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May 18, 2006


It still amazes me that Bushco apparently didn't pay any political price for Clarke's revelations. Maybe now that the teflon has worn off, Americans are going to start asking the kind of questions about Bush's response to warnings before 9/11 that we're willing to ask about his response to warnings about Katrina. Might be a good idea to bring back a lot of old stories that didn't get any traction the first time.


That may be another reason why this story reappeared. It's a way to further discredit the people (Condi, Rummy, and Wolfie, as well as Dick and Scooter) who refused to attend to terrorism while they still could.

Don't take anything Bushco says at face value. It wasn't that they saw states like Iraq as more of a threat -- it was that they had to create that "reality" in order to invade and loot them (which I believe they would have done even if 9/11 had never happened).

They don't want the truth in this White House, and they never did. Especially not of Iraq. (Hat tip to Laura Rozen.) I agree the old stories should be resurrected. Too few people were willing to believe them in 2004, but it may be different now, and the fact that so little oversdight has ensued is reason to throw the whole lot out.

Wasn't Tenent running around with his "hair on fire" telling anyone who would listen that the sh*t was about to hit the fan? Judy may be telling the truth, but I don't think she had to move the geraniums to get it.

Um, George Tenant. First day with the new fingers.


Yeah, that's my point. Though given the details in her story I think Clarke or someone near him was her source, not Tenet.

Both the Columbia Journalism Review and Harpers links you and your group have provided above are excellent.

A few related concepts:
ew has followed NYT administration realignments; somewhere in my desultory reading of the news I mixed the identies of several editors there, Robert Scheer, formerly LAT, who continues to write online elsewhere, and "Steve Engelberg, now managing editor of the Oregonian in Portland". I thought ew had threads in 2005 on both of those editors.
I thought that Richard Clarke spoke at the National Press Club around the time of his resignation, and his introduction was prefaced by the facetious and true remark that he was a 'card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union'. I think the allusion was to the Bush-1 campaign putdown of Dukakis for belonging to ACLU; but that is for the cognoscenti to opine. Clarke's departure, like Tenet's later, struck me as a sincere effort to select an altruistic course for one's career; and, given their area of expertise, there is little they can say even once again civilianized.

Judy knew about 9-11 and did nothing ???

Didn't we just sentence a guy to life in prision for that ???

who else knew and did nothing ???

george bush, dick cheney, condiliar rice, rummy, tenet, ashcroft

shouldn't we try these people just like Zakirias Mousoui ???

That's exactly what I thought when I read it over at Talk Left, EW.

Could this be push-back after the latest volley from Libby's attorneys and how it's now obvious that they will be out for her on the witness stand?

A sort of, well now that I can see the gloves are off, don't forget I've got some great stories that never saw the light of day about the administration.

Since Judy spent three months in jail and has basically been left out in the cold by Libby et al and BushCo, perhaps this is her version of f**k you to those in the White House?

FDL regular drifting over here, hoping you'll indulge an OT "guess you had to be there" follow-up comment.

to emptywheel, re mr.emptywheel.bogspot.caam:

I trust his first name is not Peat.

ew - any thoughts about why judy aired this story in this manner? i.e. in an interview rather than an article, and in an interview with these people (who i'm not familiar with)?

Off Topic

Thought this was interesting...from Clemons on Armitage

What Inman shared with some of us -- and this was a repeated assertion from comments that I have confirmed that he made in Austin -- is that the person in Patrick Fitzgerald's bull's eye is Richard Armitage.

I have written about Armitage many times in the past and hope that this rumor is incorrect.

But I do believe that Armitage was possibly a key source for Dana Priest and Mike Allen early in the Plame outing story and wrote such in November 2005. I don't have more information on whether Armitage was Novak's source or not -- and what legal consequences there might be, if any, if that was the case. I always assumed that Armitage was cooperating closely with Fitzgerald and would not be in any legal jeopardy.

