National Security

NDN launches a campaign to get Condi to come clean

Over the last two weeks conclusive evidence has emerged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received specific warnings about imminent Al Qaeda attacks two months before September 11th 2001.

Bob Woodward’s State of Denial reveals details of an emergency meeting held on July 10th between Rice and CIA Director George Tenet. In his crisis briefing Tenet warned of an imminent Al Qaeda strike, possibly in the United States.

Yet in statement after statement Rice has implied that she was not adequately warned about Al Qaeda attacks, and that she was not told of a potential attack on America.

Meanwhile, details of this July 10th emergency meeting did not appear in the official report of the 9/11 Commission, despite being covered in detail by Tenet in his sworn testimony.

The Secretary of State has had two weeks to explain these inconsistencies. She has not done so. It is time for Condi to come clean.

Today NDN is launching a new campaign to get the Secretary of State to answer four critical questions about the July 10th meeting.

Visit NDN’s website now to see in full the four questions Rice must answer, and the clear evidence which backs them up.

If Rice does not provide honest and complete answers to these four questions, the American people will be forced to conclude that she and others lied about what they knew to cover up their inadequate response to the Al Qaeda threat.

The four questions Rice must answer are:

  1. Question 1: Why do you continue to deny that an “emergency meeting” took place on July 10th 2001 between yourself, CIA Director George Tenet and CIA Deputy Counterterrorism Chief Coffer Black? 
  2. Question 2: How can you continue to claim not to have been warned of a possible attack in the United States in light of what we now know about the July 10th meeting?
  3. Question 3: Given the evidence presented in the July 10th meeting, why were no drastic and immediate new actions taken to protect the American people?
  4. Question 4: How is it possible that the 9/11 Commission’s Report failed to mention the warnings of the July 10th meeting, given George Tenet’s testimony on the subject, witnessed by the Commission’s Executive Director Philip Zelikow, who now serves as one of your closest advisors?

The American people deserve answers. That’s why we are calling for the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to convene urgently to ask Rice, Tenet and 9/11 Commission Executive Director Phillip Zelikow to set the record straight.

And you can help: by supporting NDN’s campaign; reading our new evidence released today; joining our call for the reconvening of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees; signing the petition of the 9/11 Widows to declassify details of the July 10th Meeting; and urging your local media to learn about this issue and hold Secretary Rice accountable.

With your help we can ensure that Condi comes clean.  Because the American people deserve better than a Secretary of State who continues to lie about one of the greatest national security failures in American history.  

Iraq slips further and further into chaos

Iraq is slipping away.  News accounts in recent weeks detail a dramatic escalation of random violence, the central authority losing its grip and an overall decline in civil society.  America faces very tough choices now, but "stay the course" certainly is not one of them.  We need a strong and resolute diplomatic initiative that works to restore order and civil society to Iraq.

What is happening in Iraq is no longer a "war."  It is a failed occupation of a nation by a foreign power, and civil society itself is failing there.  What is needed now is a significant and sustained diplomatic and political effort led by Bush himself.  But of course that would require him and his team to admit what is happening there isn't working. 

In the short term the disintegration of Iraq is a much more urgent matter than North Korea exploding a nuclear bomb.  But where is Condi, already so compromised by the recent relevations of the July 10th, 2001 meeting, headed this week? Asia. Why? To do anything they can to change the subject from the worsening situation in Iraq.   

The front page Post story about Iraq should be read in its entirety to get a sense of how bad things are getting there:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 15 -- Militias allied with Iraq's Shiite-led government roamed roads north of Baghdad, seeking out and attacking Sunni Arab targets Sunday, police and hospital officials said. The violence raised to at least 80 the number of people killed in retaliatory strikes between a Shiite city and a Sunni town separated only by the Tigris River.

The wave of killings around the Shiite city of Balad was the bloodiest in a surge of violence that has claimed at least 110 lives in Iraq since Saturday. The victims included 12 people who were killed in coordinated suicide bombings in the strategic northern oil city of Kirkuk.

"This has pushed us to the point that we must stop this sectarian government," Ali Hussein al-Jubouri, a Sunni farmer in Duluiyah, said as he searched for the body of a nephew reportedly killed in the violence around Balad.

The slaughter came as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday renewed pledges by the Iraqi government to break up the militias, and as al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni Arab insurgent groups declared a new Islamic republic in the western and central parts of the country.

The violence around Balad, a Shiite enclave in a largely Sunni region, began Friday with the kidnapping and beheading of 17 Shiite farmworkers from Duluiyah, a predominantly Sunni town. Taysser Musawi, a Shiite cleric in Balad, said Shiite leaders in the town appealed to a Baghdad office of Moqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric, to send militiamen to defend local Shiites and to take revenge. Sadr's political party is a member of a Shiite religious alliance that governs Iraq.

Shiite fighters responded in force, local police said. Witnesses said Shiite fighters began hunting down Sunnis, allegedly setting up checkpoints in the area to stop travelers and demand whether they were Shiite or Sunni.

