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9/11 Negligence

Today is the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and here’s something to remember.

Kurt Eichenwald gained access to some of the daily security briefings that were given to the White House in the weeks before the attack, and other classified documents, and has “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.”

The Bush administration ignored clear warnings about 9/11. Why? Because “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.”

The CIA was insistent, pleading that the White House accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real, but the Bush administration ignored them. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the CIA grew “apoplectic”.

In a separate interview with CBS, Eichenwald said:

What I’ve been able to see are the presidential daily briefs before August 6 of 2001. And they’re horrific, and they are – our reports are “an attack is coming”, “there are going to be mass casualties”. The worst of them, the Pentagon, the neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, as the CIA was coming in saying, “al-Qaeda’s going to attack”, said, “Oh, this is just a false flag operation. Bin laden is trying to take our attention off of the real threat, Iraq.” And so there are presidential daily briefs that are literally saying, ‘No they’re wrong, this isn’t fake, it’s real.”

You should read the whole article, but it makes one thing perfectly clear — we had ample evidence warning us about the 9/11 attacks but the Bush administration was negligent and incompetent.

Ironically, one of the few times that George W. Bush was mentioned at the recent Republican convention was when his brother Jeb Bush said “He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor, and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe.”

UPDATE: Even more hypocrisy! Dick Cheney lashes out at Obama for not paying enough attention to the same daily briefings that warned the Bush administration that Osama bin Laden was “determined to strike in the US”. Sheesh.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I read the article about this. If he had access to these still classified documents, which is a separate question, and his reporting is accurate, which we won’t know unless they are declassified, then I concur it was a major F*%# up. Just like fast and furious it needs alot of sunlight. The only way to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past is to examine them in detail, learn from them and implement measures to make sure the same errors are not made again.

    Now I would add that after the fact we as a country did take many measures that have kept us from more attacks, but it doesn’t excuse the initial blunder. If it had been a military commander, their head would have been served on a platter and if any of those who were nay-sayers from the Pentagon are still around they need to be brought out into the light as well, although they have all probably been removed by now.

    I also believe it would behoove our current President to learn from the past and look at the Iranian situation through a different lens then he’s currently using.

    Keep up the good work IK

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    As a follow up to my first comment I read the executive brief from the 911 commission which gives a very good outline of the events leading up to (from the late 80s to 911). There seems to have been many failings at many levels. The bi-partisan commission 5 Reps and 5 Dems all worked on the report. While the government knew something big was indeed planned or ready to execute from Al Qaida, they had no-one that could have connected all the dots until after the events.
    The biggest failing could be seen as not putting the country on high alert and at the time no such measure existed other then using the old TV/Radio verion of an emergency broadcast. In fact after a month of being assembled Bush was set to sign an executive order authorizing drones to be armed for the purpose of flying into Afghanistan to seek out and destroy Bin Ladin. On 911 the order was on his desk awaiting signature. Certainly that order would have been decried by anti war advocates as unlawfully invading a sovereign nation and been a political hot potatoe.
    I think we the political advocates contributed as much then to those attacks and my fear now is we are setting ourselves up for an even greater fall because of our intent to criticize for political gain any decision our Presidents make. Undoubtedly Obama had to make decisions that we do not have all the information on to keep us safe, such as his decision to aid Libyan rebels. The backlash from both sides, for political points, have made it nearly impossible for him or any President to exercise authority to keep us safe. We are just too petty and over zealous in our political ideologies to allow our leaders to do their jobs. In short, I don’t think we Americans would have accepted marshall law at that time to thwart some possible to probable attack that might or might not happen. Today may be a differnt story, unfortunately.
    Here’s a link to the executive summary for those who have not read it. You’ll note that there are similarities to article by eichenwald as far as the warnings were concerned.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    this is the Wikipedia write up on “Fast And Furious”. Little did I know that it had been going on since 2006 by ATF.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    The more sunlight that creeps in regarding Fast & Furious, the more it appears to be a fake scandal manufactured by a spiteful person with an axe to grind. See as an alternate telling (linked from the Wikipedia page).

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
  6. David Freeman wrote:

    Although tragic, this is just another example of conservative ideology trumping intelligence, in this case neo-con ideology trumping Central Intelligence. This is the same irrational behavior that makes the Republican Party so useless at addressing real as opposed to imaginary problems.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink
  7. westomoon wrote:

    It wasn’t just the CIA reports that were dismissed by the Bush people when they arrived — it was terrorism itself as a topic. They made it clear they thought the whole anti-terrorism effort in place when they arrived was some kind of con game, bureaucrats puffing themselves up to try to fool people who knew better (the Vulcans) into diverting the country’s resources into silly boogey-man games.

    It feels strange to look back on it, but under Clinton, the Federal government had put together a quiet but effective web of anti-terrorism programs. Remember, there had already been one WTC bombing. And Bin Laden was taken very seriously.

    The Clinton White House took a leadership role, and Richard Clarke, the colorful “terrorism guru” in the NSC, ran it like a border collie, nipping at the heels of recalcitrant agencies, shoulder-butting the headstrong ones. As a result, a chillingly-large number of real threats were quietly dealt with. Clarke was universally disliked, but also universally respected — especially by the Clinton White House.

    The new Bush White House treated Clarke like some hayseed huckster trying to sell them horse liniment. All agencies involved in anti-terrorism were told to quit wasting their time & money. Terrorism threat warnings from the Intel world were greeted with derision in general.

    The contemptuous dismissal of the specific 9/11 warnings was just part of the larger dismissal of terrorism as a threat. For anyone who’d been involved in the government-wide anti-terrorism effort before 2001, the destruction of the WTC, and especially the subsequent Republican “ownership” of terrorism as a club to beat their political opponents over the head with, was bitterly ironic.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink