The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Lying About Trivia
 
These cruds lie about ANYTHING that makes them look unfavorable, no matter how minor:

Link:

Last night we showed a clip of the President giving a speech. Behind him stood a lad who was obviously bored silly. The 14-year-old or so yawned, scratched, yawned, yawned, checked his watch, bent over, stared at the ceiling, and then fell asleep during the President's speech. It was very funny. So funny, in fact, that CNN replayed the clip Tuesday during their broadcasts.

But, but, but, the first time is was shown, CNN anchorwoman Daryn Kagan reported that the White House said the clip was a total fake, it was merely the Late Show having fun with their ability to edit and do TV tricks.

Dave says what the CNN reporter said was an out and out 100% lie.

A couple hours later, CNN anchor person Kyra Phillips reported that the kid was at the speech but not where the Late Show had him.

Dave again makes the claim, "That's an out and out absolute 100% lie. That kid was exactly where we said he was." It's true.

The speech was at a Florida Rally on March 20th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Dave is irked that the White House was trying to make him look like a jerk. But he's glad he got his side of the story out in the open.

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Lies
 
As you probably know, Bush has been running ads accusing Kerry of the "wacky idea" of taxing gas to force people to drive less.

As you probably also know, the fact is that TEN YEARS AGO Kerry said an increase in the gas tax should be explored as a possible way to deal with the deficits.

The Bush ads, however, strongly imply that Kerry has proposed increasing gas taxes NOW, when in reality, of course, he has been saying that prices are TOO HIGH.

Bush even includes on his website a calculator showing how much a 50 cent tax increase will cost. It says:

“Taking a trip across town or across the country? Get directions and find out how much John Kerry would increase the cost of your trip.”

This is not a campaign point: it’s a LIE. A clear, blatant, bald-faced, shameless lie.

“Some people have wacky ideas, like taxing gasoline more so people drive less. That's John Kerry."

Some people have nothing positive to say about themselves, so they have to tell lies about other people. That’s George Bush.

It’s time we started calling Bush’s lies what they are: lies.

Everytime Bush lies, call him on it.

And don’t call it an “error,” or “dirty politics” or “disingenuous.”

Call them lies. Because they are.

And, if your local newspaper, radio station, or TV station is mentioning Bush’s ad without mentioning that they re FALSE, call them and DEMAND that they point out, as reporters, that Bush campaign ads are LIES.

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Activism
 
Atrios (atrios.blogspot.com) reports the following conversation on NPR:

That Liberal NPR


From Talk of the Nation:


CONAN: Susannah Meadows is general editor at Newsweek magazine. She analyzed Newsweek's recent poll, which measured the effect of Richard Clarke's testimony on public opinion. And she spoke to us from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Obviously, that was the first poll to emerge last week. There will be others with greater information as time goes on.

Let's get some callers on the line. And Richard joins us from Louisville, Kentucky.

RICHARD (Caller): Yes.

CONAN: Yes.

RICHARD: I'd like to say that, listening to Clarke's testimony, it solidified in my mind the fact that not only was there smoke but fire underlining this decision to enter the war in Iraq. And it caused me to do a little bit more research and understand that prior to 9/11, Dick Cheney was appointed head of the task force for anti-terrorism, and yet he had no meetings, zero meetings, with people to discuss terrorism in this country or facing this country.

CONAN: I'm unfamiliar with that.

RICHARD: Yeah. And I found it quite unusual that that little item wasn't subpoenaed. So, you know, and being a Vietnam veteran, I guess I had leanings in that direction anyway.

CONAN: I have to ask Mary Louise, are you familiar with this? I've not heard it come up in the hearings at all.

KELLY: Oh, I haven't heard it come up at all. When you said Dick Cheney, sir, becoming the chair of the counterterrorist group in the White House, you meant Dick Cheney, not Richard Clarke?

RICHARD: No, Dick Cheney was appointed as a task-force leader by President Bush, and he made that statement to the public, that he was going to be looking over terrorism and the threat that it posed...

CONAN: Again, I'm going to have to look into that. It would seem it would have come up had it happened that way. Maybe I'm wrong, though, Richard. We'll have to go back and check on that.

RICHARD: Well, that'd be great.

CONAN: OK.

RICHARD: Thank you for the show and the call.

CONAN: OK. Thank you very much.

RICHARD: Right-o. Bye.

Atrios seems to be making the point that even the “liberal” NPR is rather ignorant of the vast body of accurate information that makes Bush look bad.

But it isn’t a question of “liberal” or “conservative” – it’s a question of ignorance. As Bob Somerby (www.dailyhowler.com) endlessly reminds us, the press doesn’t report news, they repeat scripts. They are profoundly lazy, and will do almost NO research on their own. We have to do it for them.

The right-wingers have been successful at manipulating the press largely through sheer determination. Whenever they believe that coverage is either unfavorable to them or silent about important matters, they write, they fax, they email, they kick up a fuss like a rabid band of lunatics. And it WORKS, because reporters are not only lazy, but they have egos like balloons: huge and inflated, but fragile and easily popped. They actually WILL change coverage if the outcry is loud enough. And because of that, the right has successfully moved coverage further and further to the right; so much so that extremism now calls itself “fair and balanced.”

In the conversation above, Richard tells Conan and Kelly something that anyone who reads the blogs knows, but which they didn’t know.

They know now.

And, if they are true to their word, they WILL look into it and begin reporting on something that has previously not been reported.

Get involved. Call radio stations. Write newspapers. Kick up a fuss, and DEMAND that the press actually report the truth about Bush’s actions before 9/11. Bush has gotten a free pass up to now. Time to end it. It won't end by itself. We have to SAY so.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004


 
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Monday, March 29, 2004

Chutzpah
 
Charles Krauthammer, in the Jewish World Review, demonstrates his OWN Chutzpah by giving a "Chutzpah Award" to - Richard Clarke (of all people). He says:

"It goes to Richard Clarke, now making himself famous by blaming the Bush administration for Sept. 11 - after Clarke had spent eight years in charge of counterterrorism for a Clinton administration that did nothing."

In the first place, Clarke never "blam[ed] the Bush administration for Sept 11." He claims that both the Bush AND Clinton administrations were too lackadaisical, including himself.

In the second place "the Clinton administration did nothing" is FALSE. In fact, while he was President the Republicans accused him of focusing TOO MUCH on terrorism.

And that's exactly why Clarke is being attacked so mercilessly by the Bushes.

Because the MYTH - that Clinton did nothing about terrorism, and Hero Bush is a Hands-On Commander In Chief Who Has Come To Save Us All - is being challenged. And Bush needs that myth for political reasons. Because it's all he has.

But it IS a myth - it's fake.

BEFORE September 11th, the Bush Administration pretty much ignored terrorism. And that's obvious to anyone who actually takes a look at the adminstration's actions before 9/11 instead of their rhetoric afterwards.

But blaming Clinton for 9/11 has been part of the GOP's political strategy, and it's crumbling. The facts have ALWAYS been known, but because of Clarke the facts are getting legs and are penetrating to the public at large for the first time. And the Bushes can't allow that.

The fact is, Clarke presented a counter-terrorism plan to Rice in January of 2001, and a meeting wasn't even held about it until September 4th. That's not news. That information appeared in the New York Times in December of 2001.

The fact is, George Tenet delivered a report to President Bush entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S,” on August 6th, 2001, warning that al Qaeda might be planning to hijack airplanes. President Bush appears to have done nothing to follow up on the memo. In fact, he remained on vacation throughout the month of August.

The fact is, acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard, worried about reports on the mounting possibility of a terrorist attack met John Ashcroft and requested $58 million from the Justice Department to hire new field agents, translators and intelligence analysts to improve the bureaus’ capacity to fight terrorist threats. Ashcroft turned him down flat in an official letter dated September 10, 2001. And in a separate memo on the same day - September 10th, 2001 - Ashcroft also listed the Justice Departments top seven priorities. Terrorism wasn't one of them.

Chutzpah? You know what REAL Chutzpah is?

Proposing cutting anti-terrorism funding in favor of Star Wars;

Shelving the Hart-Rudman report on Terrorism, which Clinton commissioned;

Not MENTIONING Al Qaeda for 9 months;

And then trying to blame Bill Clinton for what happened 9 months after he left office, and 9 months after you took over from him.

