Representative Curt Weldon: 21 September 2005
The following is a transcript of the interview of Representative Curt Weldon (R, PA) by talk radio show host Michael Savage on 21 September 2005. This is only a partial transcript that begins after the first series of breaks.
Congressman Weldon: Great to be with you again, Michael.
Michael Savage: Well, look, I know what youíre facing here. I have some idea what youíre facing. I think that this is a gigantic story. I have a fear that itís bigger than Watergate. The headlines are all over the place. Theyíre being obfuscated by the hurricane coverage. Pentagon nixes 9-11 hearing testimony. Thatís the Associated Press. Specter wants answers about Able Danger, thatís Fox News. Did Army project identify September 11th ring leader, thatís CNET news. Congressman, whatís going on here? What do the people have to know?
Congressman Weldon: The people have to know that todayís hearing was an outrage. That our Dept. of Defense, which Iím a strong supporter of as the Vice Chairman of our Armed Services Committee, basically gagged four witnesses who simply wanted to tell the truth. A 23 year Army decorated Bronze Star recipient, a 23 year Navy commander of one of our destroyers were basically told youíre not allowed to testify. In addition a contractor who was involved in providing this information to our Special Forces Command was told that he couldnít speak. And a woman who works for the FBI and set up meetings to transfer information Mohammad Atta and Able Danger and Al Quaeda from the military to the FBI one year before 9-11 was told she couldnít speak. This is not America, this is wrong and itís outrageous.
Michael Savage: Wow. Thatís a pretty heavy story and yet itís not getting any coverage in the new media. We had to find the hearings on C-SPAN 3. Even they had buried the story. Is this a bipartisan coverup Congressman?
Congressman Weldon: I donít know if itís bipartisan or not. But I can tell you there were 6 Senators at the hearing today, and everyone from Arlen Specter to the Chairs of the committee to Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, to conservative Republicans like Charles Grassley and Jeff Sessions were as outraged as I am, that the military would not allow these people to come forward and simply tell the truth. No spin, just tell the truth. Just basically tell what they know, when they found out, what information they knew about Al Quaeda and whether or not it would have helped us to understand 9-11 before it occurred. In fact one of our witnesses, a fellow who was allowed to testify, a former military officer who now works for Lockheed Martin Corporation, testified that every night he goes to sleep, he wonders why, this information that he had in 1999 and 2000 couldnít have been transferred. And heís convinced it would have altered the course of the 9-11 attack against us. In fact he said in one statement, that it could have prevented 9-11 from ever occurring.
Michael Savage: Congressman, I took note when you said that even Democrats on the committee were equally outraged. Senator Biden, you said, had the same degree of concern as others? He was not trying to soft pedal this situation?
Congressman Weldon: No, Joe Biden, who is in fact a friend and an associate of mine, knew about this in advance. I had traveled with him to Iraq and told him about it. And he said that in the Senate hearing. He said, I have talked to Curt about this, I trust Curtís integrity and we need to have answers. We need to know whatís going on here. We need to know why this data was collected and not transferred to the FBI. We need to know who made that decision. We need to know why the 9-11 Commission never even bothered to comment in any aspect on Able Danger in their final report. We need to know what people were involved in destroying data, 2.5 terabytes of data about Al Quaeda, which is equal to ľ all the printed material in the Library of Congress. Material that still could have been useful.
Michael Savage: Letís pause on that, equal to one-quarter of all the material in the Library of Congress, thatís been deleted?
Congressman Weldon: Yes. When I heard it was 2.5 terabytes of data, I figured Iíd call the Library of Congress and see what is that really? They said, well, Congressman, itís equal to ľ all the printed material that the Library of Congress has in its collection. You know that the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. So weíre talking about a massive amount of data. Itís not about 1 chart, itís not about 1 photograph, itís about a massive amount of data, about the largest and most aggressive international terrorist organization in the world. And it was destroyed. And on top of being destroyed, the customer for that data, a Special Forces general, General Lambert, was never consulted before the data was ordered to be destroyed. And he was livid when he found out that his data had been deleted and had been destroyed by the gentleman who testified today.