By Sunday afternoon, 80 bodies were stacked in the morgue of the Balad hospital, the only sizable medical center in the region, physician Kamal al-Haidari said by telephone. Most of the victims had been shot in the head, he said. Other hospital officials said some of the bodies had holes from electric drills and showed other signs of torture. The majority of the victims were believed to be from Duluiyah.

The hospital received calls from residents who said more bodies were lying in the streets, but workers were unable to pick them up, Haidari said. Witnesses arriving at the hospital also reported seeing bodies in the roads, he said....."

Did the neocons dupe the 9/11 Commission?

A friend sent me a link to a TPM Muckraker piece from early October that provides further evidence the 9/11 Commission was duped.  It points out that this now infamous July, 2001 meeting between Tenet and Rice recently reported by Bob Woodword was first reported in Time Magazine in August of 2002. 

Friends, did they not have Lexus-Nexus at the 9/11 Commission?

We've written about Sec. Rice and this meeting here and here.  The bottom line is that Senate and House Intelligence Committees need to convene as soon as possible, and certainly no later than during the November Congressional Session, and bring Phillip Zelikow, Sec. Rice and Tenet in and ask them under oath what happened here.  Was there an organized effort to erase this meeting from the history books? And who participated? Certainly Zelikow should be first, as he was the Executive Director of the Commission, was present at Tenet's testimony to the Commission (where among other things he shared the presentation he did for Rice at the July 10th mtg), and now works for Rice. 

And Rice needs to explain her repeated statements that the government would have taken action if they knew that Al Qaeda might strike in the US.  But we now know that the she did know.  We know that they knew in early 2001 that the Cole had been struck by Al Qaeda; that their counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke was sounding the alarm; that she and the President were briefed in the summer that Al Qaeda was ready to strike in the US; and that despite all this they did nothing.  Why? Why did this Administration do nothing to stop Al Qaeda despite these extraordinary warnings?

Remember the US had already struck Al Qaeda in Afghanistan n 1998.  We knew where they lived.  Why did Bush and Rice do nothing?

And why should Rice keep her job if she has been repeatedly lying to the American people about a national security matter of this magntitude?

North Korea: Point/Counterpoint with President Carter and Senator McCain

Major ripples in the news today regarding North Korea: both President Bush and Secretary Rice have assured us the that the U.S. will not be going to war anytime soon. But two articles that did catch my eye were arguments made by Jimmy Carter in a New York Times op-ed and John McCain in a speech near Detroit.

Says McCain:

"I would remind Senator Clinton and other Democrats critical of Bush administration policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure...Every single time the Clinton administration warned the Koreans not to do something -- not to kick out the IAEA inspectors, not to remove the fuel rods from their reactor -- they did it.

Carter, in his mild mannered, straightforward way, gives his take on the Clinton years:

The United States assured the North Koreans that there would be no military threat to them, that it would supply fuel oil to replace the lost nuclear power and that it would help build two modern atomic power plants, with their fuel rods and operation to be monitored by international inspectors. The summit talks resulted in South Korean President Kim Dae-jung earning the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his successful efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.

He goes one step further, recognizing the difference in how the Bush administration took up the situation. In 2002, "the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil, threatened military action, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants and refused to consider further bilateral talks."

Back to McCain:

Under the Clinton presidency, McCain said, "We had a carrots-and-no-sticks policy that only encouraged bad behavior."

Carter explodes this myth:

With the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula, there was a consensus that the forces of South Korea and the United States could overwhelmingly defeat North Korea. But it was also known that North Korea could quickly launch more than 20,000 shells and missiles into nearby Seoul...The current military situation is similar but worse than it was a decade ago: we can still destroy North Korea’s army, but if we do it is likely to result in many more than a million South Korean and American casualties.

Carter even offers a few suggestions for a way out of the hole Bush has dug over the last six years. In this point/counterpoint, Carter offers a level-headed approach of the last decade and where to go in the next; McCain only seems to be able to point fingers.

 

Everyone Hates George Bush's Foreign Policy

This lunchtime i undertook my latest cross-party trek accross, to the CATO institute. Most rewarding it was too. Anatol Leiven and John Hulsman discussed their new book, Ethical Realism.

This might sound like a contradiction in terms, like dry rain or compassionate conservative. But the two make a convincing, intriguing partnership. Lieven is a democrat, a multilateralist and a brit. Hulsman is a republican, a realist and an American. And yet they teamed up for a bi-partisan foreign policy tag-team to tell the world they both think George Bush and his Neo Conservative henchman are, broadly speaking, nuts. The case the two author's make is exceptionally persuasive, while their anaylsis of Iraq, in particular, is anything but heartening. Both think the situation is unsaveable. Lieven said the policy persued by the administration is "as close to geopolitical madness" as it was possible to get, and that a partition or confederated solution was now "frankly unavoidable." There didn't seem to be much disagreement about this from anyone in the room. This suggests to me, at least, that it is now an open secret that the foreign policy establishment is just toughing through one more month of hypocritcal 'stay the course" until November 7th. After that everyone - John Warner and his electorally convenient timetable included - expects a significant change of course to correct a failed mission.

