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Profile: James D. Smith

 
  

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James D. Smith actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Mid-1999-November 1999: LIWA Data Mining Study Causes Controversy After Connecting Prominent US Figures to Weapons Purchases for Chinese Military      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Hua Di.
A report commissioned in mid-1999 by Rep. Curt Weldon (R) looks into possible Chinese front companies in the US seeking technology for the Chinese military. Dr. Eileen Preisser and Michael Maloof are commissioned to make the report. Dr. Preisser, who runs the Information Dominance Center at the US Army's Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) and will later become closely tied to Able Danger, uses LIWA's data mining capabilities to search unclassified information. According to Maloof, their results show Chinese front companies in the US posing as US corporations that acquire technology from US defense contractors. When the study is completed in November 1999, the General Counsel's office in the Office of the Defense Secretary orders the study destroyed. Weldon complains about this to Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, and apparently delays the destruction of the report. Weldon also writes a letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh requesting an espionage investigation into these Chinese links, but Freeh never responds to this. [Washington Times, 10/9/05] As part of this report, LIWA analysts had produced a chart of Chinese strategic and business connections in the US. But this data mining effort runs into controversy when the chart apparently shows connections between future National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and other prominent US figures, and business deals benefiting the Chinese military. [New York Post, 8/27/05; Washington Times, 9/22/05] The China chart was put together by private contractor James D. Smith, who will come forward in August 2005 to corroborate revelations about the Able Danger unit and its findings (see August 22-September 1, 2005). The New York Post later says there is “no suggestion that Rice or any of the others had done anything wrong.” [New York Post, 8/27/05] However, articles first appear one month later and through 2001 in the conservative publications WorldNetDaily and NewsMax, which connect Perry and Rice to Hua Di, a Chinese missile scientist and possible spy, and question the nature of their relationship with him. [WorldNetDaily, 4/5/00; WorldNetDaily, 12/21/99; NewsMax, 1/24/01] Di defected to the US in 1989 and worked most of the 1990s at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, which was co-directed by Perry. Di later returned to China and is subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison for writing influential articles said to reveal vital Chinese state secrets. [Stanford Report, 2/7/01] However, other accounts claim that he was in fact passing on disinformation through these articles, successfully misleading the US military for a couple of years about the abilities of certain Chinese missile programs. [WorldNetDaily, 12/21/99] Additionally, Hua Di teamed in 1994 with Stanford professor Dr. John Lewis and William Perry to buy an advanced AT&T fiber-optic communications system for “civilian” use inside China that instead is used by the Chinese army. The General Accounting Office later criticized the sale. In 1997, Stanford University investigated Dr. Lewis for his role in it, but Condoleezza Rice, serving as a Stanford provost at the time, apparently stopped the investigation. [WorldNetDaily, 4/5/00; NewsMax, 1/24/01] Able Danger and LIWA's data mining efforts will be severely proscribed in April 2000 as part of the fallout from this China controversy (see April 2000), and the destruction of their collected data will follow shortly thereafter (see May-June 2000).
People and organizations involved: Hua Di, William Perry, China, F. Michael Maloof, Eileen Preisser, Land Information Warfare Activity, Curt Weldon, Louis J. Freeh, Condoleezza Rice, James D. Smith, Eric Shinseki
          

April 2000: LIWA Support For Able Danger Program Ends; It Later Restarts      Complete 911 Timeline

       Four analysts from the US Army's Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) unit are forced to stop their work supporting the Able Danger program. At the same time, private contractors working for Able Danger are fired. This occurs around the time that it becomes known by some inside the military that LIWA had identified future National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, and other prominent Americans as potential security risks (see April 2000). It was apparently these LIWA analysts (such as Dr. Eileen Preisser) and contractors (such as James D. Smith) who conducted most of the data mining and analysis of al-Qaeda in the preceding months. One of the four LIWA analysts, Maj. Erik Kleinsmith, will later be ordered to destroy all the data collected (see May-June 2000). LIWA's support for Able Danger will resume a few months later (see Late September 2000). [Erik Kleinsmith Statement, 9/21/05; Washington Times, 9/22/05; New York Post, 8/27/05]
People and organizations involved: James D. Smith, William Perry, Able Danger, Eileen Preisser, Condoleezza Rice, Land Information Warfare Activity
          

