The Republicans have attempted to put a favorable spin on the Curt Weldon charges. Weldon claims that a DIA "data mining" operation named ABLE DANGER had identified Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists at least a year before the September 11 attacks.
Originally, we were told that an unnamed DIA lawyer directed the team not to notify the FBI and not to pursue Atta further. We were even told that the data miners literally placed tape over Atta's picture in their organizational charts of the terror cell within the United States.
After the initial account made the news, rightist pundits used Weldon's story as a cudgel against the Clinton administration. The revised version of the story (as gleaned from Hannity, NewsMax, and similarly "trusty" sources) maintains that the White House was the ultimate power behind the DIA's decision to keep mum about the extraordinary find. According to the egregious NewsMax, the Clinton administration caused the problem by erecting a "wall" between the FBI and the rest of the intelligence community.
So far, the public has seen no documentary evidence proving the existence of ABLE DANGER. In my view, the Weldon account nevertheless rests on a credible foundation --- not least because it inconveniences the official version of Atta's doings.
According to the standard version, Atta did not enter the United States until June of 2000 --- a chronology which conflicted with strong eyewitness testimony, such as the story told here of Johnelle Bryant, the loan officer for the Department of Agriculture who swore that she had encountered Atta earlier.
The spokesman for the independent 9/11 commission, Al Felzenberg, now claims that the commission did learn about ABLE DANGER and did know that the DIA team had identified Atta, but did not include this information in the final report because the data conflicted with the Authorized Standard Version of his pre-attack whereabouts. (Previously, commission members said: 1. They knew nothing about ABLE DANGER, and 2. They did know that such an operation existed but were never told of the Atta connection.) According to Felzenberg, the DIA team had told them that Atta entered the country in 1999.
Despite the frustrating contradictions, it now seems fairly safe to stipulate that ABLE DANGER did exist and did uncover Atta's ring. Even so, the right-wing spin on this matter amounts to pure bullshit...