Monday, February 11, 2008

Lots of blame...

Some interesting revelations in a new book dealing with the Bush administration ignoring the threat of terrorism prior to 9/11.

Some excerpts from the article:
"In the summer of 2003, Warren Bass, an investigator for the 9/11 Commission, was digging through highly classified National Security Council documents when he came across a trove of material that startled him. Buried in the files of former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, the documents seemed to confirm charges that the Bush White House had ignored repeated warnings about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden. Clarke, it turned out, had bombarded national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice in the summer of 2001 with impassioned e-mails and memos warning of an Al Qaeda attack—and urging a more forceful U.S. government response. One e-mail jumped out: it pleaded with officials to imagine how they would feel after a tragedy where "hundreds of Americans lay dead in several countries, including the U.S.," adding that "that future day could happen at any time." The memo was written on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001—just one week before the attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
And the attempt at cover-up:
"Shenon's book is a reminder of just how dysfunctional the entire U.S. government was in the run-up to the terror attacks—and how high the political stakes were for the panel investigating them. Rove himself, according to Shenon, always feared that a report which laid the blame for 9/11 at the president's doorstep was the one development that could most jeopardize Bush's 2004 re-election. That's one reason why White House lawyers tried to stonewall the commission from the outset. When Clarke finally did testify about his warnings to Rice, Shenon reports, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and his aides feverishly drafted tough questions and phoned them in to GOP commissioners to undermine Clarke's credibility."

And mistakes by the Clinton administration:
"Clinton personally wrote out a second order crossing out the "kill bin Laden" directive and inserting more ambiguous language—one reason Tenet's agents might well have been confused about just what they could do. In the end, Rove's concerns about the ultimate impact of the 9/11 commission report was overwrought. There was more than enough blame to go around."