Monday, October 02, 2006

The 9/11 Condi Conspiracy Cover-up

Ok, while I've been giddy over the GOP sex scandal, another indisputable-more-important scandal's brewing. To recap the important facts as I understand 'em:

1. Bob "Deep Source, Deep Throat" Woodward has a new book out. In said book, he claims George Tenet and another CIA poobah, Cofer Black, met with then-National Security Adviser in July 2001 to warn about an impending al Qaeda attack on the U.S. According to Woodward, Black and Tenet (sounds like a sweet drink) came away from the meeting feeling like they got "the brush off."

2. Rice says she can't remember any meeting taking place. She also claims it's "ludicrous" to think she would have ignored any warning of an imminent attack.

*Orwellian "remember the past" note: Rice also thought it was "impossible" to predict that terrorists would want to hijack planes and plow them into landmarks, even though (1) the CIA predicted this exact scenario in its infamous August memo that the President ignored and (2) the FAA actually ran training scenarios to deal with just such a situation.

3. NY Times has now confirmed the meeting Rice can't remember did, in fact, take place.

4. But Rice never reported such a meeting to the 9/11 Commission -- you know, the Presidential Commission designed to provide the authoratative account of our response to the attacks.

5. Now, get ready for the weird twist. According to news sources of unknown reliability (The McClatchy report, which I've never heard of), the 9/11 Commission was told about the July Tenet-Condi meeting, and the meeting was even presented to Commission members "Attack Dog" Ben Veniste. Yet, there's not a single mention of this meeting, the Power Point presentation Tenet made, or anything other salient detail, anywhere in the 9/11 Commission Report! According to "McClatchy":

The independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission was given the same “scary” briefing about an imminent al Qaida attack on a U.S. target that was presented to the White House two months before the attacks, but failed to disclose the warning in its 428-page report.

Former CIA Director George Tenet presented the briefing to commission member Richard Ben Veniste and executive director Philip Zelikow in secret testimony at CIA headquarters on Jan. 28, 2004, said three former senior agency officials.

Tenet raised the matter himself, displayed slides from a Power Point presentation that he and other officials had given to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, and offered to testify on the matter in public if the commission asked him to, they said.

Quick take:

1. If you are into 9/11 conspiracy theories, you just got some gasoline.
2. If Democratic Attack Dog Ben Veniste thought it wasn't worthy of inclusion in the 9/11 report, then maybe Rice isn't confused, and maybe the meeting wasn't all Woodward is cracking it up to be. It doesn't make any sense that Ben Veniste wouldn't grill Rice if he knew about the meeting (if he knew before she testified), or include details of the meeting in the report (if he learned of it afterward).
***UPDATE*** Apparently, Ben Veniste is claiming he wasn't briefed (according to the McClatchy piece). Gasoline? Did I say gasoline? Try napalm.
3. Democrats should therefore tread cautiously here before making too much of this -- there's real potential Woodward's overstated his case (he's done it before -- see, e.g., his previously laudatory treatment of the President re the War in Afghanistan).
4. If you think I included the words "9/11" and "Conspiracy" in my title to shamelessly drive my hit count up -- well, good for you.


Blogger Matt said...

Like the blog - very informative. Thanks.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Thanks for reading, Matt.

10:38 AM  

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