Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

INTELLIGENCE FOLLIES....David Ignatius:

You would have thought it was impossible to make our intelligence problems even worse, but the Bush administration has accomplished that. This is a dangerous situation for the country, and it needs to be fixed, now.

George Bush certainly deserves his usual share of blame for this, and Ignatius ably explains why: bad appointments, poor oversight, and senseless vendettas have weakened our intelligence apparatus instead of strengthening it. (And he could have added an unwillingness to stand up to Donald Rumsfeld to that list too.)

Unfortunately, though, there are plenty of others who share responsibility: the Kean Commission that recommended a bureaucratic solution to our intelligence problems in the first place, a Republican congress that fiddled around and made things even worse, and a craven Democratic caucus that almost unanimously voted for a bad bill for fear of being called weak on terror. The bottom line is that this has been a mess all around, and there's no sign that anyone has the spine to go back and try to fix it. Hooray.

Kevin Drum 1:09 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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Comments

Nearly every single thing this administration has done represents such a complete abdication of responsibility that, in my mind, any one of them merits impeachment. All of them together add up to --what?

Can anyone doubt this is an attempt to destroy the United States, intentionally created and intentionally implemented?

It isn't just folly, it takes a clear interest to be this single-mindedly focused on our ruin.

Posted by: cld on April 21, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, blaming Dems who have been shut out of power is pretty pathetic. The professional IC does not deserve blame either, it got it right on Iraq and was ceaselessly attacked in 2001-2002 as being soft. The IC got it right on 9/11 ("Bin Laden determined to strike US," and Colleen Rowley at the FBI) and they were ignored. Come on.

Posted by: b on April 21, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

We can assume that EVERYTHING is going according to their plan. I'm watching the movie Downfall about the last days of Hitler right now and feel like I'm in that world,except our leaders will live and thrive.

Posted by: R.L. on April 21, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

You got that right. Damn Democrats are to blame...

Why, if Clinton hadn't stolen the election -- twice! -- and Gore hadn't been manipulating the media for nigh-on two decades, there might be hope for a solution.

Posted by: IOKIYAR on April 21, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I'm watching Downfall too right now!

And yes, the parallels to the same state of wilful delusion, fantasy, magical thinking and blinkered delusion are uncanny.....

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

You would have thought it was impossible to make our intelligence problems even worse, but the Bush administration has accomplished that.

Hey, there's nothing so bad that Bush can't make it worse.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

B: I didn't blame the IC. Not sure why you mentioned that.

And yes, Dems are out of power, but that's all the more reason to vote against bad bills. What's the point of being an opposition party if you're afraid to oppose?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on April 21, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ignatius: At last count, there were 16 different spy units under the DNI's umbrella...

Nit: There's 17. 16 have dotted lines to the DNI; the CIA has a direct line.

The NYT also had a piece on this yesterday, In New Job, Spymaster Draws Bipartisan Criticism. Looks like Rumsfeld called dibs on the NSA, NGIA and NRO, but it's unclear if he's managed to keep them.

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

"and it needs to be fixed, now"

Uhm, it will have to go to the back of the "needs to be fixed now" line - where way up at the front is the "need to be fixed now - policing Iraq and guarding the weapons caches". Other miles stones, of needs to be fixed now, still waiting in line are "flap jackets for the troops" and "armour for the humvees" still in front of Ignatious' request are oldies but goodies like "emergency response to Katrina" and "new Levees in New Orleans, which are being built to stop a lower catagoriy hurican than before. - Actually needs to be fixed by the next hurrican season, which means it needs to be fixed -er, now.

Good luck getting your "needs to be fixed now" serviced. Don't forget to get a number, or you'll fall right behind "the troops need leaded underwear now to avoid radiation poisening to their reproductive organs."

Posted by: Bubbles on April 21, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Bubbles! Flapjacks for the troops? Divine idea. Why didn't I think of that? Bubbles, my darling, you'll go places.

Posted by: IOKIYAR on April 21, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, blaming Dems who have been shut out of power is pretty pathetic.

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001. Much of what our intelligence agencies believed about Iraq, true or otherwise, predates that. Tenet and his people weren't suddenly going to become geniuses if Gore had won the election. Of course, Gore might have done what Bush didn't--replace Tenet immediately.