Now - do the Bushes acutally have anything to say about the actual substance of Clarke's statement, or are they just going to keep smearing the man personally and hope that that's sufficient?

Bush like to TALK about "accountability."

When will we actually SEE some?


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The sheer gall of this administration never ceases to amaze me.

“Kerry never mentioned Mr. Bush by name during his speech at New North Side Baptist Church Sunday, but aimed his criticism at "our present national leadership." Kerry cited Scripture in his appeal for the worshippers, including James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"

"The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry said. "When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack."

The president frequently makes mention of his religious faith.


George W. Bush is complaining that somebody ELSE is using religion for political purposes? Does he even recognize his own hypocrisy?

And, in addition, Kerry is right, of course. Scripturally, it isn’t enough to say you believe: you have to put your beliefs into action, or they are worthless and don’t justify you. (James 2:14-26) Kerry, whose Roman Catholic religious tradition sometimes place TOO much emphasis on works, realizes this.

But Bush comes from a religious tradition where faith is all that matters. Where what you DO has no affect at all on your eternal destiny.

And it shows.



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Nothing to hide
 
Richard Clarke claimed that on September 12, 2001, in the White House situation room, George W. Bush pressured him to find a connection between the attacks and Iraq.

The White House denied it.

Scott McClellan, the White House Press secretary, laughably said that there was no record that President Bush was even IN the situation room on that day

Bush wasn't in the situation room on September 12th, 2001? REALLY?

Was he saving the room for some OTHER situation?


No, NOT really. Two days ago, the White House changed its story and acknowledged that the meeting did, indeed, take place.

This is, basically, an admission of lying. But don’t expect them to call it that, and don’t expect the press to call it that.

In the last week, the White House has said that Clarke was out of the loop and that he was IN the loop.

They say that Rice can't talk to Congress, but she can talk to reporters.

They claim Bush didn't ask Clarke to find an Iraq connection, and then they admit that he did.

They say that they have “nothing to hide.”

But they ACT like they have EVERYTHING to hide.

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Sunday, March 28, 2004


 
Ooooooops

"I'd love to have not only my testimony, but all the materials and documents related to this investigation declassified."

"...if we're going to start declassifying materials, let's not do it selectively. Let's declassify my entire testimony - all 196 pages of it, or whatever it is. And let's also declassify those two key documents - materials I submitted as a strategy or a plan or decision materials, whatever you want to call it in January, and what was finally approved in September. And you'll see that there is no difference between the two - that all of that time went by, and no additional options were created. We could have had that decision very early on. We wasted all those months." - Richard Clarke

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Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Liberal Media Strikes Again
 
This story just came down the wire. Notice the nearly insane disconnect between the headline and the actual content of the article:

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Poll Shows Clarke Hasn't Impacted Bush


WASHINGTON (March 27) - Two-thirds of Americans say the testimony of Richard Clarke, the former terrorism adviser who has been critical of the Bush administration, hasn't affected their view of the president, says a poll released Saturday.

However, public views supporting President Bush's handling of terrorism have dipped from 65 percent to 57 percent in the last month, according to the Newsweek poll. That drop comes at a time the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks has been publicly questioning officials in the Bush and Clinton administrations about their handling of the terror threat.

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According to the article, two-thirds say it hasn't affected their view of Bush.

But that means one-third say it has. That's a HUGE change.

And Bush support has dropped from 65 percent to 57 percent.

But the HEADLINE says that there's been no impact.

Unbelievable.

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"I don't think people want questions about character; I think they want questions about our security to be answered...

"If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do `60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath. We're talking about the security of our country....

"Every time somebody comes up and says something that this White House doesn't like, they don't answer the questions about it or show you the truth about it. They go into character assassination mode." - John Kerry



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Is Powell about to jump?

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Mr. Clarke, the former National Security Council aide, received support on Friday from an unlikely source — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. In a television interview, Mr. Powell said that Mr. Clarke had "served his nation very, very well" and was "an expert in these matters," referring to counterterrorism.

While saying that Mr. Clarke's book is "not the complete story," Mr. Powell said on the PBS program "NewsHour" he was "not attributing any bad motives" to Mr. Clarke.

"I'm not aware of a campaign against Mr. Clarke, and I am not a member," Mr. Powell said. "The book is the book, and you can read it and make your own judgment as to whether it's accurate."

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Come out of them, Colin. For God's sake, man, while you still have your soul left.


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Why did Frist back off and say that he didn't KNOW if there were any discrepancies between Clarke's previous testimony and his testimony before the 9/11 commission?

Because if he DID know some GOPer committed a felony.

Bill Frist was not a member of the commission that investigated 9/11.

If he "knows" what's in those classified documents, someone leaked it to him illegally. A crime was committed.

And, of course, if he DIDN'T know, he was LYING.

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So now the GOP wants to declassify Clarke's previous testimony, hoping, desperately, to find something to discredit him with.

But Bush said that all that stuff had to be classified for reasons of NATIONAL SECURITY.

Was he lying? Or is National Security just not as important as trying to get a political enemy?

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I hesitate to post something found in cyberspace, but this one seems solidly sourced:

White House, 4/01: Focus on Bin Laden "A Mistake"

A previously forgotten report from April 2001 (four months before 9/11) shows that the Bush Administration officially declared it "a mistake" to focus "so much energy on Osama bin Laden." The report directly contradicts the White House's continued assertion that fighting terrorism was its "top priority" before the 9/11 attacks.

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Who's on Frist?
 
Josh Marshall - God bless him - nails the Bushies on more backpedaling and lies. Go read the whole thing here. A recap, with some thoughts and speculations by yours truly:

Bill Frist, as I'm sure you know, has accused Clarke of telling two entirely different stories:

Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath, Frist said in a speech from the Senate floor, alleging that Clarke said in 2002 that the Bush administration actively sought to address the threat posed by al-Qaida before the attacks.

but later, he not only retreated from any accusation of perjury, but said he didn't actually know if there were any discrepancies:

Frist later retreated from directly accusing Clarke of perjury, telling reporters that he personally had no knowledge that there were any discrepancies between Clarke's two appearances. But he said, "Until you have him under oath both times, you don't know."

So a few hours after accusing Clarke of perjury, he says that he isn't only not sure if there's any perjury, but claims that he doesn't know if there are any inconsistencies AT ALL.

What's up with THAT, Dr. Bill? Just chucking bodily waste at the wall and seeing if it sticks again?

Actually, what it obviously means is that Frist doesn't KNOW of anything in Clarke's original testimony that is a problem for Clarke. He is just hoping to get it declassified so the Bushies and their minions can go on a fishing expedition through it, looking for even the SLIGHTEST discrepancy and hoping to find a small piece of nothing that they can pretend is something, and thus further muddy the picture.

But for Frist to come out and publicly disgrace himself in such an obvious manner must mean that the Bushies are VERY concerned. So concerned that they are helping to give the story even more legs than it already has.

IN ADDITION, on the episode of 60 minutes where Clarke was first interviewed, Steve Hadley, the Deputy National Security Advisor accused Clarke of lying about a meeting between Clarke and Bush on September 11 in which Clarke say that Bush pressed him to find a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. Hadley said that no such meeting took place.

Unfortunately for Hadley, CBS had two sources that confirmed that the meeting took place, including one who was present.

So the White House had to reverse itself:

CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports, until today, the Bush administration denied a meeting had taken place between the president and Clarke, during which Bush allegedly instructed Clarke to investigate Saddam Hussein and Iraq after Sept. 11.

The White House today reversed that comment, and staff members now tell reporters, "We are not denying such a meeting took place. It probably did."


Marshall asks the pertinent question: Do you think the White House would have changed its tune if CBS didn't come up with another source?

So, first, they accuse Clarke of lying. Then it turns out that they are just making the accusations up, and they are caught red-handed. So they simply contradict themselves and hope that nobody notices. And they actually don't seem to realize that such behavior makes THEM look like liars, not Clarke.

Actually, this whole thing is making me wonder. Clarke's testimony was indeed gripping and damaging, but the White House's reaction has been truly bizarre. They just started running around like lunatics, throwing out wild accusations, contradicting each other, contradicting themselves, and not even CARING if what they were saying was even slightly convincing, as long as there was a flood of it.

Frankly, they are acting guilty as hell. REALLY guilty.

