Congress to hear pre-9/11 report
Local grad to testify that hijackers were identified before attack

By Margo Rutledge Kissell
Dayton Daily News

Wright State University graduate Anthony "Tony" Shaffer, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and veteran intelligence operative, will be allowed to testify before the House Armed Services Committee next week about the controversial, once-secret operation, Able Danger.

Shaffer, 43, and others involved with the former data-mining operation, claim Able Danger had identified Mohamed Atta and three other Sept. 11 hijackers a year before the terrorist attacks.
They have been under a gag order.

But more than half the members of Congress — including U.S. Reps. David Hobson, R-Springfield, and Mike Turner, R-Centerville — signed a letter late last year asking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to let the former participants testify in an open hearing before Congress.

Wednesday's hearing will be a joint session before the Strategic Forces subcommittee and the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

Weldon is the vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees who sent the letter to Rumsfeld signed by 246 lawmakers.

Secretary of the Navy Gordon England responded to Weldon's letter on behalf of Rumsfeld on Dec. 13, as Congress was preparing to recess.

England's letter said, "The department is prepared to fully participate in either open or closed hearings on this matter, consistent with the need to protect national security."

Part of the hearing will be open, but classified aspects will be discussed behind closed doors.

Shaffer had revealed publicly last year that Able Danger, created in 1999 to make links between individuals using publicly available information, had identified the hijackers in January 2000, He claims government lawyers prevented the team from sharing the information with the FBI. The Pentagon ended Able Danger in early 2001.

Shaffer spent his senior year at Stebbins High School and started his military career with an Ohio Army National Guard unit in Kettering.