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jAZ
05-18-2006, 09:49 AM
http://www.alternet.org/story/36388/

The 9/11 Story That Got Away
By Rory O'Connor and William Scott Malone, AlterNet
Posted on May 18, 2006, Printed on May 18, 2006

On Oct. 12, 2000, the guided missile destroyer USS Cole pulled into harbor for refueling in Aden, Yemen. Less than two hours later, suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa approached the ship's port side in a small inflatable craft laden with explosives and blew a 40-by-40-foot gash in it, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39 others. The attack on the Cole, organized and carried out by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida terrorist group, was a seminal but still murky and largely misunderstood event in America's ongoing "Long War."

Two weeks prior, military analysts associated with an experimental intelligence program known as ABLE DANGER had warned top officials of the existence of an active Al Qaida cell in Aden, Yemen. And two days before the attack, they had conveyed "actionable intelligence" of possible terrorist activity in and around the port of Aden to Gen. Pete Schoomaker, then commander in chief of the U.S. Special Operation Command (SOCOM).

The same information was also conveyed to a top intelligence officer at the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), headed by the newly appointed Gen. Tommy Franks. As CENTCOM commander, Franks oversaw all U.S. armed forces operations in a 25-country region that included Yemen, as well as the Fifth Fleet, to which the Cole was tasked. It remains unclear what action, if any, top officials at SOCOM and CENTCOM took in response to the ABLE DANGER warnings about planned Al Qaida activities in Aden harbor.

None of the officials involved has ever spoken about the pre-attack warnings, and a post-attack forensic analysis of the episode remains highly classified and off-limits within the bowels of the Pentagon. Subsequent investigations exonerated the Cole's commander, Kirk Lippold, but Lippold's career has been ruined nonetheless. He remains in legal and professional limbo, with a recommended promotion and new command held up for the past four years by political concerns and maneuvering.

Meanwhile, no disciplinary action was ever taken against any SOCOM or CENTCOM officials. Schoomaker was later promoted out of retirement to chief of staff, U.S. Army, and Franks went on to lead the combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Enter Judith Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning ex-New York Times reporter at the center of the ongoing perjury and obstruction of justice case involving former top White House official I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. Miller spent 85 days in jail before finally disclosing that Libby was the anonymous source who confirmed to her that Valerie Plame was a CIA official, although Miller never wrote a story about Plame.

Now, in an exclusive interview, Miller reveals how the attack on the Cole spurred her reporting on Al Qaida and led her, in July 2001, to a still-anonymous top-level White House source, who shared top-secret NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) concerning an even bigger impending Al Qaida attack, perhaps to be visited on the continental United States.

Ultimately, Miller never wrote that story either. But two months later -- on Sept. 11 -- Miller and her editor at the Times, Stephen Engelberg, both remembered and regretted the story they "didn't do."

Interview with Judith Miller:

"I was working on a special project in 2000-2001 -- trying to do a series on where Al Qaida was, who Al Qaida was, and what kind of a threat it posed to the United States. In the beginning I thought it was going to be pretty straightforward, but it turned out to be anything but. And it took me a long, long time, and a lot of trips to the Middle East, and a lot of dead ends, before I finally understood how I could tell the story to the American people. It was a long-term investigative piece, which meant that for the most part, I didn't write articles on specific individual attacks -- I was working the story …

"I was fairly persuaded that the attack on the Cole was an Al Qaida operation, based on the sources that I was talking to, because I had no independent information, obviously. The people that I was covering ardently believed that Al Qaida was behind a lot of these attacks on American forces and Americans throughout the Middle East that we were beginning to see. At the time there was still a fair amount of debate and a fair amount of resistance to that thesis within the intelligence community, as it's so-called. But from the get go, I think the instinctive reaction of the people I was covering was that this was an Al Qaoda operation. So I started looking at the attack on the Cole as an example of Al Qaida terrorism.

"I learned that the Al Qaida Cole attack was not exactly a hugely efficient operation, and I learned later on that there had been an earlier attempt to take out the Cole or another American ship that had floundered badly because of poor Al Qaida training. Because of incidents like that -- you know, overloading a dinghy that was supposed to go have gone out to the ship and blow it up, so that the dinghy would sink -- people tended to discount Al Qaida. They said, 'Oh, they are just a bunch of amateurs." But I'd never thought that. I never believed that. And the people I was covering didn't think that …

"I had begun to hear rumors about intensified intercepts and tapping of telephones. But that was just vaguest kind of rumors in the street, indicators … I remember the weekend before July 4, 2001, in particular, because for some reason the people who were worried about Al Qaida believed that was the weekend that there was going to be an attack on the United States or on a major American target somewhere. It was going to be a large, well-coordinated attack. Because of the July 4 holiday, this was an ideal opportunistic target and date for Al Qaida.

My sources also told me at that time that there had been a lot of chatter overheard -- I didn't know specifically what that meant -- but a lot of talk about an impending attack at one time or another. And the intelligence community seemed to believe that at least a part of the attack was going to come on July 4. So I remember that, for a lot of my sources, this was going to be a 'lost' weekend. Everybody was going to be working; nobody was going to take time off. And that was bad news for me, because it meant I was also going to be on stand-by, and I would be working too.

"I was in New York, but I remember coming down to D.C. one day that weekend, just to be around in case something happened … Misery loves company, is how I would put it. If it were going to be a stress-filled weekend, it was better to do it together. It also meant I wouldn't have trouble tracking people down -- or as much trouble -- because as you know, some of these people can be very elusive.

"The people in the counter-terrorism (CT) office were very worried about attacks here in the United States, and that was, it struck me, another debate in the intelligence community. Because a lot of intelligence people did not believe that Al Qaida had the ability to strike within the United States. The CT people thought they were wrong. But I got the sense at that time that the counter-terrorism people in the White House were viewed as extremist on these views.

"Everyone in Washington was very spun-up in the CT world at that time. I think everybody knew that an attack was coming -- everyone who followed this. But you know you can only 'cry wolf' within a newspaper or, I imagine, within an intelligence agency, so many times before people start saying there he goes -- or there she goes -- again!

