Kurt Weldon Biography Timeline
- July 22. Curt Weldon is born into blue-collar family in Marcus Hook, PA, youngest of nine children. Father, Steve, worked at Viscose for 36 yrs. and as an engineer at a local fire company; 6 older brothers also were active in the firehouse and served in military
- Weldon graduates from Media High School as president of his class and student council, active in Rotary. Age 18 he joins Viscose Fire Co.
- Enters West Chester State University after rejected by Air Force Academy because of poor eyesight.
- Works at Acme. Works about 20 hours a week to finance his education. Stocking shelves at Acme for 7 years. Works his way up to manager; joins local 1349 of Retail Clerks Union.
- Weldon’s father drives him down to the Soviet embassy in D.C., where he receives Russian literature on world affairs.
1969: Weldon graduates with a B.A. in Russian Studies from West Chester State College, making him the first in his family to graduate from college. (He is also the first graduate of new degree program in Russian Area Studies).
1969-72: Earns teacher certificate at Cheyney University.
- Middle school teacher in low-income William Penn School District in Delaware County, PA.
- Attends Temple University, St. Josephs University, Cabrini College, Delaware County Community College and Penn State; serves as volunteer line officer chief for the Viscose Fire Company in Marcus Hook.
- Consultant on fire department training working for Del. Co. Community College
- Jan-June: Directs local environmental education program
- January: Corinthos disaster on the Delaware River near Marcus Hook. 29 dead, $50m in damage. He is on second truck to the fire. “The rivets were flying all over the place, like missiles. They found body parts everywhere. It was like a war zone.” Now 28, he co-authors technical documentation and pictorial review of the disaster (Harry Collins, Robert Sides, and Wayne Curtis Weldon, The Corinthos Disaster: Oil Tanker Fire and Explosion) and testifies before Congress.
- Votes for Jimmy Carter.
- Joins Insurance Company of North America (INA) as Senior Technical Instructor
- (Age 30) Nominated on both the Republican and Democratic tickets he becomes mayor of Marcus Hook and serves two terms. His efforts as mayor are geared towards defending the town against the violent Pagans Motorcycle Gang, economic development, and local pride.
- Sun Oil butane fire breaks out in basement of five houses in Marcus Hook.
- When Faith Whittlesey joins the Reagan administration, Weldon replaces her on Delaware County Council. Whittlesey nominates him for the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), a State Dept. sponsored program to groom next generation of American leaders. (he is now 33)
- Applies for White House Fellowship
1981 to 1986:
- Councilman and then chair of the Delaware County Council.
- Helps found “ill-fated” Partnership for Economic Development in Del. Co.
- November: Weldon loses election for Congress to incumbent Democrat Robert W. Edgar.
- Travels to Middlebury, VT, as part of the ACYPL to meet and debate young Soviet Komsomol leaders, then takes first trip to Russia, (Same year Mikhail Gorbachev takes office)
- August: Weldon hosts 14 Russians in Del. Co. and starts a USSR student exchange program. Takes Soviet delegates to Elwyn, Pulsations, Vesuvio’s Pizza Restaurant, and Bunting Friendship House. [?] Axyonov and Alexander Lapshin eat Thanksgiving Day dinner at Charlie Sexton’s house. Sexton then drives them to Atlantic City in his convertible Cadillac the night before flight back to USSR.
- Goes on first trip to Russia on trip led by Bruce Weinrod for ACYPL
- November: Running on platform “Let’s Put A Teacher in Congress—Elect Curt Weldon” he wins Edgar’s seat in Congress by a comfortable margin. PA Senator John Heinz becomes his D.C. mentor.
- S&L Crisis 1986-1995 cost $160b, inc. $231b from taxpayers.
- 1: Weldon forms Congressional Fire Services Caucus, which serves as a bi-party power base. Becomes identified with fire safety and as advocate of “domestic defenders” (first responders), nationwide. “There is nothing more American than fire service.” (Weldon quote in Phila Magazine story). Consistently fights for increased funding for firefighters. Authors bill that implements a federal grant program for local fire departments that evolves into the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Fights for mandatory safety sprinklers in college dormitories and training of fire departments to deal with terrorism incidents involving chemical and biological weapons.
- May 7: the House votes 418-0 for his first amendment expressing the sense of Congress that the Soviet Union had violated the ABM treaty by building a large radar at Krasnoyarsk in western Siberia.
- May 13: His “The Krasnoyarsk Resolution,” op-ed appears in The Wall Street Journal
- July 3-5: Weldon participates in Codel to Kuwait (CHECK)
- April 19: Congressional Fire Caucus holds its first official event in the Cannon House Office Building
- May 5: Fire damages House Speaker Jim Wright’s office.
- May 10: Passage of H. Res. 440 – “Providing for a Select Committee of the House to investigate fire safety in the Capitol and House Office Buildings”. (Weldon’s first piece of legislation passed by the House).
- During federal investigation over misuse of HUD funds, Weldon engages in public feud with William Tancredi, the Del. Co. Agency’s executive director, who later pleads guilty to misuse of federal funds (no-bid contracts). After ten months HUD conducts its own outside audit. Weldon aids are criticized for not spotting violations. Weldon, who was chair, says was not his job to provide oversight, since he was busy in D.C.
- Forms Congressional Fire Services Institute to educate Congress about fire protection technologies and other issues. Makes his first of many visits to sites of natural disasters: Exxon Valdez and San Francisco earthquake (1989), Hurricane Andrew (1992) and California wildfires (1993). While in Congress he goes to scene of every natural disaster.
