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Profile: Arlen Specter

 
  

Positions that Arlen Specter has held:

  • US Senator


 

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Arlen Specter actively participated in the following events:

 
  

June 25, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Senator Arlen Specter writes to Condoleezza Rice asking for “clarification about numerous stories concerning alleged mistreatment of enemy combatants in US custody” and requesting that she explain how the administration ensures that detainees rendered to other countries are not tortured. [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Arlen Specter, Condoleezza Rice
          

September 21, 2005: Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Public Hearing on Able Danger Unit; Key Officers Barred From Testifying      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Sen. Arlen Specter.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Arlen Specter (R), holds a public hearing to investigate an intelligence program called Able Danger, to explore allegations that it identified Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers more than a year before 9/11, and to learn why the Pentagon disbanded it and destroyed the information it had gathered. [UPI, 9/21/05; Government Computer News, 9/21/05; New York Times, 9/21/05] The committee is seeking testimony from several former Able Danger members. Among these are Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, Dr. Eileen Preisser, and civilian analyst James D. Smith; all but Preisser have recently come forward with allegations about the unit (see August 17, 2005; August 22-September 1, 2005). However, the day before the hearing, Defense Department lawyers ordered them and other former Able Danger members not to testify. [UPI, 9/21/05; Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05] Shaffer says in an interview, “I was told by two [Defense Department] officials today directly that it is their understanding that [Defense Secretary Rumsfeld] directed that we not testify...” [Jerry Doyle Show, 9/20/05] The Defense Department's only reason for doing so, offered by a spokesman, is that they have “expressed [their] security concerns and believe it is simply not possible to discuss Able Danger in any great detail in an open public forum open testimony of these witnesses.” [New York Times, 9/21/05] Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter says, “That looks to me like it may be obstruction of the committee's activities, something we will have to determine.” He complains that the Pentagon only delivered hundreds of pages of documents related to Able Danger late on the eve of the hearing, leaving no time for committee staff to review the material. [Reuters, 9/21/05] Furthermore, the Pentagon's representative at the hearing, William Dugan, admits that he has very limited knowledge of Able Danger. Arlen Specter tells him, “You were sent over—perhaps with the calculation you wouldn't have the information.” [Associated Press, 9/21/05; Government Computer News, 9/21/05]
People and organizations involved: Eileen Preisser, US Department of Defense, Anthony Shaffer, Donald Rumsfeld, William Dugan, Arlen Specter, James D. Smith, Mohamed Atta, Able Danger, Senate Judiciary Committee, Scott Phillpott
          

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