The Corner

The 9/11 Hearings

A friend sent me this last night: “Not helpful was

today’s hearings. The questions usually began with some rheorical

grandstanding and then dissolved into broad assertions that missed most

of what happened. Listening to Kerrey for instance, you’d think that the

NYPD would have been unaware of Al Qaeda without warnings from the White


NB: If this is right, it suggests that some Commissioners (can you,

ahem, possibly guess which ones?) are planning to skew their report in

favor of Richard Clarke’s nonsense about how, when he led the Clinton

Admin to “battle stations” in 2000, the purportedly dire (but utterly

uninformative and largely unknown) terrorism alerts they put out

actually led to things like Ahmed Ressam’s arrest in Vancouver just

before the Millennium — which, remarkably, Clarke takes credit for in

his book, and Commissioners like Jamie Gorelick have credited Clinton

with during the brethren-and-sister’s not-at-all-politicized public


In fact, recall from the media reporting that Ressam (with his trunk

full of explosives and map of LA Int’l Airport) was stopped at the

border by an alert Customs agent who suspected he might be a drug

smuggler, not a terrorist. The Customs agent had never heard about any

alerts from the White House. As people involved would tell you if

asked, the information flow tends to go FROM the field TO Washington.

Only in the self-absorption of Beltway-world is it possible to delude

oneself into thinking the reverse could be true. Down here on Planet

Earth, if it went the other way around, there would be a lot more 9/11s.


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