- Weldon begins 11-year campaign for funding of the tilt-wing V-22 Osprey to replace the Vietnam era helicopters after the Bush administration removes it from the 1989 budget. Dick Cheney attempts to starve the Osprey to death by refusing to spend money Congress had appropriated for its development and production. (Whit, p. 205)
- Helps form Tilt Rotor Caucus to coordinate broad coalition of supporter for the V-22
- In nasty re-election campaign, opponent John Innelli says publically that Weldon is about to be indicted. (Redistricting by PA State Legislature removes SW Philadelphia and adds the Main Line to make the 7th Congressional District an “impregnable Republican fortress”)
- EPA catches project developer burying asbestos underneath road named after Weldon in Marcus Hook.
- Persian Gulf War.
- April 25: Weldon stages landing of XV-15 (a V-22 prototype) next to the Capitol
- May 25-29: Weldon makes first trip to South Korea, visits demilitarized zone.
- August: Weldon leads Codel to Kuwait City one week after the U.S. invasion to witness dozens of oil wells deliberately set ablaze
- 31 young Americans killed by Scuds that Iraq uses against Israeli cities. In response, Congress passes the Missile Defense Act.
- Military leaders seize power and arrest Gorbachov
- Weldon again leads successful effort to include V-22 in defense budget
- April 4: Death of John Heinz
- June 10: Weldon’s nephew, Robert Weldon, dies under mysterious circumstances in Angola in C-130 crash (probably flying on CIA-sponsored mission)
- Indictment of Tancredi and Dunleavy leads to indictment of Weldon’s campaign manager Charlie Sexton, the political boss of Springfield, and Joe Dorsey. Public concern expressed about Sexton’s bad influence upon Weldon. After Persian Gulf War, Kuwaiti contracts go to Delaware County contractors.
- Weldon secures funding for the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum
- 25: Formal dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, replaced by the 11-member Russian Republic. Yeltsin elected president
- Bush administration makes one last effort to de-fund the V-22. Again Weldon prevails, using his fire network to support the Osprey and adding $755m for continued R&D. “We have gotten everything we asked for. We will build new ospreys and move this revolutionary program forward.”
- Civil War in Somalia
- Transition to democracy in the former Soviet Union
- Open Skies Treaty between US, Russia, and 32 other nations
- Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program becomes law. By 2007 deactivates close to 7,000 nuclear warheads, destroys 653 ICBMs, ad chops 30 nuclear submarines.
- October: Loren Feldman’s story on Weldon, “Playing With Fire,” appears in Philadelphia Magazine
- Clinton takes office. US, Canada, and Mexico sign North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Weldon votes against NAFTA.
- 26: World Trade Center bombing. Weldon, as founder and chair of Fire Caucus, goes to the scene here he meets NYC fire captain Ray Downey. This has a deep influence on his thinking.
- of Defense Les Aspen declares “end of the Star Wars era.”
- Co-authors the Family Medical Leave Act, and pushes for the extension of unemployment benefits; has consistently supported raising the minimum wage,
- Votes for across-the-board tax cuts.
- Plays, he later writes, a key leadership role in welfare reform in the mid-1990s
- October: Loss of two Blackhawks in Somalia
- Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey revive missile defense as a policy issue, after R’s take control of Congress. Weldon sits on the CSP Advisory Council (p. 45 Ryan) Impact of Scud missiles during Persian Gulf War, which could carry chemical or biological weapons, impacts his thinking on missile defense
- NATO Expansion Act
- Clinton delinks favored nation status for China from human rights
- Standoff with North Korea that culminates in brief but real threat of war. Crisis defused by Agreed Framework signed in Oct. 1994, which allows North Korea to suspend, rather than end its plutonium enrichment program.
- Weldon joins small circle of conservative thinkers and GOP lawmakers, inc. Rep. Floyd Spence (SC), and Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss), Ted Stevens (Alaska), and Jon Kyl (AZ) who strongly embrace National Missile Defense (NMD).
- Aldrich Ames and wife accused of spying for Soviets
- Creation of bi-partisan Duma-Congress Study Group, formalized with Gingrich approval, after R’s take control of House in Nov. 1994. (Weldon will take more than 200 members of Congress to Russia)
- April: Oklahoma City bombing
- After R’s win control of the House, Repub. leadership picks “hard-charging” Weldon over more senior members to chair Research and Development Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. He chairs subcommittee from 1996-2002. In his oh interviews Weldon says he never had a split vote. Responsible for $35-40b a year for cutting edge technology for defense technologies.
- House vote of 218-212 to eliminate provision in defense measure that would have made it US policy to “deploy at the earliest possible date” an effective ABM system. 24 R’s, inc. John Kasich, join the D’s led by John Spratt. Spratt Amendment
- June: Weldon wins major victory by getting House to reverse course. Through 1-on-1 meetings and mobilizing vet groups and AIPAC (Israeli lobby). Warned that North Koreans and Chinese were testing systems, and that Russians were selling SS-25 in violation of START ((US Soviet disarmament agreement) Defenses authorization bill by vote of 300 to 126 includes $3.8b for anti-missile defenses.
- Curt Weldon nominates Jeff “Skunk” Baxter to chair the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense.
- Passage of Intelligence Authorization Act 161.
- October 22: Weldon undergoes heart surgery at Bethesda at age of 48.
- November: Intelligence Community issues Nat Intelligence Estimate (NIE) undermining call for NMD system. Richard N. Cooper is chair. Weldon and other House R’s ask for early release of the report. Dem. Senators get it first (p. 47 Ryan) R’s charge estimates were leaked to D’s before they see them to defeat NMD. Cooper later denies any political interference in the estimates. Gingrich says “the political system had so totally distorted and perverted the intelligence process.”
- Weldon takes lead in addressing emerging security problems, inc. spread of weapons of mass destruction to Libya and Iran.
- August: NATO begins operations in Bosnia
- November: Clinton organizes NATO-led bombing campaign and peacekeeping effort in the Balkans
- Weldon co-chairs the House Oceans Caucus. His “Oceans Agenda” legislation passes Congress, increasing funding for oceanographic research projects.
- Weldon is sole House Republican on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which approves funding for U.S. wildlife refuges and wetlands preservation.