And then there's some of the other events the CIA mostly whiffed, like the fall of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

But...

Our executive branch problems did.

Posted by: obscure on April 21, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

And thus is neatly deflected any responsibility from the current governing retards. So so so dishonest.

Posted by: craigie on April 21, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: And then there's some of the other events the CIA mostly whiffed, like the fall of the Soviet Union.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but does "Chicken Kiev" ring a bell? Who exactly whiffed what and why again?

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of lack of spine (and I realize this is off the subject)... will nobody in Congress propose SCRAPPING the horrible Medicare RX plan? It is not a boon to seniors, but to drug companies and insurance companies. I hear most of the healthier Medicare people ahve not signed up as it does not save them money, it costs more.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Posted by: Clem on April 21, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

Great post. This is appalling. The incompetence and arrogance of this Administration is staggering. There are 1,000 days left in the term of the worst Administration in American history. I urge everyone who cares about the future of this great nation to click this link to impeach Bush and Cheney. In addition, write your Representative and urge them, demand from them, to bring Articles of Impeachment to the floor of the House. Do it for our future!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 21, 2006 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

While communing with the spirit of Richard Nixon in the true Hillary Clinton seance style I was informed by him that we could launch follow up Distributed denial of servive or Ddos attacks on first responders should Bin Ladin be determined to strike in the US...again. We could do this fairly safely through cut-outs and proxies or quite openly as extreme civil disobedience BUT IT WOULD BE WRONG, he added to the lampshade.
Hope this helps.

Posted by: professor rat on April 21, 2006 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

So this Stasi (East Germany's Ministerium fr Staatssicherheit) officer retires and suddenly finds he has no life purpose any longer. He mpopes around the apartment all day. To be helpful and get him out from underfoot, his wife suggests he take up mushroom hunting. She hands him a basket and a small knife and brush for cleaning up the specimens he finds, then points him toward the forest. He wanders around for a couple hours in the forest and finally comes upon a beautiful Boletus. Not seeing any others, he asks the mushroom "Where are your friends?" The mushroom says nothing. He tries again, but no answer. Eventually, he resorts to fiercer methods, but nothing. As a result, he returns home with a single pulverized mushroom in the bottom of his basket. His wife asks, "What happened to that mushroom?!" "Don't look at me," he says, "he probably hurt himself falling down the stairs."

Posted by: kostya on April 21, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK


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Posted by: sunnyshine on April 21, 2006 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

No, but having a President who so conspicuously ignored intelligence about al Qaeda hijackings and misrepresented intelligence about Iraq to the American people sure did. Shame on you, tbrosz.

Posted by: Gregory on April 21, 2006 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

All this intelligence seems to do us little good. Back in early 2003 any number of civilian experts on the Middle East could have warned about the dangers of removing Saddam and unleashing Iraqi ethnic and religious divisions. However, who in the Bush "administration" would have listened to them? Their minds were made up in advance.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 21, 2006 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, tbrosz, it's the CIA's fault. Why, if it weren't for those patriotic heroes at the Office of Special Plans, we wouldn't be in this...um, mess... that we're in now...wait a sec...

Posted by: Wonderin on April 21, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: What's the point of being an opposition party if you're afraid to oppose?

As long as the GOP is willing to lie, lie big, and lie often about Democrat votes and what they mean (remember the so-called 'Democrat vote to make illegal immigrants felons') and the public is willing to buy it, they really don't have much choice.

So far, you haven't submitted any evidence whatsoever that voting against these bills would be more than spitting into the wind - not a single bit of evidence that shows the Democrats would win more votes come election time, affect public policy, be viewed as martyrs for a just and noble cause (except by a few diehard idealists on the Left), or accomplish anything other than ineffective and counterproductive posturing.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Much of what our intelligence agencies believed about Iraq, true or otherwise, predates that.

And that couldn't be because the information prior to 2000 was not the same as the information in 2003 or that political toadies controlled the view of the new intelligence after 2000 such that conclusions derived from it were based on faith instead of reality.

As usual, tbrosz blames the victim.

Hey, tbrosz, are those 17 year-old girls that were placed in the rape dungeon responsible for their own ordeal?

I'm sure you think so.

