Anthony Shaffer on the Jerry Doyle Show
The Jerry Doyle Show
September 20, 2005
transcribed by vadkins
Jerry Doyle: Lt. Col. welcome to the program.
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer: Thank you sir, good to be on with you. I appreciate it.
JD: I know that the last time you had sent me some communiques that the Defense Intelligence Agency had actually had formally revoked your Top Secret security clearance. I thought that was highly coincidental in light of the fact that this testimony is supposed to start tomorrow.
AS: Well it's interesting that you should mention that. Yes, I believe, as does my attorney, Mark Zaid, that this was definitely, as you said, timing is everything, an effort to purposely, deliberately, slam me and try to discredit me before I go before the committee. As of like 20 minutes ago, Mr. Zaid received from DIA formal notification telling him that I am not, repeat, not to talk to Congress about this on the record in testimony. And, by the way, they gave no reason what so ever why reason whatsoever why they are denying me this invitation. Congress did issue the invitation. DIA denied it and gave no reason as to why they're denying it.
JD: Being a civvie, can they do that?
AS: Well, at this point in time they can. And there's a process which can over rule this, which is a subpoena process. Keep in mind Jerry that I was not subpoenaed, I was invited, formally invited by the Senate to appear before them tomorrow. It was DoD's decision based on whatever they did internally which has now been determined that they will not permit me, Captain Philpott, Dr. Eileen Preisser, or any other uniformed or civilian member of the Dept. of Defense to testify. However, I think you'll find this is a bright spot, it has just been announced about 20 minutes ago that Mr. Erik Kleinsmith, Erik Kleinsmith is the name. He is the major who was the individual who was directed by DoD authorities to destroy the 2.5 terabytes of data back in 2000, he is now a civilian contractor, and his civilian contractor, God bless them, even though if you're a defense contractor, has given him permission to testify. Therefore, he will indeed testify tomorrow of the fact that he was directed to destroy the data. So, in the end then Jerry what has happened is that while J.D. Smith, Eileen Preisser, Scott Philpott and I cannot testify, one thing that I think DoD does not want to come out of this that will come out, which is the destruction of documents.
JD: Now, outside of a subpoena, I guess the only way that you could testify in front of the committee is if you were to resign because you are still, quote, active duty and still collecting a DoD paycheck.
AS: Essentially, as long as I am collecting a duty paycheck, yes they can control what I can and cannot say concerning the testimony. Now I will say this as well, you will see me, I will be there tomorrow. I was asked by the Senate to be present in uniform. Therefore I will be there in full Army uniform. I will not be permitted to speak but I will be on hand in the Senate chamber (inaudible) as Congressman Weldon, my attorney, Mark Zaid and as others give their testimony. I will be present in uniform. I think that the Senate is trying to underscore the point here that people are willing to come forward here and give what their understanding is of the truth. And as you mentioned in your introduction about the whole issue and to me, let me tell you, we did not lack imagination. The 9-11 Commission and what they're saying is totally bogus and I as you noticed from the fact that we were doing cutting edge techniques, trying to find ways, creative ways to go after these guys. We did not lack imagination, we lacked support, and obviously right now the concern is, there is a definite appearance that we aren't being supported by DoD. Jerry, DoD mentioned on the first of September, they confirmed everything that we talked about to date. All we were going to do is go in as Captain Philpott, Dr. Eileen Pricer, J.D. Smith and myself. (inaudible) is color in the pieces of this thing. So the fact that DoD now would reverse itself, we can't even begin to figure out why they would do such a thing based on the fact that they've admitted the fact that the program existed and even confirmed the results of the program. So it's a mystery to us as well.
JD: Well, when you say DoD, where's this coming from at DoD? Is this instructions to DoD from higher ups? Is this people in DoD who are afraid of what information gets out? I mean who is the person who's making this happen?
AS: What I will tell you is I was told by 2 DoD officials today directly that it is their understanding that the Secretary of Defense directed that we not testify tomorrow. That is my understanding.
JD: You would almost think though that Rumsfeld would want this information to come out because, I mean, this is all tracable. If you've got an order of destruction of documents, someone has to sign it, someone has to sign off on it, someone has to have the authority to do that. You would almost think that the Pentagon would want this to come out, so is it Rumsfeld or is it someone above Rumsfeld? The problem I have is I can't figure out who and why and when and what.