FAR more guilty than Clarke's statements make them out to be.

And it really does make me wonder if there isn't some information that is REALLY damning and that they REALLY are terrified of becoming public.

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Jon Stewart on Comedy Central nails Condi and Scott McLellan to the wall, and leaves little doubt that all this stuff is totally scripted.

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Friday, March 26, 2004

"We should have seen attacks coming"
 
"We Should Have Had Orange or Red-Type of Alert in June/July of 2001"
By Eric Boehlert
Salon.com

Friday 26 March 2004

A former FBI translator told the 9/11 commission that the bureau had detailed information well before Sept. 11, 2001, that terrorists were likely to attack the U.S. with airplanes.

A former FBI wiretap translator with top-secret security clearance, who has been called "very credible" by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has told Salon she recently testified to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that the FBI had detailed information prior to Sept. 11, 2001, that a terrorist attack involving airplanes was being plotted.

Referring to the Homeland Security Department's color-coded warnings instituted in the wake of 9/11, the former translator, Sibel Edmonds, told Salon, "We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available." Edmonds is offended by the Bush White House claim that it lacked foreknowledge of the kind of attacks made by al-Qaida on 9/11. "Especially after reading National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice where she said, we had no specific information whatsoever of domestic threat or that they might use airplanes. That's an outrageous lie. And documents can prove it's a lie."

Edmonds' charge comes when the Bush White House is trying to fend off former counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke's testimony that it did not take serious measures to combat the threat of Islamic terrorism, and al-Qaida specifically, in the months leading up to 9/11.

Edmonds, who is Turkish-American, is a 10-year U.S. citizen who has passed a polygraph examination conducted by FBI investigators. She speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Turkish and worked part-time for the FBI, making $32 an hour for six months, beginning Sept. 20, 2001. She was assigned to the FBI's investigation into Sept. 11 attacks and other counterterrorism and counterintelligence cases, where she translated reams of documents seized by agents who, for the previous year, had been rounding up suspected terrorists.

She says those tapes, often connected to terrorism, money laundering or other criminal activity, provide evidence that should have made apparent that an al- Qaida plot was in the works. Edmonds cannot talk in detail about the tapes publicly because she's been under a Justice Department gag order since 2002.

"President Bush said they had no specific information about Sept. 11, and that's accurate," says Edmonds. "But there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should've alerted the people to the threat we're facing."

Edmonds testified before 9/11 commission staffers in February for more than three hours, providing detailed information about FBI investigations, documents and dates. This week Edmonds attended the commission hearings and plans to return in April when FBI Director Robert Mueller is scheduled to testify. "I'm hoping the commission asks him real questions -- like, in April 2001, did an FBI field office receive legitimate information indicating the use of airplanes for an attack on major cities? And is it true that through an FBI informant, who'd been used [by the Bureau] for 10 years, did you get information about specific terrorist plans and specific cells in this country? He couldn't say no," she insists.

Edmonds first made headlines in 2002 when she blew the whistle on the FBI's translation department, which was suddenly thrown into the spotlight as investigators clamored for original terrorist-related information, often in Arabic. Edmonds made several reports of serious misconduct, security lapses and gross incompetence in the FBI translations unit, including supervisors who told translators to work slowly during the crucial post-9/11 period to ensure the agency would get more funds for its next annual budget. As a result of her reports, Edmonds says she was harassed at the FBI. She was fired in March 2002.

Litigation followed, and in October 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the Edmonds case, taking the extraordinary step of invoking the rarely used state secrets privilege in order "to protect the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States." Ashcroft's move was made at the request of Mueller.

During a 2002 segment on "60 Minutes" exploring Edmonds' initial charges of FBI internal abuses, Sen. Grassley was asked if Edmonds is credible. "She's credible and the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story," he said.

The Inspector General's office then launched an investigation into Edmonds' charges and told her to expect a finding in the fall of 2002. The report has yet to be released. Edmonds suspects if it is ever publicly released Ashcroft will demand that it be immediately classified. "They're pushing everything under the blanket of secrecy," she says.

That's why she felt it was so important to appear before the 9/11 commission: "It's the only hope I have left to get this issue added to the public domain."

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Keep your lies straight.

"Richard Clarke was in every meeting that was held on terrorism. All the deputies meetings, and so forth." - Condaleeza Rice

"Richard Clarke missed a lot of what was going on. He wasn't in the loop on a lot of this stuff." - Dick Cheney

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It looks like Clarke's description of events is accurate, and Rice is lying. But only extreme partisans thought otherwise.

The following is an AP report. Note the date: June 29, 2002. And it says EXACTLY what Clarke said.

Before 9 - 11, Terror Was Low Priority For Bush Administration
By The Associated Press

Saturday, 29 June, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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. ...

Critics said the low number of terrorism meetings by the most senior members of the security council indicated the administration's priorities were elsewhere.

``What were the principals doing to bring this to the attention of the president?'' asked P.J. Crowley, council spokesman for the Clinton administration. ``Given our growing understanding of this threat that we built in '90s about the emerging threat of terrorism, they just didn't seem to get it.''

Clinton officials said their council principals met every two to three weeks to discuss terrorist threats after mid-1998. Those meetings increased during times of heightened terrorist concerns, such as immediately prior to the millennium celebrations, when the principals met nearly every day to discuss threat levels.

Bush's principals committee was focused on missile defense, Iraq, China, international economic policy, global warming and the U.S. stance toward Russia, a subject of particular interest to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, a Russian expert who has now worked for both Bush presidents.

One discussion on terrorism occurred July 3, amid escalating concerns about a likely attack by al-Qaida, one official said. But experts believed al-Qaida would attack American targets overseas, not inside the United States.

The other terrorism meeting occurred Sept. 4 as the security council put finishing touches on a proposed national security policy review for the president.

That review was finished Sept. 10 and was awaiting Bush's approval when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. ...

``This was a failure in the Bush administration to recognize the nature of terrorism and its impact on the United States,'' said Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA chief of counterterrorism operations and analysis. ``Everybody felt that it was a chronic phenomenon, it would continue and the best we could hope was to contain it.''

Rice has described the work of the council's Counterterrorism Security Group, directed by Special Assistant Richard Clarke, which met several times each week during July and August. By Aug. 6, Bush received a briefing report with the heading, ``Bin Laden Determined to Strike the United States.'' The report discussed the possibility of traditional airline hijackings.

``To say that the principals never talked about it before Sept. 4 is wrong,'' another official said. ``There were lots of conversations on the margins at meetings or informal meetings. But the first formal meeting was to review the draft policy.''

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Does Al Qaeda have WMDs?
 
Kos (www.dailykos.com) has a really interesting idea:

[Bush's joke about missing WMDs] gives Kerry an excellent chance to do what few if any Democrats have done--ask George W. Bush if he's concerned that Al Quada has Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

Most of us accept that whatever weapons of mass destruction that Saddam had at the end of the Gulf war in 1991 either atrophied or were destroyed....Thanks to Joe Wilson and others, we know that there was no operational nuclear program in Iraq. But despite all that, the White House insists that the weapons existed.

So, Kerry should call Bush's bluff. Especially in a week in which Richard Clarke shot a torpedo through the hull of the S.S. Reelect Shrub, Kerry should exploit this opportunity by playing along with the assumption that there were WMD in Iraq a year ago, and we've lost the WMD. For rhetorical purposes, don't play it like the U.S. forces in Iraq cannot find the WMD, frame the attack as if the weapons that Bush said were in Iraq are no longer there and have apparently been lost to Al Queda.

Clarke's revelations are damaging because they depict Bush and his White House as lacking any interest in, or sense of urgency about, Al Queda and global terrorism. Attacking Bush for apparently letting the terrorists take possession of Saddam's WMD forces Bush into a box from which there is no escape. Bush would have two choices, both bad. He could admit that, despite Colin Powell's testimony before the U.N., we really didn't know of any locations with WMD. Thus, the Iraq war really is the diversionary boondoggle that Clarke and other terrorism experts said it would be. The other option is to stick to his contention that Saddam had massive stockpiles of WMD, and if he does that, Kerry just hammers home that therefore the only plausible conclusion is that the WMD fell out of Iraqi military and civil authority before we could secure them, and now they've been blown by the wind to who knows where. And if people accept that terrorists did get the WMD, Bush's jocularity on the subject of loose WMD fits right into the image painted of him by Richard Clarke.

