Friday, March 24, 2006

Weldon Able Danger tale unraveling

WASHINGTON - Late one night in June, Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) stood up in a largely empty House chamber and made an incendiary charge.

With dramatic rhetorical flourish, he said that a secret military intelligence program called Able Danger fingered Mohamed Atta and two other al-Qaeda hijackers before the 9/11 attacks - and that the government had failed to act.

"Not only did our military identify the Mohamed Atta cell, our military made a recommendation in September of 2000 to bring in the FBI to take out the cell of Mohamed Atta," he said.

Within days of the attacks, he said, he gave the same information - a pre-9/11 chart with Atta's name - to Stephen Hadley, then deputy national security adviser, to show how the government dropped the ball.

But Weldon's story, which unleashed a wave of national media attention as well as probes and congressional hearings, is unraveling.

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