Rashomon at the White House

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It was old hat, implied Condoleezza Rice ? sorry Doctor Rice ? in her testimony this week before a panel investigating the 9/11 attacks, describing warnings of an Al-Qaeda attack in the U.S. in the now famous August 6, 2001, presidential daily brief. Now the White House has declassified the brief, and the struggle is on to interpret whether the administration was asleep ? the good doctor snoring loudest.

While the brief does open with several paragraphs confirming it was, partly, what Rice somewhat flippantly referred to as a ?historical? account (as if a past aspiration could never be transformed into present action), it does close with two damning passages:

Nevertheless, F.B.I. information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The F.B.I. is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers bin Laden-related. C.I.A. and the F.B.I. are investigating a call to our embassy in the U.A.E. in May saying that a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

The word ?recent?, the reference to a call in the U.A.E. in May 2001 warning of a planned attack, and the fact that the F.B.I. was conducting 70 full field investigations, suggest at the very least that the administration should have been more alert in prompting the bureaucracy ? a bureaucracy that Rice herself admitted could often act as an impediment. Nor does the document corroborate Rice?s statement this week that the administration did not know where an attack might occur. It very clearly is a warning of an attack in the United States.

How did the National Security Council react to this? N.S.C. spokesman Sean McCormack said: ?Since there was no threat reporting, no new action was required.?

However, even a cursory reading of the presidential brief shows that riposte to be absolute nonsense.

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  1. For those of you who insist that Condi couldn’t possibly have done anything unless Al-Qaeda gave her names and dates–well, then, what IS her function? In what circumstances CAN we expect her to get off her proverbial (or literal) ass and do something?

  2. After reading the memo, any fool can plainly see the exact day and hour of the planned attack, including which floors the planes would hit.

    We know this because “…Any Fool” just told us so.

  3. Nevertheless, F.B.I. information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

    The administration did follow up on this lead – the two men that were surveying the New York skyline were Yemeni tourists with no ties to Al Qaeda.

    I’m with the administration – they didn’t have specific information about the attacks and stupidly decide to ignore it. I think the important part of Dick Clarke’s case is about how Iraq has distracted us from Al Qaeda.

  4. Oh, c’mon. Everyone knows that a vague threat against “federal buildings in New York” means that someone’s about to hijack four jet liners flying out of Boston, Newark and Washington, D.C., and then fly two of them into non-federal buildings in New York, and another into a federal building in D.C.

    If my home is ever burglarized, I’m suing the police since they must have known in advance that some bad guys were planning on doing some bad stuff somewhere.

  5. Attention Michael Young: Terrorists are determined to attack the United States. There are terrorist cells and sympathisers in the country, including New York, Chicago, L.A., and most other of the nation’s largest cities. Terrorists have a history of using hijacking, kidnapping, car bombs, remote bombs, suicide bombs, and shootings. They are known to be seeking capabilities to execute chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks.

    There. I’ve just given you detailed intelligence about the terrorist threat facing America. If you don’t bring this to the attention of the proper authorities and tell them how to prevent these attacks, I am going to conclude that it’s your fault.

  6. I don’t know, Jennie. What should have Condi done? What is her function? Tell us what NSA Jennifer would have done in June 2001.

  7. the point is is that as the hijackers were preparing for 9/11 the only thing Bush the Ass was talking about was that most inmportant of issues “Stem cell research”. I wonder if he had a PDB on that. Of course the PDB didn’t contian actionable material it’s a BRIEF. it gives a broad over view of the situation. Documents containing such material are probably classified Top Secret. There are prpobably tons of papers saying ‘ the terrorists are comming you need to do something now. The congress was looking into a homeland defense agency in early 01 until Bushie the Tushie killed it. He turned the issue over to Cheney. the date of the first meeting Cheney had about it? 9/12/01.

  8. This whole charade over the past month is getting more and more goofy. Sure, it’s helpful in some sense to look back and get a feel for our pre-9/11 grasp of terrorist potential. But this meticulous, ridiculous finger-pointing thing is turning into a big carnival hall of mirrors.

    It’s inside-baseball politics, and it serves little productive purpose. America was not clamoring for protection from terrorism on Sept. 10, 2001, and thus our elected representatives weren’t either. The U.S. president — whether Clinton, Bush, whoever — is not an omnipotent king, and we should be thankful for that. Getting into this dizzying nitty-gritty about who-knew-what-when is simply a goofy diversion in partisan one-upmanship.

    We elect leaders to represent us. And we were not demanding an Al Queda takedown back in the ’90s or in ’01. That’s the way it was, and it’s useless to spend so much time inventing this retrospective drama about it all, driven ultimately by political point-scoring in an election year.

  9. I want to take the time to thank Michael and Jennifer and all the rest of the folks with this Bizarre line of Logic. Be careful what you wish for…….because “the bureaucracy” can and will evolve tactics.
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/03/27/psychic.plane.ap/

  10. “The particular report (The Aug 6 memo) that was in the President’s Daily Briefing that day was about three years old. It was not a contemporary piece of information.”

    — Senator Bob Graham (D), May 21, 2002 issue of Human Events. At the time he gave the interview he was Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Commitee.

    The mind boggles at the people who would look for blame within the Bush Administration.

  11. Oh, no, when terrorists are plotting to attack the U.S. there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it except sit on your hands. Unless they tell you exactly what their plans are. Which they won’t. And that’s why we’ve never, ever been able to prevent any terrorist attack, either here or abroad.

    (From R. Clarke’s interview with L. King:)
    CLARKE: Well, we’ll never know. But let me compare 9/11 and the period immediately before it to the millennium rollover and the period immediately before that. In December, 1999, we received intelligence reports that there were going to be major al Qaeda attacks. President Clinton asked his national security adviser Sandy Berger to hold daily meetings with the attorney general, the FBI director, the CIA director and stop the attacks. And every day they went back from the White House to the FBI, to the Justice Department, to the CIA and they shook the trees to find out if there was any information. You know, when you know the United States is going to be attacked, the top people in the United States government ought to be working hands-on to prevent it and working together.

    Now, contrast that with what happened in the summer of 2001, when we even had more clear indications that there was going to be an attack. Did the president ask for daily meetings of his team to try to stop the attack? Did Condi Rice hold meetings of her counterparts to try to stop the attack? No.

    And if she had, if the FBI director and the attorney general had gone back day after day to their department to the White House, what would they have shaken loose? We now know from testimony before the Commission that buried in the FBI was the fact that two of the hijackers had entered the United States. Now, if that information had been able to be shaken loose by the FBI director and the attorney general in response to daily meetings with the White House, if we had known that those two — if the attorney general had known, if the FBI director had known, that those two were in the United States, Larry, I believe we could have caught those two.

    Quote: “The particular report (The Aug 6 memo) that was in the President’s Daily Briefing that day was about three years old. It was not a contemporary piece of information.”

    Maybe some of the information in it was three years old, but the two paragraphs quoted in Young’s article refer to recent events, as he points out.

  12. Clueless, Scream et al–
    All I did was ask a simple question: in your opinion, when is Condi Rice supposed to do something to earn her title and salary? I’ll admit, I myself don’t know how to stop terrorist attacks but that’s okay, because protecting the country is NOT MY JOB. It is, however, the job of Ms. Rice. So again: what exactly do you think she should do vis a vis her job?

  13. Does anybody here know much about the foiled attack on LAX that was supposedly planned for New Year’s of 1999/2000? A post here refers to it, but I have to admit that I don’t know much about it. Just that supposedly some people were planning an attack and it was foiled.

