Fifteen years after the 9/11 catastrophe, the Bush administration cover-up of why the terrorist attacks were carried out despite the White House being repeatedly warned of them still holds. Not only has the final word not come out about this malfeasance of enormous and arguably criminal proportions, hardly any word about it has other than farfetched theories that have not altered a fundamental fact: The hijackers' plan was so simple that it could not have worked without the negligence of virtually the entire U.S. government.
The short-attention-span mainstream media has been complicitous in glossing over this cover-up as anniversaries of the attacks come and go. This cover-up is not to be confused with the theories of so-called 9/11 Truthers, many of them amateurish rants that are reverse engineered to fit the grindings of their particular conspiratorial axes. No, the big cover-up is
an effort to hide the incompetence that characterized the government response before, during and after the attacks.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has shown only fleeting interest in trying to penetrate this veil of silence, and has been much to slow in repealing many of the draconian measures involving domestic surveillance and other civil liberty concerns put in place by the imperial Bush presidency. The president's working premise has been to let sleeping dogs lie, be it punishing Bush Torture Regime perpetrators or getting to the bottom of why America slept on September 11, 2001.
The key elements of the cover-up are:
* That President Bush, Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice were separately warned that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the U.S. Bush alone received 44 CIA briefings that mentioned Al Qaeda, but did nothing to sound the alarm, while the feckless Rice is especially complicitous because it was her job to be vigilant about threats to the homeland, and she was adept at only one thing -- avoiding blame.
* That Rice and his other close advisers remained trapped in a post-Cold War mindset, while several of those advisers, chief among them Paul Wolfowitz, had their eye not on jihadist threats but fulfilling the long-time neocon wet dream of taking out Saddam Hussein.
* That the CIA and FBI between them were aware that five of the 19 hijackers were in country but because of their historic rivalry and bureaucratic inertia failed to communicate with each other.
* That detailed warnings of impending attacks were received from German and Russian intelligence agencies, and even Russian President Putin personally warned Bush at a June 2001 summit meeting.
* That although the 20th would-be hijacker had been arrested and FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley prepared a detailed memo outlining the eventual 9/11 scenario three weeks before the attacks, she was scolded for writing the memo and it was ignored by her superiors.
* That the military conducted secret exercises in 2000 and 2001 simulating hijackers using jetliners as weapons to crash into targets, including the World Trade Center and Pentagon, causing mass casualties, yet the White House and Pentagon feigned shock when the 9/11 attacks were carried out.
* That no communications between key military and law enforcement entities after the first hijacked aircraft hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center have been made public that might show that there was time -- albeit precious little time -- to possibly prevent the attack on the Pentagon almost an hour later.
* That the Air Force response to the attacks was extraordinarily inadequate. During the 100-minute period between the first airliner crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and the last airliner crashing into a field in Western Pennsylvania, the Air Force scrambled a mere four armed fighter jets and one unarmed trainer jet.
* That the attacks created widespread confusion among air traffic controllers, who needed three days to sort out domestic and international flights.
* That air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners make a tape recording describing the events within hours of the attacks, but the tape was destroyed by supervisor before a transcript could be made or the tape could be turned over to the FBI.
* That the attacks might never have happened had the State Department denied entry into the U.S. of 15 hijackers who failed to fill out visa documents properly in Saudi Arabia.
* That despite an extraordinary forensic investigation to understand the structural failures that led to the collapse of the Twin Towers, there was no remotely comparable effort to ascertain why Al Qaeda was able to carry out the attacks.
* That a bipartisan inquiry narrowed its scope after Bush and Cheney personally intervened and pressured congressional leaders to limit the investigation for the implausible reason that it would drain sources from the war on terrorism.
* That when the congressional inquiry was completed, key findings -- including the complicity of those well-placed Saudis -- went into the national security maw and were never made public.
* That even after being shamed into creating the 9/11 Commission by the widows of 9/11 victims, the Bush administration still withheld much of the pertinent information about the attacks, including the role of well-placed Saudi government officials.
