Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bush Administration Suppresses CIA's 9-11 Report

It has never ceased to amaze me that Bush and Cheney, who failed to take any steps at all to protect the United States from terrorism pre-9-11, can be running as the "anti-terror" team.

Top security officials in the Clinton administration gave Bush-Cheney extensive warnings about the terrorism dangers when they briefed the in-coming administration. The Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security was tabled in February of 2001. It contained not only warnings about the U.S.'s lack of preparedness to deal with terrorism, but provided numerous recommendations to improve security. Bush ignored these recommendations, preferring to assign Cheney the task of setting up a new commission to consider the problem. Cheney never convened a meeting of that commission between February, 2001 and 9-11.

In February of 2001, Condi Rice specifically downgraded the status of Richard Clerk, the counter-terrorism czar retained from the Clinton administration. His direct access to the president's cabinet was removed. His requests for a cabinet level meeting on the subject were refused. His proposed counter-terrorism plans were virtually ignored.

Between the Spring of 2001 and September 10, 2001,, over twenty foreign governments warned the U.S. of the existence of terrorist plans for an attack on the U.S. Bush did nothing. Attorney General Ashcroft refused even to listen to reports of imminent terrorist activities from his deputy A.G., and reduced the budget for counter-terrorism activities within the F.B.I.

After receiving the CIA's August 6, 2001 memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the United States", Bush did nothing to alert key government officials or the public to the threats. He remained on vacation in Texas, clearing brush. The counter-terrorism czar had advised alerting the news media to the story. Bush did nothing.. Widespread public awareness alone could have stymied the attacks.

When similar rumors arose at the end of 1999 for millenium attacks on the U.S., President Clinton summoned his cabinet and all key officials and held daily meetings to garner intelligence and beef up security. The public and border guards were alerted. As a result, those planning to blow up the L.A. airport were arrested at the U.S. Canadian border, and their co-conspirators were located in Canada.

Bush so resolutely refused to take any action in response to the threat reports, that it is no surprise that many believe he allowed them to happen. A poll of New Yorkers taken in August of this year, shows that a substantial majority of New Yorkers believe that Bush had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Three years later, Bush is still suppressing information about the lead-up to the 9-11 attacks:

The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket by Robert Sheer,
LA Times via www.commondreams.com

The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago. "It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."


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