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Kurt Eichenwald takes on Ari Fleisher

I have not read Kurt Eichenwald’s new book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars. It appears that Ari Fleisher, former White House press secretary for Bush, hasn’t read his book either; yet, he has plenty to say. Now, you can wave the 9/11 commission report, as Ari Fleisher did, and expect that we are going to be hypnotized, but we all know that the report was limited at best. Some of the details of the 9/11 hijackers which Senator Bob Graham reveals in Intelligence Matters aren’t in the 9/11 Report. Anyway, Kurt does an excellent job of defending himself and revealing that Ari isn’t much more than a blow-hard. (Ari never says that the information that Kurt is presenting is wrong.)

Now, time for full disclosure. Kurt Eichenwald is a friend of mine. I have known him for decades. (I just wish that I could write like him.) 🙂

Addendum: Kurt Eichenwald was also on the Rachel Maddow show.

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By |2012-09-12T20:24:50-04:00September 12th, 2012|9-11|2 Comments

9/11 – The Sweet Deception

When the twin towers fell, the Pentagon was on fire as the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania and the Bush administration had a huge problem on their hands. On one hand, they had to convince the American public that they weren’t asleep at the wheel. On the other hand, they had to convince America that they were on the job in keeping us safe. It is somewhat like that old Richard Pryor routine where he asks, “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?” America could clearly see that the Bush administration failed to keep us safe. We could see the smoldering Pentagon and the 24/7 news coverage of the fallen twin towers. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor, famously stated, “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.” Although these words are strong, seeing Condi Rice deliver these words are even more powerful.

On the surface, this seems reasonable. If you’re a guy who works on the assembly line and doesn’t follow the news extremely closely, this makes perfect sense. You can’t recall any time that someone was trying to use a passenger jet as a missile. This was a deliberate attempt to throw you and the American people off the trail. The goal is not for you and me to imagine this or that, the goal is for the Bush administration to use all the information at their disposal to try to prevent something catastrophic like 9/11.

In 1994, Algerian terrorists tried to fly a plane into the Eiffel Tower. The plot was foiled by a French SWAT team while the plane was being refueled in Marseille. The plane was getting three times as much fuel as it needed, which tipped authorities off to their real intent. The Bojinka Plot, which I mentioned yesterday, also included one of the 12 planes to fly into the Pentagon and another of the planes to fly into CIA headquarters in Langley. Abdul Hakim Murad trained at a flight school in Norman, Oklahoma. He became an informant when he was captured in Manila. He told police that the plan was to board an American aircraft as a passenger, hijack it and then fly the plane into CIA headquarters. He specifically said that it was a suicidal mission. Remember that this plot was foiled in 1995. In August 2001, US officials intercepted intelligence suggesting that terrorists wanted to bomb the US Embassy in Nairobi. They were either going to bomb the embassy using a plane or using the plane as a missile.

In light of this information, Condoleezza Rice’s statement seems less genuine. It seems more crafted to throw the American people off the scent of incompetence. Now, to be fair, the FBI and the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community together form a huge and unwieldy beast. The one thing that 9/11 has taught me is how difficult it is to get information to those who can really use it. Still, the Bush administration could’ve admitted to us that they were truly focused on Al Qaeda, bin Laden and terrorism. That kind of honesty, I would’ve respected.

9/11 has taught me that our government can be extremely deceptive. Before 9/11, I thought that our government basically gave us the straight scoop. Maybe I was naïve. Now, everything that comes out of our government I question. Basically I say, prove to me that you’re telling the truth. What are the lessons that you learned from 9/11?

A lot of the information from this post comes from the fabulous book, Intelligence Matters, written by Senator Bob Graham.

By |2011-09-05T13:51:12-04:00September 5th, 2011|9-11, National Intelligence|Comments Off on 9/11 – The Sweet Deception

Former Senator Bob Graham: I wasn't told.

Greg Sergent interviews one of my favorite people, Bob Graham, former senator from Florida. Senator Graham, who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee when 9/11 happened, keeps a personal diary which is very detailed.  If anyone would know what was said when, it would be him.

From Plumline:

Former Senator Bob Graham, who received a classified briefing on terror detainees during the same month in the fall of 2002 as Nancy Pelosi, was not briefed about the use of either waterboarding or enhanced interrogation techniques during the meeting, he claimed in an interview with me.

Graham’s assertion — his first public comments since the release of the intelligence document detailing torture briefings given to members of Congress — directly contradicts the document’s claim that he had been briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs. Graham is now the second Dem official to deny on the record the document’s contents and raises questions about its claim that Pelosi had been told, which she has denied.

“I do not have any recollection of being briefed on waterboarding or other forms of extraordinary interrogation techniques, or Abu Zubaydah being subjected to them,” Graham told me by phone moments ago, in a reference to the terror suspect who had been repeatedly waterboarded the month before.

Graham is the only other Dem aside from Pelosi to get briefed in 2002, so they are both in effect asserting that no Dem was briefed on the use of EITs that year. The date of the next briefing was in February 2003.

Graham claimed he would have remembered if he’d been told about the use of torture. “Something as unexpected and dramatic as that would be the kind of thing that you would normally expect to recall even years later,” he said. (more…)

By |2009-05-15T22:09:30-04:00May 15th, 2009|Domestic Issues, Senate, Torture|Comments Off on Former Senator Bob Graham: I wasn't told.
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