* That the 9/11 Commission was repeatedly deceived by the Defense Department and Federal Aviation Administration, which fudged the timelines of the flights of two of the hijacked aircraft, suggesting that the agency was slow to realize what was transpiring and sound the alarm.
* That FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, who accused the bureau of deliberately curtailing its investigations, was threatened with retribution if he talked to Congress or testified before the 9/11 Commission.
* That parts of the 9/11 Commission report were redacted before publication, including a section that stated that a year before the attacks a secret Pentagon project had identified four of the hijackers.
* That major telecoms -- including AT&T, MCI and Verizon -- were instructed to keep secret the records of attack-related phone calls on and after 9/11 and were immunized against lawsuits with the help of Congress.
* That despite knowledge that the debris at Ground Zero was highly toxic, first responders and clean-up workers were repeatedly told by the EPA that the air was safe to breathe without respirators.
There is not even a shred of credible evidence that key government players conspired beforehand to conceal the coming attacks, and absent death bed revelations, the story behind the 9/11 story is unlikely to ever come out.
Administration officials who slept through their watches were not dismissed or punished, and one high-ranking official was given a commendation by the president.
That stands in marked contrast to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
No fewer than 10 official inquiries were conducted after the December 7, 1941 attack. All concluded that Japanese intentions and capabilities had been underestimated, key Army and Navy officials were incompetent, there was a lack of adequate manpower for intelligence, excessive secrecy and unclear divisions of responsibility between the Army and Navy. A Navy vice admiral and Army lieutenant general were forced into retirement.
While the kind of hindsight that provides clarity is seldom present beforehand, it was no secret among a few knowledgeable U.S. intelligence agency operatives that Al Qaeda had shifted tactics and was planning attacks on the homeland. It's just that the warnings were not taken seriously.
President Clinton was warned of that possibility in 1998 after the attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa and President Bush himself five weeks before 9/11. The White House later spun the Bush warning by stating that nobody in the White House or intelligence community had "specific information" about a possible hijacking plot, which was a lie.
The spinning went into high gear in the days after the attacks as senior administration warned that suicide bombers would next strike the homeland, and the White House astutely drowned out the revelation of Rowley's memo by abruptly announcing creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
Before the Bush administration, there had been no precedent in the last five decades for an administration that was so determinedly disinterested in getting to the bottom of a major disaster.
By contrast, the Warren Commission was formed seven days after President Kennedy was assassinated and investigative groups were quickly empaneled after the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. The foot-dragging and obfuscating was legion, and the Obama administration has been complicitous, as well.
Like Pearl Harbor, there has been no end of 9/11 conspiracy theories, chief among them that Bush administration officials knew of the attacks in advance and permitted them to proceed. The mainstream media has treated these theories with bafflement or amusement, nor do I take them seriously with one exception: That Israeli intelligence agencies may have had detailed intelligence about the attacks but chose to remain silent.
But none of that forgives the news media's uncuriousness concerning why so little of substance about key events in the months before the attacks and the response to the attacks themselves has been reported on. In this the news media has a willing helpmate -- a public that wants to move on and not look back and, in fact, lost interest in the War on Terror within weeks of 9/11.
Fifteen years after 19 suicidal hijackers "pulled off a geopolitical magic trick of the first order," as one pundit astutely put it, America is less vulnerable, but only if you take a narrow view. And Americans remain as abjectly ignorant as ever as to why the U.S. was
and is so loathed on the Arab Street, among other places.
Osama bin Laden had been denied his caliphate long before his assassination in May 2011, but Al Qaeda remains a dangerous if diminished force. And then there is ISIS, which is a direct consequence of the Iraq War, which was launched in large part because Bush and his inner circle had convinced themselves that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks despite an utter lack of evidence.
In the years since the attacks, the American national security state has grown to immense size out of all proportion to what is realistically needed. Hundreds of thousands of innocents have died and nations have been destroyed. Then there was the Bush Torture Regime.
Pundits declared that Bin Laden's death finally brought closure to the families of the 3,000 9/11 victims and the U.S. as a whole, but because of the continuing government cover-up and the news media's complicity in it, that is a convenient if tragic fiction.