- Robert Gates chairs the panel to investigate NIE. Panel upholds NIE conclusions, calling challenges of the integrity of the intelligence community analysts “irresponsible.”
- Dec: Clinton vetoes House-Senate bill requiring deployment of NMD protecting all 50 states by 2003.
- 14-19, Dec. 16-Jan. 6: U.S. government shutdown
- Jan,: GOP leaders agree to drop NMD language, Clinton signs new bill. Clinton promises to begin 3 yrs. of testing on Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific. 2 tests of 20 planned go badly. $100m per test. Frontline calls it the “most expensive half hour in military testing.”
- Russians threaten to not ratify 1992 Strategic Arms Reduction treaty (START II), which mandates cuts in US and Russian nukes. Weldon rejects the administration argument, saying it is purposely downplaying missile threat against US
- Feb: Weldon speaks of “an all-out war to make missile defense the lead issue in the presidential campaign,” despite two polls in 1995 that showed most Americans opposed to spending huge sums needed for NMD system.
- 27: In speech before Congress, Weldon first tells of “the Jordanian intelligence agency, working with the Israeli intelligence agency…intercepted a shipment of sophisticated advanced accelerometers and gyroscopes” that were “going from Russia to Iraq.” [Congressional Record, MISSILE DEFENSE (House of Representatives – February 27, 1996] Reported by Uhler in Huffington Post, June 21, 2006
- Weldon becomes chairman of the US Congress-Russian Duma Study Group
- Weldon forms the Ballistic Missile Defense Caucus with Duncan Hunter (R Cal), John Spratt (D SC), Pete Geren (D TX), to build broad-based bipartisan support for NMD and to educate members of Congress and the public about the threats and options.
- Through efforts of caucus Weldon holds 4 Congressional hearings on NMD. At first hearing has Lt. Gen. Malcolm O’Neill, director of Ball Missile Defense Org, describe condition of current programs.
- Weldon donates a dollar to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America every time a MC mentions term “Star Wars” when talking about H.R. 7.
- Weldon backs Democratic led effort to raise minimum wage
- American political strategists help Yeltsin in secret for his comeback re-election win.
- Newspapers reveal Russian illegal transfer of components of missile guidance systems to Iran in violation of Missile Technology Control Regime.
- Alexander Lebed tells Weldon he cannot account for 84 of 132 suitcase-sixed nuclear bombs.
- Alfonso D-Amato and Ted Kennedy take lead on Iran and Libya Sanctions Act
- Weldon publishes article in Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs (Winter 1996) in which he writes “the number one threat to America’s national security today is the proliferation of ballistic missile technology as a means to deliver the devastating force of weapons of mass destruction.” (Quotes from Gadhafi in 1986, p. 64. 71% Americans didn’t know we didn’t have capability. Writes “Quite simply, we are not lacking, not the technological ability, but the political will to put in place a missile defense system.” P. 65
- Weldon proposes national missile defense system for the U.S. He and 40 other MCs then sue Clinton in federal court for missing congressionally mandated deadlines for developing theater missile defense systems. (Suit is later dismissed).
- Weldon proposes massive new exchange program for young Russians and Americans—Clinton admin. opposes it.
- March: Weldon goes to Owasko Lake to find body of Nathan Swymer, son of Chester County principal Steve Swymer.
- William T. Lee, an intelligence analyst, publishes “The ABM Treaty Charade: A Study in Elite Illusion and Delusion,” endorsed by Weldon
- April 4: Jack Daley receives eye damage from a laser fired from a Russian trawler in the Strait of Juan De Fuca. When the federal government refuses to acknowledge this or hold the Russians accountable, Weldon takes up Daley’s cause.
- Summer: In interview for Missiles & Munitions Weldon says that Maj. Gen. Jay Garner (commander US Army Space and Strategic Defense command) and Maj. Gen. Robert Linhard (Air Force director of plans) both told him that in 4-5 years US could deploy a thin-layer, single-site system that would provide 95% effective rate against up to 5 incoming missiles that protect all 50 states from attack. Says only thing preventing this “in the end it comes to a lack of sincere commitment on the part of the administration.” If we could land a man on the moon in 9 years why can’t we develop a n effective missile defense system in less than 13 yrs.
- While chairing subcommittee Weldon wants to know why there have been 9 consecutive test failures. (Recent reports that Iran might be only 18 months away from testing and deploying missiles that could reach Israel and U.S. forces in Middle East) Angrily tells Air Force general Lester L. Lyles “I can’t trust you.” Air Force testing of new missile defense technologies had failed 9 straight times. Weldon thinks Lyles is giving him the run around.
- July: Philadelphia Magazine publishes article on Weldon’s close relationships with his constituents (Larry Platt, “Mr. Platt Goes to Washington,” Philadelphia Magazine (July 1997); 49-57.)
- Weldon and Senator Joe Lieberman push the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act. Passes overwhelming by Congress and then Clinton vetoes it in 1998. Just as Congress prepares to override the veto, admin. announces punishments for Russian firms in question, p. 163
- October 1: former Russian National Security Adviser Aleksandr Lebed testifies before the Congressional Military Research and Development Subcommittee at a hearing where he stated that the bombs were made to look like suitcases and could be detonated by one person with less than 30 minutes preparation
- Weldon and Bob Dole, among other Republicans, advocate pulling out of Somalia after the “Blackhawk Down” failed snatch-and-grab mission costs 18 American dead.
- January: Congress forms the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, also called the Rumsfeld Commission
- Weldon is at center of Congressional campaign to focus attention on missile threat. Angered at skewed intelligence, he “goes ballistic,” in his own words, when CIA analyst stands behind 1995 estimate that U.S. would not be threatened before 2010.
- Introduces bill, passed by House, to speed deployment of defense systems focusing on missile launches from Iran and North Korea.