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Thursday, March 25, 2004


 
Speaking at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington last night, President George W. Bush showed a stunningly cavalier attitude toward the failed search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Administration's rush to war.

"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," Bush mimicked, as a slide of the President looking under furniture in the Oval Office appeared on the screen.

Apparently, this "president" is so thoroughly immoral that he thinks the lies that he told to start the war are a laughing matter.

The Democrats should play this one over and over.

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Occasionally Fair and Balanced
 
"Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you. We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness."

When Clarke said that, everything changed. The whole atmosphere. He did something that was NEVER DONE BEFORE IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION - he took responsibility. You could almost FEEL the nationwide sigh of relief.

When Clarke said that, he did Bush's JOB for him. He said what Bush should have said a year ago. Bush, of course, would never say any such thing. He's never honestly apologized for anything. He's not man enough.

The White House response has been totally predictable: smear, smear, smear. They have yet to actually deal with the actual substance of what Clarke said. All they can do is smear the man.

As you probably have heard, in August 2002, Clarke gave a background briefing (background briefings are always anonymous) to the press at Bush's request. Not surprisingly Clarke seems to praise Bush in that briefing. Someone from the Bush administration called Fox News and asked them to reveal who the anonymous briefer was. Fox actually complied, thus giving the lie - if there had been any doubt before - to their claims of being fair and balanced. A supposedly independent news organization revealing their source at the request of a politician who wishes to defame a political opponent is surely a new low in journalism. It led to this statement by Bob Kerrey during the hearings:


KERREY: And let me also say this document of Fox News earlier, this transcript that they had, this is a background briefing. And all of us that have provided background briefings for the press before should beware. I mean, Fox should say "occasionally fair and balanced" after putting something like this out.

KERREY:(LAUGHTER) Because they violated a serious trust.

KERREY:(APPLAUSE) All of us that come into this kind of an environment and provide background briefings for the press I think will always have this as a reminder that sometimes it isn't going to happen, that it's background. Sometimes, if it suits their interest, they're going to go back, pull the tape, convert it into transcript and send it out in the public arena and try to embarrass us or discredit us. So I object to what they've done, and I think it's an unfortunate thing they did.


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Write to the Commission with praise for Bob Kerrey for saying that (snail mail is FAR more effective than email):

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
301 7th Street, SW
Room 5125
Washington, DC 20407

Clarke's background briefing received quite a bit of play in the news - but interestingly many news organizations (showing how "liberal" the media are) FAILED to point out the fact that Clarke was asked about it during the hearing - and gave a very clear, very simple answer:
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THOMPSON: Mr. Clarke, in this background briefing, as Senator Kerrey has now described it, for the press in August of 2002, you intended to mislead the press, did you not?

CLARKE: No. I think there is a very fine line that anyone who's been in the White House, in any administration, can tell you about. And that is when you are special assistant to the president and you're asked to explain something that is potentially embarrassing to the administration, because the administration didn't do enough or didn't do it in a timely manner and is taking political heat for it, as was the case there, you have a choice. Actually, I think you have three choices. You can resign rather than do it. I chose not to do that. Second choice is...

THOMPSON: Why was that, Mr. Clarke? You finally resigned because you were frustrated.

CLARKE: I was, at that time, at the request of the president, preparing a national strategy to defend America's cyberspace, something which I thought then and think now is vitally important. I thought that completing that strategy was a lot more important than whether or not I had to provide emphasis in one place or other while discussing the facts on this particular news story. The second choice one has, Governor, is whether or not to say things that are untruthful. And no one in the Bush White House asked me to say things that were untruthful, and I would not have said them. In any event, the third choice that one has is to put the best face you can for the administration on the facts as they were, and that is what I did. I think that is what most people in the White House in any administration do when they're asked to explain something that is embarrassing to the administration.

THOMPSON: But you will admit that what you said in August of 2002 is inconsistent with what you say in your book?

CLARKE: No, I don't think it's inconsistent at all. I think, as I said in your last round of questioning, Governor, that it's really a matter here of emphasis and tone. I mean, what you're suggesting, perhaps, is that as special assistant to the president of the United States when asked to give a press backgrounder I should spend my time in that press backgrounder criticizing him. I think that's somewhat of an unrealistic thing to expect.

THOMPSON: Well, what it suggests to me is that there is one standard of candor and morality for White House special assistants and another standard of candor and morality for the rest of America.

CLARKE: I don't get that.

CLARKE: I don't think it's a question of morality at all. I think it's a question of politics.

THOMPSON: Well, I... (APPLAUSE)

THOMPSON: I'm not a Washington insider. I've never been a special assistant in the White House. I'm from the Midwest. So I think I'll leave it there.
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Check your local newspaper. If they mention Clarke's background briefing without mentioning either Clarke's explanation or Fox's serious breach of journalistic ethics, write to them and ask them WHY their coverage is so totally imbalanced and dishonest.

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Bloggles the mind
 
I learned something about blogging yesterday. Yesterday - the last two days, actually - were the busiest news days since I started this thing, lo, these several days ago. And on the busy days - the days when you think a blog would have a lot to say - there is so much to read, so much to digest, so many people saying so many things, that there is nothing to add until you actually think for a while.

What a good day it was.

Richard Clarke has shown those of us on the left that there was at least ONE person in this administration who was decent, honest, intelligent and had the best interests of the country at heart.

The bad news is that he's no longer there and is being attacked by those who actually ARE in power.

And he showed those on the right that 1) Bush is no hero; 2) Bush is no grownup; and 3) Bush isn't even honest, but possibly the most thoroughly ruthless, unprincipled and cynical politician of the last hundred years - maybe longer.

The contrast between adolescent schemers like the Bushies and a man like Clarke could not possibly be greater.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004


 
"Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you. We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness." Richard Clarke to the families of the 9/11 victims, 3/24/2004

Man.

Taking responsibility. No WONDER he couldn't work for the Bush administration.

Has ANYONE in the Bush administration ever apologized to ANYONE for ANYTHING?

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Michael Kinsley, in the Washington Post, does something VERY unusual nowadays: he actually practices real reporting. His analysis of the "350 tax increases" that Bush says Kerry voted for makes it obvious that the Bush campaign is - well, let's call it "disingenuous:"
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[Bush] asserted that John Kerry had voted for higher taxes 350 times during his 20 years in the Senate. Vice President Cheney and other presidential surrogates have been using this statistoid for several weeks, and it has been picked up and repeated in the conservative media echo chamber.

But this isn't about taxes; it's about honesty. Honesty means more than factual accuracy, it means avoiding disingenuousness: not talking rot when you know it's rot....

Counting tax increases is an absurd way to measure a candidate's general propensity on taxes. George the younger's first item asserts that "In 1995, Kerry Voted For [a] Resolution That Said Middle Class Tax Cuts Were Not Wise." This turns out to be a vote in the midst of that nearly forgotten frenzy, the Gingrich revolution. It was a vote against a particular tax cut of $700 billion, on a resolution declaring with almost tautological justice that subtracting $700 billion from revenue would make it harder to balance the budget. The resolution passed the Republican-controlled House and Senate, but a decade later the Republican president uses it to tar his Democratic opponent.

The documentation on the GOP Web site about Kerry's supposed 350 votes to increase taxes lists only 67 votes "for higher taxes."
Most of these are votes against a tax cut, not in favor of a tax increase. The 67 include nine votes listed twice, three listed three times, and two listed four times. The logic seems to be that if a bill contains more than one item (as almost all bills do), it counts as separate votes for or against each item. The Bush list also includes several series of sequentially numbered votes, which are procedural twists on the same bill. And there are votes on the identical issue in different years. The only tax increase on Bush's list (counted twice, but hey . . . ) is Kerry's support for Clinton's 1993 deficit-reduction plan. That's the one that raised rates in the top bracket and led to a decade of such fabulous prosperity that even its most affluent victims ended up better off.

