This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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RICH LOWRY, CO-HOST: The United States Senate may investigate claims from a military intelligence official that the counterterrorist task force Able Danger identified four of the 9/11 hijackers a year before the attacks, including ringleader Mohammed Atta (search). Able Danger's findings were first made public by Republican Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon (search) in his new book, "Countdown to Terror."
The congressman joins us now.
Congressman Weldon, thanks so much for joining us tonight. I know you've had a busy couple of weeks down there. Let me ask you, because this is a potentially, obviously, hugely significant story. But there are a lot of loose ends that I think everyone is wondering about.
Now, correct me if I have any of this confused, but my understanding is that in your book you say you took this chart to Steve Hadley (search), the NSC official, right after September 11 and it was produced in 1999 and had identified Mohammed Atta on there.
Time magazine reported this week that you told Time that you're no longer certain that Mohammed Atta was on the chart. And in The Washington Post this morning, your spokesperson said, actually, yes, Mohammed Atta was on the chart. So I'm wondering, which is it?
REP. CURT WELDON (R) PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think the magazines are all over the place. The facts are the facts. And as I said in June when I first gave the speech, and it wasn't for the media — it was rather for my colleagues in the Congress — I outlined as I did in my book that I was brought a chart that showed Al Qaeda (search) cells two weeks after 9/11. I didn't study the chart. I didn't go through it and analyze all of the details. I was more interested in getting it right down to the White House...
LOWRY: So was Mohammed Atta's name...
LOWRY: Congressman, was Mohammed Atta's name...
WELDON: It was absolutely on the chart.
LOWRY: It was absolutely on the chart?
WELDON: Absolutely it was on the chart.
LOWRY: And you are certain — I just want to be clear. You are certain that his name was on the chart?
WELDON: Absolutely. And that's why I took it down. The chart was an indication of those cells that had been identified by Able Danger, and I wanted the White House to see it and to look at it. What I was asked by Newsweek was, well did you see a photograph? Did you see details? Now I don't remember whether there was a photograph or what kind of photograph it was.
My concern was to get the chart down to the White House and let them use it for whatever purpose...
WELDON: ... but more importantly, I wasn't focusing on Able Danger. I was focusing on the process of data mining, which is what produced the chart and other information about Al Qaeda.
COLMES: Congressman, this is Alan Colmes. Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton — welcome back to the show — came up with this statement last week in response to Able Danger. Here's what they had to say. In 2004, Congressman Weldon, you, and your staff contacted the commission to call the commission's attention to the congressman's critique of the U.S. intelligence community. No mention was made in those conversations of a claim that Mohammed Atta or any of the other future hijackers had been identified by DOD employees before 9/11.
So why now all of a sudden? They're saying this didn't happen when you met with them. They were never told then. Why would you have said something to the...
WELDON: Well, first of all, first of all, Alan, they never met with me. In fact, I was the first member of Congress in the closed session in the Cannon Caucus Room that stood up. When they asked us...
COLMES: Did you contact them?
WELDON: Well, I contacted them like three or four times, and they never had staff follow up to meet with me...
COLMES: You never said I talked to them?
WELDON: I was never aware of all the details of Able Danger until three months ago. That wasn't my focus and I never said it was. My focus was on the process of data mining. Able Danger was one of the projects that was being done by using the Army's Information Dominant Center...
COLMES: The 9/11 Commission...
WELDON: I didn't even know what Able Danger was until three months ago.
COLMES: The commission didn't really believe Able Danger because Able Danger said Atta was in Brooklyn in February of 2000. The commission says he came here and they have documentation he came here in June of 2000 and spent very little time in New York.
WELDON: The commission has double spoke. The commission has double spoke. Every day last week they changed their story. The facts are the facts. In October of '03, you had Tony Shaffer on, a 23-year dedicated intelligence colonel in the Army. In October of '03, he reached out, told his superior officer he had information about 9/11. He met with the committee staff in Bagram. They were very excited about what he was saying. He said, I control the documents. I'll meet with you when I get back in the States. Twice he called the in January. He called the staff director. And both times the staff director said we don't want to talk to you. We don't need you.
COLMES: Why is this coming out now?
WELDON: Now, what else can he do? Why did he come out? Because three months ago, when they came back to me about the...
WELDON: ... enhancement of what Able Danger was doing, I asked him well what did you do with Able Danger and they told me the full story.
LOWRY: We have to run here unfortunately. Very quickly, have you asked Steve Hadley what has happened to that chart?
WELDON: No, but when I met with Steve two months ago, I recollected that I handed him a chart and he said, yes, I remember that.
LOWRY: So Steve Hadley has confirmed...
WELDON: Steve Hadley has confirmed I gave him a chart. Absolutely. But you're missing the point.
LOWRY: OK, Congressman. Unfortunately we have to leave it there.
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