Michael Savage: This is a gigantic story Congressman. I have to ask you, why isnít major media covering this story to the extent that it should be covered? Whatís going on in your opinion?
Congressman Weldon: Well Iíve learned, Michael, not to try to predict the American media. They have their own agenda. In fact if the New York Times hadnít run this story a month after I first gave this speech on the House floor, most of the major networks would never have bothered to even check into it. Because this story was not a new story in August. I actually told this story from the House floor in the end of June in a floor speech for 45 minutes on June 27th. The New York Times didnít pick up the story until August 2nd. But when they ran it front page above the fold, and then for 3 straight days they followed up with stories it became the national and international news story in every major print paper and on all the major networks worldwide. What weíre fighting here is both the Pentagon and the 9-11 Commission who are trying to spin this story away, and say itís much ado about nothing, it really didnít matter. The 9-11 Commission called it historically insignificant. And thatís why this 23 year career Navy commander, an Annapolis graduate, said Iím not going to have my work labeled as historically insignificant. So he risked his entire career to come out in the public, in the open and say that he would swear on his entire career and his life that in January and February of 2000 his team and Able Danger identified Mohammad Atta and 3 of the other terrorists in the New York Al Quaeda cell. And he tried to get that data to the FBI and consistently, 3 times was refused.
Michael Savage: Unbelievable, this is a gigantic story. Do you believe, well we wonít know until tomorrow, if the New York Times will pick up the hearings today and run with it, because if so perhaps theyíll stop the hurricane coverage for a megabyte of time and let the people understand whatís going on here. Thereís big news happening here. And this is news that the people would want to hear about. I mean this is not a trivial story, Congressman. Moreover, I have to say this, I think youíve put your entire career on the line with this. Theyíve tried to smear you, I watched this over the whole summer. They were trying to dismiss you. They were to marginalize you. Isnít that true?
Congressman Weldon: Absolutely. Slade Gorton, the former Senator came out and actually had the audacity and the stupidity to say that weíve concluded this never existed. I mean the Pentagon itself has acknowledged that they now believe totally credible people within the Pentagon, 5 of them who have testified that they identified Mohammad Atta before 9-11 occurred. So even the Pentagon now admits, yet Slade Gorton had the audacity and I think the stupidity to come out and say that this never really happened. The fact isÖ
Michael Savage: I remember that, Congressman. First the 9-11 Commission said that this never happened. Then they were forced to say that maybe it happened, but there was nothing significant. Then theyíre saying it happened but youíre not going to hear from anybody who knows what went on. How long can they hold the dam together?
Congressman Weldon: Well they changed their story 4 different times. First they said they were briefed, but never knew about Mohammad Atta. Then we come out with a military officer who stated on the record that he did brief them about Mohammad Atta. Then they went back and they reversed themselves a fourth time and said, well yeah, he did brief us but it was in July, it was right before our report came out and it was too late. The fact is that the 9-11 Commission, which I voted for and which I along with the rest of the American people, spent $15M to fund 80 staff positions to get to the bottom of what happened in the run up to 9-11. It did not do its job. This story deserves to be fully investigated. Not by 1 member of Congress and 1 staffer. But by every possible resource that this country had to understand what occurred, what could have been prevented, what possibilities were out there that could have impacted 9-11. None of that was done, and as a result, the 9-11 story has not been completed.
Michael Savage: Can Secretary Rumsfeld make this process more transparent?
