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'Able Danger' Officer's Clearance Revoked

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050930/D8CUF7H80.html Able Danger Officer s Clearance Revoked Sep 30, 4:13 AM (ET) By KIMBERLY HEFLING WASHINGTON (AP) - An
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2005
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      http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050930/D8CUF7H80.html

      'Able Danger' Officer's Clearance Revoked

      Sep 30, 4:13 AM (ET)

      By KIMBERLY HEFLING

      WASHINGTON (AP) - An officer who has claimed that a
      classified military unit identified four Sept. 11
      hijackers before the 2001 attacks is facing Pentagon
      accusations of breaking numerous rules, allegations
      his lawyer suggests are aimed at undermining his
      credibility.

      The alleged infractions by Army Lt. Col. Anthony
      Shaffer, 42, include obtaining a service medal under
      false pretenses, improperly flashing military
      identification while drunk and stealing pens,
      according to military paperwork shown by his attorney
      to The Associated Press.

      Shaffer was one of the first to publicly link Sept. 11
      leader Mohamed Atta to the unit code-named Able
      Danger. Shaffer was one of five witnesses the Pentagon
      ordered not to appear Sept. 21 before the Senate
      Judiciary Committee to discuss the unit's findings.

      The military revoked Shaffer's top security clearance
      this month, a day before he was supposed to testify to
      a congressional committee.

      Mark Zaid, Shaffer's attorney, said the Pentagon
      started looking into Shaffer's security clearance
      about the time in 2003 he met in Afghanistan with
      staff members of the bipartisan commission that
      studied the Sept. 11 attacks and told them about Able
      Danger.

      Zaid said he can't prove the Pentagon went after
      Shaffer because he's a whistleblower, but "all the
      timing associated with the clearance issue has been
      suspiciously coincidental."

      Citing concerns with the privacy act, Cmdr. Terry
      Sutherland, a Defense Intelligence Agency spokesman,
      declined to release any information on Shaffer.

      Shaffer says he received a Bronze Star medal for work
      on a classified operation in Afghanistan in 2003.
      According to papers provided by Zaid, the military is
      now questioning whether he deserved it, including
      challenging whether at least one person who backed
      Shaffer's nomination for the medal had firsthand
      knowledge of his actions.

      Shaffer says he showed his government credentials
      during two incidents in 1990, when he was drunk, and
      1996, when he was pulled over by police. The military
      says he misused his credentials, but Shaffer says he
      was not told he should not have used them. He also
      said he has joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been
      sober for 13 years.

      As for the pens and other office supplies taken, he
      blamed that on "youthful indiscretions" more than 20
      years ago.

      According to the paperwork, the alleged infractions
      against Shaffer also include:

      - Falsely claiming $341.80 in mileage and tolls fees.
      He said he filed travel expenses based on what he was
      told by human resources staff.

      - Obtaining $67.79 in personal cell phone charges. He
      said the amount was a legitimate expense accrued so he
      could forward calls.

      - Going over his chain of command to do briefings.
      Shaffer said he was providing briefings to higher-ups
      on projects even his direct superiors did not know
      about, and he received superior review ratings for
      that time.

      - Showing irresponsibility with $2,012 in credit card
      debt. He said he paid off the debt.

      Shaffer, now a member of the Army Reserves, has been
      on administrative leave since March 2004. During the
      same time, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel on
      Oct. 1, 2004.

      Shaffer has said he tried three times to meet with the
      FBI to convey the Able Danger unit's findings before
      Sept. 11, but was ordered not to by military
      attorneys.

      Shaffer's assertions on Able Danger have been
      supported by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. If correct, they
      would change the timeline as to when authorities first
      learned of some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

      The Sept. 11 commission has dismissed the claims. The
      Pentagon has acknowledged some employees recall seeing
      an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist
      before the attacks, but said none have been able to
      find a copy of it.
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