Conservatives routinely blame the victim, like they viciously did with the residents of New Orleans.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Why is Kevin Drum so negative??

Posted by: BigRiver on April 21, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK


TBROSZ: You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

Oh, but they did. Had the person truly elected by the American people been permitted to take office, Preside Gore would not have ignored briefings from Clinton's National Security Advisor, which stated, "I believe that the [Gore] administration will spend more time on terrorism in general, and on al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." President Gore would not have ignored a CIA written Presidential Daily Briefing, dated August 6, 2001, with the title, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." There would have been no 9/11 under President Gore; there would have been no invasion and occupation of Iraq under President Gore; there would have been no consideration of a nuclear strike on Iran under President Gore. As for all the other problems that magically started in January of 2001, well, those are for another thread.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 21, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

No, but our lack of intelligence and common sense problems in the White House did.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

When do we enter a stage where several factions feel nearly three years of an incompetent, ineffectual president present an unacceptable risk to the prosperity and security of the nation? Or to the prosperity and prospects of their party? With no reasonable expectation of Congressional cooperation on impeachment proceedings what methods may they resort to to remove Bush from office? What are the most desperate and troubled amongst them capable of? Are there more than the usual number of Secret Service agents in Bush's entourage lately?

Posted by: steve duncan on April 21, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

BigRiver: Why is Kevin Drum so negative??

Why is BigRiver so obsequious with respect to the Bush administration?

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001

I'm sure most of us don't know you well enough to know when your particular "intelligence" problems started, or if they were there from birth.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Something I still don't understand, and which has never been explained to me, is why John Negroponte's job exists in the first place.

Nominally, the DNI is supposed to "coordinate" the info that comes from the various intelligence agencies. But I could have sworn that that was the same thing the Director of Homeland Security was supposed to do, once that job was created. Wasn't it? Wasn't Tom Ridge supposed to get the FBI and CIA to talk to each other? Now, I guess, Negroponte is supposed to get Homeland Security to talk to both the FBI and the CIA. Next I suppose we'll appoint someone to make sure Negroponte is talking to Homeland, FBI, and CIA.

What am I misunderstanding here? Or is "understanding" a rather moot point when it comes to this administration?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 21, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Trex,

Touche, the French would say.

Posted by: zimmy on April 21, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK
You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001.

Well, sure magic had nothing to do with it, and they didn't entirely start then, but whether that statement is substantively meaningfully rather than true in some hypertechnical sense irrelevant to any real issues depends which intelligence problems you are referring to.

If you mean the problems of imperfect information, then no, they didn't at all.

If you mean the problem of deliberate invention being sold as intelligence results, well, they didn't "start magically" then, but they sure ramped up after that time.

If you mean the problem of the President not treating results with known uncertainty appropriately given the degree of uncertainty they were known to have, then, again, while it didn't "start magically" in January 2001, it certainly became a much bigger problem after that point.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK
Nominally, the DNI is supposed to "coordinate" the info that comes from the various intelligence agencies. But I could have sworn that that was the same thing the Director of Homeland Security was supposed to do, once that job was created. Wasn't it?

I don't think it actually was, but it was certainly something the Director of Central Intelligence was supposed to when that job was created.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Could we not call the Dems craven? Voting against that bill would've been electoral suicide.

Posted by: Dan-o on April 21, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off topic, but what's this "make our intelligence problems even worse," Kemo-sabe? Did Ignatius recently apply for U.S. citizenship? Last I checked, he's a Canadian, and I don't believe Canada, being a more humble and generally peaceful nation, has a terrorism problem of any sort.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Tenet and his people weren't suddenly going to become geniuses if Gore had won the election. Of course, Gore might have done what Bush didn't - replace Tenet immediately.

Actually, the CIA never believed Iraq had re-constitutued WMD programs. That was strictly cooked up for the benefit of the Bush administration by Tenet. In fact, Iraq had been pretty much of little concern since 1991 because we'd kicked the living shit out of it's conventional capabilities, and the UN inspection regime otherwise shut down their non-conventional capabilities.

And then there's some of the other events the CIA mostly whiffed, like the fall of the Soviet Union. Posted by: tbrosz

That's a complete load of shit as well. In fact, the CIA's estimation that the Soviet Union was a spent force was part of the foreign policy plank of John Anderson's presidential campaign, based on the CIA's report that he and other congressional leaders were party to.

