Daniel Ellsberg requests a correction


(The following email was forwarded to 911blogger.com, but is not addressed to 911blogger.com directly. Daniel Ellsberg has risked more as a truthteller than most of us, and so, here are his corrections regarding the Infowars story.)

Friday, July 21, 2006.

The main headline in the story by Kevin Smith and Alex Jones, Infowars.com, July 19, 2006, “Ellsberg Says Government May Have Carried Out 9/11”, is a highly misleading paraphrase of my comments and beliefs. The subheadline, “Predicts Bush Regime Will Stage Terrorist Attack to Provide Pretext for Iran, Syria invasion, and Justify Internment Camps for American People”, is a flat misquotation, which actually reverses what I said. Likewise, the corresponding statement in the second paragraph that “within days after a U.S. military strike on Iran Bush’s handlers would probably stage some type of terror attack in the West to legitimize the new war.”

Both of these alleged quotations are contradicted by the accurate quotation running in a boldface insert alongside them: “If there’s another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire DECREE that will involve massive detentions in this country.” [emphasis added: not a Reichstag-fire-like US-staged terrorist ATTACK, either before or after a US air attack (not an “invasion”) against Iran].

On the possibility that 9-11 was “carried out” by the government, my views have not changed over the last two years, when I have repeatedly endorsed calls for a thorough investigation of a sort that has not yet occurred, exploring valid questions that have been raised by outside investigators and not directly addressed by the official hearings. Those hearings have at the very least have aimed at obscuring or covering up massive incompetence, inattention, horribly misdirected priorities, and culpable negligence, especially in neglect of warnings (all comparable to the response to Katrina). That there “may” have been more sinister motives at work, I cannot rule out as impossible, after my own insider’s experience of the Tonkin Gulf incidents in Vietnam, but the evidence so far does not make that a major probability in my view.

Since your story has already given rise to paraphrased assertions on the web that I now “suspect” or regard as “probable” or “likely” or “conclude” that the government staged 9-11, I’m forced to try to describe my state of uncertainty less ambiguously than words like “may” convey. I did say that I believed the psychological (not “physiological”) CAPABILITY for staging or provoking an attack did exist in elements in this administration, as in the past, but at this moment I would personally put the odds in favor of this actually having happened at about one in a hundred, or 1%.

Dick Cheney, according to Ron Suskind’s “The 1% Doctrine”, might regard that as sufficient grounds for torture, indefinite detention, or even preventive war, but I would say it falls far short of legal requirements for indictment, let alone conviction. Further investigation, yes, considering the stakes. By comparison, for example, I would regard the evidence that manipulation of the electoral process, unethical or illegal, enough to shift the results in the 2000 and 2004 elections to be very much stronger, though still short of near-certainty. And the evidence that a secret Administration RESPONSE to 9-11 was to accelerate a president-led conspiracy to lie the country into an invasion of Iraq, and to violate laws and Constitutional rights, seems overwhelming, more than enough to warrant impeachment of the president, the vice-president, the secretary of defense, and other top aides.

I know others disagree about 9-11, which I respect, but I would point out that much of the evidence on which they base their conclusions has not been subject to cross examination or directly opposing testimony, precisely because the “investigations” so far have refused to use fully the subpoena powers at their disposal or even to address directly many of the probing questions that have been raised by outside analysts.

I trust you will wish to correct these misimpressions on your website, and arrange for the publication of this correction.

Yours, Daniel Ellsberg