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Thread: Bush Officials May Have Covered Up Rice-Tenet Meeting From 9/11 Commission

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Rice: Does anyone really believe I'd ignore terror warning?

    Ron Brynaert
    Published: Thursday October 12, 2006

    Early Thursday morning, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied that she gave the "brush-off" to an "impending terrorist attack" warning by former C.I.A. director George J. Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator in July of 2001, two months before the September 11 attacks, which was first reported in Washington Post investigative reporter's Bob Woodward's latest book State of Denial.

    The former National Security Adviser, interviewed on Detroit's Paul Smith Show on WJRI Radio, said that the "assertion that [she] would hear about a specific attack and not do anything" is "obviously just not true."

    "On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack," David E. Sanger reported for the New York Times in September. "But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously."

    On the radio, Rice asked rhetorically, "Does anybody really believe that somebody would have walked into my office and said, oh, by the way, there's a chance of a major attack against the United States and I would have said, well, I'm really not interested in that information?"

    "I mean, it's just ridiculous," said Rice.

    "Of course we knew that there were grave threats that were being -- that were in the intelligence during that period of time," Rice continued. "We were actively working with the FAA, working with other domestic agencies."

    Rice claimed that "even though it appeared that this attack was likely to take place overseas, we were putting our forces on alert, we moved our ships out of port."

    "We had a very active program to deal with what were nebulous threats but quite serious threats in this period," Rice said. "So the charge is just ridiculous."

    Excerpts from Rice's radio interview, as released by the State Department:


    MR. SMITH: I want to move on to a couple of other notes very quickly. We have with us, and we appreciate greatly the time of Dr. Condoleezza Rice, our Secretary of State, here on The Paul W. Smith show at WJR. It's 7:40 on this Thursday morning.

    You were National Security Advisor in 2001, certainly aware now of Bob Woodward's claims in State of Denial about you being offered information about al Qaeda and finding that you tried to deflect it; that you didn't take it seriously. I can't imagine for a moment that anybody gave you specific information about an attack on the United States of America, by al Qaeda or anyone else, and you would have looked the other way.

    Let me add to that a caveat: It was this radio station and from an interview on this radio station many years ago that in fact you talked about al Qaeda, and this is after the last book that came out that said -- he claimed that he spoke with you about al Qaeda and the look on your face indicated you never heard of them, when you had talked about them on our radio station. And we were happy to feed that to the rest of the world to prove that that guy was wrong and now talk about this guy, Bob Woodward, with that assertion that you would hear about a specific attack and not do anything.

    SEC. RICE: No, I mean, it's obviously just not true. First of all, the 9/11 Commission has really stated that they talked to George Tenet about this meeting. And of course George Tenet said nothing of the kind that I didn't take it seriously. Does anybody really believe that somebody would have walked into my office and said, oh, by the way, there's a chance of a major attack against the United States and I would have said, well, I'm really not interested in that information. I mean, it's just ridiculous. Of course we knew that there were grave threats that were being -- that were in the intelligence during that period of time. We were actively working with the FAA, working with other domestic agencies. Even though it appeared that this attack was likely to take place overseas, we were putting our forces on alert, we moved our ships out of port. We had a very active program to deal with what were nebulous threats but quite serious threats in this period. So the charge is just ridiculous.

    And I'd make one other point, what we lacked in 9/11 was information about what was going on inside the country. That's why the President had a -- after 9/11 -- a surveillance program of terrorist conversations and terrorist communications, so that we could link up what terrorists outside the country were saying with what terrorists inside the country was saying.

    That was the missing link before September 11th. And so really people should be focusing on what we have done since 9/11 and making sure that the President and future presidents have the tools that they need to fight terrorists.

    MR. SMITH: And noting that we have not had another major terrorist attack in these United States since then. We will put Richard Clark and Bob Woodward together. Luckily we had the great David Newman in 1999 with that interview with you to give proof. I'm sure more information will come out as time goes by to dispel what Bob Woodward is saying.