'Ol T-Bone just making shit up again.

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

. . . but whether that statement is substantively meaningfully rather than true in some hypertechnical sense irrelevant to any real issues depends which . . . Posted by: cmdicely

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the CIA never believed Iraq had re-constitutued WMD programs. That was strictly cooked up for the benefit of the Bush administration by Tenet. In fact, Iraq had been pretty much of little concern since 1991 because we'd kicked the living shit out of it's conventional capabilities, and the UN inspection regime otherwise shut down their non-conventional capabilities.

Bill Clinton's view on post-1991 Iraq. One assumes he was relying on the CIA and other intelligence sources, and not on a crystal ball, to draw these conclusions.

I swear, having discussions here is like living in the movie "Fifty First Dates." Do any of you have memories better than that of a goldfish?

Please, surprise me. Don't look me straight in the eye and ask me what Clinton's statement has to do with yours.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I read the quote and the aurthor and I thought to myself, how is this going to be the democrat's fault? I did not even have to click through to the story. Craven Kevin does the work, expalining again how if the Democrats had spine, that would somehow make things right despite the fact that they control no branch of government.

Craven Kevin: almost as bad as Joe Liberman.

Posted by: David Margolies on April 21, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton's view on post-1991 Iraq. One assumes he was relying on the CIA and other intelligence sources, and not on a crystal ball, to draw these conclusions. Posted by: tbrosz

T-Bone, this is precisely why they didn't have anything going. Beside losing a good part of their military hardware in the first Gulf War, and idioticly, and vainly, sending missiles up against jets every once in a while patroling the no-fly zones (after which we'd destroy the radar and the missile battery), we'd attack them, mostly just for good measure, when they got uppity.

To answer your question, no I don't believe either the CIA or Clinton really thought Iraq a danger to anyone, particularly not after the first Gulf War. Doing this made him look "tough."

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

jayarbee:

Had the person truly elected by the American people been permitted to take office, Preside Gore would not have ignored briefings from Clinton's National Security Advisor, which stated, "I believe that the [Gore] administration will spend more time on terrorism in general, and on al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." President Gore would not have ignored a CIA written Presidential Daily Briefing, dated August 6, 2001, with the title, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." There would have been no 9/11 under President Gore; there would have been no invasion and occupation of Iraq under President Gore; there would have been no consideration of a nuclear strike on Iran under President Gore. As for all the other problems that magically started in January of 2001, well, those are for another thread.

Your faith is touching. I imagine that if Gore was president, we would also now be all driving electric cars, have free health care, defeated global warming, and developed no-calorie Krispy Kremes.

Demonizing the current administration, while convincing yourself that no bad would ever have happened if Your Guy had been in charge, is an understandable if somewhat childish response to being unable to deal with what we're facing.

You've got fantasy to go on. However, it should be noted that the one time Al Gore actually came face-to-face with an airline terrorism security issue, he sold it out for campaign contributions. And that's a known data point, not a fantasy.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Your faith is touching. I imagine that if Gore was president, we would also now be all driving electric cars, have free health care, defeated global warming, and developed no-calorie Krispy Kremes.

That's a nice bit of sarcasm, but out here in reality, I think it is really incontestable that a Gore administration would have led to better outcomes than we have seen since 2000. Or as the New Yorker put it:

"Contrary to Ralph Naders credo that there was no real difference between the major parties, it is close to inconceivable that the country and the world would not be in far better shape had Gore been allowed to assume the office that a plurality of voters wished him to have. One can imagine him as an intelligent and decent President, capable of making serious decisions and explaining them in the language of a confident adult."

Nothing to do with Krispy Kremes, but plenty to do with real life.

Posted by: craigie on April 21, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:

To answer your question, no I don't believe either the CIA or Clinton really thought Iraq a danger to anyone, particularly not after the first Gulf War. Doing this made him look "tough."

Well, at least that's a rational response. Those who try to cough up something along the lines of "Bush lied, but Clinton didn't" end up looking foolish.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Demonizing the current administration, while convincing yourself that no bad would ever have happened if Your Guy had been in charge, is an understandable if somewhat childish response to being unable to deal with what we're facing.

