Able Danger was a classified military plan-
ning effort under the command of the U.S.
Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It
was created as a result of a directive from
the Joint Chiefs of Staff in early October 1999
by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh
Shelton, to develop an Information Opera-
tions Campaign Plan against transnational
terrorism, "specifically al-Qaeda."
In December 2006, a sixteen-month in-
vestigation by the US Senate Intelligence
Committee concluded "Able Danger did not
identify Mohammed Atta or any other 9/11
hijacker at any time prior to Sept. 11, 2001,"
and dismissed other assertions that have
fueled 9/11 conspiracy theories. The Senate
panel of investigators said there was no evid-
ence DoD lawyers stopped analysts from
sharing findings with the FBI before the at-
tacks. No Able Danger information was im-
properly destroyed by Pentagon lawyers.
Analysts had created charts that included
pictures of then-known Al Qaeda operatives,
but none including Atta. A follow-up chart
made after the attacks did show Atta. The
Senate Committee said its findings were con-
sistent with those of the DoD inspector gen-
eral, released in September 2006. 
The program used data mining techniques to
associate open source information with clas-
sified information in an attempt to make as-
sociations between individual members of
terrorist groups as part of its original "intelli-
gence preparation of the battlespace". The
objective of this particular project was to as-
certain whether the data mining techniques
and open source material were effective tools
in determining terrorist activities, and if the
resultant data could be used to create opera-
tional plans that could be executed in a
timely fashion to interrupt, capture and/or
destroy terrorists or their cells.
According to statements by Lt. Col.
Anthony Shaffer and those of four others,
Able Danger had identified the September
11, 2001, attacks leader Mohamed Atta, and
three of the 9/11 plot’s other 19 hijackers, as