    Finally, Dr. Rice, a report coming out in the last couple of days from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health claiming that the Iraqi total of dead people from this war, since 2003, could be 600,000. Do you have an official comment on that?

    SEC. RICE: Yeah. We just don't see how that number is credible. The number is just outsized and just not credible. Now, it is true that too many Iraqis have died and they're dying at the hands of violent people who want to keep them from progressing to a modern, democratic and stable state. And it is true that Iraqi political leaders have to take some difficult decisions in order to stop the violence. But I think that number is just not credible.

    MR. SMITH: Do you think that the number of civilians, Iraqi civilians dead would fall between the margin of error from that report which was 426,000 to 793,000 or well below the 426,000?

    SEC. RICE: Well, I think we don't know. But I believe anything that's in the high hundreds of thousands just doesn't make sense.

    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Condoleezza Rice evades charges over 9/11

    By Bill Van Auken
    7 October 2006

    The fixation of both official Washington and the mainstream media on the emails of Congressman Mark Foley (Republican of Florida) and the Republican House leadership’s cover-up of his pursuit of teenage male pages has served to divert public attention from a far more significant cover-up of a far greater crime.

    The Foley story has highlighted the official corruption and hypocrisy that characterize the political establishment as a whole in America. The spectacle of a party that has made “family values” its battle cry and sought to exploit homophobia and religious backwardness for political ends being caught up in such a scandal has undoubted popular appeal.

    For the Democrats, it provides a useful political club, without compelling this second party of corporate America to advance a single substantive difference with the Republicans on domestic or foreign policy.

    But the time and resources—not to mention prurient interest—that the media has devoted to the exposure of Foley’s emails and instant messages stand in sharp contrast to its virtual silence on the revelations—first reported September 28, the same day that the emails from Foley surfaced on ABC News—in the new book by Bob Woodward, State of Denial.

    Most damning among them is the revelation that former CIA Director George Tenet and the CIA’s chief of counterterrorism, J. Cofer Black, sought and obtained a July 10, 2001 emergency meeting with Condoleezza Rice to discuss the imminent threat of a major terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on US targets, and were “brushed off” by the then-national security adviser.

    In the relevant passage, Woodward writes,

    “On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence, showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.

    “Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away... He and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action...”

    Woodward writes that Tenet hoped to “shake Rice” and that Black “emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning, meaning the problem was so serious that it required an overall plan and strategy... They needed to take action that moment—covert, military, whatever—to thwart bin Laden...”

    Woodward continues, “Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn’t want to swat at flies...”

    The damning implications of this reported conversation are self-evident. The chief adviser on national security to President George W. Bush was given an explicit warning, just two months before the hijacked passenger jets crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, claiming nearly 3,000 lives, and nothing was done.

    Black is quoted in the book as saying, “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.”

    In a subsequent report, the McClatchy Newspapers quoted an official who had helped prepare the briefing describing it as a “10 on a scale of 1 to 10” in terms of the seriousness of its warning of an imminent attack.

    The revelation of this meeting follows the similar exposure, during the hearings held by the 9/11 Commission two years ago, that on August 6, 2001 Bush was given a Presidential Daily Brief (PDA) from the CIA, entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States.” As with the July 10 meeting, the PDA provoked no action by the administration, and Bush remained on vacation for the next three weeks at his Texas ranch.

    The Bush administration has unceasingly invoked the events of September 11 as the justification for all of its policies—from wars of aggression abroad to the destruction of basic constitutional and democratic rights at home. Yet the revelations concerning the July 10 meeting only add to the mounting body of evidence that the administration was, at best, criminally negligent in failing to take action to prevent attacks that had been widely predicted or, at worst, directly complicit in allowing them to take place.