T-Bone, only one "bad thing" ever happened to the Bush administration. And even this, the more we learn, probably could have been averted. All the other shit that has happened it because the Bush administration did something really stupid (invading Iraq) or did next to nothing (Katrina). Bush dug his own grave when he could have been "king of the world!" after 9/11. Except that he's Bush and it isn't within his power to make good decisions because he's really fucking stupid, and he, predictibly, has surrounded himself mostly with really dumb and/or incompitent people.

You've got fantasy to go on. However, it should be noted that the one time Al Gore actually came face-to-face with an airline terrorism security issue, he sold it out for campaign contributions. And that's a known data point, not a fantasy. Posted by: tbrosz

While this is true, it has nothing to do with what happened on 9/11, and luggage bombings are actually something that hasnt happened again for almost a decade. The 9/11 attacks did not involve checked luggage with bombs. It involved a plot to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, something that the Bush administration had been briefed about by Clinton administration officials, and was detailed in the August briefing that we now know was about exactly what happened on 9/11.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0409041pdb1.html

http://www.slate.com/id/2098861/

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/bush.briefing/

And the there is this damning report.

Ashcroft Flying High
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001

(CBS) Fishing rod in hand, Attorney General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.

In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.

"There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.

A senior official at the CIA said he was unaware of specific threats against any Cabinet member, and Ashcroft himself, in a speech in California, seemed unsure of the nature of the threat.

"I don't do threat assessments myself and I rely on those whose responsibility it is in the law enforcement community, particularly the FBI. And I try to stay within the guidelines that they've suggested I should stay within for those purposes," Ashcroft said.

Asked if he knew anything about the threat or who might have made it, the attorney general replied, "Frankly, I don't. That's the answer."

Earlier this week, the Justice Department leased a NASA-owned G-3 Gulfstream for a 6-day trip to Western states. Such aircraft cost the government more than $1,600 an hour to fly. When asked whether Ashcroft was paying for any portion of the trips devoted to personal business, a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to respond.

All other Bush Cabinet appointees, with the exception of Interior and Energy with remote sites to oversee, fly commercial airliners. Janet Reno, Ashcroft's predecessor as attorney general, also routinely flew commercial. The secretaries of State and Defense traditionally travel with extra security on military planes.

The Justice Department insists that it wasn't Ashcroft who wanted to fly leased aircraft. That idea, they said, came strictly from Ashcroft's FBI security detail. The FBI had no further comment.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Demonizing the current administration, while convincing yourself that no bad would ever have happened if Your Guy had been in charge, is an understandable if somewhat childish response to being unable to deal with what we're facing.

You mean, Bush's Global Whine on Terror?

Those who try to cough up something along the lines of "Bush lied, but Clinton didn't" end up looking foolish.

33-39% approval ratings say you're wrong and the bigger fool.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Those who try to cough up something along the lines of "Bush lied, but Clinton didn't" end up looking foolish.

As opposed to "Democrats do it too!" - which is the fundamental premise of virtually every one of your posts here ever?

Your arguments been getting soundly thrashed on these boards even more than usual recently, and it shows in a newfound tone of desperation and rage in your posts.

Posted by: a Mirror on April 21, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

tborsz: Demonizing the current administration, while convincing yourself that no bad would ever have happened if Your Guy had been in charge, is an understandable if somewhat childish response to being unable to deal with what we're facing.


if clinton was soo bad fighting terror...

name one thing the bush admin. did differently..

before 9-11...

just one...


tbrosz: Those who try to cough up something along the lines of "Bush lied, but Clinton didn't" end up looking foolish.


not half as funny as those that claim clinton is a liar and now use him to bolster bush...

now THAT'S funny....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on April 21, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

List of Bush "accomplishments"

Global Whine on Terror
Roadmap To Nowhere
Every Child Left Behind
Prescription Dung Bill
Social Security Deform
Homeland Insecurity
Foreign Oil Titty Policy
War on Integrity in Government
War on Scientific Reality
Demagoguery in the Middle East

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Could we have a day, we could agree to one now, say May 17, when everyone agrees to ignore tbrosz?

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 21, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

It involved a plot to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, something that the Bush administration had been briefed about by Clinton administration officials, and was detailed in the August briefing that we now know was about exactly what happened on 9/11.

