March 25, 2004

Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Dick Cheney claims Richard Clarke was "out of the loop", but Condoleezza Rice says Clarke "was in every meeting that was held on terrorism." ... Does anyone know why this administration believes that admitting its counterterrorism chief was kept "out of the loop" as threats increased throughout the summer of 2001 is something to be proud of? ... The public record is devastating.

On May 8, 2001, Cheney was put in charge of the new Office of National Preparedness -- to oversee a national effort to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks. Cheney said terrorism is "one of our biggest threats as a nation ... We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense." (New York Times, 7/8/02) Cheney's committee did not meet -- not even once -- before September 11.

Clarke kicked more ass on Larry King last night (I missed it because I was watching the Red Sox game): "The president was being told on a regular basis that an al Qaeda threat was coming, an al Qaeda attack was coming. Now, what does the president say in his own words to Bob Woodward in Bush at War? ... Bush acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. ... 'I didn't feel a sense of urgency.' Well, how can you not feel a sense of urgency when George Tenet is telling you in daily briefings, day after day, that a major al Qaeda attack is coming? ... I think [sic] heaven for the family members of the victims who caused this commission to come into existence over the objections of the White House and who have now been able to get it extended over the objections of the White House."

Bush's Brand New Enemy Is The Truth: "One of the first official acts of the current Bush administration was to downgrade the office of national coordinator for counterterrorism on the National Security Council - a position held by Richard Clarke. ... Bush put him in a box where he could speak only when spoken to. ... Clarke was not the only national security professional who spanned both the Clinton and Bush administrations. General Donald Kerrick served as deputy national security adviser under Clinton and remained on the NSC into the Bush administration. ... 'I said they needed to pay attention to al-Qaida and counterterrorism. I said we were going to be struck again. They never once asked me a question, nor did I see them having a serious discussion about it.' ... [If Clarke was out of the loop] then the administration was either running a rogue operation or doing nothing, as Clarke testifies."

If the Bush administration indeed made terrorism an urgent priority before 9/11, there should be mounds of evidence to support this. In the last two days, the White House has immediately declassified documents and emails with which to attack Clarke, so where is the paper trail showing their eight-month "battle station" preparedness for al Qaeda? ... Jamie Gorelick, the only member of the 9/11 Commission who has read the President's Daily Briefings, said during the hearings that during the summer of 2001 the PDBs "would set your hair on fire" and the intelligence warnings of al Qaeda attacks "plateaued at a spike level for months" before September 11. ... So if Bush was on top of the threats and proud of his administration's actions, why is the White House fighting tooth and nail against the release of these PDBs -- and not a release to the general public, but simply to all 10 members of the Commission?

Also, if the White House believes Clarke is lying, charge him with perjury. He was under oath -- he actually referred to being under oath during his testimony several times -- so if he is lying, prosecute him now!

Update: MSNBC reports that Condi the Liar is willing to take time off from her busy media schedule to testify before the 9/11 Commission, but (again) only in closed session. ... "[W]e expected to be transparency, people who have got something to hide make us nervous." George W. Bush, February 16, 2002.

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