Portions of this article were originally published in September 2011.
SOURCES: ABC News, The Associated Press, BBC News, Chicago Tribune, CNN, CBS News, Fox News, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, New York Times, 9/11 Commission Report, Salon, Slate, Time, USA Today, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" (2004) by Lawrence Wright, "Bush" (2016) by Jean Edward Smith.
Thanks for a great and anger-generating post.
Nice to know you haven't lost your touch Shaun! Reminds me of how much I must have absorbed from you along the way. Thanks for sending this.
Shaun, this is one of the best summaries of the deficiencies on this tragic event I have ever seen compiled in one place. Thanks for bringing the issues on center stage once more, lest we forget what still needs to be done.
Great summation, so why do you call people who question the official conspiracy "rantings" of so-called 9/11 Truthers?
We want to know who is behind the official conspiracy.
Perhaps I was not clear enough. For the most part the conspiracy theories advanced by the so-called 9/11 Truthers are over-the-top rantings, chief among them that all Jews were evacuated from the Twin Towers in advance of the attacks. And so on and so forth.
The cover-up of which I speak is a multi-layered government cover-up to avoid accountability and, as I suggest, possible prosecutions in some instances.
isn't it possible that the plot was known to exist (to spring the Blind Sheik who was Atta's uncle I think) but was hi-jacked by security forces operating out of WH). Then the "plot" became not a ransom situation but a suicide mission?
"Like Pearl Harbor, there has been no end of 9/11 conspiracy theories, chief among them that Bush administration officials knew of the attacks in advance and permitted them to proceed. The mainstream media has treated these theories with bafflement and amusement, nor do I take them seriously."
Well, I don't take you conspiracy deniers seriously. What I do take seriously is physics and the evidence, much of which was removed, destroyed and suppressed.
Progressives and others criticize the TeaBaggers and Right WIngers for their distain for science; I think the same accusation can be applied to those who would blanket deny a conspiracy without looking at the evidence. Or would you rather rant?
I find that those few I know who would vehemently deny a conspiracy do so from positions of financial security and comfort. Which means, they don't want their little world shattered. But the evidence is mounting that 9-11 wad the beginning of the end of the rule of law in the USA, and now it is accelerating to the point that my comfortable friends could indeed lose their houses and reitement savings in the trend started on 9-11.
I'm one who trust their intuition, and it has saved my life a few times. WHen I saw the second plane hit the WTC tower on TV, I said to myself "they have their own pilots", because most US commerical pilots are former military who would NOT follow an order from a highjacker to crash into a building. When I saw the towers collapse, I said to myself, that sure looks like a controlled implosion." I believe I was right, and evidence physical and from firemen and others on the scene suggests that the buildings were brought down deliberately. While I cannot say who was responsible, I beleive it was a combination of our shadow governemt and Israel, as having the most to gain from letting the attack proceed. I do not for a second believe that the Bush Administration was made up of patriotic people; they were in it for personal gain first, witness Cheney and Halliburton.
So Mr. Mullen, while you draw some valid conclusions, your distain for we who would want to know the whole truth, no matter how horrible, puts you in league with the MSM, and some of those who would cover up this most important event in US history.
As for me, I'm trying to get the hell out. No fun living in a police state.
I think that we are in fundamental agreement unless your statement that "your distain for we who would want to know the whole truth, no matter how horrible . . . " aligns you with the 9/11 Truther nutballs. I sincerely hope not.
"complicitous" isn't a word.
"Complicitous" pops up from time to time, but not in the OED or Webster's. It is word, not a widely recognized one.
What about building 7? I guess it fell from the shear incompetence of the government?
You mention pearl harbor, but not those that hoped for another one....you speak of the toxic dust, but fail to mention what was found in the toxic dust....MILITARY EXPLOSIVES!
Sorry for the typos and word salad; unstable keyboard platform here. I'll crawl under the desk and replace those keyboard tray screws someday......
Well, I think even you would have to agree that you cannot know who the "9/11 Truther nutballs" are if you have no way of having all the facts, right?