- Publication of Stanislav Lunev’s Through the Eyes of the Enemy: Suitcase-sized nuclear bombs on U. S, soil; Assassination squads targeting American leaders, High-tech drug running, A mafia-controlled government and military.
- June: Weldon serves on the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China, (Cox Committee) The committee, five Republicans and four Democrats, investigate whether the Clinton Administration’s waivers allowing U.S. military contractors to transfer military technology to China damaged national security. According to officials who have been briefed about its contents, the report concludes that Beijing’s acquisition of secret American weapons designs was part of an intelligence collection effort that spanned 20 years, including both Republican and Democratic Administrations. It also enumerates an array of thefts from the Government’s weapons labs, including classified information about seven advanced nuclear warheads, among them the W-88, the most sophisticated nuclear weapon in the American arsenal; that theft is believed to have occurred during the Reagan or Bush Administrations. The report also says that China stole design information about the neutron bomb. Weldon is furious with Clinton admin. China policy.
- Weldon drafts Iran Missile Sanctions Act, to impose economic sanctions on any entity helping Iran’s missile programs. His pressure is instrumental in creation of new commission headed by Rumsfeld to study ballistic missile threat.
- July 4 : Murder of Lev Rokhlin in Moscow
- July: Rumsfeld Commission report draws significantly more alarmist conclusions than U.S. intelligence community had about threat of missile attack from “rogue states”—overturns Gates Commission report, Concludes North Korea could deploy an ICBM within 5 yrs of decision to develop one. (Are accused of manipulating intelligence conclusions to reach this conclusion) The Commission produces the threat that NMD had been seeking.
- Richard Garwin publishes article in NY Times attacking Rumsfeld Commission findings.
- August:S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
- August: Weldon first introduces a bill for national missile defense (National Missile Defense Act of 1999)
- Weldon and other MCs meets with Al Gore, whose attempts to prevent passage of Iran Missile Sanctions Act. Clinton vetoes the bill. House and Senate have votes to override the veto, but Gingrich does not allow over-ride to come to the House floor.
- Weldon becomes one of GOP’s 5 seats on special committee investigating whether Clinton admin. approved business deals that resulted in transfer of sensitive missile technologies to China.
- North Korea launches 1st missile, the Tacpo Ding, which goes nowhere, but has a global impact. Weldon says the launch caught the CIA off guard. Patrick Hughes, in charge of Pentagon intel ops, says that is not true. After launch, intel community revises its 1995 Estimate, giving Congress the worst-case scenario it had been seeking (Frontline, p. 44)
- October 17: Driving drunk, U.S. Consul General Douglas Kent injures and paralyzes Alexander Kashin, then twenty-three, in a motor vehicle crash in Vladivostok
- Defense Secretary William Cohen proposes spending an additional $6.6 billion on ballistic missile defense programs to build a national system to protect against attacks from North Korea or accidental launches from Russia or China
- November 20: Death of Russian political activist Galina Starovoitova
- Weldon gives speech at the International Conference on Science & Business, Guangzhou, China.
- January 1999- April 2002: Michael Barbera is Weldon chief of staff
- 7-Feb. 12: Clinton impeachment trial
- March: The National Missile Defense Act of 1999 passes the Senate, and is signed by President Clinton on July 23, 1999.
- March: Erik Kleinsmith becomes chief of intelligence of LIWA (Land Information Warfare Activity) which did data mining for Army Information Operations
- March 17: The FIRE Act introduced in Congress
- April 20: Columbine Massacre
- April 30-May 1: Weldon leads ten-member delegation to Vienna to hammer out peace settlement in Kosovo with the Russians. Uses his close relations with Russia to play important behind-the-scenes role in helping end NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. In preparation he has the LIWA do open-source data mining on the Serbian intermediaries.
- May 6: Russian government changes its position and accepts presence of NATO peacekeepers. Milosevic accepts western terms for end of the war.
- Publication of Peter Vincent Pry, War Scare: Russia and America on the Nuclear Brink, in which he argues that Yeltsin pushed by hardline Russian generals, almost launched missiles that would have started a nuclear war in the early 1980s. “Pry presents a hair-raising picture of the Soviet Union and of todays’ Russian Republic.”
- May: Congress approves Weldon legislation, declaring it national policy to deploy an anti-missile defense system “as soon as technologically possible.” Reporter says that Weldon has been long known as “the House’s most ardent proponent of building a missile defense system…” He is chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee and most ardent proponent of building a missile system to defend the U.S.
- April 30-May 2: Weldon leads Codel to Vienna to negotiate end of the War in Kosovo
- NIE adopts Rumsfeld Commission standard for measuring threat of missile attack. Dick Armey and Trent Lott push leg. to make it official US policy to deploy missile defense. Democrats embroiled in Clinton impeachment are not eager to oppose it.
- July 30: After recognizing the power of LIWA data mining from data provided on Serbians before trio to Vienna, Weldon offers blueprint for revolutionizing US intelligence through creation of NOAH: (National Operations Analysis Hub). (P. 90 Able Danger mss)
- October 28: In a House floor speech (Security Issues Relating to Russia,) Weldon asserts that Russians had built 132 devices with yields from 1 to 10 kilotons, and that 48 are unaccounted for.
- November 4: Weldon hands Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre proposal to create the National Operation Analysis Hub (NOAH) Policymaker and Warfighters Tool to deal with Emerging Transnational Terrorist Threats. For next 2 years he gives speeches calling for creation of National Fusion Center and a “Smart” hearing room in the Capitol in which members of Congress can be briefed.
- Weldon introduces legislation attached to the Defense Authorization Bill that, among other things, mandates the creation and operation of a Special Commission (Gilmore Commission) to focus on formal recommendations to force the DOD and other agencies to directly interface with First Responders.
- December: Organization of the Gilmore Commission (U.S. Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction.) Runs to 2003. 146 of 164 recommendations adopted in whole or part by Congress. Weldon issues report and makes recommendations that he later believes could have saved firemen’s lives during 911.