Congressman Weldon: I would hope so. You know, I trust Don Rumsfeld. Again I am a strong supporter of the military. Iíve supported them through thick and thin and been over in the theater with the troops on a number of occasions. I told the Pentagon and Congressional Affairs leader last night, who reports right to Rumsfeld, I said, you know, you made a fundamental mistake. By deciding at the 11th hour to gag these people, youíre creating a scandal, a scandal that never should have occurred. The real problems in this story occurred largely in 1999 and 2000, before 9-11 occurred. And for the life of me, I donít understand why this administration would not want these people to testify about what is largely open source information. Weíre not talking about highly classified information. Weíre talking about open source information. The same kinds of data that the Democrat and Republican parties use to target people for voting on election day. I mean, unless it was because of the potential embarrassment of one of Rumsfeldís top deputies, Steve Cambone, who I found out this past week was briefed on Able Danger on March of 2001. Unless there was some concern about that, I do not understand why they would have been prohibited to testify. This flies in the face of everything that America stands for.
Michael Savage: The people listening to this show are gripped by your testimony today. Your appearance on this show and C-SPAN which we are going to play and have been playing. What can the average listener or voter in America do to get a little more truth out of this situation?
Congressman Weldon: Michael one thing Iíll say about your show is that you have a lot of power. When I was on your show in the past I got literally hundreds and hundreds of emails and phone calls and letters from all over this country. They were probably in the thousands, I never bothered to count them. But thatís what itís going to take. Thatís what it takes in America, to shake up the system. The bureaucracy thinks that they can just out last any criticism. That they can CYA until eventually this story goes away. The American people, in this case, the families of the 9-11 victims, who by the way, were there todayÖ
Michael Savage: Oh, they were, my God, this is even bigger.
Congressman Weldon: Yeah, they were there. They were there and they were outraged. A couple of them came up to me after the hearing was over. Your people have tremendous power because in America democracy still works, outrage still works. If they will use their voices to make phone calls, to do emails to the Whitehouse, the Secretary of Defense, to their members of Congress and their Senators, I guarantee you that the system will respond. But thatís what it takes. It takes the American people to shake this system by the neck and say, we demand answers, we want to know the facts. We donít want anymore CYA, we donít want anymore cover-ups. We want to know what happened, what could have been done, why this information was destroyed, and why it wasnít transferred to the FBI. How can we learn from that so we never repeat it again, and how can we get to the bottom of what we could have done to perhaps have even prevented 9-11 from ever occurring. As both Arlen Specter, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and one of our witnesses, Mr. Kleinsmith, stated today, they both said the same thing. If this effort, in fact, had been allowed to go forward, and this information been transferred to the FBI, this could have stopped 9-11 from ever occurring.
Michael Savage: My God, thatís whatís at stake here. Itís as though weíre going back in time, weíre saying the government knew that Pearl Harbor was coming, somebody tried to alert America to the Japanese attack and he was blocked by lawyers. It has the same exact meaning as that, perhaps even more so because Pearl Harbor is over, Japan is not our enemy, but we have enemies not only outside our gates but inside our gates who want to do it again. And if the bureaucracy refuses to acknowledge its own failings history is liable to repeat itself, Congressman. And thatís really whatís at stake here. Weíre all Americans at the end of the day. Some of the same men at the Defense Dept. who may be blocking this for career reasons, should recognize that they have wives, children, maybe grandchildren. Donít they care about them? Thatís whatís at stake here. I understand that sometimes the career will come before everything else, but what youíre saying today is simply as refreshing as cold waterfall on a hot day. Representative Weldon, can you please stay with us for one more segment. Iíd like to ask you a few other questions for the American people, such as, is there a conspiracy to bury this story, what will be the outcome of this story, and in your mind what was a comparable cover-up in past history in America, what was its outcome. Please stay with us, Iíll be right back on the Savage Nation.
Michael Savage: Congressman Weldon, welcome back to the Savage Nation. What can the people in America who are interested in getting to the truth so that we can prevent the next 9-11 from happening, what can they do?
