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July 9th, 2003, 09:02 AM
July 9, 2003

9/11 Commission Says U.S. Agencies Slow Its Inquiry


WASHINGTON, July 8 — The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks said today that its work was being hampered by the failure of executive branch agencies, especially the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to respond quickly to requests for documents and testimony.

The panel also said the failure of the Bush administration to allow officials to be interviewed without the presence of government colleagues could impede its investigation, with the commission's chairman suggesting today that the situation amounted to "intimidation" of the witnesses.

In what they acknowledged was an effort to bring public pressure on the White House to meet the panel's demands for classified information, the commission's Republican chairman and Democratic vice chairman released a statement, declaring that they had received only a small part of the millions of sensitive government documents they have requested from the executive branch.

While praising President Bush and top aides for their personal commitment to the panel's work, the commission's leaders — the chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, and Lee H. Hamilton, the former Democratic member of the House from Indiana — said that federal agencies under Mr. Bush's control were not cooperating quickly or fully.

"The administration underestimated the scale of the commission's work and the full breadth of support required," they said. "The coming weeks will determine whether we will be able to do our job within the time allotted. The task in front of us is monumental."

Claire Buchan, a White House spokeswoman, said today in response to the statement from the panel, known formally as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: "The president is committed to ensuring that the commission has all the information it needs. The president has directed federal agencies to cooperate and to do so quickly."

Under the law creating the bipartisan, 10-member panel last year, the commission, which met for the first time in January, is required to complete its investigation by next May. "While thousands of documents are flowing in — some in boxes and some digitized — most of the documents we need are still to come," the statement said. "Time is slipping by."

The criticism today from Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton clearly took senior administration officials by surprise and brought a fresh round of attacks on the White House from Congressional Democrats who have said that the administration is trying to stonewall a politically damaging inquiry.

Although the White House had initially opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate intelligence and law-enforcement failures before the 2001 terrorist strikes, the administration eventually came around to support the move, and it has repeatedly pledged full cooperation.

The White House chose Mr. Kean to lead the investigation after its first choice, Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, resigned from the post rather than release a list of clients of his consulting firm. Mr. Hamilton was named vice chairman by Congressional Democrats after their first choice, George J. Mitchell, the former Senate Democratic majority leader, resigned when questions were raised about similar conflicts of interest.

In their statement, Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton said that the "problems that have arisen so far with the Department of Defense are becoming particularly serious." They noted that the Pentagon had not responded to a series of requests for evidence from several Defense Department agencies, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is responsible for guarding American airspace from terrorist attack.

"Delays are lengthening and agency points of contact have so far been unable to resolve them," the statement said. "In the last few days, we have been assured that the department's leaders will address these concerns. We look forward to seeing the results."

Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton suggested that the Justice Department was behind a directive barring intelligence officials from being interviewed by the panel without the presence of agency colleagues.

At a news conference, Mr. Kean described the presence of "minders" at the interviews as a form of intimidation. "I think the commission feels unanimously that it's some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency," he said. "You might get less testimony than you would."

"We would rather interview these people without minders or without agency people there," he said.

In their written statement, the panel's leaders said that the Justice Department had been "unable to resolve important issues related" to the commission's access to evidence and testimony from the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person facing trial in an American court for conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks.

A Defense Department spokeswoman said tonight that the department would have no immediate response to the criticism.

A Justice Department spokesman, Mark Corallo, said that his department remained "committed to assisting the commission's important work on behalf of the United States." Mr. Corallo added, however, that "assembling the enormous amount of information requested takes significant manpower and time to accomplish."

He defended the administration's requirement that witnesses be present when some executive branch officials are interviewed by the panel. "In any investigation in which federal employees are interviewed, it is standard practice to have another agency representative present for the benefit of the witnesses and to help facilitate the investigation," he said.

Although their intent today was clearly to create discomfort at the White House, Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton said repeatedly that they were optimistic that the panel could complete its work on time and that it would offer the most complete account available of the events that led to the terrorist attacks.

Wrestling for the Truth of 9/11

The Bush administration, long allergic to the idea of investigating the government's failure to prevent the Sept. 11 terror attacks, is now doing its best to bury the national commission that was created to review Washington's conduct. That was made plain yesterday in a muted way by Thomas Kean, the former New Jersey governor, and Lee Hamilton, the former congressman, who are directing the inquiry. When these seasoned, mild-mannered men start complaining that the administration is trying to intimidate the commission, the country had better take notice.

In a status report on its work, the commission said various agencies — particularly the Pentagon and the Justice Department — were blocking requests for vital information and resources. Acting more like the Soviet Kremlin than the American government, the administration has insisted that monitors from various agencies attend debriefings of key officials by investigators. Mr. Kean is quite correct in objecting to this as a thinly veiled attempt at intimidation. Meanwhile, the clock is running for the commission to complete a full report to the nation by next May.

Too polite to use the word "stonewalling," the bipartisan commission nevertheless warned the nation that thus far the administration had "underestimated the scale of the commission's work and the full breadth of support required."

The White House has repeatedly pledged cooperation while stressing the delicacy of protecting classified secrets. There are techniques and precedents for the commission to be extended access to critical information without compromising security. Two serious areas of dispute that should be quickly settled in the commission's favor are access to the minutes of National Security Council meetings and to the daily briefing memorandums prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for President Bush.

Mr. Kean assumed the chairmanship after questions were raised about potential conflicts of interest for the White House's initial choice, Henry Kissinger. "The coming weeks will determine whether we will be able to do our job," the commission warned in prodding the administration to protect the nation's future security as passionately as it clings to its past secrets.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

July 10th, 2003, 12:07 AM
July 10, 2003

A Cloak of Secrecy About Sept. 11 (2 Letters)

To the Editor:

Re "9/11 Commission Says U.S. Agencies Slow Its Inquiry" (front page, July 9):

As the brother of a Sept. 11 victim, I, along with thousands of other 9/11 families, will never have closure. But what we do want is an understanding of the events leading up to our loved ones' murder.

I am amazed at how the government is trying to hide behind a cloak of secrecy about Sept. 11.

At first, President Bush was not in favor of an investigation. Now his administration is trying to prevent the public's right to know by failing to respond quickly to requests for documents and testimony.

The biggest threat to our freedom-loving citizens is a concerted effort to conceal the facts of the most brutal attack on this country.
Dover, N.J., July 9, 2003

To the Editor:

When United Nations inspectors were in Iraq, the Bush administration protested because the Iraqi government wanted its representatives to sit in on interviews with Iraqi scientists.

Now we learn that the administration is insisting that its representatives sit in on interviews being conducted by the 9/11 inquiry commission headed by Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey governor ("9/11 Commission Says U.S. Agencies Slow Its Inquiry," front page, July 9).

The administration may have been right in the former instance, but it is certainly wrong in the latter.
Washington, July 9, 2003

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

(Edited by Christian Wieland at 3:56 pm on July 10, 2003)

July 10th, 2003, 04:47 PM
Cheers (http://www.makethemaccountable.com/whatwhen/Q00_WhatBushKnew.htm)

July 24th, 2003, 10:15 PM
July 24, 2003

9/11 Report Assails F.B.I. and C.I.A. for Failing to Detect Plot


WASHINGTON, July 24 - A Congressional report released today provided a scathing critique of the performance of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. before the September 2001 terrorist attacks and recommended several changes, including the creation of cabinet level national intelligence chief, that go beyond what the administration has proposed.

The report, by a joint panel of the House and Senate intelligence committees, found that the F.B.I. and C.I.A. had failed to heed repeated warnings that al Qaeda intended to strike in the United States. It referred to one newly disclosed intelligence document from December 1998 - years earlier than intelligence officials had acknowledged - that said: ``Plans to hijack U.S. aircraft proceeding well. Two individuals had successfully evaded checkpoints in dry run at NY airport.''

The report concluded that in the months before the hijackings, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. did not comprehend the gravity and imminent nature of the threat inside the United States and failed to assess all of the available information about the risk of an attack. As a result, the report said, the agencies missed opportunities that would have ``greatly enhanced'' the chances of disrupting the terrorist plot.

At one point, the nearly 900-page report took issue with an assertion by the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, that the bureau knew of no terrorist sympathizers who had contact with any of the 19 hijackers before the hijackings. The report identified 14 people said to be known to the F.B.I. who had dealings with four of the would-be hijackers.

Over all, the report provides new insights into the hijackings and fresh details about the activities of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. before the attacks. The panel's inquiry, which included nine public hearings and 13 closed sessions, is the most comprehensive and bleak assessment of lapses and missteps by the country's two main intelligence agencies.

Some members of the panel said the committee's findings showed that the hijackings might have been thwarted. ``The attacks of Sept. 11 could have been prevented if the right combination of skill, cooperation, creativity and some good luck had been brought to task,'' said Senator Bob Graham of Florida, a former chairman of the Senate intelligence panel and co-chairman of the inquiry. Mr. Graham is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

But other leaders of the investigation said the inquiry left unanswered questions. ``I can tell you right now I don't know exactly how the plot was hatched on 9-11,'' said Representative Porter J. Goss, the Florida Republican who is chairman of the House intelligence committee. ``We still cannot fill in a lot of the blanks.''