- December: Able Danger, Naval intelligence group created earlier in the year to go after Al Qaeda, begins work with LIWA. It begins collection and analysis by focusing on Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, “the Blind Sheik” (p. 102 Able Danger mss) Able Danger is reorganized out of existence in about May 2001.
- January 24: A second chapter in the Soviet suitcase bomb affair begins with a Congressional hearing on Russian espionage held by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana). Soviet ex-colonel and GRU operative Stanislav Lunev is the star witness at a Military Research and Development Subcommittee hearing, chaired by Weldon who shows a mock-up of a briefcase bomb. In his opening comments Weldon describes this exhibit: “The model is based on unclassified data on the components in an atomic artillery shell, to see if such a system could be reassembled in a suitcase. Indeed, as it turns out, the physics package, neutron generators, batteries, arming mechanism and other essentials of a small atomic weapon can fit, just barely, in an attaché case. The result is a plutonium-fueled gun-type atomic weapon having a yield of one-to-ten kilotons, the same yield range attributed by General Lebed to the Russian “nuclear suitcase” weapon.”
- Able Danger team identifies Brooklyn cell of Mohamed Atta. It attempts to provide info to FBI on 3 separate occasions in September.
- Summer: Clinton administration, with only a few months left in office, reverses its position and announces will spend $6.6b over five years to deploy missile defense system. Office of Test and Evaluation issues a devastating 67-page critique of the missile-testing program, saying the program won’t be ready for deployment for many years. Pentagon refuses to release the report for 8 months—until pressured by threat of congressional subpoena. (It had already been delivered privately to the president) Clinton tables it, and leaves it for Bush to deal with.
- Weldon resurrects Tilt-Rotor Caucus to defend Osprey after 19 Marines die during test flight.
- Weldon establishes and directs U.S. Russian exchange program through the Library of Congress
- Weldon intercession helps facilitate the release of Edmond Pope, an American businessman falsely convicted as spy by the Russians, who had spent 253 days in a Russian jail. The Pope case adds fire to Weldon’s fury with the Clinton admin.
- Weldon invites representatives of Unity Party –Putin’s Duma faction– to attend the Republican national presidential convention—and to improve the Republican Party’s relations with Russia.
- Washington Post publishes article about a “relentless, almost obsessive campaign by Weldon and his allies to undermine the Clinton administration’s objections to the whole approach.”
- Weldon holds private, week-long conference with corporations in Philadelphia, asking them to become more active in lobbying government and public on behalf of missile defense. (Boeing runs ads). Two weeks later Weldon meets with Russian deputy prime minister to promote cooperative missile theater defense.
- December: Weldon breaks Congressional tradition of succession by seniority and stages unsuccessful campaign to become chair of the House Armed Services Committee In his “Vision” for ??? he writes: “Over the past eight years, the Clinton-Gore Administration has dramatically compromised our military readiness, abandoned our troops, bungled away our nuclear secrets, and auctioned off our most sensitive technology; yet we did little to exploit these scandals either in defense of our military or to the benefit of our party and its candidates.”
- 12: USS Cole attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists in port of Aden, Yemen.
- October: Both the U.S. House and Senate approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 authorizing, among other important items, a federal direct-grant program for local fire departments based largely on the FIRE Act. (Public Law 106-398 Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 included my Conference Amendment – Title XVII, Section 1701-1707 entitled ‘Assistance to Firefighters’) Bush signs it into law on Oct. 30.
- October: Weldon attacks Bernie Schwartz for China connections on House Floor.
- Formal organization of the SMART regional economic development program
- May: Able Danger is reorganized out of existence in response to concerns about its conducting of domestic surveillance
- June 16: Bush first meets Putin at Slovenian capital of Ljubljana
- June 27: Rumsfeld submits $8.3b request for missile defenses, largest single weapons program in Pentagon budget.
- August: Weldon leads Codel (it includes Buzz Hefti) that visits 20 U.S. military bases in four days.
- 7: Senate Armed Services Committee attempts to move $600m into anti-terrorism. Rumsfeld threatens presidential veto. Joe Cirincione later says proponents of NMD have a lot to answer for in terms of why we were so unprepared for 9/11. Wolfowitz denies that anybody estimated what the suicide hijackers might do.
- 11: 9/11 Attacks
- 25: Weldon first learns about Able Danger when Eileen Priesser, then Special Advisor for Science and Technology related to National Security Operations, brings a link chart to his office and tells him the history of the program. Weldon then gives the chart to Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley at a meeting in the White House. He fails to keep a copy for himself.
- 2001: Weldon leads Codel to Russia/Moscow after 911 attacks, where they present “US-Russia Partnership: New Time, New Beginning,” to the Russian Duma
- October 2: Weldon presents his New Vision for U.S.-Russian Relations in Congress
- October: Weldon organizes “Tribute to Ray” Downey in Del. Co.
- NMD is geared towards possible future conflict with China in 2020 or 2030.
- Spring: Before Putin-Bush summit, Weldon introduces amendment in defense authorization bill to permit government to research and design new class of nuclear warheads. (This is in response to report that Russians were doing the same) Congress overwhelmingly passes the amendment.
- May 25-27: Weldon leads Codel to Russia and Uzbekistan after signing of historic Arms Reduction Treaty by Putin and Bush. HE proposes a joint US Congress-Uzbek parliamentary working group modeled after the US-Duma group. Codel then travels to China (5/28-6/01) and South Korea (6/1-6/3) . N. Korea refuses to meet with them.
- Bush announces unilateral break-out from anti-ballistic missile treaty. Rumsfeld cancels usual yardsticks measuring progress of new weapons so that missile defense will now be “capability-based”.
