Several weekends ago ABC aired, in there own words a “Dramamentary” based on the events of 9/11 culled from the 9/11 commission report. The movie called “The Path to 9/11” aired part 1 on Sunday Sept. 10th and part 2 on Monday Sept. 11th 2006. The controversy started shortly thereafter with both political parties claiming that the record will be distorted due to the fact that the movie takes some artistic license with meetings that could or could not have happened. The question that the movie brings up in my mind is whether or not we have learned anything since 9/11. To be honest from reading the 9/11 commission report,we can see that one of the biggest problems we face as a nation is the obstructions placed in the path of our intelligence agencies to work together and share information. Be it the CIA., FBI or the Armed Forces. Each group had a bit of information that when placed together would have shown the bigger picture and perhaps prevented 9/11. Did president Clinton do enough to get Osama Bin Laden, I don’t think he did, but he did try, the Bush administration on the other hand would have us believe that Clinton should have been more proactive in going after Bin Laden, the question that comes to my mind is if they truly believed that Bin Laden was this great threat then why when they came into office did they not do anything to go after Bin Laden. In fact they did just the opposite in the month before 9/11 the president took the longest vacation of any president up to that point don’t believe me then maybe you will believe USA Today. Well everyone goes on vacation you say and besides “He had to fight that awful flap between him and Al Gore and Florida Chads” well then let me ask you. When the 9/11 commission report determined that Condoleezza Rice had been given a brief on Aug. 6th entitled “Bin Ladin determined to strike in the US” (this can be found on page 277 of the 9/11 commission report). In fact the very next line after this page in the 9/11 commission report reads “It was the 36th PDB item briefed so far that year that related to Bin Ladin or Al Qaeda, and the first devoted to a possibility of an attack in the United States”. Yet did that stop the president from taking a month long vacation in Aug., no but he would have us believe that 9/11 was Clinton’s fault for not getting Bin Ladin.
Even today we are finding out in excerpts from the Bob Woodward book “State Of Denial” that CIA director George Tenet and Cofer Black the then US Counterterrorism Chief demanded a snap meeting with Rice over their concerns with the rising Al Qaeda threat against US interests and possibly the homeland. According to the book Tenet and Cofer left the meeting with the feeling that Rice gave them the “Brush-off”, (read the CNN article here). Rice contends that she did not remember any such meeting. What can we ascertain from this:
1. We are either to believe that two people, two highly respected people (George Tenet the CIA director and Cofer Black the US Counterterrorism Chief) are lying. Hmm that seems highly unlikely.
2. They in fact had the meeting and Rice simply does not remember (inexscusable because once again the Bush administration ignored the Bin Ladin threat)
3. Rice had the meeting and remembers and she is just lying about it.
So we have the administrations assertion that Clinton made a mistake in not getting Bin Ladin, that they were not briefed by Tenet and Cofer and really nothing to say about the Presidential brief given to Rice (“Bin Ladin determined to strike in the US”). With all that they still did nothing about Bin Ladin in the 8 months leading up to 9/11 instead they went on vacation. And now today we have more evidence that just maybe the people we have in charge of protecting us are more concerned with political posturing and making sure their party stays in power. We now have the “National Intelligence Estimate” report that suggests that more terrorist have joined the jihad movement over the war in Iraq. Do i believe it off course but does that mean “Lets turn and run”? Hell no, we can not turn and run that is out of the question. But again we have another issue that both parties sit down on each side of and attempt to swing the public opinion in their favor. That brings us back to the 9/11 Commission report. The report that suggest that prior to 9/11 we had agencies that did not work together. Were often hostile to each other in their dealings and ignored what the other had to say out of spite. Sort of like the Democrats and the Republicans, So I asked you Have We Learned Anything?