Representatives of the country's intelligence agencies have said the report offers little new information. Since the attacks, they say, they have taken many steps to expand and improve their counterterrorism efforts - including taking steps to share information and investigate terrorist threats more aggressively.

Mr. Mueller said in a statement today, ``While the report provides a snapshot of the F.B.I. at September 11, 2001, the picture of the F.B.I. today shows a changed organization.''

President Bush, in another statement, said his administration had ``transformed'' how the government pursues terrorists, noting the creation of the Department of Homeland Security to reorganize counterterrorism efforts.

``The best way to prevent future attacks is to hunt down the terrorists before they strike again,'' Mr. Bush said. ``America and our allies have continued the relentless pursuit of the global terror network. Many of those directly involved in organizing the Sept. 11 attacks are confirmed dead or now in custody. We will not relent until al Qaeda is completely dismantled.''

Several counterterrorism officials described the report today as misleading and said it drew together disparate facts whose relevance in advance of the attacks had been extremely hard to understand.

``What you have here is a narrative composed of all the information that the government now possesses about the Sept. 11 attacks,'' one senior law enforcement official said. ``As the information was gathered over time - like a collection of puzzle pieces - by a number of agencies over a period of time, no one person or agency had the the complete picture of Sept. 11 we have now.''

The report said that the F.B.I., C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies had amassed a huge amount of information about al Qaeda before the attacks, but it found that none of intelligence offered a ``smoking gun'' that indicated exactly how, when or where the attacks would take place.

Even so, by the time of the attacks, the report said, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. had collected ``significant and relevant'' information about some of the men who turned to be hijackers. Intelligence agencies circulated warnings inside the government in June and July 2001 saying that imminent attacks causing ``major casualties'' could occur without warning.

The report concluded, ``The intelligence community failed to capitalize on both the individual and collective significance of available information that appears relevant to the events of Sept. 11.''

``As a result,'' the report said, ``the community missed opportunities to disrupt the Sept. 11 plot by denying entry to or detaining would-be hijackers, to at least try to unravel the plot through surveillance and other investigative work within the United States and finally to generate a heightened state of alert and thus harden the homeland against attack.''

The report found that for nearly two years before the attacks, the C.I.A. had known of the terrorist connections of two of the two hijackers, Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who in 2000 moved to San Diego and had numerous contacts with an F.B.I. informant.

An unidentified F.B.I. agent who was responsible for the informant told the committee, in previously undisclosed testimony, that if the C.I.A. had told the F.B.I. what it knew about Mr. Almidhar and Mr. Al-Hazmi, ``it would have made a huge difference.''

``We would immediately go out and canvas the source and try to find out where these people were,'' the agent testified. ``If we locate them, which we probably would have, since they were very close, they were nearby, we would have initiated investigations immediately.''

The report said the informant had told the F.B.I. that he never knew that Mr. Almidhar and Mr. Al-Hazmi were part of a terrorist plot. It concluded that the agent's beliefs about the possibility of finding the men were speculative.

``What is clear, however,'' the report said, ``is that the informant's contacts with the hijackers, had they been capitalized on, would have given the San Diego field office perhaps the intelligence community's best chance to unravel the Sept. 11 plot.''

The report also renews a focus on Saudi Arabia and whether anyone in the kingdom may have known about the hijackings in advance. Saudi officials have denied any advance knowledge. But the report says that Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi student who befriended two of the hijackers and helped pay their expenses, ``had access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia.''

Some of the committee's findings were disclosed last December when it completed its seven-month investigation. The panel's final report was classified and disputes between the panel and intelligence agencies about what should remain secret continued until today's release of a declassified version of the report.

The report revives the political issue how well the F.B.I. and C.I.A. performed and whether the Bush administration has moved aggressively enough to address the agencies' failings. The findings suggest that lawmakers in both parties believe that more far-reaching changes may be necessary to protect Americans from terrorism.

Some lawmakers said they were angered by deletions demanded by the Bush administration and the intelligence agencies. They said the administration should disclose more details, particularly from a heavily edited 28-page chapter about the role played by Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments.

``I just don't understand the administration here,'' said Senator Charles E. Schumer, , Democrat of New York. ``There seems to be a systematic strategy of coddling and cover-up when it comes to the Saudis.''

C.I.A. officials said today that they would not discuss the report, referring to testimony to the joint committee last October by George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence. At the time, Mr. Tenet defended the C.I.A. and said it had an aggressive operation in place to deter al Qaeda.

In his statement, Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director, said the agency had already acted on many of the committee's recommendations, including proposals to improve information sharing and threat analysis through the creation of a joint F.B.I.-C.I.A. threat analysis center.

But so far, the Bush administration has shown little interest in the panel's most hotly debated proposal, the new intelligence chief.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

July 24th, 2003, 10:55 PM
July 25, 2003

On Terror, Doubts Anew After a Scathing Report


WASHINGTON, July 24 — The report today on intelligence failures may force the Bush administration to confront a vexing question that the White House thought it put to rest months ago: how best to prevent another terrorist attack.

The findings, providing an even more damning indictment of the intelligence community than many had predicted, are already prompting fresh debate over whether the federal government should create a national intelligence czar or even strip the F.B.I. of its domestic intelligence duties in favor of a wholly new agency.

Senior administration officials say they are convinced that they have already developed an effective recipe of reforms to fight terrorism. They include establishing a new center run by the C.I.A. to better coordinate and analyze terrorist threats, redefining the mission of the F.B.I. to prevent attacks, and creating the biggest new federal department in almost a half-century: the Department of Homeland Security.

"Since Sept. 11, 2001," President Bush said in a statement today after the Congressional report was released, "my administration has transformed our government to pursue terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks."

But many analysts said the scathing report is likely to raise doubts about whether the administration has gone far enough, and as President Bush enters the election season, it could give political ammunition to his Democratic rivals.

Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, was co-chairman of the joint Congressional panel. At a news conference today, Mr. Graham made clear he believed cultural and "institutional resistance" by government agencies contributed to the failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.

"If people want to place blame, there's plenty of blame to go around," Mr. Graham said.

Another presidential contender, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, has advocated creating a new domestic intelligence agency, modeled after MI-5 in Britain, to fill the role now played by the F.B.I.

Daniel Benjamin, a former National Security Council aide on terrorism who has written extensively on the subject, said it was not clear that the structural changes put in place by the White House would do enough to reverse the longstanding problems in communication and cooperation identified by Congressional investigators.

"The question is whether the administration is prepared to do the kind of bureaucratic head-banging that's needed to force everyone to work together," Mr. Benjamin said, "and the jury is still really out on that. So far, I'd have to give the changes a pretty low grade."

The Congressional findings paint a picture of a counterterrorism system that was essentially dysfunctional in the months and years before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. did not talk to one another at critical junctures, threats and warnings were sometimes ignored, intercepted conversations between terrorist suspects often went untranslated, and American officials missed chances to "unravel the plot" before it occurred, the report found.

Typical of the missteps was the handling of a memorandum sent by an F.B.I. agent to Phoenix in a memorandum to headquarters in July 2001, outlining concerns about the possibility that Osama bin Laden had started a coordinated effort to send operatives to the United States for flight school training. The agent noted an "inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest" taking such training in Arizona and recommended that the F.B.I. compile a list of civil flight schools, discuss the concerns with other intelligence agencies, and consider seeking authority to obtain visa information on flight students.

But Congressional investigators found that senior terrorism officials at F.B.I. headquarters never saw the memorandum until after the Sept. 11 attacks, a reflection of the bureau's computer woes and its organizational problems. And intelligence officials at other agencies said they were never consulted about the issue either.

The episode demonstrated how important strategic analysis at the F.B.I. — often considered a "poor stepchild" in the bureau's pecking order — "took a backseat to operational priorities" before the Sept. 11 attacks, the report concluded.

Administration officials said they had tried to create a new mindset toward counterterrorism operations, promoting better cooperation between agencies, carrying out new training programs and reassigning some 1,200 F.B.I. agents to work on terrorism.

The ultimate indicator of how successful those changes have been, administration officials say, is that there have been no further terrorist attacks on American soil to date.

But the joint committee pushed today for still greater changes, including the creation of a cabinet-level intelligence czar, the creation of a national center to maintain a centralized terrorist "watch list," and the elimination of "obsolete barriers" to interagency coordination. It also urged a full review to determine whether anyone should be held accountable for the intelligence failures of Sept. 11.

Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, said his agency had already moved to carry out 10 of the committee's 19 recommendations, including improved terrorism analysis and better training of agents. But other recommendations, like the idea of a cabinet-level official to oversee intelligence, could meet resistance from the Bush administration.

An even more controversial idea is the MI-5 proposal to create a new domestic intelligence agency, which the administration has opposed.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

July 25th, 2003, 08:57 AM
July 25, 2003

Before and After Sept. 11

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks might have been disrupted if America's foreign and domestic intelligence agencies had done a better job sharing information they already possessed about the activities of Al Qaeda members. That is the most chilling finding of an unflinching Congressional inquiry into the performance of the country's spy agencies in the years leading up to the attacks. It would be nice to believe that all the problems had been fixed. Unfortunately, much work remains to be done, and it is not at all clear in some important areas, like reform of the F.B.I., that change is coming fast enough to prevent another terror strike.