AS: (inaudible) at this point in time, especially considering the fact that you know, you've been tracking it, this has been going on for about 6 weeks now. This is not a new story, this information is coming out little by little. And yes, for the DoD at this point in time, after on 1 September admitting the fact that this existed, admitting the mission, admitting what we did, then to reverse itself to say that the principal officers involved in this cannot testify, does not pass the common sense test. I don't know, and we don't know as individuals involved in this, what's going on. So my lawyer did say specifically, you know, that DoD, especially DIA wants me to shutup. And I think that that's the reason that they in writing down to my lawyer now, that I am not permitted to talk on the record to Congress on this issue. And there was no reason given. Go ahead sir.
JD: We're talking to Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, scheduled to testify tomorrow in front of Arlen Specter's Judiciary Committee with regard to Able Danger. With regard to, and I need to address this, the Defense Intelligence Agency formally revoking your Top Secret security clearance, they said that they did that because you lied to them. Can you explain that to the audience a little.
AS: Absolutely. Their formal claim in their written declaration of taking my clearance, they formally said that I lied to them in my written statement for basically doing my rebuttal of their allegation against me. And the official reason is that I lied to them about Army clearing me regarding the 3 allegations that I had a (inaudible) word, I had a phone bill of $67 and some odd sense, which you know is 25 cents at a time for 18 months. And I misfiled a voucher adding up to $180. Well Jerry, the bottom line is this. I was promoted to Lt. Col. on schedule in October, the Army has allowed me to keep the award, it was a valid award, an award I received for Able Danger. Tomorrow if you see me in the (inaudible), I will be wearing it on my chest. I have never been asked to give back or they've never collected the money from me in dispute. So to me, the layman's terms here is, the Army let me keep everything so I think they cleared me. And so DIA is saying somehow, no, even though you're promoted to Lt. Col., even though we've let you keep all this stuff, you falsely stated to us that the Army cleared you. So again, Jerry, they apparently did not take the time or have the interest of checking with the Army to figure out that the Army did clear me, that there's nothing adverse in my file. The Army reviewed these things, and said, nope, he's keeping the award, he's keeping the money and we're promoting him to Lt. Col.
JD: And you're still on the payroll, plus from what I can garner the government has spent some $400,000 to try and convince John Q. Taxpayer out there that you spent $67? Lt. Col. Shafer, can you stick with us for a couple more minutes?
AS: Absolutely, yes sir.
JD: My guest Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, scheduled to testify tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They're trying to shut him up folks. What don't they want to be known...
JD: ...a timeline of events as to how this has all been unfolding with regard to Able Danger and the attempted coverup along the way. Back on August 22 according to the Pentagon chief spokesman, Larry DiRita, who is I should say, Pentagon hoax person, Larry DiRita, he said that while Col. Shaffer and Captain Philpott were respected military officers whose accounts were taken seriously, thus far we've not been able to uncover what these people said they said they saw, memory is a complicated thing.
JD: When asked by the Defense Dept. in its 2 weeks investigation, if anyone else had spoken to anyone besides yourself, Captain Philpott included, he said he did not know, memory was a complicated thing apparently there. Then I take it to Sept. 14th. All ten members of the 9-11 Commission, in the words of ex-Senator Slade Gorton, bluntly it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us. Then on Sept. 16th this story out about 80 people interviewed with reagrd to Able Danger, this according to a Pentagon spokesman, that they combed through thousands of documents, millions of emails, and still found no documentation of Mohammad Atta. I would suggest to the people listening to the program that the reason they haven't found that is that because an order of destruction was given to Erik Kleinsmith, civilian contractor working for the Pentagon to destroy the documents. Am I making sense so far Lt. Col.?
AS: Sure. And there's apparently more than 1 destruction order that was issued. Congressman Weldon was made aware apparently that the second date apparently 2003 which kind of brings us up to the point of where this all became known to the 9-11 Commissioners, or at least their staffers there in the 2003 time frame.
JD: OK, can I just, when you were doing the datamining on Able Danger, there's 2.5 terabytes of information, one-fourth of all the Library of Congress books that exist today. You know and your team knows that you guys identified Mohammad Atta and three of the hijackers a year before September 11th, 1001. Is that true or not true?
