Posted by Curt on 9 February, 2006 at 5:42 pm. Be the first to comment!


Good news, we are finally going to get a hearing about Able Danger (h/t Able Danger Blog )

The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 15 about the controversial Able Danger data-mining program, according to informed Congressional sources. The secret intelligence program, which used advanced computerized link and pattern analysis techniques, purportedly identified four 9/11 hijackers a year before the worst terror attacks on American soil.

After intense staff negotiations, it was finally decided that a portion of the Armed Services Committee hearing will be open, but that subsequent discussion of classified aspects of the Able Danger program will move into a closed session. Those expected to testify include military analysts who had been tasked to Able Danger, including Navy Captain Scott Phillpott, who headed the program, and US Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer. (Shaffer is also scheduled to testify in hearings before Representative Christopher Shay?s Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International relations on February 14. The subject of that hearing is national security whistleblowers. After Shaffer began to speak out on Able Danger, his bosses at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) retaliated by gagging him, smearing him, revoking his clearance, and trying to fire him.)

Civilian Able Danger personnel such as program manager JD Smith are also slated to appear before the Armed Service Committee on the 15th, and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone may also be asked to testify.

Smith, who worked as a civilian defense contractor, supplied more details about Able Danger activities in an interview this week, including the revelation that the Able Danger program wasn?t ?just doing terrorism and Al Qaeda.?

What else did the advanced data mining operation look into? ?We ran stuff on Bosnia, Serbia, drug cartels, China, lots of stuff,? Smith told me. ?The point was that no one had ever done anything like this program before, and we were demonstrating that it could in fact be effective. So we were given multiple requests, and worked on a tasked basis. Everything was done off-the premises, on a tasked, daily basis, for a low amount of money. We were doing a really good job for very little money very quickly. My company?s number one customer was the DIA.?

Macranger has it on good authority that the questions will be somewhat limited during the hearings:

“Intense” is a real conservative way of putting things. Actually it’s been a real tug of war between Spector’s committee and the Pentagon. I’ve have it though on good ground there will still be somewhat limiting testimony from some of the witnesses, and that many of the questions will be “pre-submitted” to screen for secure purposes. I’m afraid that whatever the questions they won’t come close to what Rory’s asking for. But let’s see what happens. In any case the story is coming back to the front and thats a positive.

Plus the Able Danger Blog is also reporting that Lt. Col Shaffer is finally testifying on the 14th of Feb. This was originally scheduled for Dec 6th:

It’s not up on the website yet, but multiple sources confirm that Shaffer will be appearing before Chris Shay’s Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. The hearing is scheduled for February 14th. The subject of the hearing is national security whistleblowers. I believe this is the hearing originally scheduled for December 6th. Able Danger itself is not the subject of the hearing, but rather the retaliation against Shaffer and others for speaking out, on issues that are vital to our national security. After all the things DIA has said about him since he was gagged, he will finally get a chance to defend his good name. Now, will DIA try to stop Shaffer from testifying about their own retaliation against him?

So good news all the way around. At least something is getting done finally.

TopDog suggests that we email CSPAN at to let them know they should cover these hearings live. So start emailing.

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