The best way to see the absurdity of saying that Kerry voted for higher taxes 350 times is to apply Bush's madcap logic to Bush himself. Every year, in the president's budget, there is a table called "Effect of Proposals on Receipts." It lists the president's proposed changes in the tax rules and how they will affect government revenue for various periods up to 15 years. Most of Bush's proposals will cost revenue, obviously. But in the four fiscal years between 2002 and 2005, Bush has proposed 63 actual "revenue enhancers," as his father used to call them. This doesn't include, as Bush includes for Kerry, his opposition to any tax cuts (and there have been some, such as Democratic proposals to reduce the payroll tax). Nor does the list seem to include any "supply-side" revenue enhancement by magic or growth. These are actual proposals to take more money out of people's pockets and give it to the government.

At Bush's current rate of 16 "tax increases" a year, he'd have 320 under his belt if he could stay in the White House for 20 years. Depending on how you figure -- but without wandering beyond Bush himself into the jungles of absurd logic -- this is as many as eight times the number that Bush has managed to pin on Kerry. But isn't it unfair to call, for example, more efficient administration at the IRS a tax increase? And isn't it simply ridiculous to suggest that George W. Bush is more complacent about higher taxes than John Kerry? Yes, it's unfair. It's ridiculous. That's the point.

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"The Bush White House assumes that everyone who works for them is part of a personal loyalty network, rather than part of the government. And that their first loyalty is to Bush rather than to the people." - Richard Clarke
Attribution

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Statement by Tom Daschle
 
Statement by Tom Daschle

Or: The Democrat grow some balls.


Floor Statement of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle on the Administration Attacking Good People for Telling the Truth


"I want to talk this morning about a disturbing pattern of conduct by the people around President Bush. They seem to be willing to do anything for political purposes, regardless of the facts and regardless of what's right.

I don't have the time this morning to talk in detail about all the incidents that come to mind. Larry Lindsay, for instance, seems to have been fired as the President's Economic Advisor because he spoke honestly about the costs of the Iraq War. General Shinseki seems to have become a target when he spoke honestly about the number of troops that would be needed in Iraq.

There are many others, who are less well known, who have also faced consequences for speaking out. U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers was suspended from her job when she disclosed budget problems that our nation's parks are less safe, and Professor Elizabeth Blackburn was replaced on the Council on Bioethics because of her scientific views on stem-cell research.

Each of these examples deserves examination, but they are not my focus today.

Instead, I want to talk briefly about four other incidents that are deeply troubling.

When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill stepped forward to criticize the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, he was immediately ridiculed by the people around the President and his credibility was attacked. Even worse, the Administration launched a government investigation to see if Secretary O'Neill improperly disclosed classified documents. He was, of course, exonerated, but the message was clear. If you speak freely, there will be consequences.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson also learned that lesson. Ambassador Wilson, who by all accounts served bravely under President Bush in the early 1990s, felt a responsibility to speak out on President Bush's false State of the Union statement on Niger and uranium. When he did, the people around the President quickly retaliated. Within weeks of debunking the President's claim, Ambassador Wilson's wife was the target of a despicable act.

Her identity as a deep-cover CIA agent was revealed to Bob Novak, a syndicated columnist, and was printed in newspapers around the country. That was the first time in our history, I believe, that the identity and safety of a CIA agent was disclosed for purely political purposes. It was an unconscionable and intolerable act.

Around the same time Bush Administration officials were endangering Ambassador Wilson's wife, they appear to have been threatening another federal employee for trying to do his job. In recent weeks Richard Foster, an actuary for the Department of Health and Human Services, has revealed that he was told he would be fired if he told Congress and the American people the real costs of last year's Medicare bill.

Mr. Foster, in an e-mail he wrote on June 26 of last year, said the whole episode had been "pretty nightmarish." He wrote: "I'm no longer in grave danger of being fired, but there remains a strong likelihood that I will have to resign in protest of the withholding of important technical information from key policymakers for political purposes."

Think about those words. He would lose his job if he did his job. If he provided the information the Congress and the American people deserved and were entitled to, he would lose his job. When did this become the standard for our government? When did we become a government of intimidation?

And now, in today's newspapers, we see the latest example of how the people around the President react when faced with facts they want to avoid.

The White House's former lead counter-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, is under fierce attack for questioning the White House's record on combating terrorism. Mr. Clarke has served in four White Houses, beginning with Ronald Reagan's Administration, and earned an impeccable record for his work.

Now the White House seeks to destroy his reputation. The people around the President aren't answering his allegations; instead, they are trying to use the same tactics they used with Paul O'Neill. They are trying to ridicule Mr. Clarke and destroy his credibility, and create any diversion possible to focus attention away from his serious allegations.

The purpose of government isn't to make the President look good. It isn't to produce propaganda or misleading information. It is, instead, to do its best for the American people and to be accountable to the American people. The people around the President don't seem to believe that. They have crossed a line–perhaps several lines–that no government ought to cross.

We shouldn't fire or demean people for telling the truth. We shouldn't reveal the names of law enforcement officials for political gain. And we shouldn't try to destroy people who are out to make country safer.

I think the people around the President have crossed into dangerous territory. We are seeing abuses of power that cannot be tolerated.

The President needs to put a stop to it, right now. We need to get to the truth, and the President needs to help us do that."


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Imagine that we had a president who killed the Navy's Stealth fighter program,

killed the F-14D fighter program,

cut troop strength in half,

closed three dozen military bases,

cut back the production of armored tanks,

and recommended cutting the defense budget by $50 billion over five years.

What would you think of someone who was so blasé about America's need for a powerful military?

John Kerry?

Nope.

Dick Cheney when he was Bush I's defense secretary.

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Smear the Messenger
 
The Bush smear machine has kicked into overdrive.

Clarke's revelations are not only credible, they are being covered heavily by a media corps that has previously given Bush pass after pass. They come after the Presidential campaign has begun in earnest. They coincide with the expectation that the Bushies will be testifying before the 9/11 panel. They go right to the heart of what Bush thinks is his greatest strength: his response to terrorism.

So the Bushies are spinning so hard that they are screwing themselves into the ground. The entire administration has gone into full damage control. The mission: smear, smear, smear, deflect, deflect, deflect. Do anything to discredit Clarke, even if you have to lie through your teeth.

Cheney decided to mount the attack by going on the Rush Limbaugh program. Why, I have no idea, since the pill-popper's audience is already on Bush's side, and that isn't who he has to convince. But he did. And he came across as thoroughly insane and totally out of touch with reality.

He accused Clarke of being a partisan Democrat.

Clarke, of course, is a Republican who has worked for the last FOUR administrations - one Democrat and THREE Republicans.

He said Clarke was "out of the loop on a lot of this stuff."

Clarke was the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. How could the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator be "out of the loop" on Counter-Terrorism?

Even some Republicans are coming to Clarke's defense. Chuck Hagel (R-Somewhat Sane) says, "This is a serious book written by a serious professional who's made serious charges, and the White House must respond to these charges." God bless Chuck for having the guts to state the obvious.

Meanwhile, the 9/11 commission is condemning the inaction of both the Bush AND Clinton administrations. This MIGHT seem to give Bush an out - blame everything on Clinton - but it doesn't: Clinton isn't the one he's running against. It's 2004 and the condemnation of BUSH is the only one that is currently relevant.

The White House is hoping that simply attacking Clarke personally will work.

But it won't. The man has served too well for too long and too many people - including many Republicans - respect him greatly.

The press has stopped giving Dubya a free pass on every piece of crap that comes out his mouth. And the Bushies have yet to adjust to that new reality. The think it's STILL October of 2001, and Bush's lies will still go unchallenged.

The result?

The Bushies thought that having the conventiion in New York City in September was a tremendous political idea. But now they face the prospect of holding the same convention while questions about Bush's negligence and/or culpability hang in the air over Manhattan.

Bush may actually be in trouble. The perception that he was tough on terrorism, honest and forthright was his ONLY positive quality in the eyes of many - perhaps MOST - Americans. If he loses that - and he is - he has nothing.

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From the Center for American Progress:


CLAIM #1: “Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction and he chose not to.” - National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04

FACT: Clarke sent a memo to Rice principals on 1/24/01 marked “urgent” asking for a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with an impending Al Qaeda attack. The White House acknowledges this, but says “principals did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat.” No meeting occurred until one week before 9/11. - White House Press Release, 3/21/04

CLAIM #2: “The president returned to the White House and called me in and said, I've learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.” - National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04

FACT: If this is true, then why did the President and Vice President repeatedly claim Saddam Hussein was directly connected to 9/11? President Bush sent a letter to Congress on 3/19/03 saying that the Iraq war was permitted specifically under legislation that authorized force against “nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11.” Similarly, Vice President Cheney said on 9/14/03 that “It is not surprising that people make that connection” between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, and said “we don’t know” if there is a connection.

