Carol Platt Liebau: Needing the 411 From the 9/11 Commission

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Needing the 411 From the 9/11 Commission

Two pieces today -- by Michael Smerconish and Andrew McCarthy point out the egregious lapse of the 9/11 Commission -- namely, its failure to investigate Able Danger, the intelligence operations unit that may have been prevented by government lawyers from passing information it had on Mohammed Atta to the FBI back in 2000.

You can bet that if this "oversight" had occurred on a Republican administration's watch, the MSM would be all over it. Funny how much less interesting it is when a Democratic administration's judgment is at issue . . .

Another problem, of course, is the fact that the old-time press establishment -- professional tut-tutters like David Broder -- love "bipartisan commissions" of the 9/11 variety, where all of us are supposed to sit down and reason together in the spirit of good faith and patriotic fellowship.

The only problem? The Democrats on such commissions are, too often, hard-core partisans (paging Richard Ben-Veniste, Jamie Gorelick, Tim Roemer and Bob Kerrey), while the Republicans are often those of the '70's, liberal, "me-too-but-less" variety (yes, I'm talking to you, Tom Kean) -- or else good men who are, perhaps, less invested in the political debates of the moment than their Democratic counterparts (the names Fred Fielding, John Lehman and Jim Thompson come to mind). And so the Republicans regularly get fleeced in these sorts of undertakings.

Before the 9/11 Commission has the audacity to "grade" any other government entity, perhaps it should come clean about Able Danger -- and what, if anything -- the Commission knows about it.


Blogger Dan M said...

Carol, what do you expect from the Democrats when the GOP is allowing them to get away with this nonsense.

We are INCENTIVIZING naked partisanship from the Democrats.

Once the 9/11 commission was created, and the Dems placed a hack like Veniste on it, the Republicans should have threatened to close the whole damn thing down, immediately, unless the Democrats put up some people who weren't lawyer hacks, {Gorelick was another lawyer hack}.

The GOP should have made a HUGE thing about the Democrats selection of Veniste. But with this White House, where to play hardball is almost the equivalent to the sin against the Holy Spirit, what do you expect?

Even this current "push back," does anyone out there think the White House would be out there defending itself, and its policies BUT FOR TALK RADIO, and the bloggers DEMANDING that they do so.

The Communication Staff at the White House is simply pathetic....

3:13 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

From the time Bush took office, beginning with the damage to government offices and equipment left by Clintonistas, he has seemed unwilling to fight fire with fire. (Remember that he refused even to acknowledge the damage until Clinton flacks told MSM Clinton flacks there had been no damage at all? Only then did he allow Ari Fleischer to provide details to the WaPo.) Is it his religious views? Perhaps historians will tell us. I don't have an inkling why.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Yes, George Bush is such a lamb, isn't he? The South Carolina primary doesn't count since he wasn't president yet.

As usual, a bunch of deflection to avoid the issue that Bush and his Congress have done little to secure our infrastructure. A myth, I'm sure.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

After rereading that I realized that one might assume that I think Bush has been a lamb SINCE South Carolina. Ha. It would be a long list if I were to bother, but I won't. Besides, the movie's about to start over at the sofa. And no, it's not Fahrenheit 9/11.


6:38 PM  
Blogger Dan M said...

Bach & Carol,

Check out David Frum's book titled "A Good Man."

He lays it all out.

GW sees the establishment of a new tone in Washington as an equal achievement to any of his desired entitlement reforms. For him, it isn't simply a question of stylistics, but part and parcel of his overall domestic agenda.

I see it as a bit more. It is a combination of an old, now defunct WASP attitude that placed a premium upon "public service," {recall GHWB gave ED Kennedy the first prize at his Texas A&M Library, and the award was for "public service"} and besides this anachronistic WASP attitudinal hold-over, there is clearly the Christ-on-the-Cross aspect to it all.

Recall that Christ turned his face to his tormentors, and "opened not his mouth." Consciously, or probably un-consciously, GW is responding to POLITICAL attacks upon him, his policies and his Administration, AS IF THEY WERE NOTHING BUT PERSONAL attacks upon him.

There is the clear failure to distinguish between attacks that are political, and have political effects, such as a diminished ability to prosecute the war and pursue his domestic agenda, and attacks that are launched upon an ordinary person, to which a Christian should respond in a Christian manner.

There are other themes throughout too. Recall Disraeli's advice from the Victorian Age: "Never complain, never explain." It is ironic that a converted Jew should sum up so great a tenet of the Victorian Age. But there it is.

The Bush family celebrates "public service," BUT they don't seem to distinguish whether that service was beneficial to the nation or not. Just so long as you have the requisite attitude, you seem to meet the Bush family standard. How else can we explain extending a "public service" award to Ted Kennedy.

TED KENNEDY???????????????????

But as for the troll, and his gurglings, what happened in S. Carolina has entered into the world of urban-Demo myth, much like the descriptions of what was going on in N. Orleans. 99% of which has now been thoroughly rubbished, even by the MSM.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Bachbone tells a whopper... "From the time Bush took office, beginning with the damage to government offices and equipment left by Clintonistas, he has seemed unwilling to fight fire with fire. "

I'm sure Bachbone is merely repeating what he heard, and is not intentionally lying to us, but the GAO didn't find any significant damage when they did an investigation of these right wing claims. Quoting from here we have...

