WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A vocal House Republican is calling for a new probe into what he says is a "witch-hunt" by defense officials against a Sept. 11 intelligence whistleblower.
Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Penn., told United Press International that officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, had "conducted a deliberate campaign of character assassination" against the whistleblower, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer.
Shaffer has said that a highly classified Pentagon data-mining project he worked on, codenamed Able Danger, identified the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 terror attacks as linked to al-Qaida more than a year before they hijacked four planes and crashed them, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Weldon told UPI he had written to the Department of Defense inspector general to ask for "an immediate formal inquiry, with people testifying under oath," into what he called "a clear witch-hunt" against Shaffer, who has been on administrative leave while minor allegations about some expenses are investigated.
Weldon's move comes after Shaffer said that boxes of his personal effects, returned to him by the DIA earlier this month, contained both government property and classified documents.
"Sending classified material through the mail is a felony, and much more serious than any of these minor, trumped up charges against (Shaffer)," he said, adding that "I want the appropriate persons held accountable."
Weldon said that the DIA had now taken steps to fire Shaffer. "It's outrageous and scandalous," he said.
A DIA spokesman had no immediate comment.