You remind me a little of that esteemed former NPR correspondent, Daniel Schorr, who every year on the anniversary of JFK's assassination would do a commentary flatly stating that there was only a single gunman, Oswald, and that the "JFK Truther nutballs" were not to be given any credence.
But he impressed me another time when, in an interview with R. M. Nixon toward the end of Nixon's life, he did not ask Nixon any hard questions, especially about his enemies list, which apparently, Daniel Schorr was on. Typical liberal coward, a stay in line commentator.
I am not saying that you are the same, only that you immediately reminded me of him when I read your post. But I must ask, what is your motivation for an apparent blanket dismissal of the "9-11 Truthers"? Do you think the presentations of eminent professors about explosive residue in the ashes of the WTC and all the other seemingly random occurances don't add up to anything? Have you actually done any in depth studying of the claims of those who suspect that we are getting only a small fraction of the truth?
Every day we have revelations of our government's tremendous dishonesty and just plain evilness, especially with the release of the WikiLeaks documents, which I consider a brave act that exposed our government for what it is. I learned at the early age of 18 that our government can usually only LIE to us, when they tried to send me to Vietnam and arrested me for a "dangerous" drug, mild pot.
I had previously started to join the Air Farce to avoid being cannon fodder on the ground in Vietnam, and because I was enlisting, they told me I'd have my choice of duty, but they reneged on that right before I took the oath. So I told them to take a hike, and became for my life sceptical of our empire building, brutal, murderous, corporate run mad dog government and ruling elite. And when I've suspected the most evil intentions in anything they do, I've almost always been proven correct in my deductions.
But I again ask, what is your motivation? I assume there are too many bloggers for the CIA to have you all on their payroll (as was the case with many mainstream print journalists). But if you have not done extensive research and study on 9-11, then you are blowing smoke if you think it was only departmental incompetence and rivalries that allowed the attacks of 9-11 to succeed. It doesn't add up.
By the way, found your blog by following a link from Crooks and Liars dot com. Excellent site, but even the powner there will not allow any discussion of 9-11. So, I don't donate.
And another thing shawn...even those 'cwazy twoofers' realize that there are 'kook' theories out there regarding what happened on 911... Shawn, YOU ARE A TRUTHER! You don't believe you were told the whole truth about what happened that day, you believe there was a cover up, you believe in the msm complicity of the cover up...but you still dis truthers... even though you are now one of us! you cwazy twoofer you...
Un mas thang...the mossad did it..
I have spent years involved in investigative reporting and editing. My projects were nominated for four Pulitzers, which does not make me omnipotent, but I do have a pretty good nose for conspiracy theories that can't pass a basic sniff test.
The conspiracy theory that the Pentagon was somehow behind the Twin Towers attacks because a substance that shows up in military explosives does not pass the test for the simple reasons that:
(1.) The substance appears in numerous applications in addition to military explosives.
(2.) A very large number of people would have to remain silent l0 years on to give the Pentagon as boogie man conspiracy any life. I have found over and over that conspiracies involving large numbers of people never hold beyond the short term.
As to my motivation, it is to make our government accountable. Period.
I see, it is all about the pulitzers*! One can't be a twoofer and a pulitzer pwize winner I assume. HA!
Wrong Shawn. Iron microspheres were found in the dust. (as well as unexploded thermitic chips) These can ONLY be formed at intense heat, NOT in office fires (and the jet fuel burned off almost immediatly, -the heat of the fires can be confirmed by the color of the fires smoke...office fires CAN NOT melt steel)
And to your second "point" I'm so tired of this one, and so many of 'your type' hang your hat on this "point" as if it proves something. What is the statue of limitaions on murdering 3000 people? You think people are going to admit to treasonous murder!? Yes, holding secrets is tuff, but not when releasing said secret would get you a seat in the electric chair! Also, you assume it would take a "very large number of people" ...why? Here's a conspiracy for you...maybe all those "very large number of people" once finished with their project got on a plane to fly home, but whoops got on one "flown" by some guy named Atta....