Unless somebody left it out of the 9/11 Commission Report, or any other report, there were no "Clinton briefings" about flying airplanes into buildings, and the August 6th memo says nothing about flying airplanes into buildings either. You linked to it. Try reading it.

The FAA intelligence unit did produce reports in 1998 and 1999 that specifically mentioned al Qaeda hijacking commercial jets and slamming them into a "U.S. landmark." (Page 53 if you're interested.) Oddly, that paragraph was redacted in the first release of that document, and quietly showed up later.

As for Ashcroft, that was doubtless due to a specific threat, probably domestic, to Ashcroft personally. Lord knows enough leftist nutballs hated his guts.

Otherwise, if, as you apparently theorize, this was a response to a general terrorist hijacking threat, you'd have to explain why only Ashcroft, of all the Cabinet members and other officials who normally flew commercial, warranted this kind of protection from a general threat. Weren't all the other Cabinet members a bit pissed off at this?

***

A Mirror:

Yeah, I'm the one on these boards consumed by rage. Sometimes I wonder how many coronaries there are going to be around here after the next election.

***

thisspaceavailable:

Go back and look again at who first called Clinton a liar in that exchange.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK


TBROSZ: However, it should be noted that the one time Al Gore actually came face-to-face with an airline terrorism security issue, he sold it out for campaign contributions. And that's a known data point, not a fantasy.

While stressing the greater prevalence of personal corruption among officials in the Republican party, I am the first to say that the political system itself is thoroughly corrupt. That said, $250,000 contributed to Dems in the final days of the '96 campaign was hardly the cause of Clinton's landslide re-election victory. What's more, a "full bag match" policy by airline security would not have prevented 9/11 hijackers from bringing box cutters aboard their flights. What would have prevented them from even boarding the flights in the first place is if administration officials had taken seriously the solid intelligence reports by agents in the field, which correctly predicted the events of 9/11.

But it was not only 9/11 that I "fantasized" out of existence when contemplating a 2000 election result reflecting the true will of voters. I noticed that even you don't argue my contention that a President Gore would not have started a war with Iraq, or that he would not now be rattling nuclear warheads at Iran. But you're right... my fantasy for peace is hopelessly lost, while you are free to enjoy your war fantasy in all it's glorious death and destruction.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 21, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz...so you are on the record as saying clinton wasnt a liar?


Posted by: thsispaceavailable on April 21, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, you're as bad as Al anymore. Why do you continue to live in denial that about the Bush administration? Are you that stupid or just too pig-headed to admit that your president is the worst in U.S. history?

Unless somebody left it out of the 9/11 Commission Report, or any other report, there were no "Clinton briefings" about flying airplanes into buildings, and the August 6th memo says nothing about flying airplanes into buildings either. You linked to it. Try reading it.

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/18/inv.hijacking.philippines/index.html

U.S. warned in 1995 of plot to hijack planes, attack buildings

September 18, 2001 Posted: 1:54 PM EDT (1754 GMT)

By Maria Ressa
CNN Correspondent

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- The FBI was warned six years ago of a terrorist plot to hijack commercial planes and slam them into the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters and other buildings, Philippine investigators told CNN.

Philippine authorities learned of the plot after a small fire in a Manila apartment, which turned out to be the hideout of Ramzi Yousef, who was later convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Yousef escaped at the time, but agents caught his right-hand man, Abdul Hakim Murad, who told them a chilling tale.

"Murad narrated to us about a plan by the Ramzi cell in the continental U.S. to hijack a commercial plane and ram it into the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and also the Pentagon," said Rodolfo Mendoza, a Philippine intelligence investigator.

Philippine investigators also found evidence targeting commercial towers in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. (continues)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A10543-2001Sep22

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A39166-2002May18¬Found=true

9/11 report, Rice remarks in conflict
Investigators say Bush got specific data on threats

Associated Press

July 29, 2003

WASHINGTON - The congressional report on pre-Sept. 11 intelligence calls into question answers that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice gave the public last year about the White House's knowledge of terrorism threats.

It's a fresh credibility issue for the adviser whose remarks about prewar Iraq information also have been questioned by members of Congress.