"Even that weekend, there was lot else going on. There was always a lot going on at the White House, so to a certain extent, there was that kind of 'cry wolf' problem. But I got the sense that part of the reason that I was being told of what was going on was that the people in counter-terrorism were trying to get the word to the president or the senior officials through the press, because they were not able to get listened to themselves.

"Sometimes, you wonder about why people tell you things and why people … we always wonder why people leak things, but that's a very common motivation in Washington. I remember once when I was a reporter in Egypt, and someone from the agency gave me very good material on terrorism and local Islamic groups.

"I said, 'Why are you doing this? Why are you giving this to me?' and he said, 'I just can't get my headquarters to pay attention to me, but I know that if it's from the New York Times, they're going to give it a good read and ask me questions about it.' And there's also this genuine concern about how, if only the president shared the sense of panic and concern that they did, more would be done to try and protect the country.

"This was a case wherein some serious preparations were made in terms of getting the message out and responding, because at the end of that week, there was a sigh of relief. As somebody metaphorically put it: 'They uncorked the White House champagne' that weekend because nothing had happened. We got through the weekend … nothing had happened.

"But I did manage to have a conversation with a source that weekend. The person told me that there was some concern about an intercept that had been picked up. The incident that had gotten everyone's attention was a conversation between two members of Al Qaida. And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the Cole. And one Al Qaida operative was overheard saying to the other, 'Don't worry; we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'

"And I was obviously floored by that information. I thought it was a very good story: (1) the source was impeccable; (2) the information was specific, tying Al Qaida operatives to, at least, knowledge of the attack on the Cole; and (3) they were warning that something big was coming, to which the United States would have to respond. This struck me as a major page one-potential story.

"I remember going back to work in New York the next day and meeting with my editor Stephen Engelberg. I was rather excited, as I usually get about information of this kind, and I said, 'Steve, I think we have a great story. And the story is that two members of Al Qaida overheard on an intercept (and I assumed that it was the National Security Agency, because that's who does these things) were heard complaining about the lack of American response to the Cole, but also … contemplating what would happen the next time, when there was, as they said, the impending major attack that was being planned. They said this was such a big attack that the U.S. would have to respond.' Then I waited.

"And Stephen said, 'That's great! Who were the guys overheard?'

"I said, 'Well, I don't know. I just know that they were both Al Qaida operatives.'

"'Where were they overheard?' Steve asked.

"Well, I didn't know where the two individuals were. I didn't know what countries they were in; I didn't know whether they were having a local call or a long-distance call.

"'What was the attack they were planning?' he said. 'Was it domestic, was it international, was it another military target, was it a civilian target?'

I didn't know.

'Had they discussed it?'

"I didn't know, and it was at that point that I realized that I didn't have the whole story. As Steve put it to me, 'You have a great first and second paragraph. What's your third?"'

Anatomy of a scoop

Stephen Engelberg confirms Miller's tale in all respects. Engelberg first mentioned the incident in an article by Douglas McCollam in the October 2005 edition of Columbia Journalism Review, which noted:


"Miller was naturally excited about the scoop and wanted the Times to go with the story. Engelberg, himself a veteran intelligence reporter, wasn't so sure. There had been a lot of chatter about potential attacks; how did they know this was anything other than big talk? Who were these guys? What country were they in? How had we gotten the intercept? Miller didn't have any answers, and Engelberg didn't think they could publish without more context. Miller agreed to try and find out more, but in the end, the story never ran."

In a recent interview, Engelberg expanded on his comments. "I recall thinking it made perfect sense at the time," Engelberg told us. "The Cole attack was out of character -- unlike the Africa embassy attacks, the Millennium plot, the earlier World Trade Center bombing.

"That weekend, pre-4th of July, everybody was nervous," said Engelberg. "Judy went down to check with the White House and the NSC types at the Old Executive Office Building and CTC. And she came back in and had the story. And I knew the source.

"Judy had two guys talking, but no names or details," Engelberg recalled. "One guy says, 'The U.S. didn't retaliate for the Cole.' And the other guy says the coming attack 'will be so big they're gonna have to retaliate.' But no details … Judy had the what but not the who and the where.

"I said, 'Check with the CIA, NSA, DIA,'" Engelberg remembered. "But we couldn't get anything that week."

Interview with Judith Miller:

"I realized that this information was enormously sensitive, and that it was going to be difficult to get more information, but that my source undoubtedly knew more. So I promised to Steve that I would go back and try to get more. And I did … try.

"He knew who my source was. He knew that the source was impeccable. I had also confirmed from a second source that such a conversation had taken place -- that there was such an intercept -- though my second source did not seem to know as much about the content of the intercept as the first source did. But that was enough for me to know that there was a good story there.

"But whoever knew about the 'who' and the 'where' was not willing tell me at that time. After the fact I was told that, 'The bad guys were in Yemen on this conversation.' I didn't know that at that time. I remember knowing that the person who'd told me seemed to know who had been overheard, but he was not about to share that information with me …

"And Washington being Washington, and the CT world being the CT world, I was soon off pursuing other things. I simply couldn't nail it down with more specificity. I argued at that time that it was worth going with just what we had, even if it was vague, that the fact that the Al Qaida was planning something that was so spectacular that we have to respond was worth getting into the paper in some way, shape or form. But I think Steve decided, and I ultimately agreed, that we needed more details. And I simply couldn't pry them loose.

"At the time I also had had a book coming out. Steve, Bill Broad and I were co-authors of a book about biological terrorism. So we were working flat out on that book trying to meet our deadline. I was desperately trying to get my arms around this series that we were trying to do on Al Qaida. I was having a lot of trouble because the information was very hard to come by. There was a lot going on. I was also doing biological weapons stories and homeland security stories. And in Washington, if you don't have a sense of immediacy about something, and if you sense that there is bureaucratic resistance to a story, you tend to focus on areas of less resistance.

"Our pub date was Sept. 10th. I remember I was very worried about whether or not the publisher was actually going to get copies of the books to the warehouses in time. Because of course, Steve, Bill and I had delivered the manuscript late -- everything was very late.

