A new book claims to have new meat on an old meme. What, is President Obama running against Bush again in November?
Vanity Fair contributing editor and former NYTimes reporter Kurt Eichenwald is out promoting a new Bush-Derangement Syndrome book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars
In a NYTimes op-ed tastefully published on the eve of the 11th anniversary of 9/11:
On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.
Isn’t this sooooo Richard Clarke 2004? Like a new book coming out in support of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame’s version of reality.
On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.
What argument? There’s nothing “arguable”. It’s just plain obvious: The “alarming” PDB did not carry any actionable intelligence that could have led to plot-prevention.
That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.
I have a hard time believing that Eichenwald has been made privy to anything that the 9/11 Commission and other investigations hadn’t already reviewed before; and which raised no smoking gun alarm that the Bush Administration had failed to prevent the events of 9/11 from happening.
All of this comes across as partisan political wishful thinking by Tuesday morning quarterbacks sitting in their comfy armchairs with their rose-colored 20/20 hindsight glasses on.
NBC senior investigative producer Robert Windrem also picks up on Eichenwald’s NYTimes piece, and brings up some supposed nuggets in Tenet’s book. I have the book and will have to go back through it; but I don’t recall reading anything that made me come away with Windrem’s reaction of events.
I just heard about Eichenwald’s op-ed and his new book and have had no time to thoroughly go through and revisit these past arguments. So apologies for a sloppy post; but I did want to put it out there for FA readers to discuss.
Vanity Fair has an excerpt from the book, here.
If anyone finds anything else, post it in the comments.
I’m off to work.