September 5th, 2011
As Richard Cheney (F-Felon) romps around the airwaves promoting his new book, Daily Kos reminds us of the perhaps unprecedented failures of the Bush administration, and Cheney himself, to tackle or even take seriously the Al Qaeda threat. This provides a useful summary that should be widely disseminated:
Dick Cheney wants you to forget
By Laurence Lewis
Dick Cheney is back in the news again, as he becomes the latest member of the Bush administration to cash in on what should be cause for criminal investigation and likely prosecution. This is a classic chickenhawk, who himself got five deferments to avoid fighting his generation’s war, and whose idea of recreation is to shoot birds that were raised as hunting fodder and released by the staff of an exclusive club, and who even in such a cruel, controlled environment still somehow managed accidentally to shoot a man in the face. This is a man who as regent and Lord Protector to the Lesser Bush oversaw the destruction of the U.S. economy, the evisceration of the Clinton budget surplus and the creation of the largest budget deficit in U.S. history, and was catastrophically irresponsible with what may have been the last chance to address the most important issue humanity has ever faced. But nothing so defined the Bush-Cheney era as issues of national security. And Cheney doesn’t want you to remember what really happened under his Protectorate on national security. And you can be certain that the traditional media won’t recount what happened under Cheney’s Protectorate on national security. That is up to us.I’ve posted this numerous times in numerous forms and it will need to be posted any time Bush or Cheney returns to the headlines. The facts are clear and the evidence overwhelming. Under Bush and his regent and Lord Protector Cheney, U.S. national security was undermined as it never before had been. Remember this. Bear witness. Don’t let anyone forget.
- Just a month before the 9/11 attacks, while on a month-long vacation, Bush was personally handed a presidential daily briefing titled:
Bin Laden determined to strike in US.
With characteristic intelligence and class, Bush responded with the words:
All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.
And went fishing.
- But Bush wasn’t the only member of his administration to blow off warnings, and ignore the threat of terrorism. Indeed, Attorney General John Ashcroft revealed his own lack of concern just a day before the attacks:
In his final budget request for the fiscal year 2003 submitted on Sept. 10 to the budget director, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the attorney general called for spending increases in 68 programs, none of which directly involved counterterrorism. Upgrading the F.B.I.’s computer system, one of the areas in which he sought an increase, is relevant to combating terrorism, though Mr. Ashcroft did not defend it on that ground.But in his Sept. 10 submission to the budget office, Mr. Ashcroft did not endorse F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators.
Mr. Ashcroft proposed cuts in 14 programs. One proposed $65 million cut was for a program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants for equipment, including radios and decontamination suits and training to localities for counterterrorism preparedness.
- And Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reacted similarly, less than a week before that:
When Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who was then chairman of the Armed Services Committee, sought to transfer money to counterterrorism from the missile defense program, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent a letter on Sept. 6, 2001, saying he would urge Mr. Bush to veto the measure. Mr. Levin nonetheless pushed the measure through the next day on a party-line vote.
- And former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke had this to say about National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice:
…I believe it was, George Tenet called me and said, “I don’t think we’re getting the message through. These people aren’t acting the way the Clinton people did under similar circumstances.” And I suggested to Tenet that he come down and personally brief Condi Rice, that he bring his terrorism team with him. And we sat in the national security adviser’s office. And I’ve used the phrase in the book to describe George Tenet’s warnings as “He had his hair on fire.” He was about as excited as I’d ever seen him. And he said, “Something is going to happen.”Now, when he said that in December 1999 to the national security adviser, at the time Sandy Berger, Sandy Berger then held daily meetings throughout December 1999 in the White House Situation Room, with the FBI director, the attorney general, the head of the CIA, the head of the Defense Department, and they shook out of their bureaucracies every last piece of information to prevent the attacks. And we did prevent the attacks in December 1999. Dr. Rice chose not to do that.
We know, for example, that then National Security Adviser Rice was warned repeatedly in 2001 about an imminent al-Qaeda attack against the U.S., but, along with Cheney and Rumsfeld, she simply didn’t believe that a cave dweller like Osama bin Laden could be that much of a threat. She was warned by the outgoing Clintonite Sandy Berger, in January 2001. She was warned by the White House counterterrorism scold Richard Clarke. And now, with Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, and subsequent Washington Post reports, we’ve been reminded that cia Director George Tenet warned Rice on July 10, 2001, that “the system was blinking red,” meaning that there could be “multiple, simultaneous” al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. interests in the coming weeks or months.