    I’d be curious to know more. Hopefully somebody will be able to point me to more info. I’d be curious to find out what was known in advance and what they did that stopped it. That might give me a clearer idea of what is reasonable to expect from counter-terrorism people. For instance, if in late 1999 they had only tenuous clues but they put it together and stopped it then I’d say “OK, Rice, um, care to explain why you were less competent than Clinton’s team?” On the other hand, if they got incredibly lucky with their intelligence (e.g. a terrorist accidentally mailed his itinerary to the FBI instead of his henchmen) then I’d conclude the success was a fluke and we can’t expect it to be replicated every time terrorists threaten us.

    And I have a funny feeling that what people say about that intelligence operation will correlate with their opinions of Clinton. Please, somebody prove me wrong.

  14. “Nor does the document corroborate Rice?s statement this week that the administration did not know where an attack might occur. It very clearly is a warning of an attack in the United States.”

    Take a look at a map buddy; The United States is a very big place.

    Now “where” did you say that attack was going to occur?

    Defense against this sort of attack is impossible. Irrational please for an impossible defense are the beginning of the end of civil liberty in this country.

    We are going to get hit and there is nothing we can do about it — except to make the consequences of attacking us extremely unpleasant.

    Defense is not technically feasible in a free society.

  15. One alert border guard who was guilty of profiling caught the would be bomber coming into the US from Canada.

    “In December 1999, Ahmed Ressam, a terrorist trained in Osama bin Laden’s Afghanistan camps, was arrested shortly after crossing the border between Canada and Washington state. In the trunk of his car were explosives and other bomb-making materials. Ressam later confessed his plans to attack a variety of targets in the United States, including the Seattle Space Needle and Los Angeles Airport, as part of a wider plan to attack America during the millennium celebrations.”

  16. For Thoreau:
    ” Ahmed Ressam, who received his terrorist training in Afghanistan and was easily able to enter Canada and was living in Montreal as a refugee claimant. As such, you can live in this country for years while your case is slowly processed — and even receive free legal aid, plus all kinds of taxpayer-paid social welfare support, including shelter, food, clothing, education and health care.

    He was denied refugee status, but was still living there. No swift boot out of the country for him and others of his ilk.

    In 1999, Ressam was caught by U.S. border guards when he tried to enter the U.S. at Port Angeles, Washington, when he drove a rental car off a ferry from Victoria, B.C.

    The Americans found his car trunk packed with explosives, four timing devices and various false identity papers.” from a Canadian paper

  17. Thanks for the info.

  18. Take a look at a map buddy; The United States is a very big place.

    Seriously. If “an attack on the United States” counts as “knowing where the attack will be”, what the fuck qualifies as NOT knowing where the attack will be? “Bin Laden planned to attack the United States”. Yeah, no shit. What was the first clue — the fact that he publically said he would, or the fact that he already had?

    The only specifics here are (a) al Qaeda surveillance of federal buildings in New York, (b) plans to attack with explosives, and (c) threats on embassies, none of which had anything to do with 9/11, or with any other terrorist attack since then.

  19. Do you expect the villian to give you every detail of his plan right before he executes it? This isn’t a fucking Bond movie. A lot of the pieces were available (i.e. Rowley on Moussai’s ass) but the FBI and the administration fell asleep at the wheel. Maybe they only would have been able to stop some of the hijackers, but thats better than nothing.

  20. Do you want a government that, with the information noted in the memo, could arrest everyone under investigation?

    That would not be consistent with 50 years of limiting government powers.

  21. 911 is what happens when the government infringes on the people’s constitutional rights. The right to keep and bear arms.

  22. Buck writes: “Second. what actions could have been taken with this information. One obvious one is to deport all males from Arab countries.”

    Or they could just look at the people they were already investigating. Round em up.

    Or they might have looked at Arabs taking flight training, based on the Moussaoui arrest. And then rounded those people up and searched their apartments.

    These searches of small groups of people might have led to other cells, or to bank accounts, or other useful information.

    These are some things that ought to come to mind pretty quickly, and don’t involve willfully stupid ideas like deporting all the Arabs.

    Oh, and they might have put some pictures up on America’s Most Wanted. It’d be worth a try…

  23. …the administration should have been more alert in prompting the bureaucracy…

    ?

    Executive – FBI – CIA. Who be da bureaucracy?

  24. Dingel,

    After Afghanistan Al Q moved its center of operations to Iran.

    I believe if you look at a map you will see that with the taking of Iraq we have Iran surrounded.

    I know, I know. Attacking Iran will just make Al Q angrier and now they really, really will put in an all out effort to attack America.

    Better to have left well enough alone and just quit after Afghanistan.

    If Iran gets the bomb and attacks Israel with atomics as promised we may have to turn the ME into a glass parking lot. Or else we can just accept the strangulation of the Western economies and tthe demise of our rich way of life.

    Sounds good to me. Too much killing any way. I mean what is an atomic war compared to the thousands killed in Iraq in the last week?

    I propose we retreat into fortress America and just wait until the Islamics are strong enough to dictate terms. I mean when you think of a new dark age vs. thousands of American troops killed why not a dark age. We will be safe in America. At least until the Islamics control French and British nuke stockpiles and delivery systems.

    America’s day is coming.

    I expect the libertarians will be the happiest of all to get rid of the American government and live under sharia. At least the hated Federal Government and its thirst for Empire will no longer be oppressing Americans.

  25. Jon H. says:

    “Or they could just look at the people they were already investigating. Round em up.”

    What a fascist suggestion. Have you no respect for civil liberties?

  26. Jennifer,

    Protecting America from terrorist attacks is not your job. OK.

    The people whose job it is think the best way to do what you ask is to take on Iraq and Afghanistan. You disagree with at least the Iraq part.

    So if it is not your job to know what to do how can you be sure they are wrong?

  27. I never in my life thought I would read a post on a libertarian website complaining because “the administration” didn’t “alert” the “bureaucracy.” What is this, Pravda? The bureaucracy will save us. All hail the mighty bureaucracy.

    Is it even possible to alert a bureaucracy? Isn’t that an oxymoron? With 70 ongoing investigations already, what was the “alerted” bureaucracy going to do? Launch the 71st, which would have surely kept us safe and snug in our beds?

    The absolute nonsense is the notion that any meaningful action could have been taken based on the information in the memo.

  28. Do you expect the villian to give you every detail of his plan right before he executes it? This isn’t a fucking Bond movie.

    Thank you Mr. Straw Man.

    There is a lot of ground between “the villian gives you every detail of the plan” — your fantasy — and “you don’t have ANY of the details of the plan, or a timeframe, or a location, or a means of attack”, which was the reality.

    A lot of the pieces were available (i.e. Rowley on Moussai’s ass) but the FBI and the administration fell asleep at the wheel.

    By “the administration”, you mean the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. administrations, right? Because the same “evidence” — “terrorists planning to attack the US sometime, somewhere, somehow” — has been around for decades. 9/11 was just when one of the groups finally carried through on the threat.

    Maybe they only would have been able to stop some of the hijackers

    Maybe you’re fuckwit with no grasp of reality.

  29. Haven’t read all the threads here, so correct me if I”m wrong, but it seems the moral to the story is just another episode of the Mad Magazine serial cartoon: Spy vs. Spy. Except, think of it as Terrorist vs. Bureaucrat, and you get the idea why it’ll never end.
    If we want to end it, we must ask, “Which comes first: terrorist or bureaucrat?”

    It’s obvious to me bureaucrat comes first, so bureaucrat must be eliminated to eliminate terrorist.

    Or do we need to go through the drill asking, “which comes first, democracy or bureaucracy?”

    Recall, yours truly is a peaceful anarchist.

  30. Anyone who believes that your government, Republican or Democrat, can protect you from a terrorist attack, needs to reline their baseball cap with good ALCOA AMERICAN foil, that Dollar Store stuff from Japan you’re using isn’t doing the trick.