The first step toward reform is understanding the failures that preceded Sept. 11. The Congressional inquiry has produced a detailed chronicle of inept work by a multitude of federal agencies. A good deal of fragmentary information about Al Qaeda's diabolic plan was picked up, but the pieces were never assembled in a coherent way to see whether a pattern or plot could be discerned.

Changes already initiated by the Bush administration look promising on paper, but it remains to be seen whether they can be carried out effectively. Robert Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, has declared counterterrorism the bureau's main priority and doubled the number of agents and analysts assigned to it. A joint counterterrorism center has been set up so F.B.I. and C.I.A. specialists can work under one roof. But transforming the bureau from a law enforcement agency into a terrorism-fighting organization just may not be possible.

The C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, which does electronic eavesdropping, will also have to devote more of their efforts to analyzing international terrorist threats inside the United States, promptly sharing their findings with the F.B.I. and other domestic agencies. The panel concludes that not enough has yet been done to address problems in all of these areas.

The report recommends the creation of a cabinet-level intelligence czar responsible for coordinating the activities of the entire intelligence community. That may help, but only if the position does not turn into a rival power center competing with the office of the director of central intelligence.

The next examination of the government's conduct prior to Sept. 11 will come from the commission headed by Thomas Kean, the former governor of New Jersey. The administration must give the commission the information it has requested on relevant White House and National Security Council discussions. The White House's refusal to give Congress unfettered access to information about Saudi Arabia's links to terrorism was a mistake that should not be repeated with the Kean panel.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

July 29th, 2003, 01:13 AM
July 29, 2003

Facing Facts About Saudi Arabia

Trying to get a clear fix on Saudi Arabia's connections to the Sept. 11 terror attacks has been a lot like navigating through a sandstorm. Nearly two years after the assaults on New York and Washington, Americans still do not know whether the heavy representation of Saudis on the four hijacking squads was an odd coincidence or a telltale sign of a deliberate effort by some circles in Saudi Arabia to support the plot. The answer may be knowable now, if both Washington and Riyadh are willing to take on the politically sensitive job of vigorously investigating the Saudi role.

Despite the best efforts of the Bush administration to push the Saudi connections out of sight, and a lot of sanctimonious bluster from the Saudi royal family about the kingdom's innocence, the Congressional report on the terror attacks contains important information that should be pursued.

The critical investigative leads involve Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi student who gave money to two Saudi men who participated in the hijackings. While living in the San Diego area three years ago, Mr. Bayoumi was flush with money coming from Saudi Arabia. He helped cover the expenses of Khalid Almidhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, who later took over American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Mr. Bayoumi may have befriended the men without knowing of their terror connections, but he should be thoroughly questioned by American investigators. That is not possible as long as he is shielded by the authorities in Saudi Arabia, where he is now believed to reside.

If the Saudi royal family cares to live up to its public commitments to assist the United States in unraveling the Sept. 11 plot, it will turn Mr. Bayoumi over to the F.B.I. for questioning. It should also make a full accounting of the financial gifts that the wife of the Saudi ambassador in Washington made to a Saudi family in San Diego, money that eventually found its way to some of the hijackers.

The White House, for its part, should agree to the declassification of a 28-page section of the Congressional report that deals with foreign governments' involvement in the attacks. These pages are said to describe how senior Saudi officials funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable and other groups that may have helped finance the terrorist operation.

Saudi Arabia is itself a target of Al Qaeda's terrorism, as this spring's bombings in Riyadh demonstrated. That is all the more reason for the kingdom to work with Washington to defeat Al Qaeda. It has the perfect opportunity to do so now by producing Mr. Bayoumi.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

August 23rd, 2006, 12:25 AM
The 9/11 Report

A graphic adaptation

slate.com (http://www.slate.com/id/2147309/nav/tap1/)
By Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006

Click here (javascript:void(window.open('http://www.slate.com/features/911report/','_blank','width=1200, height=1080, left=, top=, resizable=yes,status=yes,scrollbars=no,'));) to read The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809057387/sr=8-2/qid=1154708925/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-7132035-3764667?ie=UTF8) by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, which sets text from The 9/11 Commission Report to images — with striking results.

Slate is excerpting a chapter a day through Sept. 7. Don't worry if you've joined in late; click on the launch module, and you'll see that the previous chapters are available using the navigation BELOW LEFT.

http://img.slate.com/media/1/123125/122946/2133504/2146670/911Report_LaunchModule.jpg (http://javascript<b></b>:void(window.open('http://www.slate.com/features/911report/','_blank','width=1200, height=1080, left=, top=, resizable=yes,status=yes,fullscreen=no,location=no ,menubars=no,scrollbars=no,titlebar=no,toolbar=no, '));)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p002.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/003.html)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p011_01.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/012.html)
http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p011_02.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/012.html)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p012_01.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/013.html)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p013_01.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/014.html)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p025_02.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/026.html)

http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p025_03.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/026.html)
http://www.slate.com/features/911report/images/pages/p025_04.jpg (http://www.slate.com/features/911report/026.html)

September 3rd, 2006, 10:40 AM
New Kind of View From Inside World Trade Center

http://www.nysun.com/edition/553_small.jpg (http://www.nysun.com/edition/553_large.jpg)
Hill and Wang
A frame from ‘The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation,’
by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon, which is being published
on Tuesday.

NY SUN (http://www.nysun.com/article/38944)
Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 1, 2006


There may, at first, seem something rather disrespectful about trying to explain the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in a comic book. As much as the "graphic novel" has been championed as the next new thing and subjects as serious as a nuclear holocaust have been portrayed as a comic strip — to great effect by Raymond Briggs in "When the Wind Blows" — comics have yet to shake off their pulp status.The prospect of relaying serious information would appear to be beyond the comic's reach.

The publication next Tuesday of "The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation" by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon prompts a reappraisal of the form. Both men, now in their mid-70s, spent their lives dreaming up the adventures of Spider-Man and Wonder Woman. And when, after months of investigation, the commissioners published their report, the pair consumed it thoroughly. They concluded that none but the most dedicated citizen would ever get around to reading it.

The solution they proposed was in the best democratic interests. They would use their expertise to write and draw a comic book version of the report to encourage even those who do not read books or serious newspapers to come to terms with the report's findings.

The result is a triumph of popular journalism, an intelligent and clear account of the causes, events, and aftermath of September 11, employing all the tricks of graphic art to make its points.The two men are so skilful that even the chairman and co-chairman of the commission, Thomas H. Kean and Lee. H. Hamilton, have commended that we all read it; their foreword to the book praises its intentions and execution.

What is most laudable is the restraint with which the authors tackle their grisly subject. Osama bin Laden, who features prominently, is made to look mean and purposeful, but has none of the traditional allure of comic book villains. Al Qaeda's methods, however, are portrayed with full candor and one of the most troubling frames has hijackers practicing their throat-slitting techniques on writhing sheep.

The portrayal of key decision making moments by President Bush, Secretary Powell, Vice President Cheney, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the rest is done in a matter-of-fact manner, erring on the side of photographic accuracy rather than caricature.

Most telling, perhaps, is the way the chilling events of September 11 itself are portrayed. It is not only the families of the victims of the hijackings and the bombed buildings who are fearful of accounts of the tragedy on the screen. No New Yorker will be able to scan the pages dealing with the plane bombs flying over Manhattan or the plight of those stuck in the Twin Towers without reawakening terrible memories.

And so they should. It will be many years before such man-made horrors become the commonplace background for fictional adventures or, as even the Nazis have become, subjects of a humorous Broadway musical.

What Messrs. Jacobson and Colon have managed to pull off so adeptly is a sober means of understanding the helplessness of those who watched their flight attendants knifed and those imprisoned in the towers who cried out in vain to be rescued. In a World Trade Center scene, loudspeakers blare, "Evacuate Immediately," as a woman navigating the falling debris simply asks, "How?"

In a frame below, a defiant couple look out from the South Tower across to the blazing North Tower. The boxed commentary offers a bleak prognosis: "Receiving conflicting suggestions, most South Tower tenants stayed where they were. Clearly, the prospect of another plane hitting the second building was beyond contemplation."

In Washington, Dick Cheney, watching events unfold on television, has a similar cast of mind. "How the hell could a plane — " says his bubble, before breaking into a second, "Oh, no! A second one!"

The portrayal of Mr. Cheney is interesting because, on grounds of objectivity, the authors were for once deliberately inaccurate. On the Web site of the book's publisher, Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Ernie Colon said: "[Cheney] has a mouth formation that looks like a sneer, so I drew him that way. But after I drew him I thought it might look like a political statement and we wanted to stay away from that, so I withdrew that and put in something which looked a little more neutral."

The authors also omitted the most haunting memories of all: scenes of victims falling from the towers. In the course of his research, Mr. Colon admits to becoming inured to terrible images, but one picture was so poignant it broke through: the sight of a policeman weeping as he watched people leaping to their deaths.

This is a disturbing book to read. It evokes so well that sunny morning when the world violently shifted course, but it also drives home the many things left undone by our own government; from the political distractions that hampered President Clinton's response to Al Qaeda, to the inadequate understanding by President Bush and Condoleezza Rice that terrorists may use planes to bomb us, to the problems, still to be fixed, with emergency workers' communications equipment.