"The morning of Sept. 11, I was downtown about 12 blocks from the World Trade Center. I remember walking to a school around the corner with a very clear view of the World Trade Center, because it was just a few blocks away. And all I can remember thinking was, 'Are they going to get those books to the warehouses on time?' I was also trying to make up my mind who I was going to vote for in the New York Democratic Primary. And -- everybody says this -- it was one of most beautiful days in New York I ever remember!

"When I got to the Baxter School, there were people standing out in front of the school, pointing at the World Trade Center, which was on fire, and I looked up. I asked what had happened, and they said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. There was an awfully big gash in the building and I didn't see the plane, but there was an awful lot of smoke and I thought, 'Gosh! That was a pretty big space for a Cessna or something to have gotten into that building.'

"And here I had spent my whole summer, my whole past year thinking about an Al Qaida attack, and I yet wouldn't let myself believe that it was happening right then. I simply wouldn't believe. So I turned around without voting, without going into the building, and I started to call my CT sources in Washington, and I remember reaching the counter-terrorism office at the White House, and I was told that nobody was there, that all of the principals were out giving speeches or doing something else. And I said, 'OK, I'll try to call back in 15 minutes.'

"By that time I walked to my house a couple of blocks away, and I heard a boom, and I turned around and once again I didn't see the plane, but I saw the fire shoot out from the building from the plane.

"It was only then, after the second plane hit, that I allowed myself to believe that it really was a terrorist attack -- the attack that we had been so worried about for so long. And I think I was kind of amazed at myself, at the power of denial. When you don't want to believe something's happening, it does not, it's not happening! And I think that was what was going on in the intelligence community. The idea that Al Qaida would actually strike in the United States, not at the Cole or overseas, or in Jordan as part of a warning bombing plot, but here in the U.S., that was just kind of unthinkable! People were in the state of denial, as I was that morning.

"I remember calling back the White House that morning, and at that point, I talked to the secretary in the counter-terrorism office and she said: 'Nobody's here, Judy, and we're evacuating this building. I gotta go. Bye.' At that point, I hadn't even heard about the Pentagon attack, but I knew.

"It was very strange … it was a strange feeling to have written a series that virtually predicted this, and to have had not a single other reporter call, not a single other newspaper follow up on some of the information that we had broken in that series. At the time of the series, which was published in January 2001, we had information about chemical and biological experiments at Al Qaida camps.

We had gotten the location of the camps, we had gotten satellite overhead of the camps. I had interviewed, in Afghanistan, Al Qaida-trained people who said that they were going to get out of the 'prison' in Afghanistan and go back and continue their jihad. They had talked about suicide bombings. We had Jordanian intelligence say that attempts to blow up hotels, roads and tourist targets in Jordan over the millennium was part of the Al Qaida planned attack. And yet I guess people just didn't believe it. But I believed it. I believed it absolutely, because I've covered these militants for so long. There was nothing they wouldn't do if they could do it."

The one that got away

Like Miller, Steve Engelberg, now managing editor of the Oregonian in Portland, still thinks about that story that got away. "More than once I've wondered what would have happened if we'd run the piece?" he told the CJR. "A case can be made that it would have been alarmist, and I just couldn't justify it, but you can't help but think maybe I made the wrong call."

Engelberg told us the same thing. "On Sept. 11th, I was standing on the platform at the 125th Street station," he remembered ruefully more than four years later. "I was with a friend, and we both saw the World Trade Center burning and saw the second one hit. 'It's Al-Qaida!' I yelled. 'We had a heads-up!' So yes, I do still have regrets."

So does Judy Miller.

"I don't remember what I said to Steve on Sept. 11," she concluded in her interview with us. "I don't think we said anything at all to each other. He just knew what I was thinking, and I knew what he was thinking. We were so stunned by what was happening, and there was so much to do, and I think that was the day in which words just fail you.

"So I sometimes think back, and Steve and I have talked a few times about the fact that that story wasn't fit, and that neither one of us pursued it at that time with the kind of vigor and determination that we would have had we known what was going to happen. And I always wondered how the person who sent that [intercept] warning must have felt.

"You know, sometimes in journalism you regret the stories you do, but most of the time you regret the ones that you didn't do."

banyon
05-18-2006, 09:52 AM
:cuss: Clinton (righties)/"Liberal Media" (lefties)

jAZ
05-18-2006, 10:08 AM
"Everyone in Washington was very spun-up in the CT world at that time. I think everybody knew that an attack was coming -- everyone who followed this. But you know you can only 'cry wolf' within a newspaper or, I imagine, within an intelligence agency, so many times before people start saying there he goes -- or there she goes -- again!
They had no idea?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml

Ashcroft Flying High

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001

Fishing rod in hand, Attorney General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.

In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.

"There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.

A senior official at the CIA said he was unaware of specific threats against any Cabinet member, and Ashcroft himself, in a speech in California, seemed unsure of the nature of the threat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

www.msnbc.com/news/907379.asp?0cv=KA01

The Secrets of September 11
The White House is battling to keep a report on the terror attacks secret. Does the 2004 election have anything to do with it?

April 30 — Even as White House political aides plot a 2004 campaign plan designed to capitalize on the emotions and issues raised by the September 11 terror attacks, administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of key events relating to the attacks.

****

Some sources who have read the still-secret congressional report say some sections would not play quite so neatly into White House plans. One portion deals extensively with the stream of U.S. intelligence-agency reports in the summer of 2001 suggesting that Al Qaeda was planning an upcoming attack against the United States—and implicitly raises questions about how Bush and his top aides responded. One such CIA briefing, in July 2001, was particularly chilling and prophetic. It predicted that Osama bin Laden was about to launch a terrorist strike “in the coming weeks,” the congressional investigators found. The intelligence briefing went on to say: “The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”

The substance of that intelligence report was first disclosed at a public hearing last September by staff director Hill. But at the last minute, Hill was blocked from saying precisely who within the Bush White House got the briefing when CIA director Tenet classified the names of the recipients. (One source says the recipients of the briefing included Bush himself.) As a result, Hill was only able to say the briefing was given to “senior government officials.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node...

