June 24, 2004

Did Ashcroft brush off terror warnings? NBC exclusive: 9/11 commission interviews FBI officials who contradict Ashcroft testimony

Yes, but tell it with CONTEXT and CONTINUITY...The LNS
pointed out at the time of the testimony of Pickard
and Ashcroft that somebody had just committed
perjury...CONTEXT and CONTINUITY...Remember Richard
Clarke's CONDEMNATION of the Bush abomination's
approach to the "war on terrorism." His view, sworn to
under oath, is being proven over and over, day after
day. When did the "US mainstream news media" last
mention his name or his testimony? Remember, the Bush
abomination fought the creation of the 9/11 Commission
and has resisted its reasonable requests every step of
the way. Remember, these are the people who wanted to
exploit 9/11 for the 2004 campaign. Remember John
O'Neill and "Forebidden Truth." Remember the 28 pages
of the Congressional 9/11 report that they refuse to
release...Remember the struggle of the 9/11
families...Remember Ashcroft's outrageous, sliming
attacks on 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick...

Lisa Myers, NBC: The 9/11 commission is busy writing
its final report, but is still investigating critical
facts, including the conduct of U.S. Attorney General
John Ashcroft. NBC News has learned that the
commission has interviewed two FBI officials who
contradict sworn testimony by Ashcroft, about whether
he brushed off terrorism warnings in the summer of
2001.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5271234/

Did Ashcroft brush off terror warnings? NBC exclusive: 9/11 commission interviews FBI officials who contradict Ashcroft testimony
By Lisa Myers
Senior investigative correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 7:32 p.m. ET June 22, 2004WASHINGTON - The
9/11 commission is busy writing its final report, but
is still investigating critical facts, including the
conduct of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. NBC
News has learned that the commission has interviewed
two FBI officials who contradict sworn testimony by
Ashcroft, about whether he brushed off terrorism
warnings in the summer of 2001.


In the critical months before Sept. 11, did Ashcroft
dismiss threats of an al-Qaida attack in this country?

At issue is a July 5, 2001, meeting between Ashcroft
and acting FBI Director Tom Pickard. That month, the
threat of an al-Qaida attack was so high, the White
House summoned the FBI and domestic agencies, and
warned them to be on alert.

Yet, Pickard testified to the 9/11 commission that
when he tried to brief Ashcroft just a week later, on
July 12, about the terror threat inside the United
States, he got the brush-off.

"Mr. Ashcroft told you that he did not want to hear
about this anymore," Democratic commission member
Richard Ben-Veniste asked on April 13. "Is that
correct?"

"That is correct," Pickard replied.

Testifying under oath the same day, Ashcroft
categorically denied the allegation, saying, "I did
never speak to him saying that I didn't want to hear
about terrorism."

However, another senior FBI official tells NBC News he
vividly recalls Pickard returning from the meeting
that day furious that Ashcroft had cut short the
terrorism briefing. This official, now retired, has
talked to the 9/11 commission.

Full coverage
9/11 commission
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the
United States wrapped up its public hearings with a
two-day session on June 16 and 17.

No Iraq-al-Qaida link: Story | Statement
Al-Qaida's plan: Story | Statement
Day of attack: Story | Statement
Commission Web site


NBC News has learned that commission investigators
also tracked down another FBI witness at the meeting
that day, Ruben Garcia, head of the Criminal Division
at that time. Several sources familiar with the
investigation say Garcia confirmed to the commission
that Ashcroft did indeed dismiss Pickard's warnings
about al-Qaida.

"When you get two people coming forth and basically
challenging a sworn statement by the attorney general
regarding a critical meeting in the history of the
9/11 event, you raise serious questions about the
Attorney General's truthfulness," says Paul Light, a
government reform expert and New York University
professor.

Ashcroft's version of events is supported by his top
aide, who attended the meeting. But another Justice
official also there who Ashcroft's office claimed
would dispute Pickard's account says he doesn't
remember.

"I do not recall the conversation that interim
director Pickard referred to," says former Deputy
Attorney General Larry Thompson.

Experts say that in the context of Sept. 11, the issue
is not trivial.

"Was there a communications breakdown between the FBI
and the Department of Justice, at the highest levels
of each agency?" asks former Justice Department
Inspector General Michael Bromwich.

Ashcroft's spokesman dismissed the allegations
Tuesday, saying, "The suggestion that the attorney
general wasn't concerned about terrorism is absurd."

He says if Ashcroft was ever short with FBI officials,
it was because "he was unhappy with the quality of
information he was getting."

Pickard did brief Ashcroft on terrorism four more
times that summer, but sources say the acting FBI
director never mentioned the word al-Qaida again in
Ashcroft's presence until after Sept. 11.

2004 MSNBC Interactive

Posted by richard at June 24, 2004 09:28 AM