    More than five years after the attacks, one thing is certain: no one in the US government has ever been held accountable. Even if one takes the official version of what happened on September 11 as good coin, the inescapable conclusion is that it represented the greatest single failure of US intelligence and national security in the country’s history. Yet, not one official in the White House, the CIA, the Pentagon or any other agency suffered so much as a demotion.

    Woodward’s book suggests that tensions over who bears the blame for 9/11 are continuing to generate internecine struggles within official Washington, and Tenet is determined not to be made a scapegoat for the administration’s policies. A new book by Ron Suskind, entitled The One Percent Doctrine, quotes Tenet as saying he wished he “could give that damn medal back,” referring to the Medal of Freedom bestowed upon him by Bush when he resigned from the CIA in 2004.

    The administration’s reaction to Woodward’s book is every bit as damning as the book’s contents. The White House has sought to discredit the author’s credibility, a difficult task given that the Bush administration had previously turned the veteran Washington Post reporter into a virtual court chronicler, providing him with unprecedented access while he wrote two previous and largely laudatory volumes on Bush: Plan of Attack and Bush at War.

    As a measure of its alarm, the administration issued a detailed response to Woodward’s account, posted prominently on the White House web site. The thrust of this attempted refutation was to claim that there had not been a cover-up of the July 10 meeting, and that Rice had responded seriously to Woodward’s claims.

    However, after excerpts from the Woodward book were first published, Rice initially feigned ignorance about the conversation with Tenet and Cofer, referring to it as a “supposed meeting,” while adding that it was “incomprehensible” that she would have ignored such warnings. Soon after, the State Department was forced to admit that a review of official records revealed that the encounter had indeed taken place.

    As a fallback position, Rice’s spokesman at the State Department, Sean McCormack, declared, “The information presented in this meeting was not new, rather it was a good summary from the threat reporting from the previous several weeks.”

    This alibi echoes almost precisely the tack taken in response to the revelations concerning the August 6 presidential brief, which Rice similarly insisted contained nothing new and was “historical” in character. It was only after the administration was compelled to release the document that it became clear it contained a clear and stark warning that Al Qaeda was actively preparing an attack within the US, singling out New York and Washington DC as likely targets.

    Before the title of this document was made public, Rice had insisted—as she now claims in relation to the July 10 meeting—that the presidential briefing did not make any warnings of attacks within the United States. She was lying then, and it is clear that she is lying now.

    McCormack continued to insist that his boss could not specifically recall the July 10 meeting in which she was told that a massive terrorist attack on the US was imminent.

    Rice was not the only one suffering from selective amnesia. Coming to the aid of the beleaguered administration, former Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a statement clearly aimed at discrediting Tenet. “It just occurred to me how disappointing it was that they didn’t come to me with this type of information,” he told the Associated Press October 2. “The FBI is responsible for domestic terrorism.”

    But no sooner had Ashcroft made this claim than the State Department revealed that the ex-attorney general had indeed been given the same CIA briefing less than a week after the meeting with Rice. Once again, nothing was done. Actually, one step was taken—Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial airlines.

    Woodward’s revelations prompted protests and comments from various members and staff of the September 11 commission. Philip Zelikow, who served as the panel’s executive director, told the press that no witness who testified before the commission had ever mentioned such a meeting, including Tenet and Black, who made both private and public statements to the panel.

    “If we had heard something that drew our attention to this meeting, it would have been a huge thing,” he told the New York Times. “Repeatedly Tenet and Black said they could not remember what had transpired in some of those meetings.”

    Democratic commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, likewise told the Times that the meeting “was never mentioned to us.” He added, “This is certainly something we would have wanted to know about.”

    Subsequently, however, the Washington Post and other sources revealed that Zelikow and Ben-Veniste were both told about the meeting in secret testimony given at CIA headquarters by Tenet, who provided them with a detailed outline of the briefing he had given Rice. Clearly, Tenet wanted to make his warning part of the record.

    Zelikow, an administration loyalist and long-time academic colleague of Rice, has since been appointed to a top job at the State Department. No reference to the July 10 meeting ever appeared in the 9/11 commission’s reports.