    As I posted on my own site, the government, regardless of who is there, isn’t at fault.

    It’s no different than your local police department. Do you think they exist to protect you from crime?

    You’re deluded.

    They exist to INVESTIGATE crime, and to track down and bring criminals to justice AFTER THE FACT.

    Let’s put the fault where it belongs…with the terrorists. And then lets go after them, and kill them, where they live, eat, sleep and breed.

    If we don’t take the battle to them, I can promise you, they will bring it to us, just as they did on a quiet fall morning in September.

    The terrorists don’t want to CHANGE you. They don’t want to INVADE your homeland. They don’t want to take your resources. They want you DEAD.

    Period. End of discussion. DEAD.

    Why should we wish better for them?

  31. M. Simon-
    Your question is misplaced. When the administration tells lies to start a war and has been caught in several more lies trying to defend it, the burden of proof does not fall upon those opposed to the war, but on those who support it.

  32. I just don’t understand, Jennifer why you say CR doesn’t get off her ass. Doesn’t earn her salary. If she doesn’t do anything, tell us how you know. And then compare it to other NSAs. And know what the NSA job is, and why she didn’t do a good job. I assume when someone makes a blanket, overarching statment like that, they know it for a fecking fact. Or, they are a velociraptor-like screechy-bird. (codni suX0rs!!1!1 lol) Still making up my mind about you, sugar!

  33. dgci,
    We all tend to slip interpreting “we.”
    But recall the conversation between The Lone Ranger and Tonto when their going got tough.

    You’re cruising saying bureaucrats can’t protect us from terrorists, but then you say “we” need to kick terrorist butt, you’re assuming the bureaucrats are able to kick subject butt, aren’t you?
    They can’t, so “we” need to back off and do a reappraisal of what’s pissing off terrorists.

  34. Better get out now, Jennifer, you’re losing this one.

  35. Dan-
    Good job claiming im wrong without showing any evidence to refute my points, especially the fact that Coleen Rowley was extremely close to unraveling the whole thing a month before September 11th. Once again your retardation shows through to give us all a good show.

  36. It’s all soap opera, aimed at women.

    Cori Dauber: > I don’t mean to be defeatist, I just think this aching, terrible desire to wish there were something, anything, that could have been done, is powerful,
    but it is just an emotional need. We should acknowledge it, respect it, but not let it guide the way we wage war.

    The men shrugged it off right away. Their response was not eternal introspection, frustration and regret, but a counterblow.

    Still, the women think, it’s devastating that our government, protector from undependentable men in our lives, has failed us. How can we count on them? How can it be fixed?

    Women vote Democratic.

    Women who are not dysfunctional tend to have dependable men; more dependable than government, even. Men are saps that way.

  37. I think when you’ve had a ship named after you, that trumps the “Doctor” title, and you are no so important that you can go by the name on the ship and everyone will still know how super you are.

    I mean, how many “Doctors” have a ship named after them. None of my professors – unless it was some dingy.

    How about instead of PhD, we introduce SbN (Ship bears Name).

    Anyone know where I can find the official rules in the US as to use of professional titles? Is there one big enforcement agency – like in the UK where you get the smack-down if you call yourself a knight?

    What’s to stop someone from calling themselves “Doctor” as in “Doctor Who”?

  38. Suspicious activity consistent with preparatiosn for a hijacking is not that specific. Like the stock market and recession, increased chatter in terrorist channels has predicted 15 of the last 5 terroist attacks. It is likely deliberate strategy to threaten and appear to be about to attack more often that they actually attack. Al Quaeda has done this regularly, they told there would be big attacks on the anniversary of 9-11.

    Second. what actions could have been taken with this information. One obvious one is to deport all males from Arab countries. How many libertarians posting here would have supported Bush in that action in August of 2001? How many would support it now?

  39. Janet Reno flew commercial. So did Asscrap until August, 2001. The FBI knew something.

  40. How many libertarians posting here would have supported Bush in that action in August of 2001?

    None.

    How many would support it now?

    None.

    The advent of massive terrorism on U.S. soil does not transform libertarians into xenophobes.

  41. Screaming child,
    Again you misunderstand me; I do not know if you are doing so on purpose, or simply lack the necessary mental faculties. I make no accusation, I simply asked a question: if Ms. Rice isn’t expected to help stop terrorist attacks, what is she expected to do? Seriously, that is all I asked. But you guys doth protest too much, methinks.

  42. The FBI knew something.

    Maybe I watch too many spy shows. Maybe I’m just paranoid. But there are days when I wonder if on 9/11 some people in DC were popping champagne corks. Not all of them, mind you, maybe not even the people at the very top. But I often wonder if somebody was paid to look the other way (Bin Laden has deep pockets), or if somebody saw that there would be ways to score political points from tragedy (there always are) and decided to look the other way.

    Am I the only one who can picture Ashcroft and Rove singing “Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this!” on 9/11?

  43. I still want to know why on September 12 all planes in America were grounded except for the one which flew around the country picking up the Bin Ladens and flying them back home. If you or I did that, we would rightfully be called traitors. Why is it okay when Bush does it?

    If COndi and Company told Ashcroft to keep his godly butt off the airplanes, they could have told the rest of America to watch out, as well. You think the passengers on the first three planes would have let the terrorists cow them into submission, if everybody KNEW something was up?

  44. Jennifer, you were looking bad enough until you brought out that old Michael Moore rumor. Now it’s just embarrassing.

  45. Thoreau-
    Perhaps your champagne drinkers were the ones who authorized members of the Bin Laden family to fly out of the country on September 12, when every other plane in America was grounded. We don’t want to embarrass Bush’s investment partners now, do we?

  46. Damn, more slow postings! Josh, it’s not a rumor; it’s fact. However, it IS untrue that the FBI was forbidden to question them first.

    http://www.snopes.com/rumors/flight.htm

  47. Why don’t they declassify the thousands of other threats they receive on a regular basis? Using Michael Young’s bizarre argument that they can and should respond to everything before it happens would be the greatest argument for a police state yet devised.

    Let’s not forget the measures that have been taken which, if taken earlier, might have nipped the attack in the bud, were decried by libertarians AFTER 9/11. The rank hypocrisy of the anti-war crowd is a sight to see.

  48. OK, OK. Let’s just stop the debate once and for all. Everything wrong with the U.S. and the world is George W. Bush’s fault.

    There, I feel so much better now.

  49. It seems clear to me that we knew AQ was planning something. I can almost accept the idea that no one knew exactly when or where the attacks would take place, but the ensuing sluggish response suggests A ) they either got caught flat footed or B ) knew it was coming and chose not to respond with due haste because they needed a big event.

    Why after the first plane hit did W continue reading stories about goats to children?

    Why the delay in action after 2 flights disappeared from their planned course? No scrambled jets? No national alerts, even at the official level?

    Why wasn’t the 2nd tower evacuated as soon as the first was hit?

    I would direct you to page 51 of the PNAC manifesto, Rebuilding American Defenses.

    “The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor”

    The powers that be needed the sheeple behind them and this was a convenient way to get their ‘cooperation’.

  50. Although I am sympathetic to the notion that there might have been more they could have done, I would like to hear something concrete. Otherwise, it just turns into “Well, somewhere, somehow, sometime, these guys are going to attack us. So, damnit, just do something!”

    Sounds a lot like the national mood ring that we got after 9/11.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d be very interested in hearing a case for what could have been done, but I have no interest in “Well, we knew something would happen somewhere, somehow, at some time, so, damnit, they should have just done something!”

    In other words, it would be nice if our hindsight could yield something better than the rightly derided “Orange Alerts.” And since hindsight is 20/20, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Then again, this is a government panel we’re talking about, so maybe their hindsight is even 20/20.