Congressman Weldon: Michael, they can scream their outrage through emails, through phone calls, through letters and call their Representatives and Senators. And they can say, this is not America, this is not what this country is about, 3000 of our citizens were brutally murdered and we deserve to have the answers, if thereís somebody whoís going to be embarrassed so be it. We need to learn and prepare for the next attack. The American people need to understand that government works when they make it work. Itís not always perfect, but when theyíre involved, when theyíre engaged, when they speak out, when they should, when they speak out their concern and demand answers, members of Congress will respond. Members of Congress are basically good people, they want to do the right thing. The people that listen to your show have got to demand their attention. Theyíve got to demand their response and their respect on behalf of the future of this nation. Thatís what your people have done in the past and thatís what they can do today.
Michael Savage: Well today the lawyer for the defense department, Paul Swiergosz said that nobody can testify, he said thereís nothing more to say than that, itís not possible to discuss the Able Danger program because there are security concerns. Well Iíd like to know what kind of security concerns trump the true security concern which is who did this. Who caused this to happen through their inefficiency or worse, thatís really the issue here isnít it?
Congressman Weldon: Thatís absolutely the issue and Arlen Specter confronted that and said, wait a minute, thereís no security issue here, has there been any classified information discussed and the lawyer said no. Specter said, then why would you think that this information could not be shared. And the lawyer actually said, well I really canít answer that Congressman, I donít know. The fact is, the Pentagon will respond, but the Pentagonís only going to respond when the American people rise up and shout out and demand that we know the true facts, what happened? What were the shortfalls? What were the shortcomings? What did we do that was wrong? Who made the decision not to transfer information? Why were the efforts of Tony Shaffer and Scott Philpott not listened to? Why was this data not transferred to the FBI. This American government belongs to the American people. It doesnít belong to that lawyer from the Pentagon. It doesnít even belong to Don Rumsfeld. The government belongs to the American people and the American people are the stakeholders and the shareholders of this government need to demand that they get results and get answers. And if they do that, I guarantee you the system will work.
Michael Savage: Well, youíre a believer in a certain way beyond me. Iíve become somewhat cynical and jaded. I wish to God that I believed that even a million emails would produce the results that we need. But Congressman, after seeing what went on here with the illegal alien problem, and I donít want to drag you into that one, the people have been screaming for years and itís gotten worse, not better. So Iím not quite sure that we can pry this can of sardines open no matter how many emails we send. It certainly canít hurt to try. I would think, having listened to you that emails to Secretary Rumsfeld might have the most effect. What do you think? Where should they be directed?
Congressman Weldon: I think thatís an excellent start. Rumsfeld and members of the House and members of the Senate. But I would say that your efforts on the issue of immigration are having an impact. The Congress is disagreeing with the Whitehouse. The House Homeland Security Committee authorized an additional 2000 border agents. That happened not just because itís logical. It happened because people like those listening to your radio station and your radio program rose up and demanded action. And soÖ
Michael Savage: Congressman, I hate to interrupt you, but President Bush didnít fund those positions. He only appointed 200 of the 2000, remember that?
Congressman Weldon: But when the bill finally becomes law, which it hopefully will become before the end of the fall session, then that authorization will occur and the President will then have the responsibility to implement the policies as outlined by the Congress.
Michael Savage: I see.
Congressman Weldon: But Iím confident we will achieveÖ
Michael Savage: Wow. Congressman, I tell you, you are our only hope. I know you donít want to hear it because it will probably embarrass you, but there are only a few lone rangers left out there for us. Many of us are very cynical and jaded, and withdrawn from the process of participatory democracy, but in this case Iíve watched this very carefully. Iíve seen what theyíve tried to do with your name, and I donít want to go into Slate Gordon, but I cannot believe what he has said about you. I canít believe what they are saying about Able Danger, and truthfully, Iím very impressed with you. And anything that we can do to help you in your quest for the truth, Iím encouraged by Senator Biden. Iím encouraged by Senator Specter. A good bipartisan focus on the truth is what the American people not only demand, but God help us all if we donít get it. Because 9-11 will happen again unless we do Congressman.
Congressman Weldon: Well, Michael, youíre absolutely right. I was born the youngest of 9 kids into a poor blue collar family.
Michael Savage: Well Congressman, weíre out of time, but weíre not out of the truth. God bless you.