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The Nut House
Sunday, 1 October 2006
I didn't see this in ABC's "Path To 9/11"

Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice

Sunday, October 1, 2006; A17

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. There was no practical way she could refuse such a request from the CIA director.

For months, Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy, including specific presidential orders called "findings" that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden. Perhaps a dramatic appearance -- Black called it an "out of cycle" session, beyond Tenet's regular weekly meeting with Rice -- would get her attention.

Tenet had been losing sleep over the recent intelligence he'd seen. There was no conclusive, smoking-gun intelligence, but there was such a huge volume of data that an intelligence officer's instinct strongly suggested that something was coming. He and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action.

He did not know when, where or how, but Tenet felt there was too much noise in the intelligence systems. Two weeks earlier, he had told Richard A. Clarke, the National Security Council's counterterrorism director: "It's my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one."

But Tenet had been having difficulty getting traction on an immediate bin Laden action plan, in part because Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had questioned all the National Security Agency intercepts and other intelligence. Could all this be a grand deception? Rumsfeld had asked. Perhaps it was a plan to measure U.S. reactions and defenses.

Tenet had the NSA review all the intercepts, and the agency concluded they were of genuine al-Qaeda communications. On June 30, a top-secret senior executive intelligence brief contained an article headlined "Bin Laden Threats Are Real."

Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice. He and Black, a veteran covert operator, had two main points when they met with her. First, al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself. Black emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning, meaning the problem was so serious that it required an overall plan and strategy. Second, this was a major foreign policy problem that needed to be addressed immediately. They needed to take action that moment -- covert, military, whatever -- to thwart bin Laden.

The United States had human and technical sources, and all the intelligence was consistent, the two men told Rice. Black acknowledged that some of it was uncertain "voodoo" but said it was often this voodoo that was the best indicator.

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.

As they all knew, a coherent plan for covert action against bin Laden was in the pipeline, but it would take some time. In recent closed-door meetings the entire National Security Council apparatus had been considering action against bin Laden, including using a new secret weapon: the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, that could fire Hellfire missiles to kill him or his lieutenants. It looked like a possible solution, but there was a raging debate between the CIA and the Pentagon about who would pay for it and who would have authority to shoot.

Besides, Rice seemed focused on other administration priorities, especially the ballistic missile defense system that Bush had campaigned on. She was in a different place.

Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated. Though Rice had given them a fair hearing, no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long. "Adults should not have a system like this," he said later.

The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned in the various reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, but it stood out in the minds of Tenet and Black as the starkest warning they had given the White House on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.

Philip D. Zelikow, the aggressive executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and a University of Virginia professor who had co-authored a book with Rice on Germany, knew something about the July 10 meeting, but it was not clear to him what immediate action really would have meant. In 2005 Rice hired Zelikow as a top aide at the State Department.

Afterward, Tenet looked back on the meeting with Rice as a tremendous lost opportunity to prevent or disrupt the Sept. 11 attacks. Rice could have gotten through to Bush on the threat, but she just didn't get it in time, Tenet thought. He felt that he had done his job and had been very direct about the threat, but that Rice had not moved quickly. He felt she was not organized and did not push people, as he tried to do at the CIA.

Black later said, "The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head."

Editor's Note: How much effort the Bush administration made in going after Osama bin Laden before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, became an issue last week after former president Bill Clinton accused President Bush's "neocons" and other Republicans of ignoring bin Laden until the attacks. Rice responded in an interview that "what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Posted by chinquapin2 at 9:31 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006 9:40 AM PDT
Saturday, 29 April 2006
Quote of the day
"Let's, first of all, pray there's no hurricanes," Bush said. "That would be, like, step one."

Like... unbelievable.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 11:08 AM PDT
Friday, 28 April 2006
Unleaded Regular $3.35 Down The Street
Three days ago, the president announced a series of steps, including calling on his administration to investigate possible price gouging. But he admitted Friday that he thinks it's probably not happening.