Summer Spinning
To GOP, Vacation Boosted Bush Agenda; To Democrats, Voters See a Shirk Ethic
Aug 29, <2001>

<snip>The White House had announced that Bush would stay at his 1,600-acre ranch in Crawford from Aug. 4 through Labor Day on Sept. 3, a 31-day stretch that would have broken a modern record for a presidential vacation, held by Richard M. Nixon for a 30-day trip to San Clemente, Calif., in 1969. News reports played up the record, and a Gallup Poll found that 55 percent of respondents thought Bush's vacation was too long.

The length of the trip revived old questions about Bush's work ethic, and the poll and the news coverage caused consternation in the White House. Aides said they had planned an ambitious schedule for Bush as long ago as late June, but reporters were not told about it, even after they landed here. The White House, suddenly defensive, took every opportunity to show Bush on the go and even created a "Western White House" logo for the briefing room at Crawford Elementary School. Bush revealed that his ranch had new video conferencing equipment for keeping in touch with his national security team.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.jacksonholenews.com/Archives/NewsArchive/2001/01081...

News story - Aug. 15, 2001
A Working Vacation
Vice President Cheney plans to fish, travel during month-long valley sojourn.
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Vice President Dick Cheney took time off from his month-long working vacation Monday to outline his plans for August in Jackson Hole and to reflect on "an amazing year."

Cheney, who will live at his Teton Pines home about six miles west of Jackson until Labor Day, defended his energy policy, supported a local decision to limit drilling around the Gros Ventre Wilderness, recalled a life of service in Washington and said his health problems are not affecting his ability to fish for trout on his favorite Western waters.

Amnorix
05-18-2006, 09:03 PM
IMHO everything in the articles cited by you Jaz is so vague and inspecific as to be "unactionable" on any kind of specific basis.

There's a big difference between preventing an attack on the Twin Towers and preventing "something big" that "the US will have to respond".

By far the most damning piece of evidence, to me, is the Ashcroft flying on leased planes snippet. This should be looked into by Congress/media for more specifics as to why that decision was made.

And I'm confused by the references to Bush/Cheney being on vacation. Is that supposed to mean that they ran and hid from DC or other high profile targets? I'm not sure what the point is. Late summer is usually VERY empty in DC among top-notch politicos -- Congress and the SC in recess, and it's like 100 degrees with 95% humidity every damn day. I would be on vacation too...

irishjayhawk
05-18-2006, 11:05 PM
IMHO everything in the articles cited by you Jaz is so vague and inspecific as to be "unactionable" on any kind of specific basis.

There's a big difference between preventing an attack on the Twin Towers and preventing "something big" that "the US will have to respond".

By far the most damning piece of evidence, to me, is the Ashcroft flying on leased planes snippet. This should be looked into by Congress/media for more specifics as to why that decision was made.

And I'm confused by the references to Bush/Cheney being on vacation. Is that supposed to mean that they ran and hid from DC or other high profile targets? I'm not sure what the point is. Late summer is usually VERY empty in DC among top-notch politicos -- Congress and the SC in recess, and it's like 100 degrees with 95% humidity every damn day. I would be on vacation too...

Ashcroft and Rice both cancelled their scheduled flights for 9/11.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 12:36 AM
Ashcroft and Rice both cancelled their scheduled flights for 9/11.
So did Mayor Willie Brown (of SF) who was flying to NYC on 9/11... as did a number of high level pentagon officials.

Amnorix,

The point to consider with the three quoted articles was that in the months when terrorism alerts were on higest alerts (according to the CT reports) and only 7 months into their first term... the Bush administration decided it was time to take a 1 month working vaction in Texas (longest sustained absence by a President from DC in modern history... and never again repeated after 9/11).

It's all circumstantial stuff, no doubt, but it's all equally questionable behavior and equally unaddressed by the 9/11 commission.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 12:38 AM
IMHO everything in the articles cited by you Jaz is so vague and inspecific as to be "unactionable" on any kind of specific basis.
The CT folks (I assume Richard Clarke) trying to get a meeting with Bush to address these issues didn't feel it was "unactionable".

patteeu
05-19-2006, 05:22 AM
Is "WOW" how they say *yawn* in Arizona?

It seems like quite a stretch to call what the NYTimes did a cover up. They, reasonably in my opinion, didn't think they had enough for a story at the time. Of course, in the wake of 9/11, armed with hindsight, it looks different, but decisions like this have to be made without the benefit of hindsight.

It's after-the-fact, hindsight-enabled criticisms like this that encourage the government to push the envelope of their privacy-invading powers to increase their chances of "connecting the dots" next time, IMO.

patteeu
05-19-2006, 05:26 AM
Links to all the cancelled flight claims? Have these people cancelled filghts on other dates? What were the reasons they gave for cancelling these flights?

Amnorix
05-19-2006, 07:30 AM
So did Mayor Willie Brown (of SF) who was flying to NYC on 9/11... as did a number of high level pentagon officials.

Amnorix,

The point to consider with the three quoted articles was that in the months when terrorism alerts were on higest alerts (according to the CT reports) and only 7 months into their first term... the Bush administration decided it was time to take a 1 month working vaction in Texas (longest sustained absence by a President from DC in modern history... and never again repeated after 9/11).

It's all circumstantial stuff, no doubt, but it's all equally questionable behavior and equally unaddressed by the 9/11 commission.

I really don't know what this is supposed to mean. Who made a mistake? What did the government do that they shouldn't have done? Or what did they not do that they should've done?

And citing Willie Brown, a controversial Democrat mayor of one of the most liberal cities in America, to support some kind of conspriacy by a bunch of Republicans...? :eek:

It's all so non-specific that I don't see anything damning there. Sure -- follow up with some inquiries, etc., but I'm hardly screaming from the rooftops about the incompetence or evils of the federal government over what I've read here...

Velvet_Jones
05-19-2006, 08:04 AM
I really don't know what this is supposed to mean. Who made a mistake? What did the government do that they shouldn't have done? Or what did they not do that they should've done?

