Along with some others, I’ve been confused about when exactly Weldon began to believe (or realized) Atta had been fingered by Able Danger and why he hadn’t said anything earlier. So I called Weldon. Here’s what he said:
What I said consistently, my focus wasn’t on Atta specifically. I knew that [the military’s data-mining programs] had been doing a lot of great work, IDing drug cartels, IDing global terror networks. Two weeks after 9/11 they brought me a chart of AQ cells. It was just a comprehensive list al-Qaida suspects. Do I remember everything that was on that chart? Absolutely not. I wasn’t focused on the specific findings. I was focused on the process. But the chart was so shocking, in general, that I immediately brought it to [then deputy national security advisor] Stephen Hadley. Hadley was so amazed with this, he said ‘I’ve got to show it to the man.”
Weldon repeated that the chart he gave Hadley was the only copy he had. I then asked him if he didn’t remember what was on that chart, how he came to believe Atta was on it:
Three months ago I was doing my book and went back to [former the Able Danger officers]. I wanted a copy of the chart, because much of my book was dealing with the importance of finding patterns in intelligence. So I asked them if they had another copy of the chart. They said no. So I asked them to recreate one—it was only then that they told me they had actually ID’d Atta and had recommended sharing it. What they told me and what I believe is the case that [the original chart] had a photo and name of Atta.
So Weldon's story seems to have been consistent: He believes Atta was named but didn't notice it three years ago when he first had the chart. As to whether to join Weldon in his belief, well...
I'm calling Hadley's office. Presumably (hopefully?) they didn't just throw the chart in the trash.