Commissioners Explain why Able Danger was Omitted from their Report

Monday, December 5, 2005
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C.
Final Report – Press Conference
9-11 Public Discourse Project

Prepared by Kyle F. Hence, 9/11 CitizensWatch from recording made during live webcast of event.

Reporter: Why did the Commission leave out mention of Able Danger?

Slade Gordon: …It first came out in a paragraph in a book published not long ago by, by Congressman Weldon in which he says that he gave a chart showing [inaudible] Mohammed Atta as a part of an Able Danger unit in the United States to Steve Hadley who is now our National Security uh, uh Director. You know that just didn’t happen. Steve Hadley says he got that no such thing. Congressman Weldon didn’t turn anything of that nature over to the FBI when it was investigating 9/11, didn’t turn it over to the Joint Congressional Committee, didn’t turn it over to the 9/11 Commission, and in fact didn’t mention it for a year after the 9/11 Commission made its report. The answer is it’s all smoke. There was no such memorandum and it didn’t get to anyone in authority. Colonel Shaffer said that he told members of the 9/11 Staff about Mohammed Atta in Afghanistan late in the year 2003. Three of our staff members were there and a representative of the White House. No names were mentioned. The existence of Able Danger was. But uh no names were mentioned. And there’s no notice that, that, nothing in Colonel Shaffer’s notes of the meeting that indicates that there were. He did tell us about Able Danger. We did get all ask for all of the information on Able Danger from the Dept. of Defense, which has since then rechecked all of its information and it had no such names at all.

The uh particular question however has to do with the last person who mentioned it to one of our staff members shortly before we filed our report. He wasn’t a member of Able Danger. He had a memory of seeing something that talked about Mohammed Atta and, [inaudible] Brooklyn, sometime before, it was a fairly vague memory but by that time we knew Mohammed Atta’s history. He was the most important single of the conspirators. We knew his history and we knew that his history was inconsistent with that memory. We think that just simply a faulty uh, uh, uh, memory on his part. We get lots of tips, lots of people of good faith come and say they thought something happened and when you check it out, it didn’t happen. And so the reason that it’s not in the report basicly is that it didn’t

Richard Ben Veniste: Let me add to that if I may uh Slade, uh, uh and Tom. Thank you. When we, uh, issued our final report, one of central tenets of what we found was that there was a failure of communication, that we had accumulated a great deal of information, but that it was not wisely used, information wasn’t shared, it wasn’t effectively utilized”

If we had any such information relating to the Department of Defense and information that it had accumulated which would have been useful in interrupting the plot there is no question but that we would have made it public. Transparency was the hallmark of what we were about.”

And so let me suggest that all of us have absolutely no problem with those who have subpoena power, who have investigative capacity, including Rep. Weldon I might add, to go forward and get the information and make it public. The Senate intelligence committee has conducted an investigation. It should make that investigation, the results of that investigation, public.

The only way in which the kind of revisionism and conspiratorialist paranoia can be properly dealt with is by openness in government.

There should be a hearing about the Able Danger datamining project. And the American people should be apprised of the results of that investigation.