Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission

Posted by Charles II on August 11, 2011

Jason Leopold, Truthout:

in a stunning new interview made available to Truthout that is scheduled to air on a local PBS affiliate in Colorado tonight, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, for the first time, levels explosive allegations against three former top CIA officials – George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee – accusing them of knowingly withholding intelligence from the Bush and Clinton White House, the FBI, Immigration and the State and Defense Departments about two of the 9/11 hijackers who had entered the United States more than a year before the attacks. Moreover, Clarke says the former CIA officials likely engaged in a cover-up by withholding key details about two of the hijackers from the 9/11 Commission.

“It’s not as I originally thought, which was that one lonely CIA analyst got this information and didn’t somehow recognize the significance of it,” Clarke said during the interview. “No, fifty, 5-0, CIA personnel knew about this. Among the fifty people in CIA who knew these guys were in the country was the CIA director.”

That’s an allegation that surfaced in Lawrence Wright’s groundbreaking book, “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9/11.” Wright, who interviewed Clarke for his book, said a team of FBI investigators and federal prosecutors known as Squad I-49 came to believe that the CIA “was shielding Mihdhar and Hazmi because it hoped to recruit them”

No, this doesn’t mean that George Bush authorized 9/11. It means that CIA management was negligent to the point of incompetence. But this is why it was such a mistake to have a presidential commission led by whitewashers like Lee Hamilton and infiltrated by White House staff, Philip Zelikow, serving as commission counsel.

For the record, the CIA denies that Tenet knew about these guys ahead of time.

8 Responses to “Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission”

  1. MarkH said

    When did those men first come into America and which CIA director was in office then?

    • Charles II said

      Does it matter? George Tenet was CIA director from 1997-2004, appointed almost certainly because he was one of the few people that he could get through an intensely hostile Congress. And the Al Qaida operatives were in this country for many months before 9/11. Plenty of time for the Administration on whose watch 9/11 happened to discover them.

      These answers are in the article that’s linked, so I suspect your question is mischievous.

      • MarkH said

        You suspect wrong. I didn’t see a link. It’s not as though you point it out.

        Apparently, since those two were living with an FBI informant, the gov’t didn’t have to “discover them”, so much as choose to pick them up.

        “Does it matter?” Yes, yes it does. Everything matters.

    • Charles II said

      Yes, Mark. Your failure to read the linked source of the excerpt is of course my fault.

      You apparently assume that the informant reported the presence of the men to the case agent. You assume wrong (this is a link contained within the Leopold article).

  2. Stormcrow said

    Folks, DO NOT get spun up by anything Richard Clarke says. He is a professional bullshit artist, and if he tells you the sun rises in the east, check the data yourself before relying on it.

    Here is a data point for anyone who wants to do a quick and dirty vetting of this charlatan: do a google search on

    “Richard Clarke” cyberwar

    Here’s what George Smith had to say about him recently: The Plutocrat of Cyberwar speaks.

    I assure you that what Smith has to say is far too kind.

    • Charles II said

      Well, Stormcrow, hackers crashed the Hang Seng yesterday, halting trading in seven stocks, and this is the second market to get shut down [Added, 8/12: and again today]. Such market shutdowns are the nightmare of everyone who trades securities, as the flash crash proved. So I think the situation on whether “cyberwar” is a serious concern is a little more nuanced than Smith would have it.

      Also, I think it’s not logical to argue that just because someone is selling a book and hyping his services that he isn’t telling the truth about an unrelated event. If you want to challenge Clarke’s statement, it’s at least worth reading back through the documents truthout provides, including a complaint to the IG stating that,

      “the last JFIC commanding officer under which I served, was adamantiy opposed to JFIC conducting any original analysis of al-Qa’ida, and directed such work be stopped in late 2000-early 2001.”

      “I and the deputy of that team,_____________especially carried the burden of
      knowledge of how ciose DoD came to bin Ladin and perhaps being able to reduce the
      number of lives lost on 9/11.”

      The acronyms are explained here:

      Tracking Bin Laden had been undertaken by a secret unit within the JFIC, the Asymmetric Threats Division, formed in 1999 “to take a non-traditional approach to analysis.” Known by its DoD acronym, DO5, it was tasked with providing “current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff [J2].” Almost no public source material exists on DO5 activities, except what is in the IG report.

      Now, to be fair, this looks to me as if it may trace back to Able Danger, which Republican Congressman Curt Weldon used to try to blame Clinton for 9/11 and which I dismissed as a political stunt (see here for NYT takedown). But I don’t know that the Iron Man allegations are the same as Able Danger, and until I know, I won’t dismiss it.

      Nor will I dismiss Richard Clarke out of hand just because he’s very good at self-promotion. All I am saying is that these allegations deserved to be– and deserve to be– investigated impartially.

      • Stormcrow said

        Sorry, but here’s the way I assess stories like this one:

        At a certain point in the downward trajectory of one’s credibility, allegations of just about any sort only become credible when another independent and intellectually unfriendly source tends to confirm them. Not until.

        Clarke, in my estimation, reached and passed that point a long time ago.

        Same dustbin as Coulter and Palin.

        I’m not going to bother even trying to debunk Clarke’s utterances, let alone evaluate them, any more than I’d bother with Birthers or Truthers or Birchers.

        I’ll never live to the age of 10,000, and it’d be a sorry waste of time even if I did.

      • Charles II said

        OK, Stormcrow. Not a problem. I certainly wouldn’t expect you to debunk Clarke. That’s what government commissions are for. They get paid for it.

        Until someone addresses Clarke’s allegations, they will undermine public confidence in the CIA and even in the government of the US.

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