The authors should be applauded for ensuring that the lessons of the 9/11 Commission are given the widest airing. And for reminding us that in this hazardous new world, a democracy needs to employ all forms of art to inform its citizens.

© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC

September 9th, 2006, 05:09 PM
Widowed Husband Of Former Disney Records Exec (http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/sep/09/husband_of_former_disney_exec_killed_on_9_11_write s_to_iger_i_urge_you_not_to_air_this_film)
Killed On 9/11 Writes To ABC's Iger:
I "Urge You Not To Air This Film"

Election Central
By Greg Sargent
September 9, 2006

John Beug, the widowed husband of Carolyn Beug, a former vice president at Walt Disney Records (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7126516) who was on the plane that slammed into 1 World Trade Center, has written a letter to ABC chief Bob Iger pleading with him not to run the film. A source provided us with a copy of the letter.

It reads, in part: "I am writing to express my concern and deep reservations about this film and to ask you, out of respect for the victims of 9/11 and their families, not to air it...I strongly and respectfully urge you not to air this film."

Reached by phone, Mr. Beug confirmed the letter was his and verified its accuracy. "I think it's unfortunate that people are sensationalizing the story for whatever reason they're doing it," Mr. Beug said. "It shouldn't be politicized." Soon after her death, Carolyn Beug was described (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/12/victim-capsule-flight11.htm) by U.S.A. Today as a "former Walt Disney Records executive" who "won acclaim for her work on the Pocahontas film soundtrack."

ABC has said (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2406097&page=1)that judgments of the film are premature. "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing … is not yet complete, so criticisms of film's specifics are premature and irresponsible," a recent ABC statement said.

Full text of the letter:
September 9, 2006
Dear Mr. Iger,
I have seen the advertisements for and read the press coverage of ABC’s film, “The Path to 9/11,” that your network plans to air this Sunday and Monday to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. I am writing to express my concern and deep reservations about this film and to ask you, out of respect for the victims of 9/11 and their families, not to air it.
My wife worked for the Walt Disney Corporation and was a victim of the terrorist attacks as a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11. I have great respect for you and your company and I know that you must have worked hard to make a good film. Admittedly, I have not seen it. However, accounts from those who have suggest that it contains inaccurate and invented scenes. It seems to me that fictionalizing this tragedy does not honor the memory of those who were lost on September 11th.
Given the gravity of this event for our nation and the personal loss I suffered, I believe it is critically important that we do everything possible to prevent another 9/11. That begins with making sure that we are united in our understanding of what we could have done better in the years, months and weeks leading up to the attacks of 2001. I am deeply concerned that Americans will watch this film and not fully understand –- or be led to misunderstand -– the true history of this tragedy.
I feel the 9/11 Commission Report was a correct and very responsible accounting of the terrorist attacks of 2001. Since “The Path to 9/11” deviates from this report in key instances, I strongly and respectfully urge you not to air this film.
John Beug

Copyright &#169; 2006 TPM Media LLC.

October 1st, 2006, 03:48 PM
9/11 Panel Members Weren’t Told of Meeting

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/washington/01cnd-book.html?hp&ex=1159761600&en=797d904aeadd4206&ei=5094&partner=homepage)
October 1, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 — Members of the Sept. 11 commission said today that they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a White House meeting in July 2001 at which George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, about an imminent Al Qaeda attack and failed to persuade her to take action.

Details of the previously undisclosed meeting on July 10, 2001, two months before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, were first reported last week in a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward.

The final report from the Sept. 11 commission made no mention of the meeting nor did it suggest there had been such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice, now secretary of state.

Since release of the book, “State of Denial,” the White House and Ms. Rice have disputed major elements of Mr. Woodward’s account, with Ms. Rice insisting through spokesmen that there had been no such exchange in a private meeting with Mr. Tenet and that he had expressed none of the frustration attributed to him in Mr. Woodward’s book.

“It really didn’t match Secretary Rice’s recollection of the meeting at all,” said Dan Bartlett, counselor to President Bush, in an interview on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

“It kind of left us scratching our heads because we don’t believe that’s an accurate account,” he said.

Although passages of the book suggest that Mr. Tenet was a major source for Mr. Woodward, the former intelligence director has refused to comment on the book.

Nor has there been any comment from J. Cofer Black, Mr. Tenet’s counterterrorism chief, who is reported in the book to have attended the July 10 meeting and left it frustrated by Ms. Rice’s “brush-off” of the warnings.

He is quoted as saying, “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.” Mr. Black did not return calls left at the security firm Blackwater, which he joined last year.

The book says that Mr. Tenet hurriedly organized the meeting — calling ahead from his car as it traveled to the White House — because he wanted to “shake Rice” into persuading the president to respond to dire intelligence warnings that summer about a terrorist strike. Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Tenet left the meeting frustrated because “they were not getting through to Rice.”

The disclosures took members of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission by surprise last week. Some questioned whether information about the July 10 meeting was intentionally withheld from the panel.

In interviews Saturday and today, commission members said they were never told about the meeting despite hours of public and private questioning with Ms. Rice, Mr. Tenet and Mr. Black, much of it focused specifically on how the White House had dealt with terrorist threats in the summer of 2001.

“None of this was shared with us in hours of private interviews, including interviews under oath, nor don’t we have any paper on this,” said Timothy J. Roemer, a Democratic member of the commission and a former House member from Indiana. “I’m deeply disturbed by this. I’m furious.”

Another Democratic commissioner, former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, said that the staff of the Sept. 11 commission was polled in recent days on the disclosures in Mr. Woodward’s book and agreed that the meeting “was never mentioned to us.”

“This is certainly something we would have wanted to know about,” he said, referring to the July 10, 2001, meeting.

He said he had attended the commission’s private interviews with both Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice and had pressed “very hard for them to provide us with everything they had regarding conversations with the executive branch” about terrorist threats before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Philip D. Zelikow, the executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and now a top aide to Ms. Rice at the State Department, agreed that no witness before the commission had drawn attention to a July 10 meeting at the White House, nor described the sort of encounter portrayed in Mr. Woodward’s book.

Mr. Zelikow said that it was “entirely plausible” that a meeting occurred on July 10, during a period that summer in which intelligence agencies were being flooded with warnings of a terrorist attack against the United States or its allies.

But he said the commissioners and their staff had heard nothing in their private interviews with Mr. Tenet and Mr. Black to suggest that they had made such a dire presentation to Ms. Rice or that she had rebuffed them.

“If we had heard something that drew our attention to this meeting, it would have been a huge thing,” he said. “Repeatedly Tenet and Black said they could not remember what had transpired in some of those meetings.”

Democratic lawmakers have seized on Mr. Woodward’s book in arguing that the Bush administration bungled the war in Iraq and paid too little attention to terrorist threats in the months before Sept. 11.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on “Face the Nation” on CBS that there had been “rumors” of such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice in the summer of 2001.

Mr. Woodward’s book, he said, raised the question of “why didn’t Condi Rice and George Tenet tell the 9/11 commission about that? They were obliged to do that and they didn’t.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

October 2nd, 2006, 10:40 PM
Records Show Tenet Briefed Rice on Al Qaeda Threat

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/washington/03ricecnd.html?ei=5065&en=a9fc92094cf1099a&ex=1160452800&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print)
October 2, 2006

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 2 — A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.

The account by Sean McCormack came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall the specific meeting on July 10, 2001, noting that she had met repeatedly with Mr. Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Ms. Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was “incomprehensible” she ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. McCormack also said records show that the Sept. 11 commission was informed about the meeting, a fact that former intelligence officials and members of the commission confirmed on Monday.

When details of the meeting emerged last week in a new book by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Bush administration officials questioned Mr. Woodward’s reporting.

Now, after several days, both current and former Bush administration officials have confirmed parts of Mr. Woodward’s account.

Officials now agree that on July 10, 2001, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so alarmed about an impending Al Qaeda attack that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Ms. Rice and her National Security Council staff.

According to two former intelligence officials, Mr. Tenet told those assembled at the White House about the growing body of intelligence the Central Intelligence Agency had collected pointing to an impending Al Qaeda attack. But both current and former officials took issue with Mr. Woodward’s account that Mr. Tenet and his aides left the meeting in frustration, feeling as if Ms. Rice had ignored them.

Mr. Tenet told members of the Sept. 11 commission about the July 10 meeting when they interviewed him in early 2004, but committee members said the former C.I.A. director never indicated he had left the White House with the impression that he had been ignored.

“Tenet never told us that he was brushed off,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic member of the commission. “We certainly would have followed that up.”

Mr. McCormack said the records showed that, far from ignoring Mr. Tenet’s warnings, Ms. Rice acted on the intelligence and requested that Mr. Tenet make the same presentation to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

But Mr. Ashcroft said by telephone on Monday evening that he never received a briefing that summer from Mr. Tenet.

“Frankly, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get that kind of briefing,” he said. “I’m surprised he didn’t think it was important enough to come by and tell me.”

The dispute that has played out in recent days gives further evidence of an escalating battle between the White House and Mr. Tenet over who should take the blame for such mistakes as the failure to stop the Sept. 11 attacks and assertions by Bush administration officials that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling chemical and biological weapons and cultivating ties to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Tenet resigned as director of central intelligence in the summer of 2004 and was honored that December with a Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony. Since leaving the C.I.A., Mr. Tenet has stayed out of the public eye, largely declining to defend his record at the C.I.A. even after several government investigations have assailed the faulty intelligence that helped build the case for the Iraq war.