And citing Willie Brown, a controversial Democrat mayor of one of the most liberal cities in America, to support some kind of conspriacy by a bunch of Republicans...? :eek:

It's all so non-specific that I don't see anything damning there. Sure -- follow up with some inquiries, etc., but I'm hardly screaming from the rooftops about the incompetence or evils of the federal government over what I've read here...
Come on Amno. He’s being a fuggin idiot like he is every other day.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 09:38 AM
I really don't know what this is supposed to mean. Who made a mistake? What did the government do that they shouldn't have done? Or what did they not do that they should've done?

And citing Willie Brown, a controversial Democrat mayor of one of the most liberal cities in America, to support some kind of conspriacy by a bunch of Republicans...? :eek:

It's all so non-specific that I don't see anything damning there. Sure -- follow up with some inquiries, etc., but I'm hardly screaming from the rooftops about the incompetence or evils of the federal government over what I've read here...
You seem to be trying to hold this article and these facts to a higher and broader standard than they are meant for. They don't address any "incompetence" per se... they simply support (incompletely and circumstantially at this point) the question of "what did they know and when did they know it".

This is not (nor does it need to be, nor is it intended to be) the all encompassing, completely damning set of facts that prove TJ's *they did it* theory.

It simply addresses the commonly held, deliberately disseminated, apparently false belief that the Bush Administration had no idea 9/11 was coming, and in fact they could not have known.

There is little more to "get" about about set of facts.

There is a great deal more to look at when it comes to massive incompetence or deliberate attempts to look the other way. This is essentially unrelated (or at best tangently related) to that discussion.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 09:39 AM
Come on Amno. He’s being a fuggin idiot like he is every other day.
Strong contributions as per usual. Good just VJ. :thumb:

patteeu
05-19-2006, 11:29 AM
You seem to be trying to hold this article and these facts to a higher and broader standard than they are meant for. They don't address any "incompetence" per se... they simply support (incompletely and circumstantially at this point) the question of "what did they know and when did they know it".

This is not (nor does it need to be, nor is it intended to be) the all encompassing, completely damning set of facts that prove TJ's *they did it* theory.

It simply addresses the commonly held, deliberately disseminated, apparently false belief that the Bush Administration had no idea 9/11 was coming, and in fact they could not have known.

There is little more to "get" about about set of facts.

There is a great deal more to look at when it comes to massive incompetence or deliberate attempts to look the other way. This is essentially unrelated (or at best tangently related) to that discussion.

No one has ever claimed that there weren't pre-9/11 "dots." The question is whether or not it is reasonable to believe that someone *should have* been able to connect those "dots" in a way that would make them capable of preventing the attack.

Your use of "WOW" and "cover-up" and "WH/NSA pre-9/11 knowledge of pending attacks" leads one to believe you are trying to assert more than just the non-controversial notion that there were some "dots."

Taco John
05-19-2006, 11:39 AM
No one has ever claimed that there weren't pre-9/11 "dots." The question is whether or not it is reasonable to believe that someone *should have* been able to connect those "dots" in a way that would make them capable of preventing the attack.

Your use of "WOW" and "cover-up" and "WH/NSA pre-9/11 knowledge of pending attacks" leads one to believe you are trying to assert more than just the non-controversial notion that there were some "dots."


I believe that's what Judith Miller is trying to say, no?

jAZ
05-19-2006, 12:08 PM
No one has ever claimed that there weren't pre-9/11 "dots." The question is whether or not it is reasonable to believe that someone *should have* been able to connect those "dots" in a way that would make them capable of preventing the attack.

Your use of "WOW" and "cover-up" and "WH/NSA pre-9/11 knowledge of pending attacks" leads one to believe you are trying to assert more than just the non-controversial notion that there were some "dots."
The issue of "cover up" is that of the NYTimes not reporting on this stuff before or *after* 9/11.

And as for the rest, it is more than a question of *dots* and *should have connecteds*. it is a question of did they do what we needed and expected be done (either in comparison to an ideal world, or at least the world Clinton left for us).

The facts (not from this article) suggest that indeed, they did fumble the handoff from Clinton to 9/11. Was that deliberate? Was it incopetence? Would Clinton's approach have prevented 9/11?

Some of this we can know and haven't ever looked into as a nation. Others of this we can never know, but each form our instinctive opinions.

All I have called for is acceptance of that LIHOP and massive incomptence of the Bush Administration pre9/11 are issues that have never been properly investigated (mostly for polical reasons). And they deserpately need to be addressed for any sort of closure to happen.

patteeu
05-19-2006, 01:29 PM
I believe that's what Judith Miller is trying to say, no?

That's not how I read it. Judith Miller says that she couldn't even put the dots together when the first plane hit the WTC so I find it unlikely that she'd be claiming the administration *should* have been able to put them together early enough to stop the attack. In any event, I didn't see her making those claims in this article.

patteeu
05-19-2006, 01:39 PM
The issue of "cover up" is that of the NYTimes not reporting on this stuff before or *after* 9/11.

And as for the rest, it is more than a question of *dots* and *should have connecteds*. it is a question of did they do what we needed and expected be done (either in comparison to an ideal world, or at least the world Clinton left for us).

The facts (not from this article) suggest that indeed, they did fumble the handoff from Clinton to 9/11. Was that deliberate? Was it incopetence? Would Clinton's approach have prevented 9/11?

Some of this we can know and haven't ever looked into as a nation. Others of this we can never know, but each form our instinctive opinions.

All I have called for is acceptance of that LIHOP and massive incomptence of the Bush Administration pre9/11 are issues that have never been properly investigated (mostly for polical reasons). And they deserpately need to be addressed for any sort of closure to happen.

What you call massive incompetence is what I call SOP for all pre-9/11 administrations, Republican and democrat alike. This IS just a question of whether or not the dots should have been connectable, there was no fumbling of the handoff from Clinton. You evaluate everything from the advantaged perspective of hindsight. The question that must be answered is whether or not their actions were reasonable without that hindsight to guide them. Again, it is this kind of BS from people like you who tempt the government to push the boundaries of our civil liberties so that they won't be blamed the next time something happens.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 01:55 PM
What you call massive incompetence is what I call SOP for all pre-9/11 administrations, Republican and democrat alike. This IS just a question of whether or not the dots should have been connectable, there was no fumbling of the handoff from Clinton. You evaluate everything from the advantaged perspective of hindsight. The question that must be answered is whether or not their actions were reasonable without that hindsight to guide them. Again, it is this kind of BS from people like you who tempt the government to push the boundaries of our civil liberties so that they won't be blamed the next time something happens.
Not all pre-911 mentalities are equal.