After all, Armitage was recently knighted and a new oil firm board member.

But Inman stating this matters.

For those who attended the Princeton meetings who will no doubt read this and who may be surprised by my reporting Inman's comments -- do understand that I have been able to confirm that Admiral Inman made the same comments in other venues.

Inman stating that Richard Armitage is the target of indictment is news and could have some veracity because of who Inman is.
TWN 5/18/06

nevermind, reading the TWN thread now and see your comment.

Sorry, very off topic
I pulled this off the Dana Priest's online discussion today at the WaPo. The fact that Dana even published it is significant, imo, I hope she runs with it.
"Milwaukee, WI: Dana, thanks for all your great work. ATT, Verizon, and Bell South now claim they gave nothing away with respect to telephone records. emptywheel, a blogger at thenexthurrah, has suggested based on prior reporting from Risen and Lichtblau that these three telecoms gave the NSA access to their switches. She continues: "So yeah, the Telecoms may be technically correct. They didn't give the data to NSA--or have it taken from them. They just opened the backdoor and allowed the NSA to waltz right in and take what they wanted." Just wondered if you had an opinion on this?

Dana Priest: That's certainly a possibility."

I'll tell you where's Judy's cr*pping... Hayden was The Man who had authority over listening in on Al Queda zombies discussing a 911 summer attack and who must have happily conformed to Condi's (fossilized anti-Soviet threat paranoia, ignore Al Queda, ignore Clark and Tenet?) tunnel vision.

Judy may have had been getting it on the other end from Bolton or Cheney and told not to write the article giving lame excuses as she was not one to listen to editors. They wanted an excuse to attack Iraq. Steve Engelberg, her editor at the time was the only one who was known to be able to restrain her.

One of the most interesting remarks on Miller in recent days came from an ex-Timesman. On NPR's "Morning Edition" of August 3, her former boss for investigations at The Times, Steve Engleberg, who was known for being a restraining influence on her, told David Folkenflik that Miller builds trust with sources because she shares "their obsessions and passions." But he cautioned that once a reporter "fishes in the waters that the intelligence services fish in" that water can include "charlatans and fabricators" (he did not mention Miller's friend Ahmad Chalabi by name.

William E. Jackson, Jr.

  The timing does seem like she is sharpening her claws for Libby. We'll see... I for one do not trust her.

Thanks for this excellent analysis, emptywheel. I believe Judy, no reason not to. I think she's still full of it and have a strong feeling that Judy's interview is payback to Libby, et al. and everyone else who called hackery at her WMD antics. Her ego as it's own zipcode.

Beyond that, I'm intrigued with BushCo's failure to respond to Clarke and their "that's so Clinton era" attitude toward threats of terrorism. Tenet, Clarke, and many others urging Bush and Condi to pay attention were Clinton leftovers. I'm also surprised that no one yet (even in the face of the Huffington Post column) has noted that the NSA came up with the intelligence with nowhere near their current intrusive power.

The Clarke relationship with Judy goes back well into the Clinton years. Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin cite Miller as one of the few national reporters who took any interest in Terrorism and al-Qaeda, and then note that after Clinton's impeachment trial was over, the first one on one interview he granted was to Judy, and it dealt with their mutual interest in biological warfare. (See Age of Sacred Terror, p. 365). Clarke was part of arranging that interview, having earlier called Judy's book to Clinton's attention. For Richard Clarke, I read the relationship as a fairly straightforward set-up -- Mutual interests and she wrote for the NYTimes.

