Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), 6/27/05:
Mr. Speaker, I rise because information has come to my attention over the past several months that is very disturbing. I have learned that, in fact, one of our Federal agencies had, in fact, identified the major New York cell of Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11; and I have learned, Mr. Speaker, that in September of 2000, that Federal agency actually was prepared to bring the FBI in and prepared to work with the FBI to take down the cell that Mohamed Atta was involved in in New York City, along with two of the other terrorists.
I have also learned, Mr. Speaker, that when that recommendation was discussed within that Federal agency, the lawyers in the administration at that time said, you cannot pursue contact with the FBI against that cell. Mohamed Atta is in the U.S. on a green card, and we are fearful of the fallout from the Waco incident. So we did not allow that Federal agency to proceed
The Pentagon Inspector General’s office, 9/22/06:
“We found no charts or other documentation created before 9/11 that contained a photograph or name of Mohamed Atta and was produced or possessed by the Able Danger team,” acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble said in the report.[…] Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) said in his 2005 book that, two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, he presented White House officials with a chart that depicted people affiliated with al-Qaeda, including lead hijacker Atta. Weldon, who said the chart was developed as part of the Able Danger program, held news conferences, appeared on television programs and prompted a congressional hearing on his statements.
But the inspector general’s report determined that the program did not develop the chart and that it was instead a sample document passed to the military as an example of how to organize large amounts of data. Able Danger at the time was a small program working to develop a strategy for discovering information about suspected terrorists and terror cells in the United States. It was disbanded in January 2001.
Yes, Curt Weldon literally shouted himself hoarse about a sample document drawn up after 9/11 to illustrate how data management works. It is hard to imagine an interpretation of this incident that reflects well on Weldon. He could not possibly have dug as deeply as he did into the weeds of Able Danger without uncovering the basic facts about the information he repeatedly presented to the country. That is to say, to miss something that basic and relevant to his case Weldon would have to be a rampaging idiot. If pressed I might lean towards idiot, not least because of Weldon’s long pattern of utterly bizarre behavior.
Idiot or liar, Curt Weldon has a challenger who is credible on national security – retired Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak. Even Republicans should look forward to being rid of an embarrassment like Weldon.