By all accounts, Clinton's administration had the threat of terrorism as the #1 national defense priority and their actions (while it is accurate to describe them as as pre-911 and different than post 9/11 activities) were given top priority.

The moment Bush took office, he moved terrorism to the back burner, demoted the counter terrorism czar, in theory moved the responsiblity for such actions to the VP's office, who in reality never acted upon that responsiblity. They provided the excuse that they were taking a fresh look at a comprehensive solution... by most accounts that fresh look was a focus on regime change in Iraq rather than a domestic threat of terrorist attack.

With their lack or action and urgency on what had been the #1 security priorty under Clinton, Bush (deliberately or otherwise) dropped the handoff from Clinton.

There has been nothing substantial to refute these facts, other than a blind assumption that these can't be the facts cause no one is that stupid.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 02:00 PM
The question that must be answered is whether or not their actions were reasonable without that hindsight to guide them.
Surrendering the focus on terrorism (the most serious threat facing our nation, as Clinton viewed it at the end of his term) and turning that focus onto missle defense and Iraq was not reasonable given the facts on the table at the time (USS Cole, chatter, bin Laden tapes, input of counter terrorism czar, etc).

The fact that 9/11 proved that Clarke, Clinton & Gore were right and Bush, Condi and Cheney were dead, dead wrong is simply inescapable, after-the-fact proof of who was right and who was wrong. As if that is even necessary given an honest assessment of the facts on the table at the time.

patteeu
05-19-2006, 02:42 PM
Not all pre-911 mentalities are equal.

By all accounts, Clinton's administration had the threat of terrorism as the #1 national defense priority and their actions (while it is accurate to describe them as as pre-911 and different than post 9/11 activities) were given top priority.

The moment Bush took office, he moved terrorism to the back burner, demoted the counter terrorism czar, in theory moved the responsiblity for such actions to the VP's office, who in reality never acted upon that responsiblity. They provided the excuse that they were taking a fresh look at a comprehensive solution... by most accounts that fresh look was a focus on regime change in Iraq rather than a domestic threat of terrorist attack.

With their lack or action and urgency on what had been the #1 security priorty under Clinton, Bush (deliberately or otherwise) dropped the handoff from Clinton.

There has been nothing substantial to refute these facts, other than a blind assumption that these can't be the facts cause no one is that stupid.

"By all/most accounts" means "by all/most accounts reported by Josh Marshall?"

You're obviously wedded to this Clinton-serving view of history, but it's far from being an established fact. Not because no one could be "that stupid" but because to the extent that some of these facts are facts (e.g. Clinton's terror czar, who hadn't really done much to speak of up to that point anyway, lost his portfolio), your recitation of them is overloaded with value judgements that are informed by post-9/11 hindsight. Others simply aren't facts (e.g. Bush moved terrorism to the back burner).

patteeu
05-19-2006, 03:06 PM
Surrendering the focus on terrorism (the most serious threat facing our nation, as Clinton viewed it at the end of his term) and turning that focus onto missle defense and Iraq was not reasonable given the facts on the table at the time (USS Cole, chatter, bin Laden tapes, input of counter terrorism czar, etc).

The fact that 9/11 proved that Clarke, Clinton & Gore were right and Bush, Condi and Cheney were dead, dead wrong is simply inescapable, after-the-fact proof of who was right and who was wrong. As if that is even necessary given an honest assessment of the facts on the table at the time.

We haven't played this out all the way yet. Let's stipulate that the Bush administration put missile defense ahead of terrorism on the priority list. If we are never successfully attacked by a North Korean ICBM as a result of missile defense or if the fruits of missile defense deter China from launching a nuclear first strike against us, it will have been well worth it in comparison to a few thousand lives lost to terrorism. How will we ever know? How can we know that if Bush had retained the services of anti-terror czar Richard Clarke, 9/11 would have been prevented? The answers to these questions are obviously that we won't ever know the answers. There is no connection that you can draw between decisions of the Bush administration and the success/failure tipping point of the 9/11 operation.

I'm not saying that results shouldn't be a factor in evaluating the success of an administration, but the only fair way to judge decisions is by evaluating them in light of what was known at the time of the decisions, not what is known long after those decisions were made. If you want to say that Bush failed because he put missile defense ahead of counter-terrorism and it turns out that terrorism bit us before a missile did, then I could just as legitimately say that Clinton failed because he didn't either capture or kill bin Laden during the 90's when he had numerous chances to do so.

jAZ
05-19-2006, 05:39 PM
I'm not saying that results shouldn't be a factor in evaluating the success of an administration, but the only fair way to judge decisions is by evaluating them in light of what was known at the time of the decisions, not what is known long after those decisions were made. If you want to say that Bush failed because he put missile defense ahead of counter-terrorism and it turns out that terrorism bit us before a missile did, then I could just as legitimately say that Clinton failed because he didn't either capture or kill bin Laden during the 90's when he had numerous chances to do so.
And I'm saying that the "results" don't need to be considered to question and object to the decisions that Bush made regarding terrorism, al Queda and our national defense in the months prior to 9/11.

As I said, the results are simply an additional and undeniable confirmation of what the priorities should have been. There is no doubt as to what they actually were. And there is effectively no room to debate that (even before 9/11) terrorism was the most immediate threat facing our nation.

patteeu
05-20-2006, 08:06 AM
And I'm saying that the "results" don't need to be considered to question and object to the decisions that Bush made regarding terrorism, al Queda and our national defense in the months prior to 9/11.

As I said, the results are simply an additional and undeniable confirmation of what the priorities should have been. There is no doubt as to what they actually were. And there is effectively no room to debate that (even before 9/11) terrorism was the most immediate threat facing our nation.