Mr. Tenet is now completing work on a memoir that is scheduled to be published early next year.

It is unclear how much Mr. Tenet will use the book to settle old scores, although recent books have portrayed Mr. Tenet both as dubious about the need for the Iraq war and angry that the White House has made the C.I.A. the primary scapegoat for the war.

In his book “The One Percent Doctrine,” the journalist and author Ron Suskind quotes Mr. Tenet’s former deputy at the C.I.A., John McLaughlin, saying that Mr. Tenet “wishes he could give that damn medal back.”

In his own book, Mr. Woodward wrote that over time Mr. Tenet developed a particular dislike for Ms. Rice, and that the former C.I.A. director was furious when she publicly blamed the agency for allowing President Bush to make the false claim in the 2003 State of the Union Address that Saddam Hussein was pursuing nuclear materials in Niger.

“If the C.I.A., the Director of National Intelligence, had said ‘take this out of the speech,’ it would have been gone, without question,” Ms. Rice told reporters in July 2003.

In fact, the C.I.A. had told the White House months before that the Niger intelligence was bogus and had managed to keep the claim out of an October 2002 speech that President Bush gave in Cincinnati.

More recently, Mr. Tenet has told friends that he was particularly angry when, appearing recently on Sunday talk shows, both Ms. Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney cited Mr. Tenet by name as the reason that Bush administration officials asserted that Mr. Hussein had stockpiles of banned weapons in Iraq and ties to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Cheney recalled during an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Sept. 10 of this year: “George Tenet sat in the Oval Office and the president of the United States asked him directly, he said, ‘George, how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?’ the director of the C.I.A. said, ‘It’s a slam dunk, Mr. President, it’s a slam dunk.’ ”

Philip Shenon reported from Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

October 6th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Ashcroft tries to re-write the story ...

Analysis: Ashcroft blasts 9-11 Commission

upi.com / SecurityTerrorism (http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20061005-052222-3483r)
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Former Attorney General John Ashcroft this week became the only Cabinet-level Bush official to attack the Sept. 11 Commission, writing in his memoirs it "seemed obsessed with trying to lay the blame for the terrorist attacks at the feet of the Bush administration, while virtually absolving the previous administration of responsibility."

Ashcroft also writes that the commission's hearings "were not so much about discovering the truth as they were about assessing blame and grandstanding," adding that they "degenerated into show trials."

GOP Commissioner Slade Gorton, a former senator from Washington State, told United Press International Thursday that he found the charges "extraordinary," recalling that President Bush had personally repudiated Ashcroft's tactics in his sparring with the commission.

"Most of the criticism (the commission received) was the exact opposite: that we didn't blame anyone," he said. "Our job was to write a factual account which readers could use to assess blame for themselves."

Ashcroft "may very well have been the worst witness we interviewed," he said, adding he was "very unresponsive and unhelpful."

"I was particularly disappointed," he added, "because I liked him when we were in the Senate together." Ashcroft served as GOP Senator for Missouri 1994-2000.

Ashcroft, who was traveling in Europe Thursday, did not respond to a request for comment. The White House and the Justice Department also declined comment on the row, the latest round in a series of increasingly bitter pre-election exchanges about the respective responsibilities of the Clinton and Bush administrations for failing to stop the Sept. 11 attacks.

In his memoir, "Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice," Ashcroft accuses the commission, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States, of trying to "stimulate media interest" in their hearings by leaking "juicy tidbits" beforehand. He writes that this was why he -- alone of all the serving and former senior officials who were witnesses for the commission -- did not provide them with advance copies of his testimony.

Gorton dismissed that explanation, saying "The reason, I'm convinced, is that he intended to -- and did -- use his testimony to launch a disingenuous and underhanded personal attack on a member of the commission."

At his April 14, 2003, appearance Ashcroft sprung on the commission a just-declassified top secret memo written by commission member and former Clinton administration Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick in 1995. The memo, Ashcroft said, was "the basic architecture" for the so-called wall, which he said was "the greatest structural cause for Sept. 11."

The wall -- in effect a hodge-podge of laws, court rulings and departmental regulations that had accreted over time -- had strictly separated intelligence from criminal investigations out of concern that prosecutors should not be allowed to use the much less restrictive rules about wiretapping and other kinds of surveillance that applied in intelligence operations to gather material for criminal cases, effectively end-running the Fourth Amendment.

The commission's report, however, concluded that the wall grew up during the 1980s, primarily as a response to a series of court rulings, and noted that a memo from Ashcroft's deputy Larry Thompson in August 2001 had effectively ratified the policy laid out by Gorelick in 1995.

The day prior to Ashcroft's testimony, the man who had been acting FBI director throughout the summer of 2001, Thomas Pickard, told the commission that Ashcroft had told him during a briefing covering counter-terrorism that "he did not want to hear about this anymore," and had refused a request for additional funding for FBI counter-terrorist activities.

Gorton believes that these facts account for Ashcroft's behavior. "He did have that (the Pickard allegations) and the Larry Thompson memo," said Gorton. "He had a great deal to answer for."

Nonetheless, in their recent account of their time on the commission, Chairman Thomas Kean and his deputy, Lee Hamilton, wrote that Ashcroft's testimony represented "the most aggressive challenge to the commission's credibility," noting that it set off a "steady drumbeat of criticism," including calls from senior House Republican leaders for Gorelick's resignation, and left them with "a huge political problem."

Two weeks later, on April 28, Ashcroft declassified more memos written by or commented upon by Gorelick, posting them on the Justice Department Web site, even though they had not previously been made available to the commission.

Calling the move "unprincipled," Gorton recalled that when commissioners met the following day with President Bush, "he personally told Gorelick he did not agree" with the decision to post the memos.

&#169; Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc

October 7th, 2006, 10:31 AM
Looks like somebody took the warning seriously (http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/10/04/some-questions/#more-4799)

rawstory.com/showoutarticle (http://rawstory.com/showoutarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fbluememe.blogs pot.com%2F2006%2F10%2Flooks-like-somebody-took-warning.html)
October 4, 2006

The White House is in full panic mode trying to find a way to spin the now-admitted fact that George Tenet did indeed brief Condi Rice on July 10, 2001 about the terror threat. The latest damage control approach has been to claim that the report was "nothing new" (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4231325.html).

So how come when then-Attorney General John Ashcroft heard the same warning a week later, he immediately stopped flying commercial aircraft?

Christy Hardin Smith at FDL runs down (http://www.firedoglake.com/2006/10/04/some-questions/#more-4799) a bunch of the story of the July 10, 2001 terror briefing Condi somehow failed to remember. She also touches on the fact that George Tenet gave the same warning to John Ashcroft exactly a week later (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/news/nation/15662785.htm).

It seems to me that we ought to be asking whether that story has anything to do with this one (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml), dated July 26, 2001:

Fishing rod in hand, Attorney General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.

In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.

"There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.
Got that? July 17 -- Ashcroft briefed. July 28 -- Ashcroft flies in a charter, leased, according to the article, earlier that week.

Seems to me this could be another blockbuster. If Ashcroft decided that commercial flights were too dangerous based on the same warning as Rice (who presumably wasn't flying commercial flights either) ignored, we have ourselves some rather dramatic evidence of callous indifference and willingness on the part of the Bush Administration to put the preservation of their own hides before their duty.

It will be tough for Rice to argue that the briefing was nothing new if it scared Ashcroft away from flying with commercial airlines.

November 21st, 2006, 12:25 PM
Judge: FBI must correct disclosures
on evacuation of Saudis after 9/11

rawstory.com (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Judge_orders_FBI_to_correct_disclosures_1120.html)
November 20, 2006


A U.S. district court judge has ordered the FBI to correct disclosures regarding the US government's evacuation of Saudi royals and bin Laden family members after the September 11 attacks in 2001, a conservative watchdog organization announced today.

"Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to submit 'proper disclosures' to the Court and Judicial Watch by December 15, 2006 concerning the U.S. government's evacuation of Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family from the United States immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks," the group said in a press release obtained by RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/).

Judicial Watch notes that Judge Roberts criticized "the adequacy of redaction descriptions, the accuracy of the sworn statement submitted with the documents, the validity of exemption claims, and other errors in the FBI’s disclosures.

"The FBI’s 220-page annotated production and accompanying … Declaration together do not, as they must, provide sufficient detail or precision about the withheld information … the FBI’s motion for summary judgment will be denied and the FBI will be directed to file disclosures that fairly meet the requirements of [court precedent]," wrote Judge Roberts.

Judge Roberts added that one particular FBI exemption argument "strains credulity."

According to Judicial Watch, US government documents (http://www.judicialwatch.org/3569.shtml) reveal that 160 Saudis flew from the US between September 11 and September 15, 2001.

(A 19-page PDF of the Court's opinion can be read at this link (http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/2006/FBICourtOrder.pdf))

November 21st, 2006, 01:10 PM
yeah, I remember reading about the warning and Ashcroft private plane thing in the independent media way back in 2001. Never seemed to get picked up in the corporate media though(hardly a surprise).
They knew

November 29th, 2006, 11:32 AM
many people in europe think, that some kind of lobby has made this problem himself - it wasn´t either the people from "Afghanistan" nor the people from "Iraq" --- the problem was definitely homemade.... made by the migthy people of America........ this is very sad i think ......