  51. “so maybe their hindsight is even 20/20”

    should be

    “so maybe their hindsight isn’t even 20/20″

  52. Nevertheless, F.B.I. information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

    Sounds a lot like this:

    Since September the 11th, the U.S. intelligence community has indicated that the al Qaeda terrorist network is still determined to attack innocent Americans, both here and abroad. Recent reporting indicates an increased likelihood that al Qaeda may attempt to attack Americans in the United States and/or abroad in or around the end of the Haj, a Muslim religious period ending mid-February 2003.

    Recent intelligence reports suggests that al Qaeda leaders have emphasized planning for attacks on apartment buildings, hotels and other soft or lightly secured targets in the United States.

    doesn’t it? That was from here.

    Kind of vague, no? Not very specific, right?

    I am aware that this wasn’t followed up with any actual terrorist activity but it was met with derision and complaints about how worthless this information was. (Duct tape plastic sheets to our windws?)

  53. This second guessing, hindsighted, fault finding from ones who will complain of both security measures taken and not taken produces nothing, not even smiles on the faces of those who take pleasure from it.

  54. If you go back and look at the record every senior official in the Clinton administration including Clinton, Gore, and Albright were saying the exact same things. Were they misleading us or “lying” to us?

    Yes.

  55. Crimethink and Deacon-
    Have you not been following the proceedings? The Bush administration were worried about Iraq and various “nation states” as threats; they simply refused to consider the possibility of terrorist threats. For an average American to think that way is acceptable, but not for the guys who had access to all sorts of intelligence data from the military, the CIA, the FBI, etc.

    I truly want to know what intelligence made Ashcroft decide to stop flying commercial.

    Deacon: there is a difference between a lie and an untruth: a lie is deliberate. Perhaps at first the administration gave us honestly believed untruths, as did many Republican AND Democratic congresspersons, but long before we actually went over there the evidence poured in that Iraq did NOT have WMDs and did NOT have anything to do with 9-11. At that point the untruth became an outright lie.

  56. Jennifer???
    I was addressing Joe ?tongue in cheek? as it were???of COURSE I understand that they can?t stop it?actually hardly ANY of it?…prior to it happening?..just as there is really very little that can be done to prevent future terrorist acts ?prior to them happening?if people in a free country are bent on doing harm. Most of the arguments for ?doing something? revolve around an intrusive big brother?..the 7/24/365 bodyguard that dgci was referring to a couple of posts back. A police state mentality is ?just? what the bureaucrats get wet dreams about. Once again I caution??be VERY careful what you wish for?..as hindsight on this issue will be better??..but alas?.just as useless once the genie is out of the bottle.

  57. Is it always this easy to get Jennifer to go so far out on a limb defending the reasonableness of what is obviously an unreasonable position?

    What was Ron saying about women again?

    –ME

  58. Jennifer,
    Thanks for the explanation concerning Ms Rice. Had you been so forthright and eloquent back at 1pm yesterday afternoon, when you first posted and I became befuddled at what your point really was, we might have found that we share some common ground.

    I?m not sure to what degree any announcement (without something specific) might have helped the victims of this attack. This is a large country with thousands of soft targets. You are quite correct that, at least with hindsight it appears they would have had at the very least a CYA position by sounding some warning. However the question of effectiveness of that warning soon comes into play when you consider that for every day they claim a potential threat ?.and it doesn?t arrive??the masses soon fall back into the daily grind and all we are left with is an admin. with a plausible excuse?.which is where we are now.

    As far as THIS current administration being corrupt??..I submit to you that MOST are?to greater or lesser degrees?..it?s the nature of the political beast. And NO?you are far from insane to consider that. You will only clue me into THAT assumption when you try to assure me that YOUR favorite politician in the polls this November is somehow different.

  59. Fine, insult my lack of a Y chromosome if you must. But why has nobody answered my question yet?

    Oh, right, because you CAN’T answer or admit it. I may be female, Mandrake, but I still have bigger balls than most of the guys on these postings. I also use my real name rather than pretend to be someone else.

  60. Hmm. I also seem to be the only one who can discuss the issues without devolving into personal insults. (Sigh.) You guys are so emotional. Are you premenstrual or something?

  61. Jennifer…..
    Perhaps I AM clueless……just WHAT do you specificly wish to have this and future NSA’s do?
    ….and…how will this improve the quality of my life? Just repeating that i have NOT addressed your question leaves me befuddled….can you frame this as a SIMPLE question….for my SIMPLE mind?

    or is this mostly just a soapbox for your anti-Bushie rant for the last two days?

  62. What about the feeling that Bush was not going to respond to the USS Cole, as not to “encourage” the terrorists. Is that true? Honestly, the Conservatives are impossible to understand. “Limited Government, Free Trade, Individual Liberty” are understandable. Is there any difference at all now with liberals and Conservatives?

    What does Dr Rice do, actually, and apart from this investigation? What does Secretary of the Interior (Norton?) do as well?

    And (Group Captain) Mandrake: Your Mommy and Daddy will take away your computer if you continue to behave in such a manner. tsk tsk.

    regards,
    KK

  63. Jen….

    before i become so emotionally involved that i can’t think…..can you please just rephrase your question one more time for my slow feeble mind? as i ask you earlier?…….or is it jsut easier to bash me around a bit due to my gender…..that was a cheap shot IMHO

  64. “(From R. Clarke’s interview with L. King:)
    CLARKE: Well, we’ll never know. But let me compare 9/11 and the period immediately before it to the millennium rollover and the period immediately before that. In December, 1999, we received intelligence reports that there were going to be major al Qaeda attacks . . .”

    Yet the Border Patrol and INS was not placed on alert. The millennium attacks were thwarted by an alert INS employee, but this was not due to any special action by Clark, or anyone else in the Clinton administration. LA was simply lucky that there were alert INS people guarding the border with Canada at that specific place and time.

  65. “Does anybody here know much about the foiled attack on LAX that was supposedly planned for New Year’s of 1999/2000? A post here refers to it, but I have to admit that I don’t know much about it. Just that supposedly some people were planning an attack and it was foiled.”

    Yes. An alert guard on the Canadian border foiled it. The INS was NOT on any special alert, so we lucked out, essentially. It wasn’t foiled due to the FBI, CIA, the Clinton administration, or anyone else–it was just an alert border guard.

    Another attack (in NY city) was foiled when one of the plotters flaged down a police car and reported the plot to police.

  66. For Jennifer:
    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.” — Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

    Hillary is a LIAR, Hillary is a LIAR NANANANANA

  67. Josh: “Jennifer, you were looking bad enough until you brought out that old Michael Moore rumor. Now it’s just embarrassing.”

    While testifying under oath, Richard Clarke answered a question about just such a flight. The only issue in question is the precise dates of the flights.

    From the transcript:

    ROEMER: You made a decision after 9/11 to, I think — and I’d like to ask you more about this — to allow a plane of Saudis to fly out of the country. And when most other planes were grounded, this plane flew from the United States back to Saudi Arabia. I’d like to know why you made that decision, who was on this plane, and if the FBI ever had the opportunity to interview those people.

    CLARKE: Now, as to this controversy about the Saudi evacuation aircraft, let me tell you everything I know, which is that in the days following 9/11 — whether it was on 9/12 or 9/15, I can’t tell you — we were in a constant crisis management meeting that had started the morning of 9/11 and ran for days on end. We were making lots of decisions, but we were coordinating them with all the agencies through the video teleconference procedure.

    CLARKE: Someone — and I wish I could tell you, but I don’t know who — someone brought to that group a proposal that we authorize a request from the Saudi embassy. The Saudi embassy had apparently said that they feared for the lives of Saudi citizens because they thought there would be retribution against Saudis in the United States as it became obvious to Americans that this attack was essentially done by Saudis, and that there were even Saudi citizens in the United States who were part of the bin Laden family, which is a very large family, very large family.

