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9/11 commission denies hijacker was identified

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former members of the Sept. 11 commission on Wednesday dismissed assertions that a Pentagon intelligence unit identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida long before the 2001 attacks.

The ex-commissioners also criticized the government for not putting in place changes recommended last year in homeland security and emergency response. They pointed most notably to the failure to improve communication systems, which they said might have saved lives after Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., had accused the commission of ignoring intelligence about Atta while it investigated the attacks.