"Accounts that departing Clinton administration officials destroyed office equipment and committed other acts of vandalism in the White House during the presidential transition were significantly overblown, a manager at the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said yesterday.

The General Services Administration found nothing unusual about the condition of White House offices after Clinton officials left, and President Bush's staff said it had no records that indicated damage or subsequent repair work, the accounting office manager said. "

In short, the Bush administration, through their spokesweasel Ari Fleischer, lied to the American public. Bachbone is merely parroting the Bush administration smear.

Hey, Bachbone, why don't you tell us the one about Bill Clinton getting a haircut and snarling air traffic at LAX?

9:13 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Dan M wrote, "GW sees the establishment of a new tone in Washington as an equal achievement to any of his desired entitlement reforms."

Yeah, GW was so concerned about establishing a new tone in Washington, one of the first acts of his administration was to lie to the press about the Clinton adminsitration causing damage to White House property.

Pull the other one, Dan.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

Because President Bush had directed Ari Fleischer and other staffers to "move on" and not comment on the office trashing Clinton staffers did, the GAO and GSA reports were not completed. On 3/2/2001, GSA wrote a four-paragraph letter to Congress saying, "The circumstances did not warrant an investigation, and we have not conducted an investigation." The General Accounting Office, one month later, told Congress that since GSA did not investigate and since the White House had inadequate documentation, it would not investigate or draw conclusions, either. It wrote "We plan no further work in this area, given the facility examination results reported by GSA and the lack of records of damage."

The 5/19/2001 article cited (post above) was based on those reports.

When, however, Clinton staffers and elected Democrat politicians, on 6/1/2001, began publicly demanding an apology for false reports of the trashing, President Bush allowed Ari Fleisher to release a list of the damages. It was published in the WaPo on 6/2/2001. (Note that date is after the 5/19/2001 report of the GAO and GSA findings.) Damages included: obscene graffiti in six offices, a 20-inch-wide presidential seal ripped off a wall, 10 sliced telephone lines, 100 inoperable computer keyboards (the W key caps were torn off),desks were overturned, telephones were reprogrammed to ring in offices other than those listed, and pornographic or obscene greetings were left on 15 telephone lines.

Looks like it was that paragon of veracity, the Washington Post, that "told a whopper."

10:57 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

"President Bush allowed Ari Fleisher to release a list of the damages."

Who made up, I mean, compiled the list? Who verified it? Did Ari carry it down from the mountain on tablets? Why would anyone believe any of it? Especially now.

These are just sour grapes over the fact that Clinton didn't leave his Rolodex behind and Bush had to start from scratch, memorizing the names of the continents, the countries, and their leaders.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Sigh... The whopper I was talking about is Bachbone and Dan M's claims that the vindictive mean-spirited person who is our President somehow should be given credit for forbearance. And to claim that based ona case where his administration acted in a particularly vindictive way.

Here are the facts (you can get the report here...

In June of 2002, the GAO released their final report. They found a little over $14k worth of damage/cleaning fees/replacement fees/etc. caused during the "trashing" of the White House (also includes the EOB). That includes treating all furniture damaged over the 8-years of the Clinton term and not repaired as if they were damaged in the end. Given that over 500 partisans worked in the White House and the EOB, this works out to less than $30 per person on average. The GAO report also noted that similar pranks, vandalism, and danger occured in the 1993 transition from Bush the Smarter to Clinton presidencies.

Shortly after the inauguration Fox News and other members of the Right Wing Noise Machine started reporting the story after it was fed to them by intrrernal White House sources. Sean Hannity, for example, said, "Look, we've had these reports, very disturbing reports -- and I have actually spoken to people that have confirmed a lot of the reports -- about the trashing of the White House. Pornographic materials left in the printers. They cut the phone lines. Lewd and crude messages on phone machines. Stripping of anything that was not bolted down on Air Force One. $200,000 in furniture taken out." Not surprisingly, Sean's report does not square with the facts, although Brit Hume reported the same false "stripping of Air Force One" story, and Bill O'Reilly somehow came up with the same $200K figure.

If the President made it clear he wanted to change the tone on Washington, why were White House insiders leaking false information to the press in an attempt to smear Bill Clinton? Given that the same White House insiders feeding the press, knew there was no where near $200K worth of damage done, why didn't the President quash the rumors in the press? Knowing that everything was grossly exaggerated, why didn't the President just 'fess up and put the end to the need for a GAO investigation that ended up costing almost $200K?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

A GAO investigation noted that in January of 1993, the outgoing Bush the Smarter adminstration had vandalized the White House. This vandalism went so far as carving "prank" messages into furniture. Surprisingly, this vandalism was not made public until 2002, because Bill Clinton and his administration did not make the information public.

Why did Clinton hold off on criticizing George H. W. Bush and his administration? Perhaps it was because he saw the establishment of a new tone in Washington as an equal achievement to any of his desired entitlement reforms. For him, it isn't simply a question of stylistics, but part and parcel of his overall domestic agenda.

Was it his religious views? Perhaps historians will tell us. I don't have an inkling why.

8:57 PM  

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