October 21, 2003

White House Plays Politics on Probe of 9/11

"All the _resident's men" continue to stonewall the
independent commission investigating 9/11, and the "US
mainstream news media" continues to give the _resident
a "Do Not Go To Jail, Collect $200 Million" card on
it...How long will this outrage go challenged? Will
the Democrats wimp out and not pick up the political
cudgel of 9/11 and savage this _resident's re-election
strategy with it? Boynton, the General in charge of
tracking down Osama and Saddam (NOT) is a right-wing
religious nut case. The US chemnical industry has
succeeded in compromising Homeland Security through
its influence in the Bush Cabal. A college student has
made a mockery of airline security. And this
illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime has the
gall to ignore the pleas of 9/11 widows and widowers.
Well, that is predictable -- if you know the history
of these men. But what is incomprehensible is the "US
mainstream news media" capitulation is burying the
story and not digging into it...

http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-vpcoc213503436oct21,0,1685556.column?coll=ny-news-columnists

White House Plays Politics on Probe of 9/11
Marie Cocco

October 21, 2003

The Bush re-election team should get precisely what it
wants. A presidential campaign that centers on Sept.
11, 2001.

This is what the White House had in mind when it
decided to hold the 2004 Republican National
Convention in New York City. This is why the
convention is scheduled so late in the summer - later
than any nominating session in the party's history.
The grand finale, President George W. Bush's
acceptance speech, is set for Sept. 2.

Bush's team wants the ceremonial start of the
president's re-election campaign to merge in the
public mind with the ceremonial commemoration of the
third anniversary of the attacks that killed some
3,000 people and left a hole in the city's heart.

Republicans fully intend to politicize the
anniversary. So they cannot legitimately complain if
the national commission empowered to investigate the
9/11 attacks asks for more time to do its work. That's
more time that would, by necessity, take the inquiry
deep into the political season.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the
United States has issued three major statements on its
progress. All have said the Bush administration is
impeding its work by stalling the production of
documents needed to probe the worst attack on America
since Pearl Harbor.

Last week, the commission issued its first subpoena,
to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA had
failed to turn over information related to the
tracking of the hijacked airliners that morning, as
well as its interaction with a defense unit that is
supposed to have protected our airspace.

Days before issuing the FAA subpoena, the 9/11 panel
had complained that the CIA and the Defense Department
still had not turned over "the key policy documents."
The White House, despite repeated public admonitions,
still constricts the commission's access to sensitive
information.

Some White House documents still aren't being
provided. The commissioners must settle for hearing
the White House staff brief them about their contents.
We are to assume the briefings are done in good faith.

"We want to express our growing concern about whether
delays such as that we have encountered at the FAA
will prevent the commission from completing its work
and issuing its report within the time frame set by
statute," the panel said in a statement.

The statute calls for the commission to go out of
existence in May. The date was set at White House
insistence. Having failed at its first mission - to
prevent Congress from ordering an independent probe at
all - the Bush administration demanded that it have a
brief life span. May was the chosen closing date
because that would mean an investigative report, with
its potentially embarrassing detail, would come out
before the heat of the presidential campaign.

The repeated and now predictable statements from the
commission about barriers to its work lead to only one
conclusion. The administration strategy is to run out
the clock.

"We begged for two years," said Lorie Van Auken of
East Brunswick, N.J. Van Auken's husband, Kenneth,
perished in the Twin Towers. "They said no, 18 months.
Their reasoning had to do with elections."

Now the commission must decide if it wants to do a
good job or a rush job.

The belated handing over of tapes and other
communications between the FAA and the North American
Aerospace Defense Command is likely to provoke more
questions that beg answers. That is how it goes in
investigations. New leads point to new paths that must
be pursued.

The commission will fail if it does not have the time
and the money to do its job right. It hints, already,
at this possibility.

Congress will fail if it is eventually asked to
provide these and refuses. The president will fail if
he uses the weight of his office to stanch an inquiry
that seems thus far to have been conducted without the
usual partisan poison.

The failure of Sept. 11, 2001 was a failure of
intelligence and counter-terrorism policy. These were
compounded by a failure that day to defend against
attack.

Now we contemplate compounding these derelictions
because of a political equation that puts the pursuit
of office above the necessary pursuit of fact. If we
accept this calculation, we will fail ourselves.
Copyright 2003, Newsday, Inc.

Posted by richard at October 21, 2003 10:09 PM