    McClatchy Newspapers has quoted Ben-Veniste as acknowledging that Tenet did give him and Zelikow the Rice briefing in secret testimony, but said that Zelikow would have to answer as to why it was not mentioned in the commission’s report. Zelikow failed to respond to inquiries on this issue.

    Several of the commissioners seemed genuinely shocked and outraged that the meeting had been concealed, indicating that they were not informed of Tenet’s secret testimony.

    “None of this was shared with us in hours of private interviews, including interviews under oath, nor do we have any paper on this,” said Timothy J. Roemer, a Democratic member of the commission and a former member of the House of Representatives from Indiana. “I’m deeply disturbed by this. I’m furious.”

    These latest revelations leave not one shred of credibility to the Bush administration’s repeated claims that the 9/11 attacks could not have been anticipated. What has emerged is that not only were they foreseen, but explicit warnings were made that were deliberately rebuffed by the White House. Moreover, the very existence of these warnings was then concealed through an elaborate cover-up that culminated in a white-wash by the 9/11 commission.

    The fixation of official Washington with the Foley affair in the context of these revelations constitutes a continuation of the cover-up. The detailed parsing of statements by the Republican leadership as to what they knew about Foley’s sexual behavior and when they knew it stands in sharp contrast to the indifference of the media and politicians of both parties to contradictory statements, evasions and outright lies related to a crime that resulted in the greatest loss of life on American soil since the Civil War.

    A crime, moreover, that has served as the pretext for a global eruption of American militarism that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The evidence points inexorably to one conclusion: The attacks of September 11 were facilitated by powerful elements within the government itself, which engineered a “stand-down” of the US intelligence and security apparatus. That a terrorist attack was coming was known and welcomed by those seeking a casus belli for long-planned wars to secure US hegemony over the strategic oil reserves of the Middle East and Central Asia.

    If there is no great impetus to probe these matters, it is because every section of the American political establishment, including the media and the Democratic Party, is so thoroughly implicated.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #23
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    Jan 2005
    Rice’s Counselor Gives Advice Others May Not Want to Hear

    Philip D. Zelikow, center, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, with Thomas H. Kean, left, and Lee Hamilton, in 2004.

    Published: October 28, 2006

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 — For the last 18 months, Philip D. Zelikow has churned out confidential memorandums and proposals for his boss and close friend, Condoleezza Rice, that often depart sharply from the Bush administration’s current line.

    Condoleezza Rice and Philip D. Zelikow with Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, right, and an aide at a dinner in Israel early this month.

    One described the potential for Iraq to become a “catastrophic failure.” Another, among several that have come to light in recent weeks, was an early call for changes in a detention policy that many in the State Department believed was doing tremendous harm to the United States.

    Others have proposed new diplomatic initiatives toward North Korea and the Middle East, and one went as far as to call for a reconsideration of the phrase “war on terror” because it alienated many Muslims — an idea that quickly fizzled after opposition from the White House.

    Such ideas would have found a more natural home under President George H. W. Bush, for whom Mr. Zelikow and Ms. Rice worked on the staff of the National Security Council. They reflect a sense that American influence is perishable, and can be damaged by overreaching, as allies and other partners react against decisions made in Washington. They form a kind of foreign policy realism that was eclipsed in Mr. Bush’s first term, in favor of a more ideological, unilateral ethos, but that has made something of a comeback in his second term.

    Whether Mr. Zelikow, 52, is giving voice to Ms. Rice’s private views, or simply serving as an in-house contrarian, remains unclear. Some of his ideas have become policy: he had called for the closure of secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency a year before the Supreme Court decision that prodded the Bush administration to empty them.

    The United States offered North Korea a chance to negotiate a permanent peace treaty, per Mr. Zelikow’s advice, and he, along with Ms. Rice, was one of the backers of the Iran initiative, in which President Bush offered to reverse three decades of American policy against direct talks with Tehran if Iran suspended its uranium enrichment.