AS: That is absolutely true, yes.
JD: Then your memory is not according to Lawrence DiRita at the Pentagon (inaudible).
AS: Jerry, I've spoken to a lot of folks about this and I think that my recollection has been pretty consistent. I know the picture, I know what I saw. While there's obviously disputes about what name was under that picture, J. D. Smith has already said that there were several names under that picture, we all recall the same issue and that the Pentagon confirmed. We recall the Atta photograph and we do recall in more detail, the other folks more than I, the other names of the other terrorists who were also detected in this process. And it is that fact that we have said consistently, this is what we remember seeing. The problem has been that there's been an effort to, in my judgement, to focus on Atta solely. Where they say that we didn't say this, or we didn't say that. Jerry, the fact is this, we used this technology to go after and identify individuals such as Atta, not just Atta, but people such as Atta who fit a profile. And it's frightening to me that that database which contained not only Atta's identity, but other's who matched the profile is now destroyed. So we don't know where those guys went. Just because the other guys in that database who fit that profile didn't do the World Trade Center attack, or didn't do the 9-11 attacks doesn't mean they're not in place to do some future attack. That's our concern here. Why would you want to destroy a database which potentially had other clues, other individuals, other identities, other linkages which some day-we all know Al Queda's a very patient enemy-they do things over years, not just days, not just months, years. So who's to say that that information didn't contain another nugget or two or three or four which would have helped us to identify now some of the sleepers in place. That is what we find frightening right now.
JD: And frightening to me is that these linkages that you discuss, Lt. Col., probably maybe extend outside of al-Qaeda. There's got to be something here why this has to go away. When just on Aug. 22nd the Pentagon's chief spokesperson, Larry DiRita said that you and Philpott were respected military officers whose accounts were taken serious, and then not just a couple of weeks later they're out to discredit you spending $400,000 to take you down and take you out of the game over $67 in personal phone calls on a military issued cell phone.
AS: Right. (inaudible) it was official phone calls being forwarded to my personal phone. Jerry, this was in their best interest to keep in touch with me. I was allowing them to phone me. So yeah, that's how bizarre this thing has gotten that they spent that amount of money, and oh yeah, by the way, you know, the Army has permitted me to keep everything. I was cleared. So that's the concern here. And I think, Jerry, as you pointed out, if they can do this to me, if they can do this to me who has given my entire life, 22 years to work in defense of this country. If they can do this to me over this issue, they can do this to anybody. I think that everybody has to understand that. I don't want to sound Orwellian here, but the fact is this. If they are willing to go to this length, to spend $400,000 to go through every detail in my background, and oh, by the way, Jerry, I've got to say, I'm kind of proud of the fact that this is all they've come up with. I mean, you know, I'm not a perfect guy, you know the fact that they're coming after me over these bogus issues, and that they're taking my security clearance over me trying to tell the truth, speaks volumes of what these guys are really about. (inaudible)
JD: It is Orwellian. And the fact that we don't have hard hitting investigative journalists reporting on this on a day to day basis, the fact that we don't have stories about this, the fact that people are telling me that they can't get a story that there is no story, but the fact that there is no story. There's a huge story that we're not getting, and that's the point that I'm trying to get people to understand. This is being made to go away and to look simple, to marginalize you and to take Philpott out of the game and to take Weldon out of the game and not give him the Chairmanship of Homeland Security, to give it to Peter King. I've heard rumors that Peter King supposedly has certain ties to people that are in the Irish Republican Army. There's a lot of weird stuff going on right now Lt. Col. And this is almost what they want to have happen. They want it to get in a place where people start to get conspiratorial. Where they start to say a plane didn't go in to the Pentagon, that kind of stuff starts to happen. That's where they want it to go because people who start to discuss because they have no real information to deal with, that they can say I got concretely from the Pentagon or DIA or DoD or from you under testimony, then it has to become about black helicopters and conspiracy theories and it marginalizes itself because that's where they wanted it to end up in the first place.
AS: Right. Again, the simple fact in all this is we, Captain Philpott and I, wanted to address a efficiency that we recognized which existed now based on our original experience working the original Able Danger project. The fact that datamining and some of these more esoteric capabilities that we wanted to develop. They're not new, they're a form of profiling, but the idea here is to actually do good. To try to find these guys before an attack happens. That's essentially what we're trying to do here. And I'm honestly, you know, flabbergasted that there's such resistance on this. And I don't know exactly which ant hill exactly we kicked over. We've all kind of talked amongst ourselves on this and there seems to be something else, something bigger here, that maybe we're just so close to that we can't see. And that's where, you know, I'm confused by the whole process.
