/*PenDragn: Claim that Able Danger Program Identified 9/11 Hijackers Before the Attack, Shot Down. by Pentagon IG*/

9.23.2006

Claim that Able Danger Program Identified 9/11 Hijackers Before the Attack, Shot Down. by Pentagon IG

NY Times does a good job on this (Article abridged here. Read entire report at link):
The Defense Department’s inspector general on Thursday dismissed claims by military officers and others who had insisted that a secret Pentagon program identified Mohamed Atta and other terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks before the attacks occurred.
...
The report found that the recollections of most of the witnesses appeared to focus on a “single chart depicting Al Qaeda cells responsible for pre-9/11 terrorist attacks” that was produced in 1999 by a defense contractor, the Orion Scientific Corporation.

While witnesses remembered having seen Mr. Atta’s photograph or name on such a chart, the inspector general said its investigation showed that the Orion chart did not list Mr. Atta or any of the other Sept. 11 terrorists, and that “testimony by witnesses who claimed to have seen such a chart varied significantly from each other.”

The report says that a central witness in the investigation, an active-duty Navy captain who directed the Able Danger program, had changed his account over time, initially telling the inspector general’s office last December that he was “100 percent” certain that he had seen “Mohamed Atta’s image on the chart.”

But in an interview this May, the report said, the officer, Scott J. Phillpott, changed his story, telling investigators that he had been confused and was now “convinced that Atta was not on that chart” but that, instead, the terrorist’s photograph was reproduced on a separate document that he was shown by an intelligence analyst on the Able Danger team in June 2000.

The inspector general’s report suggests that the independent federal commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks was right to dismiss Captain Phillpott’s initial claims about Able Danger.

The Sept. 11 commission acknowledged last year that the Navy captain had come to its investigators in July 2004, only days before it issued its final report.

The inspector general’s report also rejected claims by another of the witnesses, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a veteran military intelligence officer, that he had faced reprisals for having make disclosures about Able Danger, including revocation of his security clearance.

Josh White's article at Washington Post on same subject shines light on the surrounding controversies better though. I can't begin to excerpt that one. You ain't seen office politics until your office is actually Washington DC.