The Corner

Able Danger: More Reason to Be Skeptical

Following the crash-and-burn of Rep. Curt Weldon’s credibility yesterday — when Time magazine reported he could no longer be certain he’d shown the Bush NSC a Defense Department chart with Mohammed Atta’s name on it right after September 11 — there has been a rush to accept a story published in the Bergen Record featuring a report that Mohammed Atta was living in a motel in Wayne, N.J. Jim Geraghty has all the details, but the details don’t really seem to lead anywhere but back into a giant loop.

Evidently, as Jim reports, it was well known that two of the hijackers lived in the Wayne N.J. motel. But see, if that were true, it would also be well-known that Atta had lived there, since this information was gleaned right in the aftermath of 9/11. That fact would not have just emerged yesterday — or in a single-day story in the Bergen Record in 2003 in which a local police chief alleged without providing proof that Atta had lived in the motel. We would have known more about this before yesterday.

Theory: the source of the story about Atta being in Wayne NJ is Weldon’s original source (we know the reporter for the Bergen Record was introduced to his source by Weldon’s office). He may have done a little data mining on his own and found the Bergen Record story from 2003. And now everything he and we know about the hijackers is getting thrown into the mix like a big salad to “prove” something that, unless some actual paper turns up, is unprovable and not entirely believable.

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