GASSED HIS OWN PEOPLE
By John Tully
The Los Angeles Sun
20 June 2004
One of the unfortunate things about doing things completely different from the Clinton administration is that you’re bound to trip all over yourself and skin your shins doing just that.
Richard Clarke, the counterterror chief for President Clinton, kept on by the Bush administration and whom Vice President Cheney claimed was “out of the loop”, repeatedly warned of planes being used as a weapon, probably by al Qaeda, in as late as summer of 2001 to anyone on the new team who would listen.
In fact, on 31 January of 2001, The United States Commission on National Security concludes that we are not only unprepared for an attack on American soil but specifically mentions the phrase “weapon of mass destruction in a high-rise building”. The report basically states that there is a real lack of coordination between our intelligence agencies and a fragmented system to deal with threats.
The White House, disregarding even their own master of hand moves, Donald Rumsfeld, stifles the call for hearings and sets up a task force that meets a total of once, on September the fourth.
It’s not surprising then, that a memo in July of that summer from the FBI doesn’t raise any eyebrows. Agent Kenneth Williams worries about Middle Eastern men attending flight schools and German and Russian intelligence has Arabic terrorists training to fly airplanes as weapons against the U.S. and Israel. They are ignored or not coordinated.
Scarry with two R’s.
Think of the 9/11 commission and it’s sordid history as the perfect metaphor for this administration and the sheer chutzpah of it’s officials. Having thwarted the very creation of such a commission, they’ve monkey wrenched every single aspect of it from the start. The families of the deceased have entire web sites set up that document the complete unwillingness of the Bush administration to hand over even the simplest of file requests.
But will one ever, in their lifetime, forget the brilliant appointment of Henry Kissinger as the Commission’s first Chairman?
Certainly the honorable Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey and general good guy would be perfect for the job. Unfortunately, Mr. Kean is a director of Amerada-Hess, a partner with an outfit called Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia. Delta is partly owned by Osama Bin laden’s brother-in-law: financier Khalid bin Mahfouz, formerly of that whole messy BCCI bank scandal. His partner in Delta is Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi and both are thought to have funnelled many millions to al-Qaeda and it’s network.
Co- chairmen Lee Hamilton is widely known to have looked the other way when confronted with the evidence that former Presidents Reagan and Bush were very much “in the loop” during the secret Iran-Contra covert arms transactions. One would assume that this Trilateral Commission member would give the kid the same free pass. He also sits on the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.The rest of the commission doesn’t instill in one the feeling of impartiality.
Democrat Richard Ben-Veniste, the scourge of the Right, is a former lawyer for one of the drug runners during Iran-Contra. He still represents United Airlines.
Fred Fielding is a former Nixon crony who vetted cabinet members on the Bush transition team and works for the law firm that lobbies for United Airlines.
Commission member Jamie Gorelick is a former lawyer for two of the American men, Clark Clifford and Robert Altman, most responsible when the Bank of Commerce and Credit International robbed depositors of $10 billion. It was an early nineties transcontinental giant ponzi scheme of a bank scandal. While she was the second in command at the Justice Department in the Clinton administration she was responsible for a memo suggesting a separation of counterintelligence and criminal investigations and their record on infiltrating and weakening al-Qaeda can only be described as less than stellar.
Her law firm is representing Muhammed al-Faisal, the Saudi prince who allegedly financed Osama bin laden. The plaintiffs are 9/11 family members.
Former Senator Slade Gorton has ties to Boeing who built all the planes that crashed on 9/11 and his law firm represents Delta Airlines. Two days after the attack The Seattle Times reported that he said to a public television audience that there was “nothing government intelligence officials could have done to thwart the attack.”
By far though, the most interesting of appointees to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States; the 9/11 commission’s official name, is it’s executive director, Mr. Philip Zelicow.
He served on the President?s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and as a member of the Bush administration’s transition team, often briefed incoming security staff on Iraq and al-Qaeda. Of course his well known personal friendship with the President’s National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, with whom he wrote a book, is widely known. He’s a member of the controversial Council on Foreign Relations and The Aspen Strategy Group, a foreign policy think-tank that counts Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Ms. Rice as members. Mr. Zelicow allegedly made the claim at UVA in the fall of 2002 that the real Iraqi threat was not to America: “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 — it’s the threat against Israel.”
Mr. Zelicow is also executive director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform and general editor of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Presidential Recordings Program that, among other things, transcribes presidential telephone conversations and meetings recorded during the fifties, sixties and seventies. Unfortunately the transcriptions have been found to contain at least a hundred key mistakes that ironically have been attributed by Zelikow to his work on the 9/11 commission and have still not been corrected.
This week the commission issued it’s preliminary report, read by Mr. Zelicow. Among other findings was the statement: “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States” While Bin Laden was in the Sudan he reportedly met with a senior Iraqi official after the man’s third attempt. This was apparently at the behest of the Sudanese who wanted him to cease his support of anti-Saddam Islamists in the Kurdish north.
In case there might still be some confusion, the commission’s report goes further and reads: “There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship”
The next morning the President immediately chimed in, saying: “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda” is “because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.”
The Vice President was outraged by the outrage and blamed the New York Times and it’s headlines as the culprit. He also derided the media in general for the confusion.
But there was Mr. Cheney just this past Monday crowing that Saddam “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” and last fall when he said that Iraq was: “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”
Most impressively though was the Vice President’s outright insistence Thursday night that the old battle ax herself, the “Prague meeting”, wherein Mohammed Atta, one of the nineteen highjackers, meets with Iraqi officials, actually took place. “It’s never been refuted.” he weakly snorted.
The Commission’s Staff Report 15 clearly states: “We do not believe that such a meeting occurred.” Various intelligence has placed Atta in Florida at the time and Commissioner Hamilton claimed Sunday morning that the Iraqi spy wasn’t there either. Newsweek is now reporting that Commission staff members were “astonished” that the Vice President still clings to this story.
Now that’s what you call Chuztpah.
Welcome to Dick Cheney’s America.
?2004 LOS ANGELES SUN