It really is hard to reconstruct elements of the situation pre-1/11, but I had two intimations that clouds were on the horizon and people were worried. I remember being fascinated that summer with reports that Imams were theologically justifying suicide bombing -- and after spending some time looking through my then much smaller library about Islam for a useful construct for understanding the reports -- eventually I found some sites on the web with argumenatative essays out of London, and spent a long Sunday reading through them and trying to get a fix on the underlying ideas. We have a retired Professor from a Lutheran Seminary living here on the block, and while out dog walking I asked him if he had any ideas about the matter. He too had been thinking about it, and promised to ask around the faculty to see if anything was being discussed in Theological Journals. I also asked my friend State Senator John Marty if he could ask his dad, Martin Marty about the question -- but the towers were knocked down before he got back to me. In fact John Marty told me that he only remembered to ask his dad about my question while watching the TV coverage of the burning towers. I know I was asking the question because of TV coverage that summer of the suicide bombings in Israel and the stories and interviews with various Imams in on the debate. And I would make the point that since then, one of the potential communities of commentators we have not heard much from since 911 is the Comparative Religion folk and the more sophisticated mainstream academic theologians. We just get Falwell and Robertson and their ilk.

The other thing not widely broadcast in the rest of the US -- but fairly well known here in Minnesota -- is that the Zacaris Moussaoui arrest did set off a bit of a titter here between his mid August Arrest, and 911. Apparently what happened was that not being able to move the FBI Bureaucracy in DC, the local FBI took what they knew to the Joint Taskforce, which includes local prosecutors, County Sherrif offices, local police and alland they considered the possibility he had local contacts, and might have been planning something local. They put additional security on Jewish targets, (Community Center, Local Synagogues and the like) and also added security to the State Fair which runs through Labor Day. I think the Highway Partol flew their plane (a little 4 seater) as cover over the Fair. On 911 the head of public relations for the police told me about this when we were in line to vote at the polls. In addition the local news station showed video of Moussaoui jumping and cheering as the towers burned -- it was security camera stuff from the local lock-up where he was being held -- and I was rather surprised they didn't show that tape at his trial. In fact the other inmates beat him up pretty bad before the guards could get him isolated. Anyhow while they did not have a press conference about him, it was widely known here locally that the FBI thought they had caught a big fish in mid August, and they went all out to get local law enforcement support for their suspicions. I suspect the reason the video was not shown at trial is because it also includes the inmates administering their own kind of Justice -- and the guards struggle to break up the fight.

I agree with those who think that this is "Judy pushback" at Libby and his friends. Judy's channelling Joan Crawford here "Don't FUCK with me, boys!"

Judy's went out of her way to "not recall" stuff about Libby in her testimony -- it was here notes that were the really damning information. For Libby's lawyers to be going after her now was just stupid ---- if they were smart, they would have waited for trial, and ambushed Judy to use her "faulty memory" to impeach the credibility of the notes themselves. Instead, they've put Miller on notice, and Miller HAS noticed.

I also believe Judy is telling the truth and her source most probably was Richard Clarke and/or his associates. Glad we are revisiting and hopefully, judy's interview will kick off some
renewed interest into pre-9/11 events from the MSM. I remember reading some reports after 9/11 that in the streets in Israel and Palestine that everyone knew (that summer, July/Aug) that a big event was going to happen in US. Who was it that reported this?

This is really rich. NOW Judy tells us about credible warnings of a major terrorist attack in early 2001 -- which she recieved, presumably, contemporaneously.

Did she report it at the time? Of course not.

She DID, however, pimp strenouslu for bogus WMDs, floating Knessets, etc.

I absolutely believe this story. But her reporting it now only shows to go how craven she is. It's both "Hey, look at me! Look at me!" and "Libby you you bastard, I'll show YOU. How's this for sharp elbows!"

Hi, EW -

I think you're right about this. This account by Judy of the Counter-terrorism alert that got ignored by the White House is essentially true, but it really tells us nothing new. It goes along with her Khadaffi piece in the WSJ the other day -- she's back, but essentially nothing has changed about her.

J.J. Angleton advised that disinformation only works when the source is usually truthful, and on this occasion she's playing according to that cardinal rule.