Using words like "undeniable" and "no room to debate" doesn't make it so. You are so blinded by your anti-Bush sentiments and the hindsight you can't shake that you just think it's undeniable and undebateable. I find it ridiculous to even take such a stand, but I guess this is just another situation where we will not come to any agreement by rehashing it over and over.

If Richard Clarke is your ground truth and if you want to continue to ignore all the unknowns about how things could have been different if Bush had uncritically accepted the Clintonian approach to foreign policy (including but not limited to terrorism) then I'm sure my arguments will never budge you from your delusions.

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 01:34 PM
Not all pre-911 mentalities are equal.

By all accounts, Clinton's administration had the threat of terrorism as the #1 national defense priority and their actions (while it is accurate to describe them as as pre-911 and different than post 9/11 activities) were given top priority.

The moment Bush took office, he moved terrorism to the back burner, demoted the counter terrorism czar, in theory moved the responsiblity for such actions to the VP's office, who in reality never acted upon that responsiblity. They provided the excuse that they were taking a fresh look at a comprehensive solution... by most accounts that fresh look was a focus on regime change in Iraq rather than a domestic threat of terrorist attack.

With their lack or action and urgency on what had been the #1 security priorty under Clinton, Bush (deliberately or otherwise) dropped the handoff from Clinton.

There has been nothing substantial to refute these facts, other than a blind assumption that these can't be the facts cause no one is that stupid.
Come on now. Your ability to ignore the facts which allows you to come to such a partisan conclusion is amazing.

The 911 leader Atta was being monitored by the CIA while living in Germany. It was known that Atta had gone to Afghanistan to meet with OBL and train in terrorism attacks. When he traveled to the United States in June of 2000 his surveillance was dropped by the FBI. This was a full 7 months before Bush even took office.

If terrorism was Clinton's number one priority he had a funny way of showing it by not making sure his intelligience agencies were communicating when it came to people known to be affiliated with OBL. Atta enters the country as a known OBL affiliate while Clinton is in office and it's Bush's fault for not finding him? Then there is the infamous tape of Clinton admitting he could have dealt for OBL's capture.

I find it laughable you're willing to condemn Bush for Katrina and how FEMA handled that disaster but decide to look the other way when it comes to evidence leading up to 911. The case could easily be made Clinton ignored and bumbled everything leading up to 911. But to do that you'd have to take into account a hindsight crystal ball.

The truth ends up being both administrations made mistakes and we are where we are.

To come to any other conclusion would also require us to rewrite the history books and blame FDR for Pearl Harbor.

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:03 PM
according to taco, fdr was flying the lead jap plane at pearl harbor...

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:05 PM
Come on now. Your ability to ignore the facts which allows you to come to such a partisan conclusion is amazing. . .after all this time, you're still amazed?

you are easily entertained, aren't you?? :p :p :p

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:15 PM
. . .The 911 leader Atta was being monitored by the CIA while living in Germany. It was known that Atta had gone to Afghanistan to meet with OBL and train in terrorism attacks. When he traveled to the United States in June of 2000 his surveillance was dropped by the FBI. This was a full 7 months before Bush even took office.

If terrorism was Clinton's number one priority he had a funny way of showing it by not making sure his intelligience agencies were communicating when it came to people known to be affiliated with OBL. . .i'm not sure, but didn't the seperation between church and state, er... i mean domestic law enforcement and international spying, evolve out of the nixon years and the reaction to using the government power for evil political ends?

iirc, that "wall" that seperated the cia/nsa from the fbi and other law enforcement agencies had been in effect since before clinton (although the problem was apparenly exacerbated by clinton's appointee gorelick) and is one of the primary reasons that we were unable to prevent 9/11 (at least in the form of hijacked airliners being used as missles)...

moreover, that wall wasn't created entirely by executive fiat...

unless i'm mistaken (always a distince possibility), there was a fair amount of congressional action that contributed to the erection and expansion of that wall...

if the fbi had been more receptive to important clues (read minnesota/zarqawi) and been able to communicate with and coordinate with the cia and other intelligence agencies, i actually think that the 9/11 airplane attacks might not have ever happened...

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:17 PM
. . .the infamous tape of Clinton admitting he could have dealt for OBL's capture. . .you wouldn't happen to have a link, would you?

i musta missed that one and i'd be very interested in seeing that...

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:21 PM
. . .The case could easily be made Clinton ignored and bumbled everything leading up to 911. . .a case can also be made that the republicans in the house bumbled things too, by forcing clinton to occupy himself defending the impeachment proceedings...

while both may or not be true, i don't think that either case can be made "easily" because there were so many other factors involved in the events surrounding 9/11...

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:26 PM
. . .The truth ends up being both administrations made mistakes and we are where we are. . .it wasn't just the administrations, it was the professional intelligence/law enforcement community too...

and congress has its share of blame too...

imo, all branches of government (except for liberal activist judges) were involved in the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks...

go bowe
05-20-2006, 02:30 PM
We haven't played this out all the way yet. Let's stipulate that the Bush administration put missile defense ahead of terrorism on the priority list. If we are never successfully attacked by a North Korean ICBM as a result of missile defense or if the fruits of missile defense deter China from launching a nuclear first strike against us, it will have been well worth it in comparison to a few thousand lives lost to terrorism. How will we ever know? How can we know that if Bush had retained the services of anti-terror czar Richard Clarke, 9/11 would have been prevented? The answers to these questions are obviously that we won't ever know the answers. There is no connection that you can draw between decisions of the Bush administration and the success/failure tipping point of the 9/11 operation.

I'm not saying that results shouldn't be a factor in evaluating the success of an administration, but the only fair way to judge decisions is by evaluating them in light of what was known at the time of the decisions, not what is known long after those decisions were made. If you want to say that Bush failed because he put missile defense ahead of counter-terrorism and it turns out that terrorism bit us before a missile did, then I could just as legitimately say that Clinton failed because he didn't either capture or kill bin Laden during the 90's when he had numerous chances to do so.i actually disagree with the bolded part...

it may be fair to evaluate decisions based on what was known at the time in order to determine if someone was lying/cherry picking/whatever at the time of the decision...

but evaluating the decison based on hindsight is also fair if you're trying to determine if the right decision was in fact made in terms of real world results versus reasonable likely outcomes if a different decision had been made...