JD: When this Able Danger thing started off, was this an SAP program that got reclassified. Was there a 1 star or 2 star that signed off on this? Give us a kind of account of the hierarchy of Able Danger.
AS: The basic planning of Able Danger started out as a Special Actions program. You're entirely correct. However, it was determined early on that to bring the best and the brightest in, to have this entrepreneurial idea, they were going to have to expand out the knowledgeability. So I was one of the original folks right into it. It was determined that very early on (inaudible) so it went from being SAP, Special Actions Program, to a compartmented program, which basically means one level less than SAP. But you still account by name everyone who was aware of it. You take and you put together something they call a bigot list. A bigot list is essentially a knowledgeability list. It's like Robert DeNiro talking about the circle of trust in a movie. This is what you're talking about, an official circle of trust of people who are aware of this operation. And then you basically expand out the knowledgeability only on the need to know. I think I mentioned to you before, Jerry, when the Pentagon talks about interviewing 80 folks, you know, I don't think there were 80 folks ever knowledgeable of the overall Able Danger project, you know, during the time that we were running it. I'm kind of wondering how all these other people ever became knowledgeable of it or somehow became on the radar of it. It was a very tightly organized, very small group pursuing this target. And it's interesting that Captain Philpott, Captain Scott Philpott, back then was the commander, he was actually the classification officer. He wrote the guidelines. So I know this for a fact from talking to him. I know what the perameters were. So, in essence we did not want to be so restrictive that it became ridiculous and we couldn't do work. But we wanted to make it so the people did understand that this was important, that this was an effort which had to be taken seriously, and we had to limit knowledgeability because it was at the time, obviously now, because of the push back we're even getting now. This was very contraversial. The idea of doing offensive operations against al-Qaeda 2 years before 9-11. It was very, very controversial.
JD: With all of the 2.5 terabytes of information that you garnered, this being a compartmented program, someone had to sign off on the authorization to destroy the documents. Does anybody know who that was?
AS: Let me get into that for a second. Whever you bring in even overt information, even stuff that's from open sources, once you bring it behind that classification wall to put it into that secret world, that becomes classified automatically. You can't then take it back out. It's like one of those mudcatchers. Once the mud goes in, it can't get out. Same way with this. Even though it was unclassified data, it becomes controlled in a controlled environment once it crosses that threshold. And the answer is, yes, there should be someone who is accountable, someone who signed the documents, someone overseeing them. Now the question becomes, Jerry, did DoD ollow proper procedures when they destroyed the data? And that right there will tell you and everyone else what the intent was. If the intent was to follow procedure as the Pentagon has outlined, doing it by the regulation, yes, everything should have been done 555, should be a written record, should be emails, should be very clear guidelines and emails and individuals who did it. However, if it was done for the wrong reasons, that is to say that they wanted to destroy it in such a way that there was no accountability for the destruction, no accountability for who ordered it, then it's going to have to come down to, as you've already noticed, people trying to recollect this stuff from memory because the official documentation may have been destroyed by those folks who ordered the destruction. I don't want to sound conspiratorial, but if it was done for that intent, to cover up, then yes, you're going to have no real documentation on it. That's the problem.
JD: And then this testimony that's coming forward from Erik Kleinsmith, the civilian contractor, does he have the ability to have copies of the documents or is it going to be he said, they said? And they're saying he's wrong.
AS: I don't know. I've not talked to Erik, in the sense, I saw him last in 2000 at LIWA. I don't know, I've not talked to him. He at the time was an active duty Army major. He was deputy to Dr. Eileen Preisser working on this issue. Eileen Preisser, you've seen her name in the news. So I don't know what he has. I don't know what he's brought forward. I do know he is credible. I do know that he had access to the controlled database. So those are acurate statements. That is the limit of my direct knowledge. However, it will come down as I mentioned, to if he did it properly with the proper oversight authority, then there will be documentation, you know, resulting in showing who ordered the destruction, why the destruction was ordered and who actually performed the function.