    Neither North Korea nor Iran has bitten on the initiatives, but America’s allies have applauded them. Mr. Zelikow’s assessments of the Iraq war, first disclosed in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial,” were presented to Ms. Rice in 2005.

    Ms. Rice keeps Mr. Zelikow close at hand, and the fact that his memorandums have surfaced in recent books and news articles suggests, at a minimum, that he and his allies are aggressively lobbying for his ideas. Mr. Zelikow (pronounced ZELL-i-ko) is being talked about inside the State Department as an outside shot for the vacant job of deputy secretary of state, but some believe that his management style is too combative for the job.

    Friends of both officials say that Ms. Rice appears to regard Mr. Zelikow as a kind of intellectual anchor during what has been a turbulent period for American foreign policy, in Iraq and beyond.

    “He’s a very important intellectual resource, even if she may not always agree with him,” said Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser, who has been a mentor to both.

    Michael A. McFaul, a political science professor at Stanford University who knows both the secretary of state and Mr. Zelikow, said that “the limited results” of the administration’s approach had “created space for guys like” Mr. Zelikow.

    Mr. Zelikow is hardly a household name, even at the State Department, where his title is counselor to the secretary of state. He has few staffers, no line authority, and occupies an office at the very end of the hall on the seventh floor, where Ms. Rice and other top officials also have their offices. He is a sometimes-geeky intellectual known for fingernails that are bitten down to nubs.

    But questions about his role were sharpened last month after Mr. Zelikow gave a speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in which he offered what many believed was an oblique criticism of the decision by Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice not to push Israel to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians. He also said progress in that conflict was essential to forming a consensus among the United States, moderate Arabs and Europeans on Iran.

    The address may have been an example of what Mr. Zelikow, in two speeches last year, called “practical idealism.” But it did not go over well. The State Department quickly distanced itself from the speech, issuing a statement denying any linkage, and Israeli officials, flustered by Mr. Zelikow’s remarks, said Ms. Rice later assured the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, that the United States saw the Iranian and Palestinian issues as two separate matters.

    Neither Ms. Rice nor Mr. Zelikow would comment for this article.

    But friends of both Ms. Rice and Mr. Zelikow say her initial decision to appoint Mr. Zelikow to the counselor post last year reflects her openness to views at odds with the more ideological approach that has been dominant under President Bush.

    Ms. Rice had to expend a substantial amount of her own political capital to get the White House to support her choice, friends say, given Mr. Zelikow’s previous job as staff director of the 9/11 Commission, where he played a major role in writing the report that took both the Clinton and Bush administrations to task for failing to act with sufficient seriousness against the threat from Al Qaeda.

    But Ms. Rice arrived at the State Department insistent that she would surround herself with her own people, friends say. Vice President Dick Cheney wanted her to appoint his former deputy national security adviser, Eric S. Edelman, as her political director; she balked and instead chose R. Nicholas Burns, a friend who had worked for her at the security council during the administration of the first President Bush. Likewise, in choosing Mr. Zelikow as her counselor, she eschewed Elliott L. Abrams, a darling of neoconservatives and the pro-Israel lobby.

    Mr. Zelikow and Ms. Rice co-authored a book about Germany’s reunification, “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft” (Harvard University Press, 1995). It is not exactly light reading, but at its core it is a study in realpolitik, examining — and admiring — the tempered, carefully managed American response to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    It is a book that Mr. Zelikow could write again today, but one that Ms. Rice could not, friends and associates of both say. Ms. Rice herself has said that she went through something of a transformation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which she moved away from the classical realism of her own roots and Mr. Zelikow’s, and closer to the neoconservatives who dominated policy discussions in the first term. Ms. Rice has told friends that President Bush has had a major impact on her thinking in terms of reintroducing values-based politics and ideology.