President Bush's adviser told the public in May 2002 that a pre-Sept. 11 intelligence briefing for the president on terrorism contained only a general warning of threats and largely historical information, not specific plots, the report said.

But the authors of the congressional report, released last week, stated the briefing given to the president a month before the suicide hijackings included recent intelligence that al-Qaida was planning to send operatives to the United States to carry out an attack using high explosives.

The White House defended Rice, saying her answers were accurate given what she could state publicly at the time about still-classified information and that Bush retains full confidence in Rice.

"She is strongly committed with the president to making America safer," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

The Sept. 11 congressional investigators underscore their point three times in their report, using nearly identical language to contrast Rice's answers with the actual information in the presidential briefing.

Bush's daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, contained "information acquired in May 2001 that indicated a group of [Osama] bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives," the report said.

A footnote to that passage compares the information with what Rice told the public at a May 16, 2002, news conference.

Rice "stated, however, that the report did not contain specific warning information, but only a generalized warning, and did not contain information that al-Qaida was discussing a particular planned attack against a specific target at any specific time, place, or by any specific method," the footnote said.

At the same May 2002 press briefing, Rice also said that "I don't think 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, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

But the congressional report states that "from at least 1994, and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received information indicating that terrorists were contemplating, among other means of attack, the use of aircraft as weapons."

The report says that Rice and other top officials seemed unaware of the intelligence and concludes the information must not have been widely circulated.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/nationworld/bal-te.rice29jul29,0,2620591.story?coll=bal-business-headlines

9/11 Report Cites Many Warnings about Hijackings
By Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times

Thursday 10 February 2005

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 - In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed report from the 9/11 commission.

But aviation officials were "lulled into a false sense of security," and "intelligence that indicated a real and growing threat leading up to 9/11 did not stimulate significant increases in security procedures," the commission report concluded.

The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration, despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable." (continues)

http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/37/8891

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:

The information on Bojinka from the Phillipines was delivered to the U.S. government in April of 1995. Describe the extensive changes made to our airline security after that.

Again, read the famous August memo. Tell me what attacks you would have prepared for based on that information.

I'm aware of the report mentioned by "Truthout." It's the one I linked to. Read the rest of it, and note all the dates, not just the ones the New York Times wants you to note.

That's about all for me. You obviously have more time for this than I do.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 21, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

tborsz: You might want to recall that our intelligence problems did not start magically in January of 2001. Much of what our intelligence agencies believed about Iraq, true or otherwise, predates that. Tenet and his people weren't suddenly going to become geniuses if Gore had won the election.


lol....


"F___ Saddam. we're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies.

Bush wasn't interested.

He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase.


-time magazine

Posted by: thisspacavailable on April 21, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Again, read the famous August memo. Tell me what attacks you would have prepared for based on that information.


is that like saying no one warned about planes being used as weapons..


when both rice and bush were in milan for the g-8 in july-2001 and the airspace was closed twice while they were there....

for that exact threat...

once out of the loop...

i guess..

always out of the loop..

and when your terrorism expert...richard clarke is proclaiming in july-2001 that something "spectacular" was going to happen...

hey...cant expect a yale and harvard grad to add 1+1....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on April 21, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

That's about all for me. You obviously have more time for this than I do. Posted by: tbrosz

Pussy. Get your ass handed to you and then it's "Run away. Run away some more!"

Posted by: JeffII on April 21, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Secret N.S.A. Memos Reveal
Critically Thinking Americans Still at it

Washington (Internet News Wire) - A Pentagon source revealed yesterday that several N.S.A. memos, which hadn't been shredded, apparently because the office shredder had broken due to the volume of documents it had been handling, were discovered in Jack Abramoff's former K Street office by Slavo Gvingstich, a recently immigrated illegal alien now working as a janitor in the building. The memos - all dated in 2005 - uncover a massive investigation into terrorist activities via widespread wiretapping programs conducted both domestically and overseas by the N.S.A.

