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August 12, 2005
Commission: Able Danger Only Told Us About Atta

The AP reports tonight that 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton have changed their story yet again. Now the two say in a joint statement to the press that they do recall hearing that Able Danger had identified Atta, two days after Hamilton categorically denied it -- and for a man who had supposedly never heard of Able Danger, Hamilton's recall of detail of the briefing appears impressive (via Tom Maguire):

In a joint statement, former commission chairman Thomas Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton said a military official who made the claim had no documentation to back it up. And they said only 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta was identified to them and not three additional hijackers as claimed by Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.

"He could not describe what information had led to this supposed Atta identification," the statement said of the military official.

They also said no else could place the other three hijackers with Atta in a purported terror cell code-named "Brooklyn" during the time period cited by Weldon.

Compare this to what Hamilton said on August 9th:

"The Sept. 11 commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," said Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "Had we learned of it obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

Now we hear Hamilton say the exact opposite. The Commission heard about Atta -- they just ignored it, claiming now that the evidence shown at the briefing did not match up with their timeline for Atta's first entry to the US. That would have been an interesting claim had Hamilton made it when first asked. Now, with his categorical denial still ringing in our ears, it sounds more like another excuse to wriggle out of a debacle they themselves made.

The only development this gives us is an admission that the Commissioners themselves had awareness of Able Danger's assessment of Atta as a terrorist a year before the 9/11 attacks -- and they didn't bother to mention it at all in their report, not even to refute it as contrary information that they could refute. For a group which wound up berating two administrations for only listening to that evidence and intelligence which fit their policies, it at least smacks of the pot calling the kettle black. At worst, it smells much worse than that.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 12, 2005 11:26 PM

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» Monday Morning Intelligence with Kool Aid and the from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
On June 27th, 2005 Rep. Weldon, spoke on the House floor detailing his version of the Able Danger story. [Read More]

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