..... and you think you still live in a demo(crazy) ???

December 1st, 2006, 04:36 PM
That video you posted has been debunked and disproven eight ways from last Tuesday. Here it is in a nutshell, another film in case that is your preferred medium: http://www.lolloosechange.co.nr/

Here is a quick list of some of the "errors" (lies?) in that film, courtesy http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/ (these have been disproven for over a year and a half, and _still_ people post the film up as an "authority"- WTF?):

1. Claim: Charles Burlingame, an ex-Navy F4 pilot who worked in the Pentagon, participated in an exercise simulating crashing a 757 into a building in October 2000, before retiring to take a job at American Airlines,

Truth: Charles Burlingame started working for AA in 1979 and retired from the Naval Reserve in 1996, 4 years before these supposed exercises took place. Source (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/cfburling3.htm)

2. Claim: Investors with prior knowledge of 9/11 made millions buying put options on airline stock.

Truth: Both the 9/11 committee and business journalists investigated this claim and found nothing unusual. Much of the investment also involved purchasing airline stock. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/sell-sell-sell.html)

3. Claim: Plane crashing into World Trade Center was identified as a windowless cargo plane.

Truth: The man who claimed this, Marc Birnbach, was over 2 miles away at the time. Source (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html?page=3&c=y)

4. Claim: An air traffic controller reported that they thought flight 77 was a military plane.

Truth: The full quote was referring to the unsafe way the plane was flying, not that it was impossible for a civilian plane to fly like that. "The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane you don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe." Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/it-was-military-plane.html)

5. Claim, Flight 77 managed to tear 5 light poles completely out of the ground,
Without damaging either the wings or the light poles themselves.

Truth: We don’t know that the wings were undamaged, since they crashed into the Pentagon fractions of a second later. There are pictures of the light poles, however, which show them broken and twisted. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/those-magic-light-poles.html)

6. Claim: The official explanation for flight 77 at the Pentagon is that the intense heat from the jet fuel vaporized the entire plane.

Truth: No official has made that claim, and in fact numerous pieces of the plane, including the bodies of the passengers, and the black boxes were found. Source (http://www.911myths.com/html/757_wreckage.html)

7. Claim: A spokesman for Rolls-Royce stated that engine parts found at the Pentagon did not belong to any of their engines.

Truth: The spokesman stated specifically that he was not an engineer and was not familiar with the engine in question. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/jet-engine-red-herrings.html)

8. Claim: Karl Schwarz President and Chief Executive Officer of Patmos Nanotechnologies LLC and I-Nets Security Systems, identified the engine as being a JT8D turbojet engine belonging to an A-3 Skywarrior.

Karl Schwarz is a proven fraud and conspiracy theorist, with no known background in technology or avionics. His companies are shell corporations with no employees or products. Furthermore, the A-3 Skywarrior never used a JT8D engine. The engine in question is consistent with that of the Rolls-Royce RB211 used by the 757. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/who-is-karl-schwarz.html) and here (http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/conspiracy/q0265.shtml)

9. Claim: Employees at the Pentagon were seen suspiciously carrying away a large box shrouded in a blue tarp.

Truth: The blue tarp was a tent, used to aid in the crash response. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/its-just-mistake.html)

10. Claim: The damage to the Pentagon was completely inconsistent with a Boeing 757?

Truth: Studies by NIST, the ASCE and Purdue University, including computer simulations show that the damage was perfectly in keeping with a crashing airplane. Source (http://www.pubs.asce.org/ceonline/ceonline03/0203feat.html)

11. Claim: The only damage to the outer wall of the Pentagon was a single hole, no more than 16 feet in diameter.

Truth: The hole was approximately 90 feet wide. The 16 foot measurement was only achieved by looking at pictures where the rest of the hole was obscured by smoke and foam from the firefighters. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/men-always-lie-about-size.html)

12. Claim: No wreckage was found on the Pentagon lawn.

Truth: There are numerous pictures of plane wreckage, including those with the American Airlines paint scheme. Source
13. Claim: A 16 foot hole was punched in the C ring of the Pentagon by the airplane’s soft carbon fiber nose.

Truth: It was a 12 foot hole, and it was made by the much more resilient nose landing gear. Source (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html?page=6&c=y)

14. Claim: A cruise missile hit the Pentagon

Truth: Over a hundred documented witnesses, and many more unrecorded, saw in broad daylight a large commercial jetliner crash into the Pentagon. Many even specifically identified the airline. To this day, not a single person has come forward claiming to have seen a cruise missile. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/better-pentagon-image.html), source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/which-one-of-these-is-not-like-other.html).

15. Claim: A white marking on the lawn the week before indicated the path of the crash.

Truth: This section of the Pentagon was being renovated and cables were being laid. And why would a cruise missile need directions anyway? Source
16. Claim: A number of military personnel at the Pentagon specifically mentioned smelling cordite.

Truth: The person (not a number of military personnel) in question was a lawyer not a munitions expert, and cordite is used in ammunition, not explosives. Source (http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2001/09/19perkal.html)

17. Claim: WTC 7, a 47 story office building 300 feet away from the North Tower, suddenly collapsed for no reason.

Truth: There was nothing sudden about it. The building was hit by falling debris from one of the towers, was missing much of one corner, had a huge hole in the middle and was on fire for hours. The building had started leaning and making creaking noises so fire department officials ordered the evacuation of the area over an hour earlier. Source (http://www.911myths.com/html/wtc7_damage.html) and here (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/wtc-7.html)

18. Claim: On July 28th, 1945, a B-52 bomber lost in the fog crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, 14 people dead, 1 million dollars in damage. But, the building stands intact to this day.

Truth: It was a B-25 bomber (the B-52 was not produced until 9 years later), a propeller driven plane about 1/10th the size of a 767, and was traveling about &#188; the speed. The fire only covered part of one floor, and was extinguished in less than an hour. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/maybe-they-will-fix-it-in-version-30.html)

19. Claim: On February 23rd, 1991, a 38 story skyscraper in Philadelphia burned for more than 19 hours and spread over 8 floors. It did not collapse.

Truth: The firefighters fought the fire for 11 hours before they evacuated the building fearing a collapse. The building, which was never hit by an aircraft, was structurally unsound and later had to be demolished. Source (http://www.interfire.org/res_file/pdf/Tr-049.pdf)

20. Claim: The south tower collapsed in just 9.2 seconds.

Truth: It is difficult to time because of all the smoke and debris, but it took significantly longer. Source (http://www.911myths.com/html/freefall.html)

21. Claim: 200,000 tons of steel shattered into sections no longer than a couple feet long.

Truth: Sections of the World Trade Center, often hundreds of feet long survived. Source (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/inside911/gallery_firemen_debris_world_trade_center.html)

22. Claim: Kevin Ryan from Underwriters Laboratories, the company that certified the steel that was used in the World Trade Center, stated the steel should not have melted at the temperatures they were exposed to.

Truth: Kevin Ryan worked in the water testing department, nobody claimed the steel melted, and UL did not certify it in the first place (OK, that is technically 3 lies). Source
23. Claim: Numerous firefighters and other witnesses heard explosions in the world trade center indicating the use of demolitions.

Truth: A jet liner with 10,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into each of the towers at 500 mph. It would be suspicious if they didn’t hear subsequent explosions. Source (http://www.911myths.com/html/accounts_of_explosions.html)

24. Claim: Ben Fountain, a financial analyst who worked in the World Trade Center, told People Magazine that in the weeks before 9-11, there were a number of unannounced and unusual drills where sections of both the Twin Towers and building 7 were evacuated for 'security reasons'.

Truth: Mr. Fountain only stated that his tower was evacuated. He didn’t say it in the context that the film presents, that this somehow gave them the opportunity to plant explosives, but to say that there were previous threats against the towers. Other sources used by the conspiracy movement contradict this. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/ben-lying-again.html) and here (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/ben-fountain-meet-scott-forbes.html)

25. Claim: Bomb sniffing dogs were removed from the World Trade Center only days before the attack.

Truth: Security was actually increased for a couple of weeks; this “removal” was just security returning to normal. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/ben-lying-again.html)

26. Claim: Seismic records prove that explosives were used in the World Trade Center

Truth: The Columbia University seismic center specifically states that their records do not support such a conclusion. Source (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html?page=5&c=y)

27. Mayor Giuliani shipped off the remains of the World Trade Center before anyone could look at it.

Truth: FEMA, the FBI, the NTSB and the NIST all conducted in depth investigations, including removal and testing of debris. An extensive report is available at http://www.nist.gov/ (http://www.nist.gov/)

28. Claim: Not even FEMA was allowed into Ground Zero.

Truth: False, they were involved in the investigation and even produced the first report. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/coverup-that-wasnt.html)

29. Claim: At the United 93 crash site “there was nothing. Nothing that you can distinguish that a plane had crashed there. “

Truth: Extensive debris including engines, personal effects, body parts and the black boxes were found at the crash site. Pictures of many of these items were introduced into evidence as the Zacarias Moussaoui trial. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/moussaoui-trial-exhibits.html)

30. Claim: Wally Miller, a Somerset County coroner stated that there were no bodies found at the crash site of United 93

Truth: There were no “whole” bodies, but over 1500 body parts were found, and most of the passengers were identified through the use of DNA. Mr. Miller later reported his findings on this. Source (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/loose-screw-2-coroner.html)

31. Claim: United Flight 93 landed at Cleveland Airport

Truth: This was a false report (http://blogs.scripps.com/wcpo/staff/2006/02/wcpocoms_flight_93_story.html), it was immediately corrected by the AP, but it still lives on in Internet legend.