CLAIM #3: "[Clarke] was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things." - Vice President Dick Cheney on Rush Limbaugh, 3/22/04

FACT: "Dick Clarke continued, in the Bush Administration, to be the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and the President's principle counterterrorism expert. He was expected to organize and attend all meetings of Principals and Deputies on terrorism. And he did." - White House Press Release, 3/21/04

CLAIM #4: “In June and July when the threat spikes were so high…we were at battle stations…The fact of the matter is [that] the administration focused on this before 9/11.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04

FACT: “Documents indicate that before Sept. 11, Ashcroft did not give terrorism top billing in his strategic plans for the Justice Department, which includes the FBI. A draft of Ashcroft's ‘Strategic Plan’ from Aug. 9, 2001, does not put fighting terrorism as one of the department's seven goals, ranking it as a sub-goal beneath gun violence and drugs. By contrast, in April 2000, Ashcroft's predecessor, Janet Reno, called terrorism ‘the most challenging threat in the criminal justice area.’” - Washington Post, 3/22/04

CLAIM #5: “The president launched an aggressive response after 9/11.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04

FACT: “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 papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks.” – Washington Post, 3/22/04

CLAIM #6: "Well, [Clarke] wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff…” - Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/22/04

FACT: "The Government's interagency counterterrorism crisis management forum (the Counterterrorism Security Group, or "CSG") chaired by Dick Clarke met regularly, often daily, during the high threat period." - White House Press Release, 3/21/04

CLAIM #7: "[Bush] wanted a far more effective policy for trying to deal with [terrorism], and that process was in motion throughout the spring." - Vice President Dick Cheney on Rush Limbaugh, 3/22/04

FACT: “Bush said [in May of 2001] that Cheney would direct a government-wide review on managing the consequences of a domestic attack, and 'I will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.' Neither Cheney's review nor Bush's took place.” - Washington Post, 1/20/02

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"They really believed their campaign rhetoric about the Clinton administration.So anything they did was bad, and the Bushies were not going to repeat it. And it's disgusting to see the administration now putting a full-court smear on Clarke — for being right." - Thomas R. Maertens, served as National Security Council director for nuclear nonproliferation on both the Clinton and Bush White House staffs.

Attribution

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Monday, March 22, 2004


 

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The Center for American Progress has provided a timeline detailing Bush's inaction prior to 9/11. It's is possibly the clearest - and most damning - layout imaginable. Here it is.

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Here's a transcript of an interview with Richard Clarke on ABC News.

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Joe Lieberman (R – D’s Clothing) has finally reached the point where no sane person can doubt that he really belongs in the other party. His current statements make absolutely no sense coming from someone who opposes Bush’s re-selection.



“Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Sunday he doesn't believe Clarke's charge that the Bush administration -- which defeated him and former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election -- was focused more on Iraq than al-Qaida during the days after the terror attacks.

"I see no basis for it," Lieberman said on Fox News Sunday. "I think we've got to be careful to speak facts and not rhetoric."

Simply put: Lieberman is stating something that he cannot possibly know to be true.

He wasn’t privy to ANY of the conversations in questions.

So on what "basis" is he criticizing Clarke's Accusation? Clarke was there - Lieberman wasn't. Lieberman is simply ASSUMING that Rice’s account is the accurate one and Clarke’s is the false one. On the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
Why would a Democrat assume that?

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In the wake of Richard Clarke’s accusation of negligence and carelessness in the White House preceding September 11th comes a shocking revelation: John Ashcroft cut back on terrorism funding even AFTER September 11:

“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. Attorney General John D. 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."

How negligent WERE these people?

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Coalition Crumbling
 
Spain
"MADRID - Spain's withdrawal from Iraq is all but inevitable, incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in an interview on Sunday bound to disappoint Washington and stoke debate over the occupation."

Honduras
"TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Honduras, following the lead of Spain, will withdraw its 370 troops from a Spanish-led humanitarian and peacekeeping brigade in Iraq by the end of June, Defense Secretary Federico Breve said Tuesday."

Nicaragua
"Nicaragua sent about 115 soldiers, mostly sappers and medical personnel, last September to join the brigade. Those troops have since returned, and the government announced last month that it could not afford to send a second contingent."

Poland threatens to withdraw, but later changes its mind.
"WARSAW, Poland - Poland's president, a key Washington ally in Europe, said Thursday his country was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and added he may withdraw troops early if Iraq is stabilized."

South Korea
"SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea on Friday became the latest U.S. ally in Iraq to balk at sending troops to an increasingly violent peacekeeping effort, scrapping plans for a mission to the Iraqi hot spot of Kirkuk."

Why are all these folks deciding that they've had enough? Do you even have to ASK?

Is Bush such a serious case of arrested development that he actually doesn't realize that if you keep lying to people, they'll stop listening to you, stop trusting and stop wanting to have anything to do with you?

Most of us learned that when we were nine; Bush still doesn't seem to have.

If we expect nations to sacrifice their own people to ally with us, they have to have some reason. One major reason is the alliance itself: the goodwill and support that comes from being one member of a coalition of nations.

But when the LEADER of that coalition doesn't OFFER goodwill; doesn't offer support; simply demands YOURS while giving nothing in return; behaves as though you weren't even important enough to be honest with; and starts calling you names whenever you make your own wishes known -

then there IS no coalition.

Somebody get this stupid adolescent bully OUT of the White House, so that the United States can be a respected nation again.

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There's a link to Joshua Micah Marhsall's blog right to your left, but I thought I'd draw specific attention to this one. On Clarke and his big, bad bombshell:

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"Richard A. Clarke said in a television interview airing Sunday that Bush 'ignored terrorism for months' before the 2001 attacks, then looked to attack Iraq rather than Afghanistan, the nation harboring the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which launched

That's from Bloomberg.

It is fair to say that anyone who has seriously reported on this issue, or has read a lot of the good reporting on it, already knows this: namely, that the incoming Bush administration downgraded the attention given to terrorism and al Qaida specifically in the last years of the Clinton administration, and this after being warned by out-going members of the Clinton team that combatting al Qaida should be at the top of their agenda.

In short, they pushed al Qaida and a lot of resources aimed at fighting al Qaida to the backburner until the whole thing blew up in their faces on 9/11.

Their focus, as we've noted before, was on the centrality of states rather than shadowy transnational terrorist groups -- thus their preoccuption with issues like national missile defense.

In any case, as I say, we've basically known this.

But it's another thing to have the person who was there at the center of the action as NSC counter-terrorism czar -- both under Clinton and Bush -- saying on camera that the president ignored terrorism and al Qaida right up until the day of the attacks. Clarke was there. In fact, to the extent that Bush and Rice and Cheney and the rest of the team were ignoring the issue, it would have been Clarke's urgent warnings they were ignoring -- since he was the head of counter-terrorism on the NSC staff.

White House Spokesman Sean McCormick told the New York Times: "The president and his team received briefings on the threat from al-Qaida prior to taking office, and fighting terrorism became a top priority when this administration came into office. We actively pursued the Clinton administration's policies on al-Qaida until we could get into place a more comprehensive policy."

But Clarke says that's baloney. And he was the one who headed up Clinton's counter-terrorism policies and Bush's. So who are you going to believe?

Now do you understand why they're stonewalling the 9/11 commission?


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Saturday, March 20, 2004

They're, like, liars, baby
 
Seems like the GOP is exploring new lows of deceit and namecalling.

"GOP video spoofs Kerry as Austin Powers

"The Web video is a spoof of the 'Austin Powers' films. As it shows several clips of Kerry, the video includes comments Powers makes in the movies, the same background music and psychedelic colors."

Forget the fact that this is appallingly childish (remember when the GOP claimed to be "the grownups"?). What drew my attention was this little piece of total deception:

"The front page of the ad claims: Senator Kerry says his own vote to "abandon our troops" was reckless and irresponsible.' Kerry's campaign said the ad mischaracterizes the Massachusetts senator's comments."

Notice "abandon our troops" is in quotes? Meaning it is a direct quote of Kerry's actual words?

