“Disgusting op-ed in NYT by a truther implying Bush knew of 9-11/let it happen. NYT decries lack of civility, then adds to it.”
An additional tweet reiterated the “truther” epithet and questioned why the Times was lending its pages to such a disreputable sort. Yet the author of the piece, Kurt Eichenwald, is a longtime mainstream journalist, coming from such venues as the Washington Monthly, the New York Times, and Conde Nast: he is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of several best-selling books on a wide variety of subjects. Eichenwald’s forte is investigative journalism, and his book, The Informant, was made into a major motion picture. This is hardly a portrait of a marginal figure sitting in his parents’ basement spinning out elaborate conspiracy theories: to my knowledge, Eichenwald has never published anything questioning the Official Story and his article never says the Bush administration “let it happen.”
What it does say is that recently unclassified documents show an administration pushing back hard against CIA and other intelligence assessments warning of the impending attack:
“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.”
Eichenwald describes two previously unknown briefs issued to the White House in May and June of 2001. The former described “a group presently in the United States” intent on carrying out a major terrorist attack: the latter forecast the strike as “imminent.” Eichenwald writes:
“But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.”
The neocon pushback was so relentless the CIA had to counterattack with a memo denying bin Laden was engaged in a “disinformation” campaign as the neocons claimed. All through the summer of 2001, Eichenwald relates, a series of presidential briefings practically pleaded with Bush to take seriously the threat of an impending strike by al Qaeda to no avail. The CIA had lost the internal debate, and the neocons nixed any action that might have taken out Mohammed Atta and his boys. Eichenwald has the inside scoop on the reaction from the intelligence community:
“Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.”
The real story of 9/11 has yet to be told this in spite of the 9/11 Commission report, the congressional hearings and court cases, and the endless literature on the subject. That’s because a lot of the background documentation has been missing. As new internal documents become available, the very thin Official Narrative, aside from taking on a bit more heft, is bound to change in potentially significant ways. This isn’t “trutherism” it’s how history unfolds.
September 14, 2012
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
Copyright © 2012 Antiwar.com