- S. has no capability to intercept a rogue missile, should one actually be launched on the US. General Eugene Habiger says to Frontline reporter, “National missile defense has become a theology in the United States, not a technology.”
- June 13: NY Times editorial accuses Weldon of trying to gut Nunn-Lugar program
- May: Weldon assembles 45-page plan S.-Russia Partnership: A New Time, A New Beginning, which makes 108 recommendations across 11 policy areas, to facilitate cooperation. He then translates it into Russian and puts it on 3 Russian websites.
- Moscow summit between Weldon and Putin. He gives speech at the Foundation for Russian American Economic Cooperation, A New Time, A New Beginning. His proposal becomes foundation for Russian side of the discussions with Bush admin.
- Karen Weldon founds Solutions North America with Charles Saxton.
- Nov.: 911 Commission begins its investigations. Continues until August 2004.
- January 8: Weldon takes his family to Russia where he gives a keynote speech, entitled “A New Millennium” at the Kurchatov Institute celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Igor Kurchatov’s Birth, and is inducted into the Russian Academy of Sciences.
- March 20: U.S. begins invasion of Iraq/ Iraq War
- April: Weldon first meets Iranian exile Fereidoun Mahdavi, who under alias “Ali” will funnel him information about Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and terrorist threats to the U.S. that become the basis for Countdown to Terror.
- May 1: Bush declares major combat operations in Iraq over.
- Weldon leads bi-partisan delegation to visit previously secret weapons-grade plutonium plant in Zheleznogorsk, to promote mutual transparency
- May 30-June 1: Weldon leads a bipartisan Congressional delegation to North Korea. The delegation doesn’t go as official representatives of the White House, which has repeatedly refused North Korea’s demands that the two countries meet one-on-one. Weldon says that the meetings went extremely well and that he drew up 10-point proposal for improving relations between the two countries, which would involve the complete nuclear disarmament of North Korea. North Korean leaders, including the vice-foreign minister, who is the chief negotiator for the North, are receptive to the concept. Also calls for a 6-country Korean Peace Coalition to hammer out economic development and security initiatives.
- July: Weldon and staffer Bob Lautrup visit secret North Korean missile outside of London.
- July 15: Weldon speaks on the House floor to help Philadelphia lawyer John Gallagher recoup a $2.5 million in investment in cognac production stolen by Moldovan government
- August 2003: Weldon leads Codel to Krasnoyarsk nuclear reactor in Siberia. They are the first Americans to ever see it. From this comes agreement to shut down plutonium production in exchange for U.S. Dept of Energy assistance to for two American companies to build coal-fired power plants.
- August: Canadian Mounties arrest 19 Pakistanis Weldon believes were preparing to attack the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.
- 2-Oct 2: former Clinton Nat. Security advisor Sandy Berger steals and destroys documents from the National Archives relevant to the 911 Commission investigations.
- October: Weldon plans to head a 10-member Congressional delegation to North Korea for his second visit. Two days prior to the October 25 departure date, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs Weldon that the administration is “pulling all support.” Weldon writes a 4½-page letter to President George W. Bush saying that Bush’s national security team is “arrogant and disrespectful” in the way it cancelled the trip. Weldon says he will continue his efforts to dialogue with North Korean officials whether the White House supports him or not. “They can’t stop me from going there. What they can do is make things supremely difficult.”
- October: Tony Shaffer debriefs Zelikow and 911 Commission staffers in Afghanistan about Able Danger pre-911 intelligence
- Fall: Weldon introduces his Dime Out a Dealer program, to combat drug problem in home district.
- January 24: Weldon meets with Saif Qaddafi in London
- 25-26: Weldon leads Codel to Libya to establish contact with government officials. Is first U.S military plane to touch down in Tripoli since 1969. They tour a Libyan nuclear reactor. Libya is hoping for U.S. to remove sanctions in place since 1986. Dem. Rep. Tom Santos is in Libya on separate visit.
- Back in the U.S., Tony Shaffer is brushed off by Zelikow when he volunteers to testify before 911 Commission
- February 20: As part of a series on Congressional corruption LA Times publishes article by Ken Silverstein on the meteoric rise of Solutions North America—a company founded by Karen Weldon and Charlie Sexton. Soon afterwards Melanie Sloan, a former assistant United States attorney and now the executive director of the George Soros-funded watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), files complaint against Weldon and calls for investigation.
- March 1-3: Weldon leads 2nd Codel to Libya where on March 2, 2004 he gives a speech at 27th session of the Great Jamahiriya
- Weldon asks House Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation of him to response to LA Times story accusing him of using his office to advance his private interests with Russian businesses and using his office to direct business to his daughter Karen. Ethics Committee conducts an investigation, but does not release its report—a 7-inch document that exonerates him– until fall 2006. Only criticism was of him accepting airfare for his children on the January 2003 trip to Moscow, when he became a member of the Russian Academy. (Interview 13)
- March 23: Weldon attends Sun Myung Moon event in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A minor scandal ensues. In 2005-06 political enemies will misrepresent his participation to prevent his re-election.
- May: Weldon pushes Congress for a settlement of Alexander Kashin lawsuit, describing the case as a human-rights issue
- July: Arrest of Toronto 19.
- July 22: American missile defense system is deployed– on Weldon’s birthday!
- July 22: Publication of 911 Commission Report
- August: 911 Commission ends its hearings, without allowing Weldon to testify, despite his repeated requests that they let him do so.
- In a closed hearing Weldon attacks Zelikow for orchestrating a 911 Commission cover-up of pre-911 intelligence.
- September 1-4: Beslan massacre in North Ossetia. Weldon arrives one week later with three other members of Congress
- January 10-18: Weldon is part of a 6-member Codel led by Fred Upton to Russia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, China, Indonesia, and Japan that includes a three-day visit to North Korea, (Jan. 11-14). Bush administration objective is to help jump start 6-party diplomatic talks. Weldon says Pyongyang is serious about abandoning its nuclear program, but that it wants certain assurances from the United States, including an end to what he calls “inflammatory rhetoric” from Washington.