"I have no evidence that there's any rip-off taking place," Bush said. "It's the role of the Federal Trade Commission to assure me that my inclination and instincts is right."

Once again, the truth takes a back seat to what GWB wants to hear.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 7:21 PM PDT
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
Decider In Chief
Mood:  d'oh
There are no words...

Posted by chinquapin2 at 6:39 PM PDT
Tuesday, 28 March 2006
Wow, Weinberger & Nofziger...
That's all, just "Wow".

Chinquapin(just so overwhelmed by the B.S. that I'm speachless these days)

Posted by chinquapin2 at 6:48 PM PST
Sunday, 12 March 2006
Coming Up On 3 Years
Man, I really want to be able to fly Old Glory again. But it looks like I'm gonna have to wait until Jan. 2009.

I hope the Chinese don't call in our debt before then.

And if Helen Thomas is still alive, I hope she's awarded the medal of freedom, if that honor still means anything after these schmucks are through.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 12:34 PM PST
Thursday, 2 March 2006
Copy & Paste Job
Mood:  incredulous
Boy, I've become a real slug at The Nut House. Only 30 days 'til Daylight Time!!!

Bill Pitt has captured most of my frustrations about George W.(the dog ate my homework)Bush's excuse, "No one could have anticipated...", so I'll let him have the floor.

'No One Could Have Anticipated ...'
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 02 March 2006

The video is gut-wrenching.

There they sit, a whole room full of hurricane experts and disaster managers, shouting down a telephone line at George W. Bush, warning him a full day ahead of time that Hurricane Katrina is a catastrophe waiting to happen. There stands Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, emphatically explaining that Katrina is far larger and more dangerous than Hurricane Andrew, that the levees in New Orleans are in grave danger of being overtopped, and that the loss of life could be extreme.

There sits the much-maligned FEMA Director Michael Brown, joining in the chorus of warnings to Mr. Bush and giving every appearance of a man actually doing his job. "This is, to put it mildly, the big one," says Brown. "Everyone within FEMA is now virtually on call." Brown goes on to deliver an eerily accurate prediction of the horrors to come within the Louisiana Superdome. "I don't know what the heck we're going to do for that, and I also am concerned about that roof," says Brown. "Not to be kind of gross here, but I'm concerned about (medical and mortuary disaster team) assets and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe."

And there, of course, is Mr. Bush, sitting in a dim conference room while on vacation in Texas, listening to all the pleas for immediate action on the telephone. With an emphatic hand gesture, Bush promises any and all help necessary. "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm," says Bush, "but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm." After the delivery of this promise, however, Bush goes mute. No questions, no comments, no concerns. As if to foreshadow what the people of New Orleans received from their leader, Mr. Bush finishes the conference by delivering a whole lot of nothing.

That's the video, 19 hours before the bomb struck New Orleans. It is gut-wrenching because everyone now knows what came next. The storm struck, the waters rolled in, and thousands were left to die. Days passed with no help reaching the city. Images of corpses left to rot in the streets were broadcast around the globe.

It is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Right. No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped.

No one could have anticipated it? That has a familiar ring to it.

No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees.

No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings.

No one could have anticipated these things ... except all the people who did. We are forced to get into some very large numbers today to accurately assess the body count from all the things the Bush administration would have us believe no one could have anticipated.

No one could have anticipated the vigorous violence the Iraqi people would greet any invaders with, said the Bush administration, except a roomful of now-unemployed generals, a whole galaxy of military experts, several former weapons inspectors, more than a few now-silenced voices within the administration itself, and millions of average citizens who took to the streets to stop the impending disaster they easily anticipated. Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: nearly 2,300 American soldiers, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings, said the Bush administration. Really?

In 1993, a $150,000 study was undertaken by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of airplanes being used as bombs. A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee invaded the cockpit of a DC10 with the intention of crashing it into a company building. Again in 1994, a pilot deliberately crashed a small airplane into the White House grounds, narrowly missing the building itself. Also in 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked by members of a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, who intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower.