    The Saudi embassy therefore asked for these people to be evacuated; the same sort of thing that we do all the time in similar crises, evacuating Americans.

    The request came to me and I refused to approve it. I suggested that it be routed to the FBI and that the FBI look at the names of the individuals who were going to be on the passenger manifest and that they approve it — or not.

    I spoke with at that time the number two person in the FBI, Dale Watson, and asked him to deal with this issue.

    The FBI then approved — after some period of time, and I can’t tell you how long — approved the flight.

    Now, what degree of review the FBI did of those names, I cannot tell you. How many people there are on the plane, I cannot tell you.

    But I have asked since: Were there any individuals on that flight that in retrospect the FBI wishes they could have interviewed in this country. And the answer I’ve been given is no, that there was no one who left on that flight who the FBI now wants to interview.

    ROEMER: Despite the fact that we don’t know if Dale Watson interviewed them in the first place.

    CLARKE: I don’t think they were ever interviewed in this country.

    ROEMER: So they were not interviewed here. We have all their names. We don’t know if there has been any follow up to interview those people that were here and flown out of the country.

    CLARKE: The last time I asked that question, I was informed that the FBI still had no desire to interview any of these people.

    ROEMER: Would you have a desire to interview some of these people that…

    CLARKE: I don’t know who they are.

    ROEMER: We don’t know who they are…

    CLARKE: I don’t know who they are. The FBI knew who they were because they…

    ROEMER: Given your confidence in your statements on the FBI, what’s your level of comfort with this?

    CLARKE: Well, I will tell you in particular about the ones that get the most attention here in the press, and they are members of the bin Laden family.

    CLARKE: I was aware, for some time, that there were members of the bin Laden family living in the United States.

    And, let’s see, in open session I can say that I was very well aware of the members of the bin Laden family and what they were doing in the United States. And the FBI was extraordinarily well aware of what they were doing in the United States. And I was informed by the FBI that none of the members of the bin Laden family, this large clan, were doing anything in this country that was illegal or that raised their suspicions.

    And I believe the FBI had very good information and good sources of information on what the members of the bin Laden family were doing.

    ROEMER: I’ve been very impressed with your memory, sitting through all these interviews the 9/11 commission has conducted with you. I press you, again, to try to recall how this request originated. Who might have passed this on to you at the White House situation room? Or who might have originated that request for the United States government to fly out — how many people in this plane?

    CLARKE: I don’t know.

    ROEMER: We don’t know how many people were on a plane that flew out of this country. Who gave the final approval, then, to say yes, you’re clear to go, it’s all right with the United States government to go to Saudi Arabia?

    CLARKE: I believe, after the FBI came back and said it was all right with them, we ran it through the decision process for all of these decisions we were making in those hours, which was the Interagency Crisis Management Group on the video conference.

    I was making or coordinating a lot of decisions on 9/11 and the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don’t know. Since you pressed me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State, or the White House Chief of Staff’s Office. But I don’t know.

  68. I have a worrying suspicion that the PNAC’s games in the Middle East are going to work out so that, rather than being the “Project for a New American Century”, it would be more accurately called the “Project for a New Arab Caliphate”.

  69. “The same thing Clinton did in order to prevent the LAX bombing and the planned attacks on the airliners over the Pacific; make sure the security organs were on the lookout, and make sure information reached everyone who needed to hear it.”

    Joe, I don’t know about the airliners, but the LAX bombing wasn’t prevented by anything Clinton did; the INS didn’t recieve any special word to be on the lookout. We just had an alert INS agent standing guard that day.

  70. Incidentally, with all your talk of tinfoil hats and medication I have a serious question: are you seriously saying that anyone who disagrees with this administration or distrusts them is insane?

    Certainly a fair case could be made that people who (a) hate Bush and don’t trust him, (b) snivel and whine about post-9/11 “restrictions on their rights”, and yet (c) insist that obviously Bush should have taken the draconian measures, pre-9/11, needed to secure the country against attack, are insane.

  71. “Jen….

    before i become so emotionally involved that i can’t think…..can you please just rephrase your question one more time for my slow feeble mind? as i ask you earlier?…….or is it jsut easier to bash me around a bit due to my gender…..that was a cheap shot IMHO”

    Clueless, check the context. I did not START the gender war here; I merely blocked a cheap shot directed at me. I’d never start a fight, but if someone else throws the first punch, don’t expect me to just stand there and take it when there’s a perfectly kickable set of balls right there before me.

    My question, AGAIN, is: For those of you who insist that the administration in general and Condi in particular had no responsibility at all for preventing things like 9-11, then WHAT REPONSIBILITY DOES SHE HAVE?

    When answering, assume everybody ALREADY knows that I suck, and Clinton sucks, and the Democrats suck, and everybody else on the Left sucks. Fine. Granted. Now, what is Condi’s job?

    Yes, dear, I KNOW I wear tinfoil hats and obey little voices in my head. Fine. Granted. Now, what is Condi’s job?

    Yes, I KNOW that lots of people used to think Hussein had WMDs. Fine. Granted. Now, what is Condi’s job?

    Yes, I KNOW anyone who would dare to criticize the current guys in power is either insane or unpatriotic or both. Fine. Granted. Now, what is Condi’s job?

    Yes, liberals all love hearing about American deaths in Iraq; when we hear about them we strip naked, smear ourselves with honey and do the Safety Dance out of sheer joy. Fine. Granted. Now, what is Condi’s job?

  72. I believe that the airliner plot of which Joe speaks is the “bojinka plot”, which was discovered by a Philippine investigator. It was not foiled by the actions of the Clinton administration.

  73. “Now, what is Condi’s job?”

    Chief advisor to the president on national security issues.

  74. Jennifer, if I follow your line of reasoning correctly, then why aren’t you asking for a Congressional Inquiry into why the Clinton Administration was asleep at the wheel after the first Twin Towers bombing? Is it a matter of degree? Since the admitted aim of the first bombing was to topple them, or at least one in the hope that it would fall into and thus collapse the other, and didn’t succeed, does that somehow make it less abhorrent and relative? One month, 8 months, 8 years, according to you, what’s the difference? If you’re the current administration, and it happens on your watch, then you are ultimately responsible.

    Make no mistake, I am not a “Bush Apologist” as you so eloquently described some here, but in your posts, it is easy to see your emotional disposition. I would ask you to drop that and put yourself in GW and CR’s positions, respectively.

    I think that maybe the ball really was dropped somewhere, but what’s more likely: that something could and should have been done during 8 years under Clinton’s watch, or 8 months under GW’s? It is plainly obvious that you are intelligent, but it is easy to see you lobbying for a point of view.

    As for CR?s job, it is somewhat more political than operational. She acts as a sort of clearinghouse for information, more from the civilian side of the house than military. For that, GW?s got the JCS. She does include info from the military, but her job is largely ensuring the president understands the political ramifications of decisions concerning national security. It mainly makes it possible for the President to go to one person for that type of data, but the corollary is that the spectrum of subject matter a NSA needs to be conversant in is absolutely mind crushing. Added to that is the fact that she?s really not packing any Schlitz in terms of real, written-in-law power, at least as far as I know. (There is a law establishing the position, but I don?t know if it grants any power.) She can give orders, but primarily because the Presidential Sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of those she gives direction to. As such, she?s effectively powerless, inasmuch as giving orders to peers is like trying to herd cats. This explains, in my opinion to a large extent, why getting the FBI and CIA to talk to each other about domestic terrorist threats had been such a cluster prior to the Patriot Act. Rational thought screams, ?YOU COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING!!!? To which the Federal Gov?t replies, ??no we couldn?t, it was against the law??

