Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Looks like somebody took the warning seriously

The White House is in full panic mode trying to find a way to spin the now-admitted fact that George Tenet did indeed brief Condi Rice on July 10, 2001 about the terror threat. The latest damage control approach has been to claim that the report was "nothing new".

So how come when then-Attorney General John Ashcroft heard the same warning a week later, he immediately stopped flying commercial aircraft?

Christy Hardin Smith at FDL runs down a bunch of the story of the July 10, 2001 terror briefing Condi somehow failed to remember. She also touches on the fact that George Tenet gave the same warning to John Ashcroft exactly a week later.

It seems to me that we ought to be asking whether that story has anything to do with this one, dated 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.

Got that? July 17 -- Ashcroft briefed. July 28 -- Ashcroft flies in a charter, leased, according to the article, earlier that week.

Seems to me this could be another blockbuster. If Ashcroft decided that commercial flights were too dangerous based on the same warning as Rice (who presumably wasn't flying commercial flights either) ignored, we have ourselves some rather dramatic evidence of callous indifference and willingness on the part of the Bush Administration to put the preservation of their own hides before their duty. It will be tough for Rice to argue that the briefing was nothing new if it scared Ashcroft away from flying with commercial airlines.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forrest Gump says: Serious is as serious does. Watch how they vote with their feet. The one thing you can be sure of is that they won't vote the way they SAY they're going to.

When politicians stop riding in armored cars, you can start listening again.

TA

4:56 PM  
Anonymous OxyCon said...

If the Tenet terrorism briefing was just old news, and not that important, then why did Condi ask Tenet to brief both Ashcroft and Rumsfeld after receiving it?

8:32 AM  
Anonymous RandyBastard said...

I remember at the time (> 9/12/01) a lot of people were saying the government had to know because Ashcroft had stopped flying commercial.

I just thought they were looking for conspiracies.

Maybe I was wrong.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would you be wrong thinking about conspiracies?

Do the math. There are 6 billion people on the planet (give or take 19 people who may or may not have died in an airplane crash) and a whole lot of those people want more, a lot more, no matter how. There is a limited number of ways for the greedy to get more (largely because people who want a lot more usually have no imagination) and so they find themselves with two choices: 1) fight over a particular method for getting more, or 2) cooperate. Since there are a really, really lot of people who want a lot more, even when you subtract the fighters, there's a lot of people left who will cooperate to be mean, nasty and deceitful. This is more commonly known as a conspiracy.

Then, there are just so many methods for getting a conspiracy to be successful. The ones more likely to succeed actually involve violence.

When you sort out all the possibilities, it is not incorrect to conclude that a large violent, history changing event was probably a conspiracy, which itself may have had several groups fighting to be the first to implement sucessfully. Thus it can seem very confusing when you look at the abundance of evidence (perhaps there is too much evidence), but don't lose heart. There IS a conspriacy in there somewhere. Maybe 2 or 3.

TA

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't you ever seen a coincidence?

Now would be a good time to pay attention. I have never seen as many coincidences as we've had with this administration.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Don said...

On the original post, very interesting. Conspiracies aside, Ashcroft is either a callous, disinterested prick dismissing a threat to the nation, or he's an arrogant, self-serving prick helping himself to the perks of high office.

Either way, he's still a Bush-appointed, GOP-serving prick.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous SJD said...

It took five years for the fact of Ashcroft's not using commercial flights prior to 911 to sink into the national consciousness?
It's a start,I suppose.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just that everyone knows (including their supporters) how truly sleazy that whole group is. Then, its only a small step to imagine someone doesn't like them, a lot, and/or the sleazoids want the perks of sitting at the big boys table, whether it fits with their job or not.

So, why would anyone be surprised at full blown signs of venality, hypocrisy, snobbism, arrogance, and let's not forget worldliness in the case of the oh-so religious John Ashcroft? Commercial airlines ARE safe, right?

Who wodda thunk he was just being crafty and saving his own hide?

On the other hand, has it been established that there is a national CONSCIOUSNESS for things to sink into? From where I sit, it's more likely that Bush has never told a lie in his entire life. We can only wish that the nation would come to consciousness.

TA

7:32 PM  
Blogger bluememe said...

Look, y'all:

The fact that Ashcroft stopped flying commercial flights in July 2001 isn't newsworthy at this point. Here is why this is significant: Woodward's book surfaced the Tenet briefing to Condi. Put that together with the story about the same briefing being given to Ashcroft, and put that together with the old Ashcroft story, and you have something newsworthy. We know that Condi's claimed reaction is inconsistent with Ashcroft's. Somebody is hiding something, and this story presents another crack in the facade.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah ha! Now we know that after 8 comments we will hear from the bluester. Ok, everybody. Post those thoughts.

6:28 AM  

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