The picture painted of the neo-conservative strategy towards Iran was equally withering, as was their view of liberal hawks like ex New Republic supremo Peter Beinart.Most strikingly, Hulsman told the following story, reprinted in a previous OpenDemocracy article, during his remarks:

A number of years ago a leading and very intelligent neocon said something to me (off the record) that I've thought about a great deal since. When I asked what would happen to his movement if Iraq did not go according to plan, he said chillingly: "Well, then I will say its all the president's fault, it was the execution and not the premises of the neocon agenda that let us down, that all is needed is a more competent president and team, and we will regroup around John McCain, who many of us favored in the first place."

Lets hope McCain, and the rest of them, aren't to be taken in.

North Korean crisis made in the White House.

From the National Security Network, a helpful overview of the policy behind news from Korea. 

Under President Bush significant ground has been lost. When he took office, North Korea was adhering to a negotiated freeze on plutonium and may have possessed enough plutonium for one nuclear device. Since then, North Korea may have more than quadrupled its stock of weapons-grade plutonium and breached all previous constraints on its program. Under the Bush administration, North Korea has expelled international nuclear inspectors, withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and produced enough new weapons-grade plutonium for a number of nuclear weapons.

The mystery of the July 10th 2001 meeting

This morning's Post has a story that deepens the mystery of how everyone in Washington forgot that the CIA director warned the National Security Advisor on July 10th, 2001 that an attack by Bin Laden was imminent. 

You see this meeting, a critical and important one, was somehow left out of the 9/11 Commission Report and had never been mentioned prior to the publication of the new Woodward book.  Condi Rice first said the meeting never happened; she then reversed herself and said it did, but that she forgot about it.  We all then wondered how it was possible that the record of this meeting never made it into the 9/11 Commission Report.  This new story makes it clear that Tenet did brief the 9/11 Commission on the meeting, that in fact he provided them slides and other papers from the briefing he gave to Condi on that July day. 

Questions then:

1) How did the fact of this meeting fall out of the 9/11 Commission Report? Did the Commission's Executive Director, Phillip Zelikow, now a Rice staffer, fight to keep it out?

2) Rice has consistently said she was never told that summer that Bin Laden my strike inside the US. Did this briefing have such information? According to this story it did. And why does she keep saying this when the Aug 6th memo to the President clearly indicates that Bin Laden was attempting to strike in the US?

3) Did Rumsfeld and Ashcroft get the same briefing, as Sec. Rice says?

4) What specific actions did the President and National Security Advisor take upon receiving this urgent briefing on July 10th, a full two months before 9/11?

5) Isn't it now clear that Bush and his team were amply warned about the impending attacks throughout the summer and did nothing? And that the Secretary of State is simply lying about a grave and serious security matter to cover her ass?

My own belief is that the Sec. Rice's response to these matters is so insulting, full of lies and ass-covering that she must resign.  Her credibility is now completely shot, as it is clear that she has been leading a cover up of information critical to our understanding of how this nation suffered a major attack, and the role she and the President played in ignoring important warnings that it was coming.  She can no longer be trusted to do what is right, only what is expedient for her and the President.  And in a time as challenging as these times, that is not acceptable. 

Josh Marshall grabs a new nugget on the July 10th mtg

From talking points memo tonight:  

"Whammo!

Just out from McClatchy ...

The independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission was given the same “scary” briefing about an imminent al Qaida attack on a U.S. target that was presented to the White House two months before the attacks, but failed to disclose the warning in its 428-page report.

Former CIA Director George Tenet presented the briefing to commission member Richard Ben Veniste and executive director Philip Zelikow in secret testimony at CIA headquarters on Jan. 28, 2004, said three former senior agency officials.

Tenet raised the matter himself, displayed slides from a Power Point presentation that he and other officials had given to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, and offered to testify on the matter in public if the commission asked him to, they said.

.....Very hard to say what would be behind the decision to leave it out considering that Ben Veniste was one of the Dems on the Commission. "

And of course, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, now works for Condi.  Was he the one who dropped this little nugget from the report?

Condi Rice: Oh on that terrorism thing, I forgot

A sheepish spokeman for Sec. of State Condi Rice let reporters know today that the Secretary in fact did get a briefing on July 10th, 2001 from the CIA that warned her in very strong terms that a terrorist attack on American interests was imminent.   

You see last night she denied the meeting took place.  Today they admit that it did take place, but that she just forget about it. 

Let's consider this argument.  The CIA director has a private meeting with the National Security Advisory and says a terrorist attack is imminent.  A month later the CIA advises the President and his team a terrorist attack in the US is imminent.  A month later an attack takes place.  And you forgot you warned by the CIA that this was coming, and that you did nothing about it? Are we really supposed to believe this argument from the Secretary of State?  And why didn't the 9/11 Commission know about it?

This is going to get ugly for the Administration.  What is the old line, it is never the act itself but the coverup that gets you?

Anyone think Rice will survive this? And does she go before the election?

Condi's response just doesn't cut it

Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice responded in the Post to the Woodwork book relevations by - suprise! - denying all.  You can judge for yourself if her story sounds at all credible.  I don't think it does.  But we have to recall that in Bushworld lying is a tactic, to be used as needed.   

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