By JOHN TULLY
The LOS ANGELES SUN
June 20 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 counter-terror 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 can anybody 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
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 THE LOS ANGELES SUN