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September 11, 2012

Trooferism 2.0...Okay, Bush Didn't Order The 9/11 Attacks But He Didn't Take The Warnings Seriously Enough Or Something

I was debating whether or not to post this today since it's a day of mourning (my personal evolution on 9/11 remembrances are here) but the left is using the day to take shots at George W. Bush, so off we go.

The big story is a new book that basically says Bush had a lot more intel about possible attacks by al Qaeda but because he had his heart set on invading Iraq, he didn't take them seriously enough. I gather that's the gist of a new book on the topic from the author's op-ed in the New York Times today.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

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.

The author is careful to say that there's no way to know if the attack could have been stopped if Bush had been more active but you know, wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

Let's assume all of this is true (I don't but play along)...what exactly was Bush supposed to do? Even if he personally knew the names of the hijackers, their locations at any given moment and what planes they would use what was he going to do? He's not Batman.

If the CIA or any other government agency knew this information why didn't they a- Tell Bush and more importantly b- Stop the damn plot?

Did the CIA go running to the White House and say, "Look what we found! Can we stop it please?" Were there some authorities or tools they needed that Bush refused them? If the bin Laden team at CIA was so sure of their intel (not specific info on times, names, places) what did they want from the President? A pat on the back?

The real culprit for hampering the ability to "connect the dots" (if they could have been connected) is Bill Clinton and his FBI/CIA wall. Of course the people ultimately responsible for 9/11 are the murderous Islamists we've been killing by the score for 11 years. The rest is just political gamesmanship.

What I'd really like to see is a Venn Diagram of people who think there were dots waiting to be connected if only Bush had pushed for it to be done and people who deny Iran has a nuclear weapons program.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:16 AM

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