    An example of the distance between Mr. Zelikow and his boss emerged this summer, at the start of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. The position adopted by Ms. Rice — that Israel be permitted to continue its bombardment of Hezbollah despite the mounting civilian death toll in Lebanon — satisfied conservatives in the administration, including Mr. Cheney, who were pushing for strong American support of Israel.

    That support also included the decision by the administration to heed Israel’s desire that America not push it to resolve the Palestinian conflict until the Palestinian Authority improved security and cracked down on attacks by groups considered to be terrorist entities by Israel and the United States.

    But in his speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr. Zelikow implicitly acknowledged that that stance does not win America any friends in the Muslim world, and thwarts other American foreign policy objectives.

    Joseph Nye, the former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and one of Mr. Zelikow’s friends, said, “If you look at the distance where the administration went away from the realism of the 2000 campaign, Philip never went on that kind of excursion.”

    Mr. Zelikow sat out the first Bush term, running the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. But Ms. Rice turned to him for key tasks, and he drafted much of the 2002 “National Security Strategy of the United States,” the document that fundamentally reordered American national security doctrine after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    He became the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, from where he pressured Ms. Rice to turn over highly classified intelligence estimates and testify in front of the commission. Officials who worked with him marveled at his industry and precision, but described him as far more opinionated than his gather-the-numbers approach might first suggest. Staffers on the commission said other colleagues were assigned the task of smoothing over the bruised egos of those who had crossed Mr. Zelikow.

    The position of counselor to the secretary of state, a post that over the years has been filled by some of Washington’s brightest diplomatic lights, allows Mr. Zelikow to fly under the radar, and Ms. Rice has used that flexibility from the beginning of her term, when he was sent off to Iraq to provide an outsider’s assessment of what had gone wrong.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #24
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    Jan 2005
    Think Again: Back to 9/11: Was Condi a Friend in Need?

    By Eric Alterman
    November 9, 2006

    I know you’re all obsessing about the midterms, but this is a 501c3, and anyway, there’s a real world out there where elections don’t mean proverbial squat. Remember 9/11, for instance? Many mysteries remain about this, perhaps the most heavily covered event in human history. The release of the 9/11 Commission report on July 22, 2004—vociferously opposed and frequently undermined by the Bush administration—was supposed to put all the major questions to rest. And for a while, it seemed to many as if it had.

    Alas, this was not even close to being the case. On July 10, 2001, CIA chief George Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so concerned about intelligence pointing to an impending attack by al-Qaeda that they called an emergency meeting with Condoleezza Rice and her National Security Council staff to issue a warning. But when Bob Woodward reported it in his new book, State of Denial, it was the first that any of us had ever heard of it. According to reports, Rice thought that the briefing was important enough to recommend that Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft receive the same briefing, which they soon did.

    In the days after Woodward’s revelation, the White House and Rice herself denied the story. Rice claimed she had no recollection of the meeting, saying, “What I’m quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told that there was an impending attack and I refused to respond.”

    Her story was soon shot down when a review of White House records showed that Tenet and Black did indeed visit Rice at her White House office on July 10. But her office still refused to admit that the meeting was important. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack dismissed the briefing Rice received as “not new,” claiming that it didn’t amount to a dire warning; “Rather, it was a good summary from the threat-reporting from the previous several weeks.”

    How did this meeting get left out of the 9/11 Commission report? According to McClatchy’s Jonathan S. Landay, Warren P. Strobel, and John Walcott, the 9/11 Commission knew about the briefings, but never included it in its final report. The trio of reporters wrote that the same briefing Tenet and Black gave to Rice was given to members of the Commission on January 28, 2004, “but the Commission made no mention of the warning in its 428-page final report.” And why was that?