- July 23-24: Weldon leads 3nd(?) Codel to Libya where he speaks at an Oceans security conference.
- April 1: Laura Rozen publishes article in The American Prospect, attacking Weldon’s forthcoming book, on Countdown to Terror, months before its release. Since the book had to be vetted by intelligence agencies, Weldon is convinced she got her copy from the CIA.
- April 1: Sandy Berger avoids jail for pleading to misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.
- May: Scott Phillpott and Tony Shaffer independently show up in Weldon’s office to tell him that the 911 Commission had ignored pre-911 intel gathered by Able Danger
- June 9: Washington Post publishes article in which Dana Priest critiques Countdown to Terror. Weldon is convinced that she, too, has been fed information by the CIA.
- June 9: Weldon interview with Scott Shane of the NY Times on Countdown to Terror
- June 20 2005, Bill O’Reilly bans Weldon from “The Factor” for standing him up.
- Former CIA director James Woolsey writes three-page endorsement of Countdown to Terror
- June: Weldon gives a speech on the House floor in which he describes the Able Danger military intelligence program and says that it had identified a terrorist cell involved in the 9/11 attacks in 2000, a year prior to the attacks. He says that Defense analysts had identified Mohamed Atta before the September 11 attacks and ignored warnings that could have prevented the attacks.
- August: Weldon goes to North Korea as part of a 10-member delegation that includes Ted Turner and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg.
- May: Release of Countdown to Terror: The Top-Secret Information that Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America … and How the CIA Has Ignored It Outraged that intelligence agencies have refused to meet with Iranian exile Fereidoun Mahdavi, who has been faxing Weldon reports since 2003, Weldon takes his case to the American people. In it, he accuses the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and his colleagues on the House and Senate intelligence committees of ignoring a trove of information that could prevent future terrorist attacks on the U.S., identifies where Bin Laden has been hiding, and contains other invaluable information.
- June 27: Weldon delivers floor speech about Able Danger.
- August: Karen Weldon gets job doing community relations work in D.C. and PA for helicopter maker AgustaWestland.
- August: Weldon is part of CODEL TO N KOREA??
- August 10: Weldon writes tough letter to 911 Commission and makes it public about Able Danger (Letter is in Able Danger mss) p. 316
- September: Pentagon internal investigation issues a report denying that the data mining effort had actually identified Atta. When Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, convenes a hearing on Weldon’s allegations on Sept. 21, the Pentagon orders the officers previously involved in Able Danger—including Shaffer, now an analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency—not to testify.
- Former FBI director Louis Freeh talks about Able Danger on Meet the Press (mss. P. 332)
- 20: Weldon delivers speech to the American people on Able Danger on floor of Congress (in Able Danger mss p. 329-47) and calls for an independent investigation by Inspector General of the Pentagon. (Congress then goes into recess). After his speech, Pentagon lawyers relent and allow Shaffer and other Able Danger team members to testify.
- November 17: The Wall Street Journal publishes former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s editorial, “An Incomplete Investigation,” supporting Weldon.
- Weldon is first in line to become Chair of the House Armed Services Committee when Congress reconvenes after the fall 2006 elections.
- 1: Admiral Joseph Sestak announces his candidacy for Weldon’s seat in Congress—Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, convenes a hearing on Weldon’s allegations against the 911 Commission.
- 14: Tony Shaffer, now an analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies at a “National Security Whistleblowers” public hearing.
- 15: Weldon holds Armed Services Joint Subcommittee Hearing on Able Danger. Shaffer, Smith, and Kleinsmith testify. Zelikow refuses to meet with the Subcommitte publicly. He does testify privately (Was classified, Weldon tried to get it de-classified, p. 358 mss)
- Feb 15–???: Weldon and Peter Pry write book about Able Danger to bring the story to the American people. On advice of his lawyer, Weldon never publishes the book.
- April 20: Ken Silverstein, writes first article for Harpers on Weldon, titled “The Curt Weldon Employment Agency.” In it, Silverstein returns to story he broke in February 2004, and now uses CREW authority to assert incorrectly that Karen Weldon got a job in with AgustaWestland through her father, and that after being hired by Boeing she “became a high-powered lobbyist who built her company on her father’s connections.”
- April 26: Article that high-ranking members of Clinton national security team are pouring money into Sestak campaign.
- May 1: Weldon is accusing CIA of actively working to defeat him by supporting Sestak.
- May: A grand jury is impaneled to investigate Weldon using wiretaps to find out if he has received anything of value.
- May 8: Philadelphia Inquirer, Weldon “has reported raising $724,285 since last year for his campaign. Of that, at least $292,000 – about 40 percent of the total – has come from defense interests.”
- June 21: Huffington Post publishes “The Nutty Demagogic Spin of Curt Weldon’s Internal Gyroscope,” in which Walter C. Uhler writes a scathing and detailed story on Weldon’s support of missile defense, the Iraq war, his belief in WMD in Iraq, “Ali,” and more. He argues that Weldon promotes “Chicken Little” fantasies and calls him a “connoisseur of terrorism nightmares,” who possesses the personality of a “blowtorch,” and says that he likes to use props – a dummy nuclear suitcase, or a replica of a sarin gas dispenser, or a genuine Russian missile gyroscope – to bring theatricality to his Chicken Little histrionics.
- July: Journalist Jack Cashill visits Weldon
- July 25: Silverstein in Harpers picks up a false Delco Times story that Andrew Weldon has begun a career in NASCAR racing with the backing of Tom Schaffer, a senior employee at Boeing.
