Weldon on Able Danger
(CNN) -- Congressman Curt Weldon, R-Pennsylvania, says a military intelligence unit called Able Danger identified four September 11 hijackers in 2000, more than a year before those attacks.
And he accuses the Defense Intelligence Agency of conducting a smear campaign against Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the intelligence officer who said he tried to alert the FBI and, later, the commission investigating the attacks about the terrorists.
Weldon's faced criticism from 9/11 commission member Tim Roemer for his call for an investigation into the Able Danger claims.
"The way he talks about Able Danger these days, you'd think it would have prevented Pearl Harbor and maybe had Congress spend money responsibly or develop some kind of immigration policy," Roemer told CNN's Lou Dobbs on Monday.
Weldon joined Dobbs on Tuesday to discuss Roemer's remarks, as well as his call for an Able Danger investigation.
DOBBS: Congressman, what is your reaction to Tim Roemer's remarks?
WELDON: Outrageous. We're talking about the loss of 3,000 people [in the September 11, 2001 attacks]. The largest loss of American lives, including Pearl Harbor, in the history of our country, in one incident. And we brush it aside like it's nothing.
Talk to the families of these people as I have. I have a wife and two kids in my district whose husband was on one of the planes when he had his throat slit by the terrorists. The chief of all rescue in New York, Ray Downey, left five kids and grandkids. Talk to them. Talk to the 17 sailors' families on the USS Cole, a couple of whom have already written me e-mails that they really want to know what happened and what could have prevented the attack. I just can't believe the cavalier attitude of responding to this, Lou.
DOBBS: Cavalier, perhaps, certainly glib.
At the same time, Tim Roemer is asking, where is the chart? Where is the information? And why are you asking for a criminal investigation when the 9/11 Commission members say they never saw any evidence of this? Why is there that disconnect?
WELDON: Well, the chart is not the issue. The 9/11 Commission is using that because they're embarrassed. They've got egg all over their face. The reason they didn't report on it, is because for some reason, I think it was deliberate. They never interviewed the key participants in Able Danger.
The people that I've talked to had one meeting, and that was a debrief by [Commissioner] Jamie Gorelick's staffer. And it was in Jamie Gorelick's best interest not to have the story told.
Perhaps that's why she called my office the first week of August when the story broke in The New York Times and said to my chief of staff, "Please tell Congressman Weldon that I did nothing wrong."
She also made similar calls to Arlen Specter's staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Personal calls to tell us that she did nothing wrong. Lou, there's something here that the American people need to understand.
DOBBS: Well, there is so much that we need to understand, congressman. And your call for a criminal investigation, when we last talked had 100 signatures. How many, Congressman, do you now have, congressman and congresswomen, supporting your call for an investigation of the Defense Department and the controversy surrounding Able Danger?
WELDON: Lou, last week was the first day I circulated the letter. On the final day of the session I got, as you pointed out, 100 signatures. We're going back into session in five minutes. I'll guarantee you by the close of your hour here, I'll have at least 125 names on this letter, if not more. And these are senior members of both parties. These are conservatives and liberals who want these people to be able to testify in open, before the Congress and before the American people.
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