32. Claim: The last 3 minutes of the United 93 cockpit recorder are unaccounted for.

Truth: This was based upon initial incorrect reports of the crash time. Further analysis (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/pdf/fullreport.pdf) (see Page 48 of PDF) indicated the recorder included everything.

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2116/144/320/Flight93CrashTime.jpg (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2116/144/1600/Flight93CrashTime.jpg)

33. Claim: The cell phone calls from the hijacked planes could not have taken place due to the technological impossibility of placing calls from a high altitude.

Truth: Most of the calls were from Airfones (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3067652/), which quite obviously work fine in the air. The few cell phone calls which were made could have easily been made due to the fact that the hijackers reduced altitude to steer their planes into their targets.

34. Claim: Nine hijackers turned up alive after 9/11

Truth: All of these claims turned up immediately after 9/11. A few were just people with the same name, the rest have been unverified (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/theyre-alive-theyre-alive.html). To date, none of the 19 hijackers has been seen in public.

35. Claim: The bin Laden confession tape must be fake because bin Laden is lefthanded, and the man in the tape uses his right hand to write.

Truth: Aside from the fact that many left handers are ambidextrous, in Muslim culture (http://www.islamicvoice.com/April2006/Guidelines/?PHPSESSID=b869386bdf85a74b62b0e8df89e10999) the left hand is considered “unclean”. Osama, being a strict Muslim would most likely not prefer to use his left hand.

36. Claim: The bin Laden confession tape must be fake because bin Laden is wearing a gold ring, which is forbidden by Islamic law.

Truth: Islamic law only forbids men from wearing gold. There is no way of telling what metal the ring is made out of, and in fact he is seen wearing (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/more-on-that-ring.html) the same ring in other tapes.

37. Claim: $160 billion in gold is missing from the World Trade Center.

Truth: Despite the fact that this would be over half the world’s gold reserves (http://www.gold.org/value/stats/statistics/archive/index.php), and be nearly impossible to move secretly, this has never been reported by any reputable news source.

38. Claim: WTC owner Larry Silverstein profited off of a massive insurance settlement from the attacks.

Truth: Silverstein only owned WTC7, he merely held the lease for the twin towers. While purchasing the lease he originallly wanted a smaller insurance policy, but was required to increase (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/larry-silverstein-evil-jewish-landlord.html) it as part of the deal. What money he did get, he used to rebuild. It has never been shown that he profited off of the attacks.

39. Claim: The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) called for a "New Pearl Harbor" which resulted in 9/11 helping them acheive their goals.

Truth: PNAC did not call for anything, they merely stated the timetable for their transformation would be slower. The transformation (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/pnac-myth.html) dealt with technological modification of the military, and has had absolutely nothing to do with the results of 9/11 or the invasion of Iraq.

40. Claim: A reporter at the Pentagon reported there was no trace of flight 77.

Truth: The reporter, Jamie McIntyre (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/even-more-quote-mining.html), was responding to a question regarding whether the plane crashed outside of the Pentagon. In the rest of his news reports he talks extensively about the crash, including handling pieces of the airplane himself.

41. Claim: A United Airlines employee reported seeing the tail number of United 93 on another flight in April 2003.

Truth: FAA records show that this was nothing more than him writing down the number (http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/06/tail-numbers-and-occams-razor.html) of this flight incorrectly. There is no record of this airplane showing up anywhere since September 11, 2001

December 1st, 2006, 04:46 PM
Occam's Razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)

December 1st, 2006, 04:56 PM
It was all Kyle.

May 1st, 2007, 06:55 AM
May 1, 2007


A Slam-Dunk of a Book Tour Comes to Town


George J. Tenet, originally of Little Neck, Queens, returned to his hometown yesterday to peddle a book and, not coincidentally, himself.

Most human pursuits have their rituals. In New York, the country’s publishing capital, there are honored rituals for selling new books. They almost amount to sacraments.

One is the rollout interview. Few rites are more blessed than an appearance on the “Today” show. If “Today” goes hand in hand with an interview on “60 Minutes,” an author has as close to a ticket to heaven as he can hope for. That one-two combo — with, for added measure, a go-round with Larry King late last night — could make the prospect of success a slam-dunk.

Mr. Tenet understands slam-dunks.

He used to be the director of central intelligence, until he stepped down in 2004. He now has a book to market, “At the Center of the Storm,” published by HarperCollins. It is his version of how we ended up with some 3,000 Americans murdered on 9/11 and with more than 3,000 servicemen and women — plus many times that number of Iraqis — killed in a war of shrunken popularity.

For “Today,” Mr. Tenet went yesterday to the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center. The usual early-morning crowd had already gathered, a congregation of screamers praying for the cameras to catch them in full cry and with homemade signs held aloft: “It’s my birthday” and “Hey, Mrs. Steinberg.”

Some of the shriekers carried paraphernalia for a comic-book superhero. They had not turned out for retrospections of the national agony. They were waiting for the stars of a new Spider-Man film.

From 7:09 to 7:17, after teasers for later segments on dieting and on full frontal nudity in a “Simpsons” movie — a cartoon! — the nation’s former spymaster fielded questions. It was a low-key interview, done live by Tom Brokaw. Both men seemed as under-caffeinated as those at home trying to keep up while brushing their teeth or getting the kids off to school.

There was nothing like the coiled tension of Mr. Tenet’s taped interview with Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes,” broadcast on CBS the previous evening. In an introduction, Mr. Pelley described Mr. Tenet with words like “passionate,” “combative,” “apologetic” and “defiant.” After the show, some viewers might have tossed in “petulant” and “defensive.”

“People don’t understand us, you know,” Mr. Tenet said of intelligence gatherers. “They think we’re a bunch of faceless bureaucrats with no feelings, no families, no sense of what it’s like to be passionate about running these bastards down.”

“Hindsight is perfect,” he said at another point, after questions about pre-9/11 intelligence failings and his use of “slam-dunk” in connection to Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent stockpile of illicit weapons. “Walk a mile in my shoes.” “I wish I could reel the tape back.” “The only people that stand up and tell the truth are who? Intelligence officers.”

Another ritual of publishing requires that a controversial book be characterized as “tell-all” even if, as in this case, a more accurate description might be “tell-some.” As a fillip, there is, with Mr. Tenet, an unavoidable question of “tell when.”

He is the latest in a long line of government officials who built careers on the taxpayers’ nickel and then turned their résumés into multimillion-dollar book deals. All but lost is the fact that any information they possess belongs to the public; they were nothing more than temporary custodians.

A full-page newspaper advertisement for HarperCollins on the weekend said of Mr. Tenet that “the one man in a position to know what really happened has been silent.”

EXACTLY. He was silent even though his taxpayer-owned information might have influenced the elections of 2004 and 2006. Mr. Brokaw asked him about that silence.

“Well, Tom,” Mr. Tenet replied, “I chose to do my job in a way where you stay inside the system.” Until he had a book contract, that is.

Tell-all or not, his is unlikely to remain the last word. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hinted as much on Sunday, telling CNN that she will get her turn “when I have a chance to write my book.”

Great. We can then go through the rituals all over again. They might include another sacrament of publishing that we almost forgot: the book party. For Mr. Tenet, or Ms. Rice, the menu need not be elaborate. A simple pastry would do. Like yellow cake.

E-mail: haberman@nytimes.com

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

May 1st, 2007, 07:38 AM
A Loser's History

George Tenet's sniveling, self-justifying new book is a disgrace.

By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 30, 2007, at 11:37 AM ET

It's difficult to see why George Tenet would be so incautious as to write his own self-justifying apologia, let alone give it the portentous title At the Center of the Storm. There is already a perfectly good pro-Tenet book written by a man who knows how to employ the overworked term storm. Bob Woodward's 2002 effort, Bush at War, was, in many of its aspects, almost dictated by George Tenet. How do we know this? Well, Tenet is described on the opening page as "a hefty, outgoing son of Greek immigrants," which means that he talked to Woodward on background. Further compliments are showered upon him. We discover that his main protector on Capitol Hill, Sen. David Boren, who represented Oklahoma until 1994, had implored President-elect Bush to retain this Clinton-era head of the CIA and if he had any doubts, to "ask your father":

When the younger Bush did, the former President George H.W. Bush said: "From what I hear, he's a good fellow," one of the highest accolades in the Bush family lexicon. Tenet … later led the effort to rename CIA headquarters for Bush, himself a former DCI.