- September 17: The American Prospect publishes “Anger Mismanagement,” an in-depth and scathing article about Weldon in which Laura Rozen writes: “In his latest headline-grabbing tirade, Weldon has insisted that the Bush administration actually suppressed evidence of weapons of mass destruction being found in Iraq. At one point he even planned to fly to Iraq secretly and commandeer Army equipment to go dig the hidden arsenal up himself, according to Dave Gaubatz, who had planned to accompany him. (The trip was called off when Gaubatz backed out, alarmed that Weldon was trying to politicize the project.)…A few years ago, a Central Asia hand observed Weldon introducing a young woman to Russian energy company officials at a Eurasia-oriented petroleum economics event in Washington, D.C. The amazing thing was that Weldon was working the room and he had this young woman with him, and it was like, ‘I really want to introduce you to somebody who would do a great job to help you with government affairs,’ and it was his daughter, Karen,” the observer said. “A lot of people at the Uzbek embassy told me Weldon had very aggressively peddled his services to the embassy done in joint relationship with his daughter.” Weldon denied aiding his daughter to a newspaper in his district in 2004.
- August or September. House Ethics Committee finally delivers Weldon the report that he requested after publication of the Silverstein story by the LA Times on Feb. 20, 2004.
- September: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) includes Weldon in its second annual report on Congressional corruption, titled “Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)”. He denies all of the charges.
- October: Federal judge dismisses the Kashin lawsuit against Douglas Kent and the State Dept.
- October 13: Friday, McClatchy Newspapers publishes Greg Gordon’s “FBI Probes Whether GOP Rep. Weldon Secured Deals for Daughter,” in which Gordon breaks a story shared with him by to anonymous sources that Weldon had “traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter.” (Cashill, Nov 16) Detailed article on FBI Investigation of Weldon and his daughter Karen. Weldon’s lawyer William Canfield says Weldon knows nothing about the FBI investigation. This is first they have heard of it. FBI investigation has been going on for a few months. (This is 3 weeks before the election)
- Recent poll has Weldon and Sestak dead even.
- October 16: FBI agents raid the home of Weldon’s daughter and five other locations of Weldon associates in Pennsylvania and Florida as part of investigation by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section for suspected unlawful ties to two Russian companies and two Serbian citizens.
- 17: Articles in multiple publications on raids on Karen Weldon/Gallagher offices. Context is other Republicans nationwide who have withdrawn from elections because of concerns over their ethics. Joe Conason, in “Rep. Curt Weldon, Poster Boy for a Grimy Congress,” The Albion Monitor starts article as follows: “If a single politician can be said to epitomize the current pathology of Capitol Hill, that symbolic statesman might very well be Rep. Curt Weldon, (R-Pennsylvania), whose notoriety blossomed recently when federal agents raided the Philadelphia home of his daughter in a criminal investigation. He stands for everything that, until now at least, was considered normal and acceptable in Congress — and he seems genuinely offended that anyone would question his integrity and judgment.” He identifies Weldon family and friends as “not a mere lobbying firm, but an industry unto themselves.” Investors Business Daily publishes article focusing on how Democratic Senator Harry Reid escapes unscathed for behaviors that would get a Republican jailed.
- 18: Jones Report publishes an article by Aaron Dykes that focuses on the 911 cover-ups and the refusal of the 911 Commission to include anything on Able Danger. He notes how convenient it will be to have Weldon, Able Danger’s “chief whistleblower in Congress removed quietly from office—or better yet amongst a demoralizing and stigmatizing scandal.”
- October 19: “A Sestak victory,” observes the local Delco Times, “would muzzle a Republican congressman who blames Clinton for doing irreparable harm to America’s national security during the 1990s.” Weldon “has clashed with the Bush administration,” reports the AP, a contention that it repeats in its article on October 16.
- October 23: Patrick Martin, “The case of Curt Weldon: Republican congressman targeted after criticizing 9/11 cover-up,” World Socialist Website, joins Cashill and other conservative writers in defending Weldon, noting how the FBI investigation breaks precedent of interfering in an election, and that the FBI had acted the opposite way when Clinton was running for president in 1992. He notes how timing coincides with Able Danger controversy.
- 27, Greg Gordon, in McClatchy News article expands attacks on Weldon influence to include other family members and associates, inc. Weldon’s daughter Kimberly–who worked part time for Karen, and for an Italian defense company that Weldon had helped– family friend Cecilia Grimes, and Weldon’s former chief of staff Michael Barbera (1999-2002), who in 2002 went to work for a Virginia lobbying group that was a big campaign donator. Article details donations to Weldon campaign and political action committee from Itera and its directors, Analysis by Dwight Morris & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in data analysis, and other firms.
- November 2: 60 Minutes: Morley Safer report on earmarks focuses on Rep. Jeff Flakes as reformer, and ends with Weldon criticizing Flake on the floor of the House. Rolling Stone article includes Weldon on its list of “The Ten Worst Members of the Worst Congress Ever.” The author writes that “Weldon also has an ugly streak that would make Karl Rove blush” for attacking Sestak for where he chose to have his daughter’s brain tumor treated.
- November 4: Weldon loses nasty re-election campaign to Sestak, ending twenty-years in Congress.
- November 16: Jack Cashill, “The downing of Rep. Curt Weldon,” WND (WORLDNETDAILY.COM) the first of a series of articles on the campaign against Weldon.
- More than a year after the 2006 election, the FBI returns all of their files, unopened, to John Gallagher and Karen Weldon. Neither was ever interviewed, deposed, or contacted by the FBI until they receive notice to pick up their files.
- Weldon makes trip to Libya
- November, Weldon takes trip to Libya
- April: Weldon visits Libya as a private citizen, on the invitation of Colonel Gaddafi. He urges Gaddafi to step down to prevent further bloodshed in the ongoing civil war.
- Weldon proposes establishing One World For Life, a new initiative to unify and empower Firefighters and First Responders worldwide.
- August 2015: Weldon oral history project begins. By December 2018 it included 50 video and 2 audio interviews.
- December, Weldon formally donates his archive to West Chester University