Thursday, July 24, 2003

The 9/11 Report

The Nation's David Corn has penned a preliminary response to the release of the report of the 9/11 joint inquiry conducted by the Senate and House intelligence committees. Here's his conclusion:

The report is a good start in establishing the historical record. It reads at times like tragedy, at other times almost as farce. The signs were there. Few paid attention. Two, if not more, of the hijackers were within reach of US law enforcement, but nobody saw that. Five days after the attacks, Bush said, "No one could have conceivably imagined suicide bombers burrowing into our society." And in May 2002, Rice said, "I don't think anyone could have predicted these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." Actually, the report has proof that the attacks of 9/11 were foreseen. Not in terms of date and time. But intelligence reporting indicated and terrorism experts warned that Al Qaeda was interested in mounting precisely these types of attacks. Yet the US government--the Bush II and Clinton administrations--did not prepare adequately. The attacks were far less outside the box than Bush and his aides have suggested. Thwarting them was within the realm of possibility.

The Administration has yet to acknowledge that--let alone reveal how--Bush responded to the intelligence he saw. The joint inquiry's work provides a solid foundation for the 9/11 independent commission, which is now conducting its own inquiry. Perhaps that endeavor will be able to learn even more and address the questions the Bush Administration did not allow the committees to answer.