Many of us who doubted the 9/11 Commission Report was really the whole truth. Just the fact that they had President George W. Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, interviewed together, in secrecy and not under oath, diminished the commissions credibility for those of us who were expressing our doubts about the attack. In some places, any question or discussion was too controversial about 9/11, was labeled “conspiracy theory” and further discussion was banned. Even linking to sites or articles as forbidden. But like all skeletons that get locked in the closet, someone gets curious and the door gets opened. Yesterday, on its Op-Ed page, The New York Times took a giant leap toward revealing some of the truth many had called “conspiracy theory.”
We already know about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) but what was in earlier PDB’s. Surely this wasn’t the first one. Apparently it was not but it was the last and final warning that the Bush administration dismissed.
On the eve of the eleventh anniversary of September 11, Kurt Eichenwald, author of the new book 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars and contributing editor of Vanity Fair, wrote this article:
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real. [..]
In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush officials attempted to deflect criticism that they had ignored C.I.A. warnings by saying they had not been told when and where the attack would occur. That is true, as far as it goes, but it misses the point. Throughout that summer, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had the government been on high alert. Indeed, even as the Aug. 6 brief was being prepared, Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi believed to have been assigned a role in the 9/11 attacks, was stopped at an airport in Orlando, Fla., by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas on Aug. 4. Two weeks later, another co-conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota after arousing suspicions at a flight school. But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react.
Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs? We can’t ever know. And that may be the most agonizing reality of all.
We have known since the Clinton administration that the neoconservatives had wanted Sadaam Hussein overthrown. In 1998, the now defunct Project for the New American Century audaciously sent an open letter to President Clinton urging him to attack Iraq. The signers of that letter were the same men and women that were embraced by the Bush regime, some of whom (highlighted) are advising the Romney campaign:
Elliott Abrams Richard L. Armitage William J. Bennett Jeffrey Bergner John Bolton Paula Dobriansky Francis Fukuyama Robert Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad William Kristol Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman Donald Rumsfeld William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber Paul Wolfowitz R. James Woolsey Robert B. Zoellick
And these lying war hawks haven’t gone away. They have once again reemerged emboldened by the prospect of a malleable Republican president to ramp up the possibility of attacking Iran on the false premise that they are trying to build a nuclear weapon. In fact, Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with many of the same people to advise his campaign on military and foreign affairs.
It is clearer now that the Bush administration, surrounded by the neoconservative hawks who were urging attacking Iraq, knew and ignored the warnings about Al Qaeda. It is obvious from what we know now about the run up to the war in Iraq, that the neocons got what they wanted then and are now determined to push the world into another war, this time with Iran.
The facts remain, whether or not the Bush regime disregard of the warnings and intelligence from the CIA was intentional or just out of pure willful ignorance, they let the attack happen.