Threats, Month Long Vacations, and Consequences
By David Soriano
I have been doing a little reading of some books I received
for Christmas. Fortunately Santa is a independent-minded fellow
so his selections were pretty right on. I am currently about
midway through David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush.
Corn, you may know, is the Washington editor for The Nation
and a Fox News Channel commentator. He also has written for
The Washington Post, NY Times, The New Republic,
Slate, and Salon, among others.
I think we have all heard or read about various intelligence
reports G.W. Bush and his administration may or may not have
received prior to 9/11. Corn espouses on this topic in his
book and it called into question President Bush and his administration's
actions in the weeks leading up to 9/11.
According to his book a congressional intelligence committee
released a preliminary report from their 9/11 inquiry in September
of 2002. Corn quotes from the report:
While this method (using airplanes as weapons) of
attack had clearly been discussed in terrorist circles there
was apparently little, if any, effort by Intelligence Community
analysts to produce any strategic assessment of terrorists
using aircraft as weapons.
Corn then quotes another portion of the preliminary report,
taken from page 23:
A brief prepared for senior government officials
at the beginning of July 2001 contained the following language:
"Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five
months, we believe that UBL (Usama bin Laden) will launch
a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli
interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular
and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities
or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will
occur with little or no warning".
Corn then writes "But who were the 'senior government officials'
who had received this warning? And what had they done in response?
The report did not say".
Corn answers his question, claiming that the Bush administration
"wanted to block the public from finding out. Prior to the
report's release," Corn writes, "CIA Director George Tenet
instructed the congressional intelligence committees not to
reveal whether the warning had been presented to Bush".
Corn again quotes directly from the committee's report:
According to the [director of central intelligence],
the President's knowledge of intelligence information relevant
to this Inquiry remains classified even when the substance
of that intelligence information has been declassified.
"That is," Corn summarizes, "the administration was willing
to declassify intelligence reports for the committees, but
it insisted on keeping classified whether this material had
(or had not) been shared with Bush or anyone else at the White
"This was an absurd stance," Corn writes, continuing;
"the administration was saying that it was okay
to tell the public about top-secret information gathered before
9/11. But it was arguing that national security would be endangered
if the world were told those reports had been brought to the
attention of Bush and his aides".
Corn logically concludes that:
"The reason for this maneuver appeared obvious:
to avoid further debate on what Bush did or did not know prior
to 9/11 - and how he reacted to what he was told. What headlines
might have ensued has a congressional report revealed Bush
was told two months before 9/11 that a 'spectacular' attack
was weeks away?"
So, according to the congressional intelligence committee,
in a July, 2001 briefing "senior government officials" were
made aware, in blatant terms, that a terrorist attack is expected
in "coming weeks" and that "mass casualties" were the
objective. As Corn writes, it is hard to imagine that President
Bush would not have been made aware of this briefing and thus
considered one of the "senior government officials" mentioned
in the report. Even if the intelligence briefing had been
buried on, lets say, Condaleeza Rice's desk, wouldn't the
administration jump at the opportunity to have a scapegoat
instead of letting speculation make its way to door of the
If Bush was in fact oblivious to the briefing Tenet could
have told the congressional intelligence committee just that.
This would have at least disqualified the President as someone
being "in the loop" while still refraining from pointing fingers
or laying blame. Refusing to discount Bush's knowledge of
the briefing goes miles in convincing me, and I'm sure others,
that he did in fact know about it.
In summary, lets establish a simple time line of events as
they occurred leading up to 9/11:
- In July of 2001 "senior government officials", which may
or may not have included President Bush, were warned of
"a significant terrorist attack...in the coming weeks ...designed
to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests".
- The next month, in August of 2001, President Bush takes
a month long vacation on his ranch in Crawford, TX.
- On September 11, 2001 hijacked airliners crash into the
World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania.
The sequence of events are easy to follow and the facts are
indisputable. There are no dots to connect or wild assumptions
that need to be made in order to draw a conclusion. The President
was allowed to - or decided himself to - be on vacation when
a terrorist attack of significant consequence was likely to
occur on the united States.
Is it not so plainly obvious? Are there reasons the mainstream
media has not presented this story in plain, simple terms
to the American people? Maybe they are waiting for the release
of the final report by the independent 9/11 commission before
reporting on what seems obvious at the moment.
Will the summary of the commission headed by former New Jersey
Republican Governor Thomas Kean account for these events?
He had recently hinted that names of people to be held accountable
will be revealed in the report, but since making those statements
he has, as President Bush is fond of saying, "crawfished"
Apparently, the commission wants to hear testimony from both
Presidents G.W. Bush and Clinton. There have also been reports
that the administration is trying to push back the release
of the report until after the November presidential election.
We can only hope that if this occurs the mainstream press
will choose not put off their own questions about this issue