The 1993 Pentagon report was followed up in September 1999 by a report titled "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism." This report was prepared for the American intelligence community by the Federal Research Division, an adjunct of the Library of Congress. The report stated, "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaida's martyrdom battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."

On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received his Presidential Daily Briefing. The briefing described active plots by Osama bin Laden to attack the United States. The word "hijacking" appeared in that briefing. When he received this briefing, George W. Bush was in Texas for a month-long vacation. Again. He did nothing in response. Again.

For the love of God, even the fiction writers saw this coming. Tom Clancy's book "Debt of Honor," written in 1994, ends with a commercial aircraft being flown into the Capitol Building during a joint session of Congress, virtually wiping out the entire government. The famous Stephen King novella "The Running Man," written in 1982, ends in similar fashion. "Heeling over slightly," reads the ending of the King novella, "the Lockheed struck the Games building dead on, three quarters of the way up. Its tanks were still better than a quarter full. Its speed was slightly over five hundred miles an hour. The explosion was tremendous, lighting up the night like the wrath of God, and it rained fire twenty blocks away."

Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: more than 3,000 people killed in the Towers, the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, in addition to thousands of Afghani civilians who found themselves collaterally damaged in our attack upon that nation.

Remember the Bush-Gore debate from what seems a thousand years ago? Bush was asked about the responsibilities of an executive in a time of emergency. He said in response, "I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas ... that's the time when you're tested not only - it's the time to test your mettle, a time to test your heart when you see people whose lives have been turned upside down. It broke my heart to go to the flood scene in Del Rio where a fellow and his family got completely uprooted. The only thing I knew was to get aid as quickly as possible with state and federal help, and to put my arms around the man and his family and cry with them."

Thousands in Louisiana and the surrounding states. Thousands in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands in Iraq. Is Mr. Bush crying with them, and their families, because no one could have anticipated this?

There is, perhaps, one aspect to all this that no one could have anticipated. No one could have anticipated that the United States of America would ever be governed by a man so callow, so unconnected, so uncaring, so detached, that tens of thousands of people would die during his time in office because he just didn't give a damn.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.

And if I hear one more person try to shift the responsibility to the local governments, I'm going to lose it. City & county/parrish are analogous to seat belts, airbags, & defensive driving. The State I see as traffic signals & police. These 2 can handle a fender bender or a crash at 25/35 mph, but what happens when you get a multi-car pileup?

Hey, who's got the bottle of bitters, cause I'm getting nauseous.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 12:22 PM PST
Monday, 13 February 2006
I Am So Proud
Mood:  special
The following is a email letter from my 15 year old cousin from this past January(2006). I had to reformat the email, so any "odd" breaks are most likely my doing.

Hello all,

This here letter (or e-mail for the specific) is an account, or something like that, of my past week in Biloxi, Mississippi. I went down with a group of people from our church to help with the relief effort down there. Counting me, there were 18 of us. A couple by the names of (edit) have been orchestrating missions groups for that area through a local church called Trinity Bible. They, the (edit), are founders of a missions team called "Steppin-Out Missions", have been effectual in many groups to the Biloxi area, and have even worked as far as Bolivia with groups. (on a non-Katrina theme, of course) They are missionaries from our church, so a group had already gone from our church in October. (I HAD wanted to go with that group, but I had a prior commitment that week.....stupid Doctor's appointment...)

We left out at 6:30 AM on Saturday the 7th and drove down through Columbus, to Cincinatti, on down to Louisville, Nashville, and then to a city called Cullman, Alabama, where we stayed the night at a motel. It took about 12 hours. The next morning, we left out at 7:30 (central time, mind you) for the remaining 6 hour drive to Biloxi. We arrived
mid-afternoon at the church, passing signs of still un repaired damage the closer we got. Mostly fallen trees and broken signs. (There s one McDonalds sign where the left "golden arch" had been crunched in) The church is a small, light-blue, homey kind of church, and not very big at all. The guys (the majority group) proceeded to setup our sleeping
quarters in the sanctuary and the women did so in one of the small side-rooms. (the nursery, I believe. Only 4 women were on the trip so don't start insinuating any unfairness now)