January-March 2001: Intelligence Unit Tracking Al-Qaeda is Closed Down; Change in Leadership Factors in Closure      Complete 911 Timeline

       A secret military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which is tasked with assembling information about al-Qaeda networks around the world, is shut down. Some accounts say the program is shut down in January, some say February, and some say March. [Mark Zaid Statement, 9/21/05; Norristown Times Herald, 6/19/05; Norristown Times Herald, 9/12/05] The unit has identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaeda cell operating in the United States (see January-February 2000). According to James D. Smith, a Pentagon contractor involved with the unit, the inspector general shuts down the operation “because of a claim that we were collecting information on US citizens,” and it is illegal for the military to do this. [WTOP News, 9/1/05 (B)] Others familiar with the unit later say it is closed down because it might have led to the exposure of another data mining project that was investigating US citizens allegedly illegally transferring sensitive US technology to the Chinese government. [WTOP News, 9/1/05 (C)] Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer also blames the change in leadership brought by the new Bush administration. “Once the four star [General Schoomaker] went away, it was pretty much like the world closing around us [Schoomaker retired in November 2000, but returned as Army Chief of Staff in 2003]. There was no political will to continue this at that point in time. Plus, my direct leadership: Colonel [Jerry] York and General [Bob] Harding had moved on as well. Therefore, I had a new chain of command above me. They were very risk adverse. This [Able Danger] operation, as with other operations which were very high risk / high gain, some of which are still ongoing—seemed to not be appreciated by the incoming leadership.” [Government Security News, 9/05; American Forces Press Service, 6/17/03]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Able Danger, James D. Smith
          

August 22-September 1, 2005: More Individuals Come Forward to Confirm Able Danger Allegations      Complete 911 Timeline

      
James D. Smith.
Several individuals come forward and corroborate claims made about a military intelligence unit called Able Danger that, by mid-2000, allegedly identified Mohamed Atta and three other future 9/11 hijackers. Days previously, a US Army intelligence officer called Anthony Shaffer made claims about the unit (see August 17, 2005). On August 22, Scott J. Phillpott, an active-duty Navy captain who managed the Able Danger program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, comes forward and corroborates Shaffer's claims. He says, “My story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January-February of 2000.” Phillpott states that he was the officer who met with staff from the 9/11 Commission in July 2004, and told them about the program (see July 12, 2004). [New York Times, 8/22/05] Claims about the program are further corroborated when a former employee of a defense contractor who says he worked on the technical side of the unit, also comes forward. James D. Smith, who worked for Orion Scientific Systems [Norristown Times Herald, 9/22/05] , states that in 2000 he helped create a chart for Able Danger. He says, “I am absolutely positive that he [Atta] was on our chart among other pictures and ties that we were doing mainly based upon [terror] cells in New York City.” [Fox News, 8/28/05] Furthermore, the Pentagon admits that they have found three others, apart from Anthony Shaffer and Scott Phillpott, associated with Able Danger who assert that the program identified Mohamed Atta as an al-Qaeda suspect inside the US more than a year before 9/11. An official says that the five individuals associated with the program (including Shaffer and Phillpott) were all considered “credible people,” and that four of them recalled a photo of Mohamed Atta accompanying the chart they produced. [Reuters, 9/1/05] Eleven people ran Able Danger. [Bergen Record, 8/14/05] The Pentagon interviewed a total of 80 people who had some kind of association with the Able Danger program. [New York Times, 9/1/05]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta, al-Qaeda, Anthony Shaffer, Able Danger, US Department of Defense, James D. Smith, Scott Phillpott
          

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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