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and even Bush himself later made it clear:
The former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Hugh Shelton, said the Bush administration pushed terrorism “farther to the back burner”. And in a sympathetic portrait of the young administration, Bush at War, the president himself told the author, Bob Woodward, that he “didn’t feel that sense of urgency” about going after Osama bin Laden.
- It was clear just a month into the Bush Presidency:
But when it comes to fighting terrorism, administration officials say the United States has no new initiatives to offer. Top antiterrorism officials in the U.S. government tell NEWSWEEK that Bush and his lieutenants have yet to put forth a counterterrorism plan. So far at least, the Bush team has kept on Clinton’s counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke.
- There had been explicit warnings even during the transition:
One such meeting took place in the White House situation room during the first week of January 2001. The session was part of a program designed by Bill Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, who wanted the transition between the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations to run as smoothly as possible. With some bitterness, Berger remembered how little he and his colleagues had been helped by the first Bush Administration in 1992-93. Eager to avoid a repeat of that experience, he had set up a series of 10 briefings by his team for his successor, Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Stephen Hadley.Berger attended only one of the briefings—the session that dealt with the threat posed to the U.S. by international terrorism, and especially by al-Qaeda. “I’m coming to this briefing,” he says he told Rice, “to underscore how important I think this subject is.” Later, alone in his office with Rice, Berger says he told her, “I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.”
- But the Bush team was so obliviously sanguine that:
Though Predator drones spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times in late 2000, the Bush administration did not fly the unmanned planes over Afghanistan during its first eight months and was still refining a plan to use one armed with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader when Sept. 11 unfolded, current and former U.S. officials say.
- And as for Cheney himself:
Bush administration officials told former Sens. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and Warren Rudman, R-N.H., that they preferred instead to put aside the recommendations issued in the January report by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. Instead, the White House announced in May that it would have Vice President Dick Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism — which the bipartisan group had already spent two and a half years studying — while assigning responsibility for dealing with the issue to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.The Hart-Rudman Commission had specifically recommended that the issue of terrorism was such a threat it needed far more than FEMA’s attention.
Before the White House decided to go in its own direction, Congress seemed to be taking the commission’s suggestions seriously, according to Hart and Rudman. “Frankly, the White House shut it down,” Hart says. “The president said ‘Please wait, we’re going to turn this over to the vice president. We believe FEMA is competent to coordinate this effort.’ And so Congress moved on to other things, like tax cuts and the issue of the day.”
“We predicted it,” Hart says of Tuesday’s horrific events. “We said Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers — that’s a quote (from the commission’s Phase One Report) from the fall of 1999.”
Let’s highlight that:
Instead, the White House announced in May that it would have Vice President Dick Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism — which the bipartisan group had already spent two and a half years studying — while assigning responsibility for dealing with the issue to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.The Hart-Rudman Commission had specifically recommended that the issue of terrorism was such a threat it needed far more than FEMA’s attention.
- Not only did the entire Bush administration ignore multiple screaming warnings, but Cheney himself was tasked with studying the risk of domestic terrorism! And even though Bush himself said he’d periodically review the issue:
Neither Cheney’s review nor Bush’s took place.
- Bush and Cheney. Both. Both given specific warnings. Both claiming they would study the risks. Neither doing so. Their entire administration failing in every possible way, despite numerous specific and personal warnings. Despite numerous specific and personal warnings that kept coming, right up until the days before the September 11 attacks. And after the attacks we had this:
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
- And just half a year later, we had Bush saying this:
And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.
And the Taliban grew stronger. Al Qaeda regrouped and grew stronger. And then the administration made at least 935 false statements to lie the nation into war with Iraq, which undermined the war in Afghanistan, spawned a new generation of terrorists, with terrorism increasing around the globe under their rule.
But that was only the beginning. There was more. Much more. The Bush-Cheney team undermined national security in multiple ways, including abusing and damaging the U.S. military. Click through to see the links. And share. And never forget.