Sunday, February 29, 2004

Better Late Than Never ...The Resurrection [of the press; not a Mel Gibson sequel]
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, George Tenet was asked why the C.I.A. never picked up the trail of Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilot who crashed Flight 175 into the south tower on 9/11.

Thirty months earlier, German intelligence had passed on a hot tip to the C.I.A.— the Al Qaeda terrorist's first name and phone number.

"The Germans gave us a name, Marwan — that's it — and a phone number," the director of central intelligence replied, adding: "They didn't give us a first and a last name until after 9/11, with then additional data."

For crying out loud. As one guy I know put it: "I've tracked down women across the country with a lot less information than that."
The catchphrase du jour is Donald Trump's snappy, "You're fired." But no one has lost a job over the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 or the war that was trumped up and velcroed to 9/11. In fact, the only people the president and vice president are trying to put out of business are the members of the commission charged with figuring out how 9/11 happened and how to prevent another one.

The White House seems more worried about the public's finding out how much it knew and how little it did before 9/11 than it does about identifying and fixing security weaknesses.

After trying to kill the commission and then trying to put Dr. Strangelove-Kissinger in charge, President Bush and Dick Cheney have done their best to hamper the panel that's the best hope of the 9/11 widows, widowers and orphans to get justice.

"This is not no-fault government," said Lorie Van Auken, a 9/11 widow. "You don't just let people go on doing what they're doing wrong."

It is a triumph of chutzpah for Mr. Bush to thwart the investigation into 9/11 at the same time he seeks re-election by promoting his handling of 9/11 and scaring us with the specter of more terrorism. He's even using 9/11 memorials as the backdrop for his convention in New York.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Gosh Maureen, you guys are quick. Bush, use a backdrop? Yeah, and if your profession continues to let them slide, he'll be dragging the Mission Accomplished banner out of mothballs in November.


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