Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer’s revelation that the Able Danger intelligence unit had reported to Philip Zelikow, the executive staff director of the 9/11 Commission, about identifications of Mohammed Atta and other future hijackers working as part of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States at least a year before 9/11, only for this vital information to be suppressed, invites a parallel with a presidential commission forty-two years ago this coming November.
Beginning in 1957, Otto F. Otepka served as Deputy Director of the State Department Office of Security. This meant that Otepka was in charge of granting security clearances for all State Department personnel. A cadre of people worked under his supervision. From this position of considerable responsibility, Otepka was plunged into a nightmare universe of harassment and surveillance. He was reassigned and removed to a position from which he could no longer reveal inconvenient truths. Yet he had done nothing wrong. It is an extraordinary tale of a career government officer being framed from within the government, his only sin the scrupulous manner in which he performed his duties.