Questions for the 9/11 Commissioners & Staff regarding Able Danger

Kyle Hence
Sunday, December 04, 2005 - 10:47 PM

Mssrs. Felzenberg and Klein, Former 9/11 Commissioners, former Commission staff and current Public Discourse Project Staff:

I am writing to follow-up on an email of 11/21. In it I posed 23 questions to you regarding Able Danger. You have not answered these questions nor given me the courtesy of a reply. As 9/11 widows and co-founders of September 11th Advocates Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg have reported, your Commission also failed to answer a majority of the questions posed by the 9/11 Family Steering Committee.
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I am resending the Able Danger questions to you and the 9/11 family members and bcc'ing the media so they are aware your explanation for why the Report excluded mention of Able Danger is grossly deficient and irresponsible and that there are many important questions you are unwilling to answer and your failure to do so raises questions about the Commission's credibility and standing. Your 9/11 Report put forward the confounding claim that the question of who funded the attacks was of "little practical significance."

"To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks... Ultimately the question is of little practical significance." (p. 172)

This is of course an absurd conclusion on its face and perhaps an effort to deflect attention away for the money trail to Pakistan and ISI asset/agent Saeed Sheikh (aka Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, aka Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad) and ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad (Ahmed), material reported on my the mainstream press you also chose to exclude altogether from your 9/11 report. [see Chapter 6 of The War on Truth by Nafeez Ahmed]

In the wake of revelations in August regarding Able Danger, the former Commissioners issued a statement saying that the Commission (possibly Executive Director Zelikow and Senior Counsel Snell on their own?) had deemed Able Danger "historically insignificant." Several staffers, according the statement, didn't recall if Atta had been mentioned by LTC Shaffer. In light of the fact this decorated military officer (LTC Anthony Shaffer) and a future commander of a U.S. destroyer (Capt. Scott Phillpot), both of whom were operational leaders of Able Danger, have staked their careers and reputations on their ID of Atta (and the others), this determination by the Commission must be called into question.

This is a matter of great import to this Nation and there is growing demand amongst the public and the media for answers including from CNN's Lou Dobbs and former FBI Director Louis Freeh []. In addition a majority of the members of the House have called upon Sec. Rumsfeld to lift the gag on the Able Danger team members. In light of the testimony of Able Danger team members to this point (those most intimate with the project), the fact that there is no chart produced only raises more questions relative to the destruction at multiple locations over several years of hard evidence of the program's having identified 4 of 19 future hijackers and the decisions of the 9/11 Commission staff regarding this matter. The lack of hard evidence, including the chart that went missing from Stephen Hadley's office (Reps. Shays, Burton and Weldon can attest to chart being left with Hadley), only makes it more important to have the following questions answered and a full and open investigation conducted by Congress or by Special Counsel or the General Accountability Office (GAO).

My hope is that you will directly address and answer at least some of these questions at the final Public Discourse press conference on Monday.

Kyle F. Hence
Executive Director
9/11 CitizensWatch


Questions put to the 9/11 Commission on December 3, 2005 (first set sent on November 21, 2005):

Re. Bagram briefing on Able Danger
1) Who were the two senior 9/11 Commission staff members who attended the Bagram meeting with LTC Shaffer? I understand that Michael Hurley was one? Is that correct? Who was the other as yet unnamed witness who is said to have not recalled Shaffer's reported mention of Atta at that Oct. 21, 2003 meeting?

2) Also, what was the name of the lawyer for the National Security Counsel who was the Administration's 'minder' at that meeting?

Re. D. Snell's interview with Capt. Phillpott
3) Who was in the room with Dieter Snell and Capt. Phillpott on July 12th 2004?

4) What was the name of the staffer present?

5) And who from the DoD was the 'minder' for that interview?

Full documentation
6) Were 9/11 Commission staffers satisfied that they recieved all of the documentation regarding Able Danger prior to completing the final report?

Witnesses under oath
7) Were witnesses Shaffer and Phillpott at either of these meetings under oath?

Involvement of the Commissioners in exclusion of Able Danger
8) Were the Commissioners involved in any way in the decision to not conduct a follow up interview with LTC Shaffer when he returned from Afghanistan?

9) Were any of the 9/11 Commissioners ever briefed by Staff before the release of the 9/11 Report? or since?

10) Did the Commission interview any Able Danger team members besides Shaffer and Phillpott?

11) For example, Dr. Eileen Preisser provided a closed door briefing on open source data-mining to Rep. Shay's subcommittee in October of 2001, was she ever interviewed by the Commission about the Able Danger program where she said she identified Atta?

12) For example, Dr. Bob Johnson informed his father, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) of the destruction of Able Danger data, he has since come forward to confirm that Phase II of the program (Stratus Ivy?) did in fact identify Atta. Was he interviewed by the 9/11 Commission?

Specific Questions to Senior Command Officials regarding Able Danger
13) Was General Shoomaker or General Shelton ever asked a specific question naming Able Danger?

