We had testimony that all of the Able Danger data-mining material was destroyed. I [Rep. Curt Weldon R-PA] now know that that’s not the case. In fact, I now know there’s data still available. And I am in contact with people who are still able to data mining runs on pre-9/11 data. In those data runs that are now being done today, in spite of what DOD said, I have 13 hits on Mohammed Atta, spelled Mu and Mo. Not Mohammed Attif, not Mohammed Attel; Mohammed Atta. Thirteen times we have hits in the data that’s still available; that we were told was destroyed. That was pre-9/11 data, where Mohammed Atta’s name was spelled two different ways, but it was Mohammed Atta.
They call it history for a reason: you don’t get second chances. I’ve been witness to a number of lost intelligence opportunities that I wish I could have gotten a “do over” on. Sometimes these were opportunities that were just pissed away by the near-sighted and narrow-minded, sometimes we faced a no-win situation and something had to give.
The opportunity to repeat history – and in fact improve upon it since technology and methodology have only gotten better in the past three years – is unique and something that should be pursued with all possible speed and vigor. While it is too early to speak with certainty, I think it is fair to say that at the very least the opportunity to shoot holes in a lot of pre-conceived notions, and to drive home the need for more reforms, is not that far away.