    I would also point out that one of the other things that Bush has done, the importance of which cannot be overstated, is to do away with, or at least circumvent, that asinine law that forbids assassination as a means diplomacy (insert oxymoron joke here). Bound up in that law was the decision to move away from HUMINT, or spies as it were, as our primary intelligence-gathering tool. A satellite can tell you a lot of things, as can picking up various electronic signals, but to really get a picture, one that probably would have given us ?whens, wheres and hows? of 9/11 well in advance, you need people on the ground, in country, who know the language and culture. This, I would submit, is the true failure, not interagency quibbling between the CIA and FBI.

    Lastly, I want to make it known that I think we should stay in Iraq for the next 600 years if we need to. What we are doing is no less than dragging the Middle East, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. In the final analysis, it makes no difference to me whether they set up a democracy anything like ours. We just need them to boot strap themselves into modernity, so they can act as a beacon for all those other nations over there who seem to relish in wallowing in the 12th century. During the Dark Ages in Europe, Byzantium was the pinnacle of thought: arts, science, math, and language, all of it. Islam was it. To this day, Muslims everywhere still wonder how they lost the edge, the initiative. Once we show them how to get it back, and on their own terms, all of this hate and discontent will, over a relatively short period of time, melt away.

    By the way, I have traveled extensively over there, and the vast majority of my opinion is based on conversations with Muslims of various nationalities during my trips.

  75. “That’s just factually wrong. Police provide deterrence, interdict ongoing crimes (like busting organized crime rings, the most appropriate metphor for terrorism), and communicate with residents and businesses about crime problems and how to prevent them.”

    Yes, but protecting you isn’t their job. See:

    Hartzler v. City of San Jose, 46 Cal. App. 3d 6 (1st Dist. 1975).

    Riss v. New York, 240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y. 1968).

    Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).

    DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 109 S.Ct. 998 (1989) at 1006.

    Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Department. (901 F.2d 696 9th Cir. 1990).

  76. sinjin,

    Excellent points.

  77. Jennifer,
    Item by item

    1) ?If someone else throws the first punch, don’t expect me to just stand there and take it when there’s a perfectly kickable set of balls right there before me.?
    Please DO?..I know that I would?..but make damn sure you get the right ones??I?VE not gone there ?so restrain your toes please.

    2) My assumption and understanding of the NSA position is that it exists to advise the executive office on matters of national security. Your assumption that since something happened it is evidence that she did NOTHING?..is a stretch?..I know?. you will whine she could have warned us all the sky was falling??but what exactly do you really expect anyone to DO??…..shut down all flights ?…..for how long? Absent specific info?.

    3) I?m left a bit myself?..and I don?t suck

    4) You don?t know me nearly well enough to address me as ?dear???please refrain in the spirit of YOUR wish for a gender free exchange

    5) What does the belief or non-belief of Hussein?s supposed WMD?s have to do with your initial question?………or is this just grist thrown into the mill for filler?

    6) Review my posts??you will find me critical of the current Admin. also??so what does THAT have to do with your initial question?

    7)??..I?m at a loss for a response to the shrill whine???..*S*

  78. Clueless-
    If you go back and read earlier postings, you’ll see that others brought up the bit about Hussein and the WMDs and the evil left-wingers. Don’t ask me what that has to do with anything–ask them.
    (My response was not to you alone, but to several people.)

  79. Geez, you guys, Jennifer’s trolling.

    I mean it’s a really good one, cleverly designed to look like an earnest inquiry, but read the posts again, there is no answer you can give that would make Jennifer happy

    Here, it’s so simple: Bush bad. Discuss.

  80. jdm

    quite correct!

    that’s why i’m done…..there IS no discussion wanted……..just attention.

    also no appologies for the sarcastic gender swipe either…..but since it wouldn’t have been sincere, i’m glad i didn’t have to say thank you.

  81. Hey strawman, There is a big difference between indefinitely locking people up without due process, or building huge, intrusive databases on regular citizens and having a minimal emergency/security plan in place when there is a clear possibility of a direct threat.

  82. Clueless-
    You felt contempt toward my comments sounded asinine when meant facetiously; imagine how I must feel about those who made them in all seriousness!

    JDM-
    When you said “There is no answer you could give that would make Jennifer happy,” well, how can you say that? After all, there was no answer given, period; just insults and irrelevancies.

  83. Don, I know the case law – it’s dragged out by gun nuts regularly to demonstrate that the police aren’t required to provide 100% coverage. That’s not the point, the police still engage in all the things I mentioned – it is their job to do that. They just aren’t held legally liable for not being able to provide absolute safety.

    Also, you miss the point of what happened on Clinton’s watch in foiling those plots – yes, the lucky breaks came. But when one guy was grabbed, more people were looking to see what else he was into. More human resources were expended to follow up links and get everyone else. Similar lucky breaks were available for 9/11, like Massaoui.

    But Justice had a lot of porn investigations going on, and there was a big push being put on for missile defense, and more effort being put into waving a big dick and China, and the other different priorities this administration brought with it. Did this make the difference between a failed storm of airplanes and a successful one? I don’t think anyone can say for sure.

  84. Jennifer

    you’ll need better bait for the future…

  85. Jennifer wrote:

    Did you not read Jon H’s Richard Clarke testimony? Insult me if that makes your world feel less scary, but the Bin Laden flights are fact. Unless, of course, you also believe that Clarke lost all credibility the day he dared speak against Bush.

    Clarke has credibilty problems of his own, not because he spoke against Bush but because he spoke against Clarke. Regardless, even if one were to take his testimony as the gospel truth, it still wouldn’t back up your Michael Moore rumor about the bin Ladens being flown out of the country on September 12. Here’s what Clarke said, according to Jon P’s comment:

    CLARKE: Now, as to this controversy about the Saudi evacuation aircraft, let me tell you everything I know, which is that in the days following 9/11 — whether it was on 9/12 or 9/15, I can’t tell you — we were in a constant crisis management meeting that had started the morning of 9/11 and ran for days on end.

    Clarke himself can’t remember whether it was 9/12 (when flights were grounded) or 9/15 (when they weren’t), yet you expect us to accept his testimony as “proof” that the flights out of the country happened on 9/12?! Give me a break.

  86. Clueless-
    Baiting folks was never my intention; an honest question started a flamewar. Why not forget about me and read what Joe just wrote? It sounds sensible to me.

  87. Sometime in the future, a large hunk of rock will impact the Earth’s surface at very high speed, killing millions (perhaps billions) and setting any survivors back a few centuries.

    Damn Bush for permitting this. Damn him to hell.

  88. Jenny and joe show – Read and comment on my previous post.
    If the just released memo had carried a list of names of terror suspects, the best estimate that they were planning to fly planes into buildings and the information they had been receiving money from unfriendly foreign surces, there is not one Goddamn thing the President or Dr. Rice could have done about it. Any increase in surveilance without evidence that would hold up in court of criminal intent would have not only got the agents involved fired, it could have got them in jail.
    The PATRIOT act tried to close just a few gaps in our security machine, but in face of almost universal disdain. We are the championship team, therefore to be fair we should take to the field blindfolded.
    Jennifer, I suspect you are really a man because in my 72 years I have never met a woman as stupid as your writings demonstrate you to be. Life is not a game of “Simon Says.” It really is a jungle out there, and not one populated with vegetarian tigers.
    Again, Jenn & joe [possibly alter egos of the same avatar] read my previous entry and comment.

    and Lenn/joe, Dr. Rice does whatever she does exceptionally well. I hope to live long enough to see her as president and Kerry and Hanoi Jane hanged for treason. I would pay for the rope.

