April 6, 2004

More 9/11 Public Hearings. The 9/11 Commission will be holding additional public hearings next week and will be asking questions of Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI director Louis Freeh. Regarding Ashcroft, maybe they can ask him about these decisions:

Newsweek, March 21, 2004: "[I]n the months before 9/11, the US Justice Department curtailed a highly classified program called 'Catcher's Mitt' to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States ... During the Bush administration's first few months in office, [Ashcroft] downgraded terrorism as a priority, choosing to place more emphasis on drug trafficking and gun violence ..."

Washington Post, March 22, 2004: "In the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI, an internal administration budget document shows. The document, dated Oct. 12, 2001, shows that the FBI requested $1.5 billion in additional funds to enhance its counterterrorism efforts with the creation of 2,024 positions. But the White House Office of Management and Budget cut that request to $531 million. ... Ashcroft, working within the White House limits, cut the FBI's request for items such as computer networking and foreign language intercepts by half, cut a cyber-security request by three quarters and eliminated entirely a request for 'collaborative capabilities.'"

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