After setting up, we got back into our vans and Mr. (edit) took us for a tour of the area we would be working in. The church was actually a good 20 minutes from where we worked in an area called Gulfport. When we arrived in the area, the signs of devastation weren't very hard to spot. While some houses only had shingle damage and water damage inside from flood waters, some houses appeared to have been pancaked by their roofs. There was even a house trailer that had been completely flipped upside down by the rapidly
receding flood waters. Throughout the whole first half of the tour, Mr. (edit) continued to say, "This isn't the half of it." After a few minutes, we drove towards the coast (a few miles away) and in doing so,
crossed a railroad track that had large rings of barbed wire along it's northern edge. When asked about it, Mr. (edit) told us that it was placed
there after the storm to dissuade people from crossing over because the body count beyond was so high immediately after the storm. The houses
on this side, huge multimillion ones, were totally ripped apart. The ones still intact were merely staying upright by the support beams. The insides were gone. Big iron gates, once guarding riches, were
ironically left guarding nothing. We got out at one point and walked along a brick path towards the remains of a coastal house. Everything from the Plasma screen TV to the kitchen sink were strewn around the yard, along with pieces of the houses of the neighbors. A large box spring was entangled
within the crest of a tree. A large piece of red fabric was hanging from the trees like a flag in remembrance of the devastation. A few minutes
behind, an American flag had been doing the same. (I would have loved to get a picture of it, but we were driving at the time and disposable cameras aren't all that trustworthy while moving) Then, we drove along
the coast itself, and could see the remains of the once beautiful beach-side neighborhood. The sands were incredibly filthy. Bulldozers had been scooping sand into large sifting machines to cleanse it, so large piles of grimy sand lay near the road for pickup. A Super Walmart had been completely flushed out. NOTHING was left inside. (Clearance sale,
anyone?) After touring the area, we went back to the church for dinner.

The following morning, we got up at 5:30 (central central central......) and after breakfast at 6, were on the road to work at 6:30. It got dark down there around 5PM so it was necessary to get an early start. We drove the 20 minutes to a church there called Bible Fellowship where another group of volunteers were stationed. During the storm, the water outside this church had risen to 5ft and the people inside (yes, people inside) had held the pews against the windows to prevent them from letting water in. This was also a small church so there was only room within the sanctuary for 2 rows of about 8-10 pews each. We only went there to meet the other group of people (from Akron) and then went off to work.
We drove to the home of a man named Davis Hawthorne, a 60-ish African-American professional Sax player. Some of the men went inside to put up drywall, while my little group (the 3 women, 13 yr old girl, and
a 15 yr old guy friend of mine) spent the day cleaning his furniture. It was primarily spent cleaning Bureaus and Dressers where mold had been
growing inside. We sprayed them with bleach and scrubbed them. The next day, we cleaned the chairs and couches, and by early-afternoon the drywall was complete so we painted the inside of the house. Many of us did this so it was almost finished by quittin' time.

On Wednesday, we worked at Bible Fellowship doing, yes, MORE cleaning. We carried all of the pews outside and scrubbed them suckers down, and while the sanctuary was cleared a couple guys put down tile in it. The sanctuary looked really good afterwards and it was really neat because AWANA was starting again that night for the first time since Katrina.