  89. Jenn/joe, of course.

  90. jennifer wrote: “Baiting folks was never my intention”

    *chuckles*…so as to give you a hint i’m not totally clueless…..

  91. I am at a loss to figure out exactly what you would have expected Bush to do to prevent the events of September 11th. Suppose that the Angel Gabriel had come down from on high and told George Bush in August 2001 of the 9-11 plot. Had George Bush gone out and rounded up the 19 perpetrators, you and everyone else at Reason would be screaming to heavens about the September 19. Even Richard Clark admitted before Congress that had everything he had advocated been adopted, he still could not say with any certainty that September 11th would not have happened. Since the Angel Gabriel did not come from on high, it seems to me that the only way George Bush could have reliably prevented 9-11 would have been to invade Afghanistan destroying Al Queda’s base and round up hundreds of Muslims in the United States in hopes of disrupting the 9-11 plans which were already years in the making when he came into office. Had George Bush done these things, he would be assailed as the worst war monger in history and no doubt Reason and its staff would be first in the ranks of those complaining of his authoritarian tactics in the name of a non-existent terrorist threat. There ought to be a rule for any journalist who wants to accuse the Bush administration of being asleep at the switch before 9-11. In order to make such an accusation, the journalist should have to list a set of actions which George Bush should have taken which would have with some certainty prevented the attack and, most importantly, that the journalist himself would have not objected to in August of 2001 not knowing that the 9-11 attack was only a month away.

  92. To an earlier poster suggesting Condi may be hung out to dry by Rummy and Cheney, I’m thinking Bush will be the one hung out… just before the Republican convention.

  93. Jennifer: next time you link to Snopes, you might want to consider actually reading the linked story first. The part of the rumor to which you refer is in the “undetermined” category.

    And the crap about Bush lying to support the wars just makes you look like an idiot. Though judging by the tone of your prior posts, I don’t get the impression that bothers you very much.

  94. Hey, Mike, WTF are you doing at this zine? Salon/Time/NYT not interested? Keep it up and you’ll be hearing form them. I See a date on Hardball coming your way.

  95. Hey, Mike, WTF are you doing at this zine? Salon/Time/NYT not interested? Keep it up and you’ll be hearing from them. I See a date on Hardball coming your way.

  96. As Clarke observed, the bin Ladens were probably evacuated to protect them from their name. Sure, it could have been part of a deal by a giant conspiracy between AQ and the Bush admin, but in that case, wouldn’t it have made more sense to get them out prior to 9/11, when no one would notice, so as not to have the appearance of special treatment?

    And Jennifer, you admit that you don’t know the job of NSA. Yet you claim that Dr. Condi didn’t do her job. You can’t have it both ways.

  97. crimethink,
    In case Jennifer is still sleeping: If the sink is still stopped up after the plumber has made a housecall, then, even if you aren’t a plumber, you may assume the plumber didn’t do her job.

  98. “I am at a loss to figure out exactly what you would have expected Bush to do to prevent the events of September 11th.”

    The same thing Clinton did in order to prevent the LAX bombing and the planned attacks on the airliners over the Pacific; make sure the security organs were on the lookout, and make sure information reached everyone who needed to hear it. The second part, in particular, requires strong and competant executive leadership. When a lucky break comes in, like finding the trunk full of explosives at the border or the fire in the apartment in the Phillipines, everyone hears about it, and the information from interrogations can be connected with what other agencies know. That way, operations get rolled up.

    Massaoui and the information about the flight schools could have been the lucky breaks. But the Bush team just wasn’t riding the bureaucracies on this, and getting the right people together, and making sure everyone knew what Job One was, the way the Clinton team did.

  99. I’m curious-why is it so hard for you people to admit that the administration is corrupt? I’m thinking of examples from this and past postings: I once mentioned how a Republican who promised to “help” George Bush is also the guy who owns the electronic voting machines. Multiple people called me paranoid, until someone posted links proving I was right. (Of course, nobody retracted the ‘paranoia’ comments.)

    I mention that everything we’ve been told about Iraq so far is a lie. This is simply denied outright.

    I mention the Bin Laden flights on September 12. They have been proven true, but they are merely dismissed as a Michael Moore rumor. No–’tis all true.

    I ask what Condi Rice’s job is, and get the answer “Oh yeah? Well, you couldn’t do it better!”

    People, seriously. You’re all sounding like an abused wife who insists that her husband never punches her; those are merely ‘love taps.’ I understand why the wife does it; love can make people think in stupid ways. What I don’t understand is why so many other people in America are acting the same fucking way.

  100. Let’s look at this logically. How many of you think that the government should protect you from terrorist attacks?

    Thank you. You can put your hands down now.

    Now, how many of you think that your police department should protect you from criminals?

    Thank you. You can put your hands down as well.

    Now, let me clue you in. Protecting you from criminals is NOT the job of your police department. INVESTIGATING CRIME and BRINGING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE is their job.

    After the fact.

    Sure, they’d like to protect you. But what’s the first thing a criminal does before committing a crime? HE LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER TO SEE IF THE POLICE ARE WATCHING…and then he does the crime.

    The only way the police could “protect” you from crime would be to assign an officer to you. 24/7. Your own personal bodyguard.

    Likewise, your government is powerless to “protect” you from terrorist attacks. If the government somehow had the “power” to absolutely insure you would never be attacked by a terrorist, you WOULD NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY like the USA.

    Why not try something different? Stop pointing fingers and put the blame where it lies…with the people who did the deed.

    Liberals are bitching today because, for the first nine months of a new administration, President Bush didn’t do the things that their liberal hero REFUSED to do for eight years.

    And today, they bitch because Bush is doing the things that their Liberal hero SHOULD have done.

  101. He promises that next time he won’t blow the entire paycheck on pork programs. Next time he promises he’ll be more frugal.

    And next time he won’t lie to me. Next time that he’s slipping out the door to a foreign war he’ll tell me his real motives, he won’t make something up.

  102. Anyone care to take wagers on how many of Condi’s defenders here will flip-flop and start denouncing her as the administration’s Omarosa after Bush/Cheney hang her out to dry?

  103. Dammit, America, you KNOW I don’t like having to send you off to die in a bullshit war! Why do you make me do it? You know I hate having to steal your civil liberties! WHY DO YOU KEEP MAKING ME TREAT YOU THIS WAY?

  104. Jennifer,
    May we return to your first post… “For those of you who insist that Condi couldn’t possibly have done anything unless Al-Qaeda gave her names and dates–well, then, what IS her function? In what circumstances CAN we expect her to get off her proverbial (or literal) ass and do something?”

    Your follow up posts seem to imply that that you don’t have any idea what her job might be….but that somehow (perhaps with the help of the TSA psychic?) she is supposed to protect the country from ANY and ALL threats on ALL days. Would I be following your reasoning correctly if I were to assume, therefore, that since TODAY nothing happened in the heartland, it is evidence that she was doing her job…..at least for today? Or are you just playing partisan election year games? I am no fan of the Iraq war?..and have many reservations about the Bush Admin. But I fail to see how ANYONE is supposed to be all seeing and all knowing?..all the time. As just an aside to the ?all knowing? aspect of the bureaucracy, I personally feel that the Bushies have already used this whole terror mess to run roughshod over the few civil liberties we have left here?.and we STILL are open to the potential of being hit again. Whining for MORE intrusive information on all of us, will not make us safe?..it will however be a small victory for those that despise who we are and the principals for which we once stood.

    And BTW??while I was drafting this humble attempt to try and understand your position on Condi??..I see you went off your meds and put on your tinfoil hat??*goes outside to check for a full moon*

  105. Xrlq-
    Did you not read Jon H’s Richard Clarke testimony? Insult me if that makes your world feel less scary, but the Bin Laden flights are fact. Unless, of course, you also believe that Clarke lost all credibility the day he dared speak against Bush.