And as to your motivation, you made that clear when you bragged about your qwest for the pulitzer...
* did larry silverstein win a 'Pull-It-sir'...?!
Also, please let me know what you think about all these cwazy twoofers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIOC1J44RYw&feature=player_embedded
Thanks for looking at the FACTS closer shawn, have a good day my friend.
THE MOST SHOCKING COVER-UP IS THAT WHICH ALLOWED PIAPS, WHO WAS ENTIRELY COMPLICIT IN 9/11, TO TAKE A CABINET POST AS UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE!!!
WAKE UP, AMERICA, AND MAKE THE CONNECTIONS!!!!:
I guess the honorable Judith Miller, formerly of the NY Times, now of FOX, squeezed you out of that Pulitzer prize.
I did not say that the explosive found was from the Pentagon, in fact I am more inclined to think that the Pentagon was NOT involved, although certain people in the Pentagon could have been. I have former military in my family and some retired officer friends and I could not imagine any of them being involved in such a treasonous action.
Military Officers for 9-11 Truth (are they all "nutters"?)
I do suspect that Israel (through Mossad or some other group), since it benefited from the war on Saddam, could have been involved, for a number of reasons. And before I get smeared with the tired "anti-Semite" accusation, let me say that for a long time I was a strong supporter of Israel, lived and worked in urban Jewish neighborhoods and have many close Jewish friends.
But the state of Israel has proven time and again that they will do anything they want, or feel they have to, to survive. At least that is their perception, that allows them to brutalize the Palestinian people as they were formerly brutalized themselves. And they did not hesitate to execute an American citizen on the Gaza aid boat that they illegally (piracy on the high seas?) seized. The Israelis are unaccountable to the world, because they have (1) the USA on their side, and (2) nukes. Their theme song is "Can't touch this".
I agree that a large number of people would have a hard time keeping the 9-11 attack plans a secret, but I assume that it was a small number on the inside. My theory is that the shadow government knew that the attacks were going to happen and took advantage of that fact to turn the event to their advantage.
But if you really want to make our government accountable, then good luck, more power to you. I won't hold my breath. As long as 9-11s can happen, and we are denied the truth, the government and the people REALLY running it (the owners, as George Carlin said), will not be acccountable.
By the way, Bill O'Reilly calls liberals "kooks", you call us "nutters". Frankly, neither bothers me, but I would think that you might want to keep an open mind to the possibility that there is much, much more to 9-11 than you suspect. I had to be in NYC six weeks after the attack, so I walked down to ground zero and inhaled the "safe" fumes and checked out the scene. It was something. I had been in the towers and up to the top several times, in fact up to the observation deck exactly one year before on a similar clear, blue sky Sept day.
It is said that WW1 darkened the consciousness of the generation that fought and died and their families. 9-11 has darkened ours. Getting the whole truth, and convictions, would certainly bring some light back to our collective consciousness.
Follow up with this:
There's another former jounalist, now a blogger, that Crooks & Liars provided a link too. It seems that you former more-or-less mainstream journalists need to think more outside of (the compliant media) box. I couldn't resist commenting there either:
Thanks for this post. The Bush administration's actions regarding pre-9/11 intelligence were remarkably similar to its post-Iraq war planning, which is to say that both were willfully ignorant, arrogant, and devastatingly hubristic. Unless, of course, you were Halliburton or Blackwater or any other private contractor, in which case the outcome was brilliant. I swear to god, I still have torches and pitchforks, and I still want to deploy them.
Oh, and by the way, I am raising a glass to Jon Swift.
"Like Pearl Harbor, there has been no end of 9/11 conspiracy theories, chief among them that Bush administration officials knew of the attacks in advance and permitted them to proceed. The mainstream media has treated these theories with bafflement and amusement, nor do I take them seriously."
But earlier, you also wrote:
"President Bush, Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice were separately warned that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the homeland but did nothing."
In what way does this not constitute knowing of the attacks in advance and permitting them to proceed? Really, that accusation is not a conspiracy theory; it is a plain recitation of generally admitted facts.