So, what was the source of the warnings that set fire to the heads of George Tenet and Richard Clarke in mid-summer, 2001? Again, this has all been on the record for a long time, but Judy would tell the general public more if she had added some background. Same holds true for Rory O'Connor and William Scott Malone's story, "The 9/11 Story That Got Away" (Alternet, May 18, 2006: http://www.alternet.org/story/36388. Put Judy's account together with the Alternet critique, and it still only gets you half-way there, because the following was left out: the UBL cells were only part of a much larger network of that U.S. intelligence had mapped out inside the US and around the world.

Quite simply put, the CIA, NSA and DIA were jointly conducting illegal, warrantless domestic surveillance before 9/11, and their main target were Saudi and Pakistani moneymen and intelligence officers operating inside the U.S. This network was of interest to counter-intelligence, counter-proliferation, and counter-terrorism units, with the latter being decided junior in the community pecking order.

It didn't help anyone that the Bush Administration had essentially a hold on legacy operations, and didn't want to do a thing until the scheduled September 12 Principals meeting, at which Condi's team was supposed to roll-out its own brand spanking new, all Bush-Cheney CT program.

Bear in mind that al-Qaeda made it very easy to track their primary operatives who planned and carried out the 9/11 and Cole attacks. Most of them met together in early January in Kuala Lumpur, and that planning summit was videotaped by the CIA and a half dozen allied intelligence agencies.

Both operations were planned in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur by a group that included the Flt. 77 hijackers and Atta's roommate. Keep in mind two important things about that: The CIA learned about the meeting when the NSA intercepted calls mentioning Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midahar as they travelled to Kuala Lumpur -- that pair would go on to hijack Flt. 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. 2) Al-Hazmi and Al-Midhar entered the US at LAX on 1/15/00 - the CIA noted that entry, and the FBI liason at CTC was ordered to withhold a cable to the FBI national security office in NY commanded by John O'Neill.

Despite the fact that CIA knew the pair were in the US, the Agency never requested FISA warrants to intercept their calls. Al-Midhar left that summer and went on to play an active role in the Cole operation,returning to the US in March 2001. His partner, al-Hazmi, remained in the US, and the pair met up with the other main hijackers on several occasions, and received money from sources including the Saudi embassy and a Indonesian businessman who also gave $40,000 to Zakarias Moussaoui.

Zakarias had stayed at the same house in Kuala Lumpur owned by the businessman where the al-Qaeda planning summit had occurred in January 2000, a meeting the CIA had monitored along with "a half dozen allied agencies".

How did U.S. intelligence originally learn about the so-called Brooklyn Cell we have been told was detected by the SOCOM Able Danger program? Since 1995, NSA and British intelligence had been tracking the al-Hazmi family, which operated an al-Qaeda communications center in Yemen.

That brings us to Able Danger. Contrary to public impression, AD was not just a data-mining operation. The project had access to classified DoD files, which would have included the NSA intercepts of al-Hazmi and al-Midhar. It is also erroneously stated that AD was shut down in mid-2001 because of legal concerns about FISA warrant requirements. The strange thing is, the pair were primarily involved in attack operations on U.S. military targets -- the USS Cole, and the Pentagon. Under the so-called force protection exception, NSA and DIA can and do conduct warrantless surveillance, even on US persons inside the United States, suspected of b eing involved in planning attacks on US military facilities and personnel. Therefore, it would have been perfectly legal for Able Danger and other NSA/DIA surveillance to monitor that al-Qaeda cell inside the U.S., and those intercepts should have been in the domestic NSA files available to Able Danger.

Despite the fact that the intended attacks on U.S. military targets would be well-understood, for some reason that still hasn't been explained, President George W. Bush refused to have the pair and their al-Qaeda cellmates inside the US -- known to Able Danger as the "Brooklyn Cell" -- arrested during the summer of 2001. See, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/28/121022/933

Keep that in mind, as well when you read the following extract from the Alternet Critique of Judy's article about the 9/11 story the NYT missed.

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.

Regards - Mark G. Levey

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