    Well, the executive chairman and principal author of the Commission report was Secretary Rice’s close friend, former colleague, co-author, and now Senior Advisor, Philip Zelikow. Well before the Commission issued its report, I noted in The Book on Bush that “Without casting any personal aspersions on Professor Zelikow, who is also a first-rate scholar of the Cuban missile crisis, it is hard to imagine that anyone could conduct a thoroughly honest and potentially damning investigation of his friends and former colleagues. In October 2003, a group of families of September 11 victims wrote to the commission co-chairs asking that Zelikow recuse himself “‘from any aspect of national security and executive branch negotiations and investigations’ because of his past connections to the National Security Council and to key Bush administration officials.”

    According to three former senior intelligence officials, Tenet testified to commissioners Richard Ben-Veniste and Zelikow. Ben-Veniste confirmed the testimony to McClatchy, but Zelikow never returned calls for comment. Tenet, who kept quiet about the meeting—at least until the Woodward book—got a Presidential medal, despite his spectacular incompetence in the job.

    Sound fishy to you? While reporting Woodard’s scoop, the media produced few stories like those written by the reporters from McClatchy, and even fewer were able to tie 9/11 chair Zelikow to Rice. Amazingly, only a few weeks after the story broke, The New York Times’ Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger profiled Zelikow, focusing on some veiled criticisms of Bush administration policy he has made while acting as Rice’s advisor. The piece touched on his role heading the celebrated 9/11 Commission only toward the end of the piece, noting that he “pressured Ms. Rice to turn over highly classified intelligence estimates and testify in front of the commission. Officials who worked with him marveled at his industry and precision, but described him as far more opinionated than his gather-the-numbers approach might first suggest.”

    The story created shockwaves because, in an administration that generally brooks no dissent whatsoever, it contained some pointed criticisms of U.S. foreign policy as well as the news that Rice had refused to employ Cheney favorites Eric Edelman and Elliot Abrams in the State Department as Colin Powell was forced to do when picking his own team.

    But there was no mention of the key role that Zelikow appears to have played in protecting his boss from the revelation of her spectacular failure to try to act to prevent the 9/11 attacks. (Rice was also present at the infamous August 6, 2001 Crawford “Bin-Laden Determined to Attack Continental U.S.” meeting, which was ended by the president pronouncing, “You’ve covered your ass” before retiring for a day of fishing.) Could it be that Rice is so indebted to Zelikow that he can say anything at all and still retain his job? Might someone in the mainstream media be interested in further investigation? After all, Zelikow’s not that hard to reach...when he wants to talk.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Did the Bushes get to George Tenet?
    Advance Man

    by Patrick Tyler
    Post date 06.26.07 | Issue date 07.02.07

    George Tenet was in a rush to cash in--or, at least, that was the impression he gave. No CIA director had ever moved so quickly to write an account of his tenure. After resigning his post in June 2004, Tenet swiftly retained Robert Barnett--agent to the Washington stars, renowned for negotiating monumental advances for Bill and Hillary Clinton, among others--to organize a secretive auction for his memoir. The winner--with a bid of slightly over $4 million, according to a publishing source--was Random House's Crown Publishing Group. But the real winner, at least initially, was Tenet, who was best known for describing the case that Iraq had WMD as a "slam dunk" and who would now have the opportunity to distance himself from that fiasco--while getting paid handsomely to do so.

    Photo Courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing/FileAnd then an odd thing happened. Sometime between the auction and the moment when a contract should have been inked, Tenet balked, informing Random House that he had decided to delay the book. Eighteen months would pass before Tenet approached the publishing industry again. By that time, the value of his story had fallen dramatically. In the end, HarperCollins--which had bid $4 million the first time around, barely losing out to Random House--won the second auction with a bid that was just half its original offer, according to the publishing source. Tenet has done nothing to correct media reports--in The New Yorker and elsewhere--that he received $4 million to write the book. But Barnett, who represented him in the negotiations, conceded to me that "all of the numbers" he has seen publicly reported about Tenet's contract were wrong and that the delay caused his client to settle "for less."

    Which raises a question: Why did a man who seemed so bent on cashing in put off writing his memoir--at a loss of some $2 million?