Please reread what I wrote: That conspiracy freaks believe that the administration let the attacks proceed, and that administration officials were warned but did nothing.
The latter does not constitute a conspiracy theory while the former does.
Both, you might say, are generally admitted facts.
Good post, sort of. Yes, there are plenty of unanswered questions that will probably remain that way. I don't agree with the end, though. You are giving the Al Queda bogie man too much credit. It disgusts me to see this name invoked at every instance, regardless of whether there is actual evidence, as further justification for the ever more powerful police state that "protects" us in our phony war on terror.
They got in a lucky shot when the chicken hawks were in charge and we went nuts. Do a post on whether or not the stated goals of Al Queda worked out.
You've left out the most important part. After 9/11, Americans soon perceived that this horrific tragedy was a one-off, something that couldn't be repeated. We wouldn't have willingly submitted to the homeland security state or emptied the treasury to pay "contractors." We were recovering.
But the anthrax attacks were deeply scary. They kept happening in different kinds of places and killing or endangering different types of people. Ordinary citizens were worrying about opening their own mail and worrying about random spills of flour. That, I think, is what so unnerved Americans and made us prey to the security state.
We've never had a satisfactory answer to the who and why questions about the anthrax attacks. Did "someone" want to create and maintain high anxiety for political or economic gain? I could imagine all sorts of treason, but I'd rather not think about it.
All of the above comments were posted after initial publication in September 2011. Subsequent comments are new.
I have also marvelled at one; the genius of this plan, two; the dedicated focus given to the implementation process; and three, the failure of the US agencies to figure it out beforehand as well as the inter-agency confusion that made the response during the attack so much more difficult. Above all, as the identity of the perpetrators was finally revealed, something inside me that was aware of just how offensive the US is to some other countries and cultures (especially after just a few days in Saudi Arabia in 1990) quietly said, "What took them so long?" This was not only an attack on the US as a world power, it was an attack on what we are to the rest of the world.
You are playing a good game of yes, but no, but yes. If you are suggesting that all of these fantastic events happened because of incompetence, then you are hardly covered in glory sir... perhaps cowardice... you are trying to walk a childish line... "oh no, I'm not one of "THEM"--- those crazies who believe in a conspiracy.." and then you clearly outline everything that makes no sense about the "Official Story." It's past time for this silly game you are playing sir... we know it was a false flag operation... it's about time that the press had the courage to go there...
Well, I see that Maine Independent made most of the arguments I would have made. I'll only add that it has been clear to me since I started reading about the JFK assassination that there are who want to get at the truth and those who want to obfuscate. Went the official version starts to fall apart, there are back-up versions pushed by agents of those who controlled the conspiracy to continue to mislead. With JFK, the Castro-did-it idea was put out to mislead - by admitting a conspiracy, but misdirecting from those who really did it.
So too in the case of 9 /11, ideas have been put out to paint "Truthers' as anti-semites. That way any serious questioning of the involvement of Israel through the Mossad could be portrayed as part of the anti-semitism.
I find your two comments "rantings of truthers" and that don't take them seriously to be insulting, dismissive and disappointingly uninquisitive on your part.
As usual, my response is "show me the evidence."
Truthers (a word that is shopworn and needs to be retired) have not shown me evidence of the quantity or quality to convince me there were conspiracies beyond or in conjunction with the hijackers. There is ample quality evidence of a systematic Bush administration cover-up to hide the administration's serial negligence and incompetence, not to hide attendant conspiracies endorsed by truthers.
The prime example of a non-starter conspiracy is that materials had been smuggled into the twin towers that caused or hastened their collapse. In other words, a controlled demolition. Others include a flurry of insider trading on United and American Airlines stock prior to 9/11, that air defense units were ordered to stand down, and that a missile and not AA Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.
The one conspiracy that I have not ruled out is that Israeli agents knew of the impending attacks.
Thank you Shaun Mullen for reminding us of what should never be forgotten. One day the truth may finally be uncovered, but I have resigned myself to the probability that it will be long after I depart this mortal coil.
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