No need to draw a very complex picture here: Tenet knows how the kiss-up and kiss-down game is played. And, for a rather mediocre man, he did well enough out of the arrangement while it lasted. Woodward was even willing to describe him as one who "had developed an understanding of the importance of human intelligence, HUMINT in spycraft." But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I only mean to say that it was a very favorably disposed chronicler who wrote this, in describing Tenet's reaction on the terrible morning of Sept. 11, 2001:

"This has bin Laden all over it," Tenet told Boren. "I've got to go." He also had another reaction, one that raised the real possibility that the CIA and the FBI had not done all that could have been done to prevent the terrorist attack. "I wonder," Tenet said, "if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training."

Notice the direct quotes that make it clear who is the author of this brilliant insight. And then pause for a second. The author is almost the only man who could have known of Zacarias Moussaoui and his co-conspirators—the very man who positively knew they were among us, in flight schools, and then decided to leave them alone. In his latest effusion, he writes: "I do know one thing in my gut. Al-Qaeda is here and waiting." Well, we all know that much by now. But Tenet is one of the few who knew it then, and not just in his "gut" but in his small brain, and who left us all under open skies. His ridiculous agency, supposedly committed to "HUMINT" under his leadership, could not even do what John Walker Lindh had done—namely, infiltrate the Taliban and the Bin Laden circle. It's for this reason that the CIA now has to rely on torturing the few suspects it can catch, a policy, incidentally, that Tenet's book warmly defends.

So, the only really interesting question is why the president did not fire this vain and useless person on the very first day of the war. Instead, he awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom! Tenet is now so self-pitying that he expects us to believe that he was "not at all sure that [he] really wanted to accept" this honor. But it seems that he allowed or persuaded himself to do so, given that the citation didn't mention Iraq. You could imagine that Tenet had never sat directly behind Colin Powell at the United Nations, beaming like an overfed cat, as the secretary of state went through his rather ill-starred presentation. And who cares whether his "slam dunk" vulgarity was misquoted or not? We have better evidence than that. Here is what Tenet told the relevant Senate committee in February 2002:

Iraq … has also had contacts with al-Qaida. Their ties may be limited by divergent ideologies, but the two sides' mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggests that tactical cooperation between them is possible, even though Saddam is well aware that such activity would carry serious consequences.

As even the notion of it certainly should have done. At around the same time, on another nontrivial matter, Tenet informed the Senate armed services committee that: "We believe that Saddam never abandoned his nuclear weapons program." It is a little bit late for him to pose as if Iraq was a threat concocted in some crepuscular corner of the vice president's office. And it's pathetic for him to say, even in the feeble way that he chooses to phrase it, that "there was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat." (Emphasis added.) There had been a very serious debate over the course of at least three preceding administrations, whether Tenet "knew" of it or not. (He was only an intelligence specialist, after all.) As for his bawling and sobbing claim that faced with crisis in Iraq, "the administration's message was: Don't blame us. George Tenet and the CIA got us into this mess," I can say, as one who has attended about a thousand postmortems on Iraq in Washington, that I have never, ever, not once heard a single partisan of the administration say anything of the kind. The White House may have thought that it could count on the CIA to present some sort of solidity in a crisis but, as Sept. 11 had already proved, more fool the White House.

In the post-Kuwait-war period, there was little political risk in doing what Tenet had always done and making the worst assumption about anything that Saddam Hussein might even be thinking about. (Who but an abject idiot would ever make a different assumption or grant the Baathists the smallest benefit of the least doubt?) But we forget so soon and so easily. The problem used to be the diametrically opposite one. The whole of our vaunted "intelligence" system completely refused to believe any of the warnings that Saddam Hussein was about to invade and occupy Kuwait in 1990. By the time the menace was taken seriously, the invasion itself was under way. This is why the work of Kenneth Pollack (this time titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq) was received with such gravity when it was published in 2002. Pollack had interpreted the signals correctly in 1990—and been ignored—and was arguing that another final round with Saddam was inevitable. His book did more to persuade policy-makers in Washington than anything ever said by Ahmad Chalabi. To revisit these arguments is to be reminded that no thinking person ever felt that the danger posed by a totalitarian and aggressive Iraq was a negligible one. And now comes Tenet, the man who got everything wrong and who ran the agency that couldn't think straight, to ask us to sympathize with his moanings about "Iraq—who, me?"

A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.


May 1st, 2007, 08:23 AM
As so many have said and written, if this guy was a true "patriot" and wanted to serve this country with honr and distinction, these little details would not be coming to loight in a book after the fact. He didn't do his job, he was silent when he should have spoken up, and he is a disgrace. It's getting tiresome reading useless thoughts from all these ex-offiicios about what should have been done on their own watch.

May 1st, 2007, 10:54 AM
Is Tenet the dimmest man in all of DC? His performance on Larry King last night could easily lead one to believe that.

With Tenet we see evidence that GWB (not such a bright bulb himself) fills the room with semi-morons so that the POTUS (as Lewis Black has pointed out) can honestly lay claim to being the smartest man in the room.

Hitchens nails this idiot ...


A Loser's History

George Tenet's sniveling, self-justifying new book is a disgrace.

... No need to draw a very complex picture here: Tenet knows how the kiss-up and kiss-down game is played. And, for a rather mediocre man, he did well enough out of the arrangement while it lasted.

... the only really interesting question is why the president did not fire this vain and useless person on the very first day of the war. Instead, he awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom! Tenet is now so self-pitying that he expects us to believe that he was "not at all sure that [he] really wanted to accept" this honor.

... it's pathetic for him to say, even in the feeble way that he chooses to phrase it, that "there was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat."

... In the post-Kuwait-war period, there was little political risk in doing what Tenet had always done and making the worst assumption about anything that Saddam Hussein might even be thinking about. (Who but an abject idiot would ever make a different assumption or grant the Baathists the smallest benefit of the least doubt?)

... now comes Tenet, the man who got everything wrong and who ran the agency that couldn't think straight, to ask us to sympathize with his moanings about "Iraq—who, me?"

A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.


May 4th, 2007, 06:39 AM
Rewriting History

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 4, 2007

George Tenet has a very mixed legacy. On the one hand, he presided over the two biggest intelligence failures of this era -- Sept. 11 and the WMD debacle in Iraq. On the other hand, his CIA did devise and carry out brilliantly an astonishingly bold plan to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan. Tenet might have just left it at that, gone home with his Presidential Medal of Freedom and let history judge him.

Instead, he's decided to do some judging of his own. In his just-released book, and while hawking it on television, Tenet presents himself as a pathetic victim and scapegoat of an administration that was hellbent on going to war, slam dunk or not.

Tenet writes as if he assumes no one remembers anything. For example: "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat."

Does he think no one remembers President Bush explicitly rejecting the imminence argument in his 2003 State of the Union address in front of just about the largest possible world audience? Said the president, " Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent" -- and he was not one of them. That in a post-Sept. 11 world, we cannot wait for tyrants and terrorists to gentlemanly declare their intentions. Indeed, elsewhere in the book Tenet concedes that very point: "It was never a question of a known, imminent threat; it was about an unwillingness to risk surprise."

Tenet also makes what he thinks is the damning and sensational charge that the administration, led by Vice President Cheney, had been focusing on Iraq even before Sept. 11. In fact, he reports, Cheney asked for a CIA briefing on Iraq for the president even before they had been sworn in.

This is odd? This is news? For the entire decade following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was the single greatest threat in the region and therefore the most important focus of U.S. policy. U.N. resolutions, congressional debates and foreign policy arguments were seized with the Iraq question and its many post-Gulf War complications -- the weapons of mass destruction, the inspection regimes, the cease-fire violations, the no-fly zones, the progressive weakening of sanctions.

Iraq was such an obsession of the Clinton administration that Bill Clinton ultimately ordered an air and missile attack on its WMD installations that lasted four days. This was less than two years before Bush won the presidency. Is it odd that the administration following Clinton's should share its extreme concern about Iraq and its weapons?

Tenet is not the only one to assume a generalized amnesia about the recent past. One of the major myths (or, more accurately, conspiracy theories) about the Iraq war -- that it was foisted upon an unsuspecting country by a small band of neoconservatives -- also lives blissfully detached from history.

The decision to go to war was made by a war cabinet consisting of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld. No one in that room could even remotely be considered a neoconservative. Nor could the most important non-American supporter of the war to this day -- Tony Blair, father of new Labor.

The most powerful case for the war was made at the 2004 Republican convention by John McCain in a speech that was resolutely "realist." On the Democratic side, every presidential candidate running today who was in the Senate when the motion to authorize the use of force came up -- Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd-- voted yes.

Outside of government, the case for war was made not just by the neoconservative Weekly Standard but -- to select almost randomly -- the traditionally conservative National Review, the liberal New Republic and the center-right Economist. Of course, most neoconservatives supported the war, the case for which was also being made by journalists and scholars from every point on the political spectrum -- from the leftist Christopher Hitchens to the liberal Tom Friedman to the centrist Fareed Zakaria to the center-right Michael Kelly to the Tory Andrew Sullivan. And the most influential tome on behalf of war was written not by any conservative, let alone neoconservative, but by Kenneth Pollack, Clinton's top Near East official on the National Security Council. The title: "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq."

Everyone has the right to renounce past views. But not to make up that past. It is beyond brazen to think that one can get away with inventing not ancient history but what everyone saw and read with their own eyes just a few years ago. And yet sometimes brazenness works.