    There can be no doubt that, while the delay was costly to Tenet, it was very valuable to the White House. The net effect was to push the book's publication date beyond the 2006 midterm elections. In the course of these book deliberations, Tenet received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Coincidence? Tenet says yes. "My decision not to proceed was based solely on my desire to let some time pass, to do more research, and to gain some perspective," he told me over e-mail last week. "No other reason."

    And it certainly seems plausible that Tenet "was not ready to write the book," as he had said to me in an interview earlier this month. But he was not very clear on why this realization struck him after he had gone to the trouble of hiring a lawyer and conducting an auction. Nor was he clear on what conversations he'd had with members of the Bush family during the 18-month interval between auctions.

    The reason I was asking such questions was because Tenet's book had come up last summer when I was interviewing Prince Bandar--a close friend of Tenet, former Saudi ambassador to Washington, and confidant of the Bush family who has been described as a surrogate son to the elder Bush. At the time, the book--which would eventually be published in April 2007 under the title At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA--was headed for a long security review, a process designed to prevent sensitive information from slipping inadvertently into books by officials who have had access to intelligence.

    Bandar told me that he had been contacted by Tenet to check some of the references to Saudi Arabia. But he also told me something quite revealing about how the Bush family operates behind the scenes. "I knew President Bush called him," Bandar explained. "The question is: Was it 41 or 43?" Bandar thought it very unlikely that George W. Bush called. "He would not have had it in him to come and say [to Tenet], 'Please, please, don't write this book.' It is not in his character."

    Tenet, Bandar says, greatly admires Bush 41, and the feeling is mutual. It was under Tenet that the CIA's headquarters in Langley was renamed the George H.W. Bush Center for Intelligence. And Bandar explains that Tenet "shared with Senior more things than people know." In other words, the two men were close. Bandar's guess is that, after he heard about the book, the elder Bush--or a family member acting on his behalf--contacted Tenet and said something like, "This is not dignified. You are not from the State Department. You are the CIA, and you are keeping the flag up."

    When I asked Tenet whether he had received a call from President Bush--either one--to express concerns about the book, he became quite agitated and said everything I had heard in that regard was a "complete fabrication." I was almost startled when he said, "I swear on my father's grave" that no such counsel from the former or current president had been forthcoming. A week or so later, when I asked him to put in writing what he wanted to reiterate about the matter, Tenet said this: "Neither President GHW Bush nor President GW Bush--nor anyone acting on their behalf--influenced me or sought to influence me. No one." For his part, Bush Senior sent me the following statement: "It is absolutely not true. I never discussed with George Tenet when or if he should write a book. There is not even a semblance of truth to this."

    Whether or not Bandar's theory is true, the Bush camp was clearly paying close attention to the book. It wasn't just the CIA that vetted Tenet's memoir; the White House press office did as well. What's more, according to a foreign diplomat who visited the Oval Office earlier this year, President Bush seemed well-briefed on the revelations in Tenet's manuscript. The visitor, whom I have known for years, asked the president about Tenet's book in passing. Bush replied that he understood the book would soon be cleared and that it contained no criticism of the president but had some tough words about "others" in the administration. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)

    In the end, the Bushies got just about everything they wanted out of what could have been a dicey situation. For one thing, the book wasn't nearly as nasty toward Bush as it might have been, especially given the depth of Tenet's private disdain for Bush's handling of the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. For another, the White House, armed with foreknowledge of the memoir's contents, was able to put Tenet on the defensive from the moment the book appeared--unlike when Richard Clarke's book came out and the administration seemed caught off guard.

    But, perhaps most important, Tenet's late publication date ensured that his revelations would not affect the outcome of the midterms. Of course, we'll probably never know whether Tenet was listening to Bush or his own conscience when he held back publication and caused the value of his memoir to plummet by some $2 million. Either way, though, Tenet did the Bush family a very expensive favor.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #27
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    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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