Dave Lane
05-20-2006, 03:09 PM
Come on Amno. He’s being a fuggin idiot like he is every other day.


VELVET Shorten your damn location so I don't have to scroll 3 feet to the left to read this thread!!!!!

Dave

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 03:20 PM
according to taco, fdr was flying the lead jap plane at pearl harbor...

Does anyone REALLY know where George H Bush was on the morning of Dec. 7th? :)

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 03:27 PM
iirc, that "wall" that seperated the cia/nsa from the fbi and other law enforcement agencies had been in effect since before clinton (although the problem was apparenly exacerbated by clinton's appointee gorelick) and is one of the primary reasons that we were unable to prevent 9/11 (at least in the form of hijacked airliners being used as missles)...



You could be right.

But, if jAZ's assertion terrorism was Clinton's #1 national defense authority don't you think he would have done what he could to eliminate those walls (either publicly or behind the scenes)? I mean he took an oath to protect the American people and if he really perceived a true threat he should have done everything in his power to eliminate it.

Don't get me wrong here....I'm not blaming Clinton. I'm just shooting holes in the theory that Clinton was doing all he could to protect America from terrorism and then Bush just dropped the ball once he was elected.

Logical
05-20-2006, 03:28 PM
VELVET Shorten your damn location so I don't have to scroll 3 feet to the left to read this thread!!!!!

DaveThough it is entertaining I agree with you. I had to go back to IE because of things like this, I also had to turn off sigs because IE does not even prevent it with sigs or if people string too many letters/images together consecutively in their sigs. A moderator really needs to do some moderating in these instances.

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 03:29 PM
you wouldn't happen to have a link, would you?

i musta missed that one and i'd be very interested in seeing that...

There's a link to Clinton's speech in this URL. Don't pay attention to the political gibberish posted around the link.

http://www.lyingliar.com/lies/clintonosama.htm

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 03:30 PM
while both may or not be true, i don't think that either case can be made "easily" because there were so many other factors involved in the events surrounding 9/11...

Exactly.

mlyonsd
05-20-2006, 03:31 PM
imo, all branches of government (except for liberal activist judges) were involved in the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks...

Oh I don't know....in that audio link Clinton claims in 96 he had no legal right to take OBL into custody. Probably because he knew some commy pinko activist liberal judge would find a way to get him released. :p

go bowe
05-20-2006, 03:41 PM
Does anyone REALLY know where George H Bush was on the morning of Dec. 7th? :)ROFL ROFL ROFL

go bowe
05-20-2006, 03:43 PM
You could be right.

But, if jAZ's assertion terrorism was Clinton's #1 national defense authority don't you think he would have done what he could to eliminate those walls (either publicly or behind the scenes)? I mean he took an oath to protect the American people and if he really perceived a true threat he should have done everything in his power to eliminate it.

Don't get me wrong here....I'm not blaming Clinton. I'm just shooting holes in the theory that Clinton was doing all he could to protect America from terrorism and then Bush just dropped the ball once he was elected.that theory was so full of holes to begin with that i don't think dick cheney could have shot any more holes in it... :D :D :D

go bowe
05-20-2006, 03:58 PM
Oh I don't know....in that audio link Clinton claims in 96 he had no legal right to take OBL into custody. Probably because he knew some commy pinko activist liberal judge would find a way to get him released. :pi stand corrected...

all three branches were complicit - it was an inside job after all... :( :( :(

patteeu
05-21-2006, 07:36 AM
i actually disagree with the bolded part...

it may be fair to evaluate decisions based on what was known at the time in order to determine if someone was lying/cherry picking/whatever at the time of the decision...

but evaluating the decison based on hindsight is also fair if you're trying to determine if the right decision was in fact made in terms of real world results versus reasonable likely outcomes if a different decision had been made...

You're right and my statement took my position too far. I do still disagree with jAZ that 9/11 was a reasonably likely outcome of the policy decisions of the current president and I think he's discounting the likelihood of other possible outcomes of those decisions and of alternative policy decisions based on his hindsight-enabled knowledge that other outcomes didn't actually happen.

What I should have said is something more like "judging the reasonableness of a decision can only be done in light of the situation at the time of the decision including the reasonably likely outcomes of the available choices."

Velvet_Jones
05-22-2006, 07:49 AM
VELVET Shorten your damn location so I don't have to scroll 3 feet to the left to read this thread!!!!!

Dave
Chill out douche bag. I had no idea it was causing problems. That’s been my location since I joined. What’s weird is its not causing me problems. I’m running FireFox 1.0.6

Maybe if you neg-rep me some more you’ll get a faster response next time. Or were you just throwing a temper tantrum?

I fixed it. Thanks for being such a cunning stunt.

Velvet

jAZ
05-22-2006, 09:27 AM
I'm just shooting holes in the theory that Clinton was doing all he could to protect America from terrorism and then Bush just dropped the ball once he was elected.
This is not my "theory".

It's what you twist my theory into so that you can shoot holes in *something*.

There is a great wide chasm between "doing all he could" .... and ... making "the threat of terrorism as the #1 national defense priority". Something I tried to acknowledge by saying "it is accurate to describe (Clinton's actions) as as pre-911 (mentality) and different than post 9/11 activities".

And nothing you've said to date shoots any holes in the 2nd portion: that Bush dropped the ball by doing less than Clinton.

patteeu
05-22-2006, 09:43 AM
This is not my "theory".

It's what you twist my theory into so that you can shoot holes in *something*.

There is a great wide chasm between "doing all he could" .... and ... making "the threat of terrorism as the #1 national defense priority". Something I tried to acknowledge by saying "it is accurate to describe (Clinton's actions) as as pre-911 (mentality) and different than post 9/11 activities".

And nothing you've said to date shoots any holes in the 2nd portion: that Bush dropped the ball by doing less than Clinton.

How many Al Qaeda #3's did Clinton take out of the picture?