"It's only after clicking on the ad do viewers see Kerry's entire quote from a Sept. 14, 2003, interview on CBS' 'Face the Nation' - a month before he even cast the vote on the $87 billion spending plan.

Kerry's response: "I don't think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible. What's responsible is for the administration to do this properly now."

Is the Bush administration intent on spending the entire campaign talking anything Kerry says laughably out of context? To the point where it fools NOBODY and only reinforces their image as being dishonest and misleading?

Doing so gives MUCH credence to Kerry's offhand reference to them as a "lying bunch of crooks," now, doesn't it?

And Kerry should say it AGAIN.

And use Bush's own dishonest ads as a club with which to beat him.






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Friday, March 19, 2004

NAILED
 
Ex - Advisor Says Bush Eyed Bombing of Iraq on 9 / 11
By REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former White House anti-terrorism advisor says the Bush administration considered bombing Iraq in retaliation after Sept. 11, 2001 even though it was clear al Qaeda had carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Richard Clarke, who headed a cybersecurity board that gleaned intelligence from the Internet, told CBS "60 Minutes'' in an interview to be aired on Sunday he was surprised administration officials turned immediately toward Iraq instead of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

"They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12,'' Clarke says.

Clarke said he was briefing President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld among other top officials in the aftermath of the devastating attacks.

"Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... We all said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan,'' recounts Clarke, ``and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.'''...

"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection'' between Iraq and al Qaeda, Clarke tells ``60 Minutes.''

"But the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,''' says Clarke.

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Can there BE a more impeachable offense than this? Is the press, FOR ONCE, going to stand up and point out the monstrous deception and lies that POUR from this adminstration?





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Uniform Repulsion
 


Disgusting.

That's the only word to describe it.

Bush struts around in military garb to make himself look macho.

Well, you know what? No President in the History of the United States has EVER given a speech in military garb.

Eisenhower didn't, and he was a five-star general.

Neither did Grant, Jackson, Taylor, T. Roosevelt, or any of our other Presidents who were REAL war heroes.

And that Precedent was established by General Washington, who was asked to give a speech in his uniform and refused.

See, Washington thought it was important to establish a cardinal principle: The President of the United States is a civilian. And in THIS country the CITIZENS rule. NOT the military. Washington thought that was important. So important that he considered it wrong for ANY President of the United States to walk around in uniform.

Foreign leaders and dictators, like Hussein, give speeches in military garb. NOT United States Presidents. Not even Presidents who EARNED the uniform.

And the first President of the United States - the ONLY President of the United States - to BREAK this tradition and this precedent was never a General, never an Admiral, never even a soldier.?

And to see him strut around in a uniform he didn't earn when even WASHINGTON refused to wear one -

well, frankly, it's beyond sickening.

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One Year
 
One Year. As we look back on Iraq, let's assess the positives and the negatives of our occupation.


Positives:
1) Saddam Hussein is gone. That is certainly very, very, good.

Unfortunately, that's the ONLY positive I can think of. Can anybody think of any others?

And even that is not unqualified: we don't know yet what will replace it. Dictators are usually replaced by other dictators. If we rule the country, it is likely that we will become dictators ourselves in an effort to keeps Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds from each others' throats.

The negatives?

1) 550 Americans Dead. 550 families bereaved. So far.

2) Several thousand injured: losses of arms, legs, eyes. So far.

3) Tens of Thousands of Iraqi civilians dead. God knows how many wounded. So far.

4) No end in sight.

5) The REAL war on terror was pushed to the backburner for a whole year.

6) Al Qaeda has been allowed to regroup because we have been busy elsewhere

7) During the most threatening period in our history, almost our entire armed force is being used as a local police force, occupying a country that WASN'T a threat to us.

8) We have no way to leave without creating an even BIGGER disaster.

9) Our civil rights have been abridged. There is no plan to reinstate them.

10) Hundreds of billions of dollars are getting poured into a gaping endless hole, and we are piling up debt at unprecedented rates. We have no money left to do anything useful.

11) There has been NO increase in our own safety.


And unlike the first list, I could easily make this one much longer.

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Appease Porridge Cold
 
Kevin Drum, a blogger gone bigtime, points out something astounding in Washington Monthly.

Seems that the Aznar Government of Spain not only spread misinformation about who was responsible for the attack, they misled the German federal criminal bureau.

"Its federal criminal bureau said the Spanish authorities intentionally withheld information and misled German officials over the explosives used in the Madrid bombings. The Spanish conservative government had insisted the Goma 2 Eco dynamite for the explosives had been frequently used by Eta, the Basque separatist movement. On Monday, it admitted that was not the case."

So the Government of Spain actively impeded an investigation into a terrorist attack.

But voted them out is appeasing terrorists.

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According to Eric Alterman, Dick Cheney received 4 student draft deferments from 1963-1965 while a student at the University of Minnesota. He married Lynne Cheney in 1964, and became exempt from the draft because he was a married man. But in October 1965, the secret service announced that married men without children could be drafted.

Exactly 9 months and two days later, Dick Cheney's first child was born. Cheney applied for another deferment on that basis when she was only ten weeks pregnant.

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"So there you have it. A country's ruling party leads the nation into a war fought on false pretenses, fails to protect the nation from terrorists and engages in a cover-up when a terrorist attack does occur. But its electoral defeat isn't democracy at work; it's a victory for the terrorists." - Paul Krugman

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Thursday, March 18, 2004


 
Irony Alert:
"In a morning meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Bremer warned the Iraqi leaders that they risked isolating themselves and their country if they continued to snub the United Nations." -- today's New York Times

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Appease Porridge Hot
 
The current right-wing spin point is to claim that Spain’s decision to withdraw from Iraq constitutes “appeasement” and “a victory for terrorism.”

This, as with most right-wing spin points, is not only inaccurate but is directly in the teeth of the facts.

Spain and Europe don’t want to stop fighting terrorism.

They think it's about time we started.

Or, as John Kerry said, " I don't fault George Bush for doing too much on the war on terror. I believe he's done too little. Where's he's acted, his doctrine of unilateral pre-emption has driven away our allies and cost us the support and critical cooperation of other nations. Iraq is in disarray with American troops still bogged down with no exit in sight."

Most of the world - Spain included - recognizes that the war in Iraq was not part of a war on terrorism, but was a personal vendetta that took attention AWAY from fighting terrorism.

Now, you may think that's far-fetched, but all you have to do is listen to what Zapatero (the just elected Spanish President), actually SAID, instead of what the right-wingers claim that he is thinking:

"Fighting terrorism with bombs ... with Tomahawk missiles, isn't the way to defeat terrorism. ..."Terrorism is combatted by the state of law.

"They [terrorists] will not have a moment of rest."

"I am planning...to finish off terrorism."


Sounds REAL soft on terrorism, doesn't it?

To the Bushies, of course, what Zapatero is saying is exactly the message that they don’t want to hear: the message that the best way to combat terrorism is NOT by endless warfare. The message that our military action in Iraq was NOT about terrorism. Statements like that are statements that the Bush administration wants to silence and quell, at all costs.

Therefore, they are going after Zapatero using the strategy of an American political campaign: they are trying to define him before he defines himself.

And part of that strategy includes using the press to disseminate the message.

Adding to the Bush's sense of urgency is the fact that Zapatero has openly endorsed Kerry, according to the International Herald Tribune:

"We're aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration."

Look for the Bushies to spend an enormous amount of energy attempting to negatively define Zapatero, and, if they succeed, to use Zapatero as a bludgeon with which to beat Kerry.

What should Kerry do?

This cartoon from Political Strikes is right on the money:



Bush will try to use any perceived foreign support for Kerry to stoke the flames of xenophobia.

But that is a weapon that can EASILY be turned against Bush. Alienating the entire world is NOT a positive, and the Democrats should say so. Loud and clear. Again and again.

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Get 'em, John.

"Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Wednesday marked the first anniversary of the war in Iraq by criticizing the Bush administration for stubbornly holding to failed policies that drive away potential allies at the cost of lives and money "with no end in sight."

"Today we know that the mission is not finished, hostilities have not ended, and our men and women in uniform fight on almost alone with the target squarely on their backs," Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery at George Washington University....

"We are still bogged down in Iraq and the administration stubbornly holds to failed policies that drive potential allies away. What we have seen is a steady loss of lives and mounting cost in dollars with no end in sight..."