    Ruthless-
    Loved the plumber analogy. But why do these Bush apologists prefer wading up to their ankles in shit and then insisting it’s prefume? Look at this very posting: Xrlq still believes it’s false, whereas crimethink has translated it into proof that Bush and company handled 9-11 properly.

    Also, the NSA-police analogy does not work. NSA is more akin to the military to the police. The police are expected to mop up after crimes, but the military (and presumably the NSA) are supposed to STOP attackes, not discuss them after the fact.

    Or, at the very least, look for the terrorists in Afghanistan, where they actually are, rather than in Iraq. It’s like the old joke: “I lost my necklace somewhere in the bedroom but I’m looking for it in the kitchen because the light is so much better.”

    ANd it’s funny, how STILL nobody answered my question about Condi’s job. I think they plan to play hot potato with it until this posting scrolls below the bottom of the page and thence to infinity.

    And let me repeat: I do not criticize the administration because 9-11 happened; I criticize them because they didn’t even try to stop it, and impeded the work of those who did.

  106. “Protecting you from criminals is NOT the job of your police department. INVESTIGATING CRIME and BRINGING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE is their job.

    After the fact.”

    That’s just factually wrong. Police provide deterrence, interdict ongoing crimes (like busting organized crime rings, the most appropriate metphor for terrorism), and communicate with residents and businesses about crime problems and how to prevent them.

  107. joe…..

    then why is there so MUCH crime?
    suggestions?

  108. Clueless-
    Let me explain something which, I realize, I have not yet made clear. (Try to make you more Clueful, as it were.)

    My complaint concerning Ms. Rice is not the fact that 9-11 happened; obviously it’s unrealistic to expect ANY individual or organization to prevent every possible crime. My complaint (with the administration as a whole, but I’ll just say “Ms Rice” to save time) is that they didn’t even TRY to stop the goddam attacks, and in many cases actively fucked up the investigations of those who were.

    From what I’ve read (in both left and right wing sources), there were many problems, including the fact that Bush’s ostensible cabinet was more akin to a cheerleading squad than an actual advisory committee. Secondly, apparently Ms Rice was so committed to the paradigm of “threat=nation-state and nothing else” that she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the idea that mere terrorists, as opposed to the Red Army, could really be such a threat. Before the attack on the Cole this attitude might have been justified. Not afterwards.

    They obviously expected something; why did they not make an announcement? “Listen up, America: we have reason to believe that terrorists are planning something BIG. Be on guard.” If for no other reason than to cover their asses!

    Consider this analogy: if you or I look at a house that just burned to the ground, we will see a meaningless pile of ash and charred wood. An arson investigator, on the other hand, will see subtle little clues which tell him that this was an electrical fire which started in the socket of the first-floor bedroom, or that this was started after somebody poured gasoline all over the kitchen and living room. If the arson investigator is incapable of doing his job, the fact that he does it far better than any of us is irrelevant, and if I criticize the arson investigator for being a failure, mentioning the fact that I know nothing about arson myself is merely an ad hominem irrelevancy.

    Incidentally, with all your talk of tinfoil hats and medication I have a serious question: are you seriously saying that anyone who disagrees with this administration or distrusts them is insane? I am not talking about ray-guns and alien autopsies and black helicopters; I mention things which have been proven time and again, albeit denied by the current administration and their apologists.

    Do you have any more strawman arguments? Psychic, paranoid, skipping my medication. . .all quite persuasive, no doubt.

  109. Clueless-
    I’ll answer for Joe: because it’s impossible to prevent ALL crimes. Remember: the problem here isn’t that the administration could not stop 9-11; it’s that they never tried.

  110. Ruthless,

    There’s a big difference between unclogging a drain and trying to stopping an unknown person from carrying out an unknown type of attack at an an unknown location and unknown time. Great analogy otherwise.

    Jennifer,

    How was I saying they handled 9-11 properly? I was just saying that just because you evacuate the relatives of the guy whom tens of millions of Americans want to kill, that doesn’t mean you’re somehow in bed with them.

    And, once again, you paint anyone who disagrees with you as a Bush poodle. I would sooner have a glass catheter broken in my urethra than vote for that butthead again.

  111. Jennifer. You said the Bush administration told lies to start a war. When John Kerry said in a speach that Saddam Hussein was a butcher and needed to be removed and disarmed and that he posed a serious threat to the US because of his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs was he also lying to us? Or is it only “lying” when Republicans raise the same issues. If you go back and look at the record every senior official in the Clinton administration including Clinton, Gore, and Albright were saying the exact same things. Were they misleading us or “lying” to us? All the intelligence we had showed Saddam Hussein had not accounted for all the weapons we know he had and did everything he could to keep information away from us and the UN. I believe President Bush did what he felt necessary to help forstall more attacks on us here in the states. I am an independant who will vote for the man I think will best serve this country. After having served in the military and having a Purple Heart myself I know John Kerry isn’t that man.

  112. Jennifer. You said the Bush administration told lies to start a war. When John Kerry said in a speach that Saddam Hussein was a butcher and needed to be removed and disarmed and that he posed a serious threat to the US because of his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs was he also lying to us? Or is it only “lying” when Republicans raise the same issues. If you go back and look at the record every senior official in the Clinton administration including Clinton, Gore, and Albright were saying the exact same things. Were they misleading us or “lying” to us? All the intelligence we had showed Saddam Hussein had not accounted for all the weapons we know he had and did everything he could to keep information away from us and the UN. I believe President Bush did what he felt necessary to help forstall more attacks on us here in the states. I am an independant who will vote for the man I think will best serve this country. After having served in the military and having a Purple Heart myself I know John Kerry isn’t that man.

  113. Jennifer. You said the Bush administration told lies to start a war. When John Kerry said in a speach that Saddam Hussein was a butcher and needed to be removed and disarmed and that he posed a serious threat to the US because of his chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs was he also lying to us? Or is it only “lying” when Republicans raise the same issues. If you go back and look at the record every senior official in the Clinton administration including Clinton, Gore, and Albright were saying the exact same things. Were they misleading us or “lying” to us? All the intelligence we had showed Saddam Hussein had not accounted for all the weapons we know he had and did everything he could to keep information away from us and the UN. I believe President Bush did what he felt necessary to help forstall more attacks on us here in the states. I am an independant who will vote for the man I think will best serve this country. After having served in the military and having a Purple Heart myself I know John Kerry isn’t that man.

  114. Remember: the problem here isn’t that the administration could not stop 9-11; it’s that they never tried.

    What would constitute “trying”? Since you have rightly pointed out that you don’t know what should have done, how can you judge whether they did what should have been done?

    And don’t say the fact 9-11 occurred, proves they didn’t do what they should have, because that contradicts your statement above.

  115. One thing might have prevented 9/11. If all aliens entering the United States were photographed and fingerprinted, and required to report any change of address or employment or enrolment,and were not granted full citizenship rights and imunities as soon as they lit, and were subject to immediate expulsion and exclusion for violating any condition of their entry, the 9/11 type operation would have been difficult to put together.
    Court decisions, legislation and benign neglect of the alien problem have all but guaranteed another 9/11. And then there will be another avalanch of dumb twits studiously ignoring the significant causes while they look for fly specks in horse turds. Happy Easter

  116. Don’t trust anyone over 70!!! 😉

    Wow, Clarke can’t remember the exact date of something that was outside his zone of responsibility and occured in the middle of a crisis that lasted for days on end.

    I guess that settles it.

  117. To Karl Kraus:
    Bush wasn’t the President when the USS Cole was bombed. He was still Governer of Texas. What was he supposed to do, call out the Texas National Guard or the Texas Rangers? What did President Clinton Do? Nothing.

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