14) Were retired Admiral Wilson (former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency) and General Rod Isler interviewed by the Commission? If so, were they asked specifically about Able Danger?

15) Was General Lambert who reportedly expressed outrage at the destruction of Able Danger data ever interviewed by the Commission?

16) Was Richard L. Shiffrin interviewed by the Commission? If so, was he asked specifically about Able Danger? Did he tell Garland, TX based military contractors to ignore the so-called 90-day rule pertaining to intelligence gathered on U.S. persons?

17) Was Stephen Cambone who headed up the recent DoD 'inquiry' in Able Danger and who attended a briefing with General Shelton in early 2001 as which time Able Danger was discussed, ever interviewed by the Commission?

White House & National Security Counsel Knowledge
18) Was the Commission at any time told by either the White House or the Dept. of Defense that Able Danger was classified? or told they could not even mention the existence of the program in its Report?

Briefings During Transistion or Early in Bush Administration
19) Was the 9/11 Commission staff given access to the minutes of meetings Lt. Col Shaffer had with General Hugh Shelton in December of 2000 and in January of 2001? Did Phillip Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team ever attend any briefings in December of 2000 or early in 2001 at which Able Danger was discussed?

20) Was the Commission given access to the minutes from a Feb or March 2001 meeting attended by Richard Shiffrin, Stephen Cambone, Admiral Wilson, and Lt. Col Shaffer at which time operations "Doorhop Galley (ph?)" and "Able Danger" was discussed?

Need for further investigation
21) In a letter to the editor at the WSJ, former Commissioners Roemer and Slade look forward to the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Able Danger. Do they also look forward to hearing from Able Danger witnesses who wish to testify as to what their program identified in open committee hearings under oath? If so, would they support the lifting of the gag placed on these witnesses by the DoD?

22) Are Dietrich Snell, Philip Zelikow and other 9/11 staffers present at the Shaffer/Phillpott briefings on Able Danger willing to come forward to testify in open hearings absent a subpoena in order to stand by their judgement that Able Danger was 'historically insignficant' and their decision not to conduct follow up interviews with LTC Shaffer, other Able Danger members, commanding officers or other related issues?

23) Is it fair and accurate to say that while there is as yet no 'hard evidence' (ie. data, paper charts) of the Able Danger identification of Atta and three others, there is still testimony from credible witnesses, and members of the core Able Danger team which has not been heard publicly that would be important to a full public inquiry into this matter, particularly the apparent cover-up and destruction of evidence part of that cover-up?
Thank you for your attention to this of grave import to the security of our nation and to the veracity and thoroughness of the public and historical record pertaining to the attacks of September 11.

Kyle F. Hence
9/11 CitizensWatch

Assume for a moment that the Able Danger Chinese intelligence data-sweep that coughed up Condi Rice and names within the DNC and the notion the program violated laws regarding surveillance on U.S. soil are possibly red herrings. What then might be other possible motives, as yet explored or discussed, for a comprehensive purging of any evidence this program in fact identified Atta, al-Sheehi, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar?

Was Atta in fact in the U.S. sooner than the Commission said he was? Was the Newsweek story claiming Atta had trained at Maxwell AFB in fact true (the military confirmed an "Mohamed Atta" but insisted it was another man but never produced the proof)? Or was Atta involved with South Florida drug trafficking or with indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramhoff (Atta was on one of his Casino boats and also in Vegas prior to 9/11) ? Did the Able Danger identification of a 'Brooklyn Cell' threaten to expose or compromise a covert Special Operations Command/CIA program that for a over a decade had sheparded, protected and trained jihadists and muslim radicals who fought with the mujahideen in Afghanistan, with the KLA and U.S. Special Forces in Kosovo or elsewhere?

The open letter poses direct questions to the Commission's investigation of Able Danger. These additional questions go 'Why the cover-up?' and 'Why go to such lengths to destroy so much evidence and so unjustifiably smear the reputation of a decorated military officer?' Answer these questions and we just might find the 'monstrous conspiracy' that former 9/11 Commissioner Tom Kean referred to today on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. (see transcript posted on this site).

-Kyle F. Hence

P.S. For more on the questions of CIA involvement in recruitment of radicial jihadists research the story of Ali Mohamed (prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald in the Southern District of NY), Sheikh Rahman (allegedly given multiple VISAs and protected by the CIA), even Al-Qeada's #2 Zawahiri was brought to the U.S. where he raised millions. All this according to thorough documentation in Chapter 2 of Nafeez Ahmed's book, The War on Truth.

Ask Newsweek about whether or not they did any follow up on their Atta trained at the International Officer's School at Maxwell? Ask Wally Hilliard the owner of Huffman Aviation in Venice, where Atta trained, about the Lear the DEA confiscated with all the heroin? Ask Abramoff if he ever met Atta or if any of his cronies did? (the AP ran the story Atta was on one of those casino boats right before 9/11).