Sunday, April 11, 2004

So I've now read the August 6, 2001 memo that the White House tried so hard to keep secret. A couple of points.

First, it's clear why they wanted to keep it secret. It isn't a map of what the terrorists were going to do, but it sure as hell had some good clues. But by all credible accounts they just weren't very interested. But thank goodness they were so focused on national missile defense (protecting against a threat that doesn't exist) instead of these terrorists!

Second, there was no reason to keep it secret for so long. It was trivial for them to redact the sources of the information. Once that was done, there was nothing sensitive in it. Makes one wonder what other non-sensitive documents are being withheld on bogus claims of secrecy (as a litigator, I'm well familiar with attorneys concocting preposterous reasons to keep documents secret--it happens all the time).

Stepping away from this specific document, has anyone else noticed what a terrible job Bush have done to combat terrorism, especially in comparison with Clinton? There was a plot to blow up LAX at New Years of 2000 (full disclosure: I flew out of LAX on Jan. 1, 2000, so I have a significant interest in the fact that it wasn't blown up). Clinton's cabinet had heard the same sort of vague rumors that something was afoot, and Clinton had daily meetings with the cabinet level secretaries to interrogate them about what they'd done to thwart this threat. When put under the gun, these people were forced to do things. In the end (and I'm not sure we know all the details, but the end is what matters), the plot didn't happen. In contrast, there were all sorts of rumors around in the summer of 2001 about a terrorist attack but no one did anything because W never had a meeting, much less daily meetings. It's a shame that 3000 people had to die to get his attention.

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