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Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., has accused the 9-11 commission of changing its story several times this week about revelations Defense Department investigators tracking al-Qaida were prevented from passing along information on the presence of Mohamed Atta and three other future hijackers in the U.S. more than a year before the worst terrorist attack in history.
The Pentagon established a special operations task force called “Able Danger” to identify and target al-Qaida on a global basis using advanced technology and data analysis.
But when Able Danger operatives found Atta directing an al-Qaida sleeper cell in New York in 2000, they were blocked from passing it along to the FBI for action, he says.
“The 9-11 commission has released multiple statements over the past week, each of which has significantly changed – from initially denying ever being briefed to acknowledging being briefed on both operation Able Danger and Mohamed Atta,” he said. “The information was omitted primarily because they found it to be suspect despite having been briefed on it two times by two different military officers on active duty. Additionally, the 9-11 commission also received documents from the Department of Defense on Able Danger.”
Weldon says two critical questions remain unanswered about Able Danger’s findings:
“I will continue to push for a full accounting of the historical record so that we may preclude these types of failures from happening again,” he said.
There is growing concern that the Justice Department blocked the transmission of the intelligence from the Defense Department to the FBI because of the “wall” placed between foreign intelligence gathering agencies and domestic law-enforcement agencies by Deputy Attorney General Jaime Gorelick.
Gorelick’s later presence on the 9-11 commission was criticized by Attorney General John Ashcroft and others because she was placed in a position of reviewing her own policies during the Clinton administration.
There are also concerns that the staff of the 9-11 commission was stacked with former Clinton administration operatives who had a vested interest in covering up any of its failings.
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