X-Message-Number: 23900
From: "Paul Pagnato" <>
Subject:  Berger & Rice
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 15:19:50 -0700


  Please read......and pass on.
April 15, 2004


If only Osama had faxed an X-marks-the-spot map to the
Crawford ranch showing the Pentagon, the Capitol, the twin
towers and the word "BOOM!" scrawled in Arabic. 

That might have sparked sluggish imaginations. Or maybe

Only a couple of weeks after the endlessly vacationing
President Bush got his Aug. 6, 2001, briefing with the
shivery headline "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,"
the C.I.A. chief, George Tenet, and other top agency
officials received a briefing about the arrest of Zacarias
Moussaoui after his suspicious behavior in a Minnesota
flight school. And that had another shivery headline:
"Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly." 

"The news had no evident effect" on prompting the C.I.A. to
warn anyone, according to the drily rendered report of the
9/11 commission's staff, which faults the agency for
management miasma and Al Qaeda myopia, citing a failure to
make a "comprehensive estimate of the enemy." 

Asked by the commission member Timothy Roemer about whether
he had shared this amazing news at a Sept. 4 meeting with
Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard
Clarke - the meeting on Al Qaeda that Mr. Clarke had been
urgently begging for since January - Mr. Tenet said no.
Asked if he had ever mentioned it to Mr. Bush in August,
during a month of "high chatter and huge warnings," Mr.
Tenet said no. 

The Man Whose Hair Was Allegedly on Fire told the
commissioners that he had not talked to the president at
all in August. Mr. Bush was in Texas, and he was in
Washington. Or he was on vacation, and the president was in
Texas. Quel high alert. 

After the hearing, Mr. Tenet had an aide call reporters to
say he had misspoken, that he had briefed the president
twice in August, in Crawford on Aug. 17 for a morning
briefing he deemed unexceptional and again in Washington on
Aug. 31. 

I'm not sure whether Mr. Tenet - a mystifyingly beloved
figure even though he was in charge during the two biggest
intelligence failures since Pearl Harbor and the Bay of
Pigs - has a faulty memory, which is scary. Or if he's
fuzzing things up because he told the president more
specifics than he wants to admit. But in a town where
careers are made on face time with the president, it's
fishy that the head spook can't remember a six-hour trip to
Crawford for some. 

In a commission staff report, there is a stark
juxtaposition of Sandy Berger's approach before the
millennium and Condi Rice's before 9/11. 

"Berger, in particular, met or spoke constantly with Tenet
and Attorney General Reno," the report said. "He visited
the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. on Christmas Day 1999 to raise
the morale of exhausted officials." 

Condi and her deputy, Steve Hadley, did not stoop to mere
domestic work. "Rice and Hadley told us that before 9/11,
they did not feel they had the job of handling domestic
security." They left that up to Dick Clarke to broker, the
same guy Dick Cheney said "wasn't in the loop." 

Maybe Condi's confusion about her job - that it entailed
national security as well as being the president's foreign
policy governess and workout partner - explains why so many
critical clues went into the black holes of the F.B.I. and
the C.I.A. 

After the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy spoke to newspaper
publishers and said: "This administration intends to be
candid about its errors. For as a wise man once said, `An
error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct
it.' . . . Without debate, without criticism, no
administration and no country can succeed - and no republic
can survive." 

Compare Kennedy with Mr. Bush, who conceded no errors and
warned that any Vietnam analogy with Iraq - in this acid
flashback moment when 64 U.S. troops were reported to have
died last week and when McNarummy is forcing up to 20,000
troops to stay in Iraq - "sends the wrong message to our
troops and sends the wrong message to the enemy." 

He reiterated that his mission is dictated from above:
"Freedom is the almighty's gift to every man and woman in
this world." 

Given the Saudi religious authority's fatwa against our
troops, and given that our marines are surrounding a cleric
in the holy city of Najaf, we really don't want to make
Muslims think we're fighting a holy war. That would only
further inflame the Arab world and endanger our
overstretched military, so let's hope that Mr. Bush's
reference to the almighty was to Dick Cheney. 

 Content-Type: text/html;


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=23900