After years of monitoring the electronic communications of millions of Americans, as well as thousands of foreigners, four genuine suspects were caught planning terrorist activities. Ibrihim Abdul Mulloka, an Algierian and card carrying member of the Muslim Brotherhood, representing the most formidable threat, had concocted elaborate plans to poison the soft chocolate ice cream at a Dairy Barn in Swiddleville, a small town in West Virginia, on August 2, 2004 along with Muhhamad Dahmid Ramalamid, a green tea farmer from Afghanistan. The plot, according to Stanley R. Billock, Deputy of Homeland Wiretap Operations, would have "ruined the lives of scores of innocent children."

The second threat, equally ominous, was posed by Abdullah Kalfaruk, a Cleveland youth, born Sandy G. Hollister, who converted to Islam in 2002.
Mr. Kalfaruk, and two other converts, Ali Aksafar and Jilhadi Dahlilabod, intended on the night of October 17, 2003 to lace the gas tanks of cars parked along Greenwide Avenue in Cleveland with Domino sugar, permanently disabling them in order to cripple the American workforce one worker at a time. Their plans targeted many other Cleveland thoroughfares as well as streets in other American cities.

The third threat, oddly enough, was a plot, created by Idressa Makabir, a failed suicide bomber/Miami homemaker, who intended to swindle millions from American Express through a cunning credit card fraud scheme that would've netted millions. The money would've been sent to Islamic extremists so they could purchase unlimited numbers of the book, Milestones, the ideological tract by Sayyid Qutb, that would then be indiscriminately distributed to American school children for the purposes of brainwashing innocent Americans.

The last threat, initiated by an odd shoemaker in Iraq - Ghafar Mahawon, consisted of a plot to make shoes accessible to plastique explosives that would be far less cumbersome than the standard suicide belt now worn by unfashionably radical bombers. A stockpile of the footwear, including brown and black models, along with beautifully crafted Italian-like spiked heels, was discovered sitting on a dock in Jersey City awaiting distribution.

Aside from those actual threats, a slew of other leads, prompted mainly by pranksters and cranks, are also accounted for in the N.S.A. memos.
The investigations, however, did lead to a number of startling and unexpected revelations that were not actual threats but indirect dangers to American security. Above all, it was revealed, there is a sizable percentage of the American public, perhaps as much as 23% of the general population, who are highly critical of the Iraqi war and even have the nerve to question the President's integrity regarding Homeland policies.

This group, termed the Mutinous Americans, doubt the rational for the war, are convinced that a nascent civil war is brewing in Iraq, believe that most politicians are being bought and paid for by big business, and last, but not least, think that the government and most of the people in it need a radical overall. These thinking beings represent "The gravest threat to American security out there, more than those Moslem fundamentalists," N.S.A. Bureau Chief, Mortimer C. Caruthers, insists in one of the memos.

These so-called thinking Americans are, for the most part, expressing themselves on blogs, as opposed to rallying grass roots events and marches so that their numbers don't appear threatening. But, Caruthers noted, "If this contingency - a veritable domestic insurgency - continues with their anarchistic efforts, a remedy will be necessitated. At this point, a number of options have been considered, including an embargo of their economic assets, the spread of a limited, genetically engineered pandemic aimed to attack only truly active brains, and intimidation techniques such as anonymous death threats.

Several techniques garnered from our research are also being considered, including poisoning their ice cream, spiking their gas tanks, selling them explosive footwear and making their children read Milestones in order to convince them of the deadly serious Moslem threat that does exist in this dangerous world."

The memos are now being examined by a Congressional panel and a public inquiry is scheduled for the fall. Meanwhile Mr. Gvingstich is being held at Sing-Sing. His bail was set at $1 billion.

#

Posted by: civileak on April 22, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Some other blame should go to those in the intelligence community that leaked classified info to willing reporters. Now we find that Mary McCarthy has been fired from the CIA for he leaks to Dana Priest. McCarthy worked with Richard Clarke in the Clinton NSC. Sour grapes over Bush getting elected in 2000? SHould Priest give back her Pulitzer for reporting classified material? Or was she taken in and the whole story based on a setup by Porter Goss at the CIA? Will Risen be next?

Posted by: Meatss on April 22, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Bush was appointed in 2000. "Elected" implies that the process was respected - instead the activist USSC re-wrote Florida's election law to favor the loser. As to politically motivated firings, that's exactly what we expect from the worst administration ever (lost plane, 9/11, Iraq, Katrina...).

Posted by: Meatss on April 22, 2006 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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