March 25, 2004

588 Dead Americans -- Bush's Idea Of A Punchline. I'm disappointed that in the two days of public hearings before the 9/11 Commission, these two stories were not mentioned:

1. July 26, 2001: "In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term. ... Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it."

2. September 10, 2001: "The state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill." (Newsweek, 9/13/01) The only additional media mention of this story is in the next issue of Newsweek: "A group of top Pentagon officials suddenly cancelled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns." (Newsweek, 9/17/01) These two stories were at "" and "" respectively (as well as the print editions of the magazine), but are no longer operative.

Condoleezza Rice: "[Clarke] was in every meeting that was held on terrorism. All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11." ... WH Press Secretary: "Dr. Rice, early on in the administration, started holding daily briefings with the senior directors of the National Security Council, of which [Clarke] was one. But he refused to attend those meetings, and he was later asked to attend those meetings and he continued to refuse to attend those meetings."

"President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions, officials say." AP, June 28, 2002.

Meanwhile, at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner last night, George Bush presented a slide show, calling it the "White House Election-Year Album." He showed a picture of himself looking under furniture in a fruitless, frustrating search. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." ... That might be mildly amusing, except for the fact that Bush's lies about WMDs have caused the deaths of at least 588 Americans and thousands of innocent Iraqis. And he cracked this joke only a few hours after Richard Clarke apologized to the 9/11 victims families. ... Maybe Bush ought to take his act on the road. He could show it to the families whose sons and daughters have died for absolutely nothing. I'm sure they could use a chuckle.

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