Friday, August 26, 2011

The Path Back to 9/11

The ten year anniversary of 9/11 is fast approaching and the media is moving into second gear on the reflection stories. More will come, some likely somber and tasteful, others more raw and disturbing. There's also a good chance some will be designed to reassign old blame to score political points, something worth watching carefully.

Or how about assigning entirely new blame? This Daily Beast article goes there with a sensational sub-headline involving former counterterrorism czar (and Bush blamer) Richard Clarke:
In a new documentary, former national-security aide Richard Clarke suggests the CIA tried to recruit 9/11 hijackers—then covered it up. Philip Shenon on George Tenet’s denial.
Say what? The CIA knew about all the 9/11 hijackers and didn't tell the FBI or Richard Clarke? Not quite. The third paragraph explains:
In the interview for the documentary, Clarke offers an incendiary theory that, if true, would rewrite the history of the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the CIA intentionally withheld information from the White House and FBI in 2000 and 2001 that two Saudi-born terrorists were on U.S. soil—terrorists who went on to become suicide hijackers on 9/11.
Emphasis added to clarify that it's really a new twist on an old story about the two west coast hijackers. Both had been surveilled going in and out of the 2000 terrorist summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur before flying into LAX. Tenet responded:
In a written response prepared last week in advance of the broadcast, Tenet says that Clarke, who famously went public in 2004 to blow the whistle on the Bush White House over intelligence failures before 9/11, has “suddenly invented baseless allegations which are belied by the record and unworthy of serious consideration.”
Not that he can always be trusted--remember in his book he spoke of seeing Bush neo-con Richard Perle in Washington on 9/11, who supposedly told him that they suspected Saddam Hussein in the attack. The only problem was Perle--he was out of the country and couldn't get back until after 9/11 due to the airline lockdown. Whoops.

But was it possible the CIA were trying to recruit the two to uncover a bigger plot? Sure. Is it possible they peddled CYA to prevent people from blaming them? It wouldn't be surprising. Does that forever change the history of 9/11? Not really. For such a change to occur Clarke would need to prove they deliberately knew of the attack specifics but kept them under wraps so they could keep watching them, something as yet proven by no one. We already knew there was a 'wall' between intel and law enforcement that discouraged information sharing between the stovepipes.

Yet Clarke seems to think he could have single-handedly prevented the attack had he only known about the presence of these two because he would have ordered them arrested immediately. Has he considered that Moussaoui was arrested before the attack? He knew something was up but kept his trap shut. Is Clarke really suggesting he would have waterboarded these guys, knowing they hadn't told him about a plot he didn't know was only a week away, or does he think UBL would have canceled rather than just reshuffled the crews? Neither were pilots.

But Clarke has a history of saying newsy things, such as his comment that Terry Nichols possibly got his bomb-making knowledge by visiting with Islamic terrorists while in the Philippines; that the glowing streak in the sky seen by hundreds of witnesses during the crash of TWA 800 twas actually the plane itself, which had blown itself up and was ascending 2500 feet without its nose section; and that bin Laden might "Boogie to Baghdad" if Clinton botched an assassination attempt on him in Afghanistan. Wait, those didn't really make much news. The media doesn't seem interesting in following up on those assertions for some reason.

Speaking of our new Vegan ex-president, what about his role in 9/11? The last time someone broached the subject he blew a gasket, evidently chilling the airwaves sufficiently such that nobody else has dared follow the path towards the entire story.

Meanwhile "Darth" Cheney's treatment remains quite predictable. He'll definitely be making news ahead of the coming anniversary, most of it bad, so evidently the plan was to get out ahead of the smear by releasing his own accounts via memoir. The press has trickled out tidbits, one suggesting he was imitating Alexander Haig right after 9/11 (I am in control) while another lists his undisclosed locations. More on this head-exploding stuff after reading the book.

Finally, George W. Bush will be making the rounds and speaking about his emotions and actions on that fateful day, including a NatGeo special this Sunday. Here's an MSNBC hostess discussing that show with its producer, focusing almost all her questions on the My Pet Goat meme. Ah yes, patriotic memories of 9/11, MSNBC style.


Debbie said...

I never cared for Clark, as you point out he is always trying to make some big news statement, grab the spotlight for himself.

As to Cheney's book, some good stuff out of it so far.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

One thing I've seen so far is Cheney expressing disappointment with Colin Powell for not telling them Armitage was the Plame leaker.

How many people still think Libby was the leaker? No wonder he said 'heads would explode'.