The Corner

More Re: 9/11 Hearings

Individual Commissioners picking up on themes they’ve pursued before.

For example, Sen. Bob Kerrey: There was plenty of information publicly

available during the Clinton administration that would have allowed

Clinton to make the case for going to war as early as 1997, and

certainly by 1998. (He also added that there was cause for Bush to have

acted in the months before 9/11.) Through the panel witnesses (U.S.

Attorney Fitzgerald, FBI Special Agent Debbie Doran, some CIA people),

Kerrey marshaled evidence that by 1998 we knew, for example, about al

Qaeda’s role in killing U.S. forces in Somalia in 1993; in 1996 OBL

expressly declared war against, and urged attacks on, the U.S. military;

and in early 1998, OBL expanded that declaration of war to a fatwa to

kill Americans–including civilians–wherever on earth they could be

found. Leaving aside the failure meaningfully to respond to this and

other publicly available information, Kerrey pointed stressed the

inexplicable failure to account for much of what was publicly known

about the OBL threat in the CIA’s annual National Intelligence Estimates

during that time. He also marveled at how much more edifying information

was publicly available through what came out in court during the 2001

trial of the embassy bombing trial than what was given to President Bush

in the infamous August 6 memo. Kerrey said, not really joking, that it

would have been a lot better to send Pat Fitzgerald to brief the

President on August 6, 2001 than to send the CIA’s memo.

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