsfeld today to do that. I would ask
my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in that request. Let the
independent inspector for the Pentagon go in, not DIA. DIA cannot investigate
itself. It does not have the capability to do that. It does not have the
integrity to do that. Let the Inspector General do the investigation and while
that is being done, protect Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer. He does not deserve to
have his career ruined or destroyed for telling the truth.
And while we are at it, Mr. Speaker, if DIA is going to
continue to press this ridiculous set of facts, then as I said earlier, I want
DIA prosecuted for the five felonies they committed in sending classified
documents to a person that 2 weeks earlier they said was incapable of receiving
classified information. And if this continues, I want DIA held responsible for
illegally transferring $500 of public assets to a person, that in the process of
sending that stuff to him, DIA committed fraud against the taxpayers. I want
them held accountable: DIA's stupidity; DIA's incompetence.
We have a new nominee for the head of DIA, and I am going to ask every Senator
to fully explore each of these issues before that person is confirmed. I will
meet with every Senator personally and go over all of this information. And I
would encourage the Senators and the House Members to interview the other people
who worked with Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer and to get their assessments of what
is going on there. They will all tell them the same thing: Shaffer is being
abused and used as a scapegoat. If they can ruin Shaffer, they can silence the
It cannot happen, Mr. Speaker. We cannot let it. That is not what America is
about. That is not what we say to our enlisted personnel when they sign up for
duty. That is not what we say when we pass our defense bills every year.
This man is being maligned and mistreated. He is being harassed. The most
scurrilous accusations, totally unfounded, have been given to the American
media; and I will name names, and I will ask for an investigation of the people
who made those statements to these media people because it all needs to be put
on the record.
And as someone tomorrow who will chair another hearing on our defense oversight
to try to get the best value for the dollars for our military, I ask all of our
colleagues, Mr. Speaker, on both sides of the aisle to join us.
I would ask our constituents across America we represent to join us, to express
their outrage, to e-mail, make phone calls, write letters to the Secretary of
Defense, the President of the United States, to Members of Congress to simply
let the story be told. Let the Able Danger story finally come out to the
American people. Let them understand what really happened. Let Scott Philpott
talk. Let Tony Shaffer talk. Let the others who have been silenced have a chance
to tell their story to Congress and openly to the American people. In the end,
the country will be stronger. [END]"
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