United Press International - Pentagon gags 'Able Danger' team
: "WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Defense Department lawyers have blocked members of a data-mining intelligence team from testifying Wednesday before a congressional committee probing their claims that they identified the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary sought testimony from several members of the team -- code-named Able Danger -- as part of their investigation into claims that the project identified Mohamed Atta and three of the other 18 hijackers as linked to al-Qaida in early 2000, according to Senate staffers.
Mark Zaid, an attorney representing a liaison to the team, Army reserve Col. Tony Shaffer, told United Press International that a letter to his client gave no reasons for blocking the testimony.
The letter was signed by the principle deputy general counsel for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Robert Berry.
Zaid said the team members 'were told verbally that they would not be allowed to testify,' and that he had requested the decision about his client be put in writing.
He said that the team leader, Navy Capt. Scott Philpott, a civilian analyst named James Smith and other members of the team had all been denied permission to testify.
No one at the Department of Defense or the Defense Intelligence Agency returned calls for comment Tuesday."