"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, September 16, 2005
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.
The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to name the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
Weldon declined to name the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" — as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.
A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the witnesses for Wednesday's hearing had not been finalized and could not confirm Weldon's comments.
A message left Thursday with a Pentagon spokesman, Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, was not immediately returned.
Weldon has said that Atta, the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and three other hijackers were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger," which determined they could be members of an al-Qaida cell.
On Wednesday, former members of the Sept. 11 commission dismissed the "Able Danger" assertions. One commissioner, ex-Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., said, "Bluntly, it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us."
Okay, first of all, the idea of successfully destroying 2.5 terrabytes of data without a surviving trace is simply nonsensical, but no more nonsensical than believing that such a huge mass of relevant data ever existed in the first place. My guess? Weldon just heard the word "terrabyte" for the first time, and thought it sounded really cool.
Second - I know a thing or two about Slade "Skeletor" Gorton, and the man is a party-bound hack of the first order. If there was any chance, any chance at all, that the purveyors of this malarkey had so much as a shred of evidentiary support, he would be weaseling like a ferret on crank. But he's not, which tells me that he has made a rational decision that hooking one's trailer to this particular trash truck is a mug's game. And, as amoral as he may be, Gorton's no fool. Which means that Weldon's got 2.5 terrabytes of nothing, and Gorton knows it.