JD: If you could give us a couple more minutes I'd like to take a break and come back and just kind of give the listening audience an idea of how much information you collected and how far behind we are right now in looking at what you knew then, what information was garnered then, what we could be doing with it and, with all of the talk about not a questions of if but when we're going to get hit with a coordinated nuclear potential, biological, radiological attack in this country, where are we at now and how far behind are we in the game of getting information on these people who don't make it a game of wanting to destroy this country. My guest is Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer...
JD: ...talking with you about Able Danger, testifying in front of the Judiciary, the destruction of documents, Mohammad Atta, 9-11, why they want to silence people who have something to say and all 10 lines are open. No one's calling. That either says that there's agreement out there or here is fear. And I'm not exactly sure what I attribute to 10 lines being open. I know people are listening, they are certainly not going to call and discredit you because this is what you did, this ss what you were a part of with Able Danger. But in looking at what we say was known about Mohammad Atta and other terrorists in cells in Brooklyn and the list goes on, we have 2.5 terabytes of information. For those not familiar, that's 1/4 of all the books printed in the Library of Congress. That's a lot of information that we had that is gone now. How far are we behind the learning curve of what we need to have to protect us today from what they've been planning since that information was destroyed?
AS: Jerry, it's frightening because of the fact as we pointed out before the last break, that data is now gone. We don't know what happened to it, but it's just destoyed. Within that we believe there were clues and linkages to individuals who may well be here right now, who are here legally, and that's one of the topics we've talked about. These individuals applied for and received visas and green cards to be here legally. And so we don't know with this data being gone now. It's not like we can just go back and do the same thing. To do a new search on the Internet and recreate a large amount of that. But the problem is that data that we had back then, although open source which was openly available, is unique. It was a single snapshot of relationships of locations of individuals which no longer exists. So that is the first concern. The second concern is as Richard Ben Veniste said in an on-air interview, the 9-11 Commission had no ability to evaluate what Captain Philpott and I were saying because the technology to do so no longer exists. Unquote. Which means that the capability, the basic suite of software and computers, the neural networking, and the evaluation of how things looked in the way of a roadmap-and that's what we were after here, a roadmap of al-Qaeda-no longer exists. We can't build that roadmap today, we can't update it. So you can tell me, you know, if you're driving on a road and you don't know where you're going, how are you going to get to your destination? Same thing here. How do we now get to the destination of finding out where these guys are, how they're doing they're work, if we don't have that roadmap?
JD: I guess more importantly, Lt. Col. if we have the order of destruction for the information that we had, who's responsible for shutting down Able Danger and dismantling the infrastructure to continue to get information on suspected terrorist cells, organizations and connections?
AS: That's a good question. I don't actually know who that is. I know that, I know my part. I was ordered out of the operation by a 2-star Army general named Rod Isler, who came to the point where he was yelling at me, demanding that I stop supporting this. Each individual within the group had their own horror story at how we attempted to say, look this is pretty important stuff, global terrorism, you know these guys have killed Americans we should continue this. And we were told to a man and woman, no, sit down, shut up, move on, it's time to forget about it. And this all happened in the spring of 2001 right before the attacks. So I can't tell you what the philosophy was, I can't tell you who actually was behind it, I can just tell you that obviously my observations, the fact that it happened, the fact that we had Atta, we had other information which we tried to pass to the FBI. Plus, Jerry, I don't know if your listeners are aware, Captain Philpott actually told the 9-11 Commission about the fact that Able Danger discovered information regarding the Cole attack. The USS Cole which was attacked in October of 2000. There was information that was Able Danger found that related to al-Qaeda planning an attack. That information unfortunately didn't get anywhere either. So that is another clue that was given to the 9-11 Commission to say, hey, this capability did some stuff, and they chose not to even look at that. So now, where are we at? I honestly don't know. But it's not the place we need to be. That's what we need to determine. Is to take a pause, take a deep breath, figure out where we need to go next. How do we accomplish this technology, how do we then go about populating a database to support it, and then how do we take positive action to try to develop...
JD: Positive action would be to have you testify tomorrow in front of the Judiciary Committee. I know you'll be there. We'll be watching and following it. I hope you'll come back and let us know what was said and what you weren't allowed to say because there's a lot more that needs to be said about this and this is frightening...
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