On Thurday, we did a "gut-job." The house looked quite ok 'cause there wasn't any shingle damage or anything........that was because the house had been
completely submerged in water. So, the inside was a total mess. It'd be something to take a picture of, so when your mother starts in to you about how much
your room looks akin to Hiroshima you can just whip that ol' picture out of your pocket, hold it up for comparison, and argue that it looks quite clean to you. Of course, we dragged the whole inside of the house outside to the curb for pickup so it probably wouldn't be wise to let yer room get that crappy. Anyway, after removing all the furniture and carpet
and stuff, we basically just picked up a crowbar (shovel for me) and went to town on the drywall. After that was cleaned up and protruding nails
were pulled, there were a bit too many hands trying to stir the pot (15 of ourgroup and close to 10 others) so I went out to help with yard pickup.
The other team had this Rickshaw looking thing they were using to haul stuff in so I used that for awhile. I had this urge to moo, though, for quite
some time afterwards. At lunch time, rather than staying on site and waiting for Mrs. (edit) to arrive with sandwiches, we went to a place called Katrina's kitchen. It's an entirely volunteer-run food kitchen for survivors and relief effort people in a big tent along the coast. It was some pretty darn good grub, if you ask me. (don't let Mrs. (edit) know,though)

After that, we went to yet ANOTHER gut job. This time, it was Mr. Davis' neighbor. See, it turns out that ol' Mr. Davis had been bragging on us, so his neighbor decided to ask for help as well. We only finished about half of it that afternoon, (we only had about 10 people this time) so we started on it the next morning and finished by noon. So, we went back to the church and showered (I forgot to mention that they had built a little shower house next to the church. 2 completely separated showers. Quite nice after working all day.) Then, after packing up and giving goodbyes, we left for home. We drove up to the same motel as last time, then headed for home in the morning.

All in all, it was a great week. I was glad to be home sleeping in my own bed rather than that fool cot, though. I had brought this old cot that had belonged to my great aunt so it was decades old. I had this fear all week that it was going to collapse in the middle of the night. But, it didn't. My asthma and allergies didn't act up all week either so that was a real blessing not to have to worry about that.

Well, I guess that concludes it. Have a good
hopefully-coming-soon-springtime season.

Later Days.
Chinquapin's cousin.

I am Soooooo proud.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 7:10 PM PST
Tuesday, 31 January 2006
What's Next... The Repeal Of 22nd Amendment?
Mood:  irritated
I have to say, it wouldn't surprise me. Not with this bunch. You know, "we've" already disregarded the 15th
(thanks Tom DeLay).
Maybe some law students could go around and adjust all the "blind justice" statues' scales.

Eat, drink & be merry, 'cause we're in for some dark days.


Posted by chinquapin2 at 11:15 AM PST
Thursday, 19 January 2006
OK, this rant has been brewing for 3 days. But before I begin frothing at the mouth, I have a confession.

After the 2004 Presidential election results, and the ballot irregularities in Ohio, I became involved in some internet fan forums. It's kind of embarrassing, but I needed a distraction as inauguration day approached. I joined a George Clooney fan forum.

The first forum(yes, I joined more than one)was friendly, and I've met a few of the members, but generally I've kept my membership on the DL. The second forum had the juicy gossip, but some of their members have a real nasty streak that frankly, pissed me off. I'm no longer "participating" on that forum, but I still read the posts, I haven't hit rock bottom just yet.

On to the rant, after George Clooney(referred to as GC in future)won the 2006 Golden Globe for best supporting actor, I checked the forums because I knew they'd be buzzing. What I didn't expect was the response to GC acceptance speech. I want to know how anyone living in the U.S.A. who has daily access to the internet, cable/satellite TV, and printed publications could not have heard the name Jack Abramoff before Monday, January 16? Most of the forum members commenting on GC acceptance speech didn't know who Abramoff was, or thought he was a friend of GC, or thought it was a "private" joke. International members of the forum wanted to know who Abramoff was, and there was so much misinformation flying around, it was embarrassing.

I realize that we are overwhelmed by the omnipresent news(real, fake, slanted, infotainment)media, and I've personally tried to cut back on my own exposure. But how is it possible that so many of my fellow citizens missed even a mention of Jack A-off?

What really gets me, is that so few of these people bothered to look up the name "Jack Abramoff" before posting completely false information as to who they thought Jack Abromoff is. Hello? GOOGLE?

Rant over.

Tonight's special... Surprise!(I don't know if I can drink this)

Posted by chinquapin2 at 1:30 PM PST

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