Kerry was proposing a "Military Families Bill of Rights" for fully funded health care and other benefits for veterans, faulting Bush for failing to uphold promises to those who served in the armed forces...

Contending veterans were "the neglected soldiers of America," Kerry said proposals by the Bush administration would drive 500,000 veterans from the health care system of the Veterans Administration by 2005.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004


 
More "Kerry/foreign leaders" crapola:

The White house seems to either be made of liars or very stupid people:

"The White House sought on Monday to raise questions about the Massachusetts senator's credibility as Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, charged that if Kerry refused to name names 'then the only alternative is that he is making it up.' "

The only alternative???!!!?

If the White House actually believes that the "only alternative is that he is making it up," they are total imbeciles. Anyone who gives it 15 seconds worth of real thought can figure out why Kerry might not want to tell Bush which world leaders said they want him out. Duh.

But the White House pretends that THEY just can't think of any good reason (like betraying a confidence and causing an international incident). They MUST think the Citizens of the United States are total imbeciles. The "only alternative" is that THEY are total imbeciles.




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Quelle Horreur
 
The Republicans, desperate to find something - anything - that sticks, are now screaming like banshees over John Kerry's statement that some foreign leaders privately told him that they supported him.

Yes, I know that most people’s reaction is “Huh? So what?”

But it's not a bad tack for the Republicans to take, actually. Assuming that it's true, Kerry obviously can't name the names of these foreign leaders - it would be betraying a confidence. So the Republicans are trying to use his inability to get specific to make him look defensive and dishonest. He can't be specific and as long as he keeps refusing to be specific, they'll keep attempting to make hay out of it, and turn into a Patented Republican Mini-Scandal (TM).

Perhaps the smartest thing to do is to turn it around: does anyone seriously question that some foreign leaders support Kerry? Of course not. George W. Bush has done an astoundingly effective job of alienating almost the entire world, and everybody knows it. The only surprise is that there are still a few foreign leaders who support him. So there is real risk in the Republicans using this as a political weapon: it potentially highlights one of Dubya's big weaknesses: his relationships with foreign leaders, which stink.

Kerry can use this particular tempest in a teapot to point out the obvious: he doesn't have to name which foreign leaders support him, of course many foreign leaders support him and everyone with an ounce of sense knows it. The foreign leaders who support Bush are few in number, and dwindling daily.

What the neocons are probably hoping is that Kerry will name names – and of one of those names will turn out to be (horreurs!) French.

But the neocons inhabit their own little delusional world, and don't quite realize that normal people don't have apoplexy every time the French are mentioned.

They are - in some little twisted corner of their brains - hoping they can spend the next 8 months screaming "The French Like Kerry!" as though sane human beings would consider that a terrible thing.

But they don't, of course. And the "Freedom Fries" crowd isn't about to vote for John Kerry anyway.

Getting support from European Foreign Leaders - and we all know that many of them DESPISE George W. Bush - is a feather in Kerry's cap. Instead of being defensive, Kerry should use it to highlight Bush's systematic shredding of our world alliances.

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Monday, March 15, 2004

Do the Rummy Twist
 
Looks like some reporters aren't letting them lie without calling them on it. Check out this transcript:


SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country?

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase `immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...

SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.
Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.

SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...

Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says `some have argued that the nu'--this is you speaking--`that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.'

Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--suppose I've...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: `No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.'

Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed and we still do not know--we will know.

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/face_031404.pdf

Moveon has a partial video right here:
Caught On Video


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Terrorism: A Timeline
 
The following is adapted from Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them, chapter 16, "Operation Ignore," significantly distilled and place into a chronology. Great book, read it if you haven't.


December 2000
The Clinton administration finishes creating a plan to eliminate Al Qaeda. Believing that immediate implementation would mean “handing the Bush administration a war when they took office” (Sandy Berger) they decide to hand the WHOLE plan over to the Bush administration, trusting the Bush administration to protect America. This may be the biggest mistake Clinton made.

January 2001

Sandy Berger arranges 10 briefings for his successor, Condoleeza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley. He tells Dr. Rice, “I believe that the Bush administration will spend more time on terrorism in general and on Al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.” Richard Clarke goes over the whole plan with Dr, Rice She asks him to remain as head of counter-terrorism.

February 2001
Clarke repeats the briefing for Dick Cheney. But, according to Time magazine, there is some question as to how seriously the Bush team takes Clarke’s warnings. Outgoing Clinton officials felt that “the Bush team thought the Clintonites had become obsessed with terrorism.”

February 15 2001
The Hart-Rudman Commission issues its final report on terrorism. The report warns that “mass-casualty terrorism directed against the U.S. homeland was of serious and growing concern” and that America was woefully unprepared for a “catastrophic” attack and urged the creation of a Homeland Security Agency: “A National Homeland Security Agency with responsibility for planning, coordinating and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security.” There appears to be NO White House followup to this report.

April 30, 2001
Richard Clarke presents an updated version of the anti-terrorism plan to the deputies: Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, and the CIA’s John McLaughlin. They decide to have three more meetings, one on Al Qaeda, one on Pakistan, one on Indo-Pakistani and relations, and then a fourth meeting to tie all the other meetings together. This will take months.

July 10, 2001
Phoenix FBI agent Kenneth Williams sends a memo to headquarters expressing concern over Middle Eastern students at an Arizona flight school. Williams suggests that Al Qaeda operatives might be trying to infiltrate the civil aviation system. He urges FBI headquarters to see if they have any information relevant to his suspicions. The memo is not acted upon.

June and July, 2001
According to one source quoted in the Washington Post, George Tenet worked himself “nearly frantic” with concern over the possibility of future terrorist attacks. In mid-July, an official tells Time, “George briefed Condi that there was going to be a major attack.”

July 16, 2001
The deputies finally approve Clarke’s plan. It now must move to the Principals Committee (Cheney, Rice, Tenet, Powell and Rumsfeld) before it finally reaches the President. They try to schedule a meeting for August, but too many of the principals will be out of town. The meeting will have to wait till September 4.

August 3, 2001
Bush leaves Washington and heads to Crawford for the longest Presidential vacation in thirty-two years. “Washington, D.C., is a great place to work, but Texas is a great place to relax” he tells reporters.

August 6, 2001
CIA Director George Tenet delivers a report to President Bush entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The report warns that al Qaeda might be planning to hijack airplanes. President Bush does nothing to follow up on the memo.

August 7, 2001
Bush tells reporters, “I’m working on a lot of issues, national security matters,” and then rides off to play golf and later clears some brush on his property.

August 16, 2001
The INS arrests Zacharias Moussaoui, a flight school student who says he does not have any interest in learning to take off or land a plane, only flying one. The arresting agent writes that Moussaoui seems like “the type of person who could fly something into the World Trade Center.”

A Minneapolis FBI agent tries to get his superiors interested by writing that a 747 loaded with fuel can be used as a weapon.

August 2001

Acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard is privy to a comprehensive review of the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. Alarmed by the report and the mounting terrorist threat, he meets with Attorney General John Ashcroft and requests $58 million from the justice department to hire new field agents, translators and intelligence analysts to improve the bureaus’ capacity to fight terrorist threats. Ashcroft will turn him down flat in an official letter dated September 10, 2001.

September 4, 2001
Clarke’s plan finally reaches the Principals Committee eight months after he had first briefed Condoleeza Rice about it and nearly 11 months after Clinton told him to create it. Cheney, Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld decide to advise Bush to adopt it with a phased-in approach. Phase One, to demand cooperation from the Taliban and make fresh overtures to Al Qaeda’s opponents the Northern Alliance, will begin the moment the President signs off on it. But it is several days before it makes its way to his desk.

September 9, 2001
Congress proposes a boost of 600 million dollars for antiterror programs. The money would have to come from Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s missile defense program. Rumsfeld is furious and threatens a Presidential veto.

September 10, 2001
John Ashcroft submits the Justice Department’s budget request to Bush. It includes NO spending increases to combat terrorism. It lists the department’s seven top priorities. Terrorism is not on the list. Ashcroft also sends an official letter to acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard refusing additional funds to improve the bureau’s capacity to fight terrorist threats.

September 11, 2001
The greatest attack on America in History occurs.

September 12, 2001
They start trying to blame Clinton.



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