Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Maybe the dog ate it

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Penn., is a great American. Just ask him - he'd be happy to tell you all about how he and he alone has bulwarked up our democracy. It is only thanks to his dogged determination that our government continues to function. Apparently.

His latest contretemps is in regards to the age-old query, what did we know and when did we know it? Weldon makes the claim in his book which came out this past spring, Countdown to Terror, that a data-mining project called Able Danger identified Mohammed Atta in January or February 2000. He is quite adamant about it. However, when called upon to provide proof, things get a bit dicey.

His first witness, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, was brought up as evidence of this allegation. He supposedly knew of a powerpoint presentation of Able Danger's findings. But as it turns out, he never saw the slide in question - he was just told about it. Er, okay.

The second witness was Capt. Scott Phillpott who stepped forward this week. He too alleges that Atta was fingered by Able Danger as a threat, but he refuses to explain further.

Well, maybe a third witness will help things out. And this is where it gets ridiculous.

Weldon pulled out of his bag of tricks a former contractor named James Smith who supposedly created the powerpoint presentation in question. Great - something that nuclear you should have plenty of copies of, right? Just in case? If nothing else, DC residents have perfected the fine art of covering their asses.

Except...no. According to yesterday's New York Times, "Mr. Smith said that he had retained a copy of the chart until last year and that it had been posted on his office wall at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He said it had become stuck to the wall and was impossible to remove when he switched jobs."

Oh come now. Are they handing out superglue at Pentagon offices these days or what? Really.

One final note: I find it highly amusing that the bone of contention here is a powerpoint presentation. DoD is filled with Powerpoint Rangers who live and die by their software of choice. It figures that it would be key in yet another B-list Washington controversy.


  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Scully said…

    Wouldn't some of them be lawyers and understand the concept of hearsay and credibility?


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