How The NYT Commemorates 9/11: 'It Was Bush's Fault'

I ordinarily wouldn't even take notice of something like this appearing in Pravda-on-the-Hudson, especially given their record of endangering our troops and our country by leaking classified information. But these shameless,brazen lies demand a response.

This is an op-ed entitled 'The Deafness Before the Storm', and its premise is fairly simple - that the Bush White House was deaf to 9/11 warnings and thus allowed it to happen.

The writer is one Kurt Eichenwald, and he has top grade, cutting edge knowledge and experience with national security , since his credentials include being an ex-
New York Times reporter and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Oh wait, maybe he doesn't.

At any rate, Mr. Eichenwald writes about a classified August 6th 2001 briefing President Bush received the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. As Eichenwald himself admits, this briefing mainly consisted of a history and description of bin-Laden and al-Qaeda with zero specifics on any actual or imminent operation or threat.There were good reasons why that's true, which we'll examine in a moment.

But then we get to the meat of Mr. Eichenwald's attack. He writes that while this declassified briefing revealed nothing of much use, there were other briefings that
haven't been declassified that reveal 'negligence' - even though he hasn't read them. He bases this premise on what he claims were 'excerpts' he read.

Let's look at what he cites.

According to Eichenwald:

On 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.{..}

"The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden," the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government's transliteration of Bin Laden's first name. Going on for more than a page, the document recited much of the evidence, including an interview that month with a Middle Eastern journalist in which Bin Laden aides warned of a coming attack, as well as competitive pressures that the terrorist leader was feeling, given the number of Islamists being recruited for the separatist Russian region of Chechnya.

And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have "dramatic consequences," including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but "will occur soon." Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.

So, what we have here, en toto, is vague information of a possible attack with no specifics, no named target and no real details. Damn that George W. Bush and those evil Republicans for not possessing clairvoyance!

Some of you might recall the many threats and warnings of a major strike al-Qaeda issued after 9/11 that never came to pass.  There was no way to do anything more in those cases but follow up leads and continue digging, something the
New York Times severely impacted by releasing the details of our surveillance program for al-Qaeda to read. Yet because this one unimaginable attack succeeded a few months after President Bush took office, it was -- say it with me -- Bush's Fault.

Of course, what we really had in the months before 9/11 was an intelligence failure. Let's examine exactly why our intel on 9/11 was so faulty.

Ever since the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Clinton Administration regarded Islamist terrorism as a pesky law enforcement problem rather than a national security threat, and aside from lobbing a few cruise missiles at what turned about to be an aspirin factory, very little was done to take it seriously, even as the attacks increased in frequency and severity.

As part of this approach, Assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick
built what amounted to a wall that prevented different intelligence agencies from sharing information on the grounds it might affect the terrorist's legal rights.

So intel operations like Able Danger, who had actually tracked the hijackers from Afghanistan to Germany and
identified Mohammed Atta and most of the other hijackers months before 9/11 were prevented by the Clinton Justice Department's official policy from sharing this intel with other agencies.

Had the FBI been alerted to what Able Danger knew, Atta's name could have been put on a list that would have tagged him as someone to be watched from the moment he stepped off a plane in Newark, New Jersey. Surveillance of Atta, who lived openly in Florida for over a year, and who acquired a driver's license and even an FAA pilot's license in his real name, might well have made it possible for the FBI to stop the Sept. 11 attacks before they occurred. Except thanks to Gorelick's wall, the FBI wasn't given access to that information.

Even more poignantly, Gorelick was exempted from having to testify under oath in front of the 9/11 commission, none of this was examined by the commission in any detail and the Democrats on the panel were happy to gloss over it.

At this point, we also don't know exactly the extent of what the Clinton Administration concealed about 9/11, thanks to the theft of classified documents by former Clinton National Security adviser Sandy Berger. We do know that the government of the Sudan offered us Osama bin-Laden on a platter but the Clinton Administration refused to accept him. And that there were at least two other times we could have taken out bin-Laden but the orders weren't forthcoming from Mr.Bill, who had other pressing matters in the Oval Office to attend to. On one famous occasion, our CIA had bin-Laden's location pinpointed in Afghanistan and a missile targeted, but they simply couldn't find the president.

You might remember the threats
to attack their broadcast license that the ex-president and the Democratic leadership in congress made to ABC and its then owner Disney over the film 'The Path to 9/11', which resulted in certain changes being made to the version of the movie that was shown to downplay all that.

Of course, you won't read any of this in Mr. Eichenwald's piece.

After an op-ed filled with asides and innuendos, he covers himself by writing:

"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."

But one thing we do know is that if the Clinton Administration had taken Osama bin-Laden as the serious threat he was and had been more concerned with national security than some terrorist's potential legal rights, there was a definite chance that Osama bin-Laden would either be in U.S custody or have been halal hamburger courtesy of a tomahawk missile prior to 9/11. And that Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers might have been apprehended before 3,000 Americans were murdered.

 There's much you can say about George W. Bush's presidency, but accusing him of being responsible ignoring intel he never received and being responsible for not preventing 9/11 is a ridiculous premise and an obvious exercise in disinformation.

Glass houses, stones, Mr. Eichenwald.

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace and other publications.

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