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Woa, how did I almost miss this?

After the 9-11 attacks, Cheney sent Bush away and took control of the US response to the attacks. He essentially staged a coup, taking over as "commander in chief". This information was contained in a draft report from the 9-11 Commission.

America was under attack, and somebody had to make a decision. Dick Cheney, huddled in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House, had just urged the traveling George W. Bush not to return to Washington. The president had left Florida aboard Air Force One at 9:55 a.m. on 9/11 "with no destination at take-off," as last week's 9-11 Commission report noted. Nor had Bush given any known instructions on how to respond to the attacks. Now Cheney faced another huge decision on a morning in which every minute seemed monumental. The two airliners had already crashed into the Twin Towers, another into the Pentagon. Combat air patrols were aloft, and a military aide was asking for shoot-down authority, telling Cheney that a fourth plane was "80 miles out" from Washington. Cheney didn't flinch, the report said. "In about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing," he gave the order to shoot it down, telling others the president had "signed off on the concept" during a brief phone chat. When the plane was 60 miles out, Cheney was again informed and again he ordered: take it out.

Then Joshua Bolten, after what he described in testimony as "a quiet moment," spoke up. Bolten, the White House deputy chief of staff, asked the veep to get back in touch with the president to "confirm the engage order." Bolten was clearly subordinate to Cheney, but "he had not heard any prior conversation on the subject with the president," the 9/11 report notes. Nor did the real-time notes taken by two others in the room, Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby--who is known for his meticulous record-keeping--or Cheney's wife, Lynne, reflect that such a phone call between Bush and Cheney occurred or that such a major decision as shooting down a U.S. airliner was discussed. Bush and Cheney later testified the president gave the order. And national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice and a military aide said they remembered a call, but gave few specifics. The report concluded "there is no documentary evidence for this call."

This is startling information. The vice president ordered the president sent away and took control of the government.

There is no other word for this than "coup".

There was a reason Cheney didn't want Bush testifying to the commission by himself.

The initial report flat out accused Cheney of lying, but that has since been taken out after a fierce lobbying effort by the White House -- a rare victory by a White House that may see its entire 9-11 fiction exposed to voters right before the election.

The skirmishing continues--and it's starting to get personal. Now, with a final report due next month, the Bush team is increasingly aware that the commission's body of work might someday stand as the nation's official record of 9/11. And Bush's credibility on key national-security issues--upon which he's staked his re-election bid--could well turn on whether the public believes the administration's version or the commission's.
Given Bush's plummeting numbers on things such as "honesty" and "truthfulness", I think the 9-11 Commission wins the battle of the truth hands down.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how can he stage a coup (3.50)
    when he's already running the country?

    that's the only thing i can think of for why there hasn't been much said about this--a lot of people think Cheney was/is running the government's the proof!

    "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

    by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:11:10 PM PDT

    •  It's the European model (none)
      The President is the head of state, a ceremonial office occupied by a senior but not historically powerful figure who sets a moral tone.

      The Prime Minister is the head of government, an operational position occupied by a powerful politician who really runs the show.

      The Europeans openly call Cheney the Prime Minister.  And I don't think anybody with any sense has ever fooled themselves that it would be otherwise, not even during the 2000 campaign.

      And let's face it, would you really prefer Bush to be in charge at a moment of crisis?

      The sooner this bunch of clowns is forcibly retired, the better for everyone.

      •  I don't think Cheney is in charge (4.00)
        I think it's feudalism and Cheney is just the most powerful baron.
        •  perle , wolfowitz & cheney (none)
          i think perle & wolfowitz are the "brains" while cheney is the "brawn".

          by n69n on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:51:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I completely agree (4.00)
          I liken the situation to a business deal. Cheney assembled a group of investors for a leveraged buyout of the Presidency. Cheney is just the largest shareholder, but not the only one.

          Any doubt that Bush is simply a figurehead should have been eliminated when Cheney, the man charged with finding a vice-president for Bush, decided that he himself was the best choice for the job.

          Bush is like a Limited Liability Partnership. If anything goes wrong, the shareholders can lose their investment but aren't personally liable. So if some gross misconduct is uncovered like, say, misappropriating $700,000,000, the worst that can happen is that Bush goes to jail-- and Cheney becomes even more powerful.

          •  Bells went off in my head (none)
            when I heard that Cheney picked himself as the vp candidate...something was wrong.

            The fact that the Republicans were contributing record sums of money to a candidate that nobody ever heard of added to my suspicions.

      •  but interestingly enough (none)
        we're not in Europe...and in some places, Bush would be called a puppet...

        i'd prefer none of them be in charge, really...
        i look forward to the day when we have a President who can lead the government on his very own... ; )

        "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

        by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:32:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Moral Tone? (none)

        The President is the head of state, a ceremonial office occupied by a senior but not historically powerful figure who sets a moral tone.

        So...we're supposed to be getting our moral guidance from George W Bush?

        Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.

      • BG

        by Severian on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:51:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Or the Texas model.... (none)
    Seriously, the Lieutenant Governor has more power than the Governor.

    It seems I can hear God say to America, "You are too arrogant, and if you don't change your ways, I'll break the backbone of your power."


    by Melissa O on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:37:26 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

  •  a coup? (none)
    even if bush willingly gave control over to darth cheney? yes, i'd say it was. vp's are not commanders-in-chief. period.

    there was only one man with that kind of authority that morning, and he was either incapacitated by fear or keeping quiet and flying around, preparing to play his role as face plate for the machine.

    someone bust an foia request on those cell phone records.

  •  That negates my conspiracy theory... (none)
    ...that Karl Rove had Cheney curse at Leahy today in order to give him an exit stage right from this year's GOP ticket.

    Cheney is President.


  •  Amazing (none)
    History is being made too fast as of late.  This is another clear sign that the SCLM is starting to get its balls back.  
  •  Coup? (none)
    I'm not sure we can describe this as a coup, since the Preznit didn't know what to do and probably told the Dick to take care of it.

    Of course, there is no question that the Preznit did relinquish his powers during this time, sort of the way presidents do when they, say, undergo anesthesia during a medical procedure.

    So my interpretation of the history is less of matter of describing a coup and more a matter of showing that the Preznit is incompetent and cowardly.

  •  BTW (4.00)
    The book that McScabface was reading that day, My Pet Goat, was Dick Cheney's story of his relationship with George W.

    Hostage smiles on presidents, freedom scribbled in the subway. It's like night and day. - Joni Mitchell

    by jazzlover on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:04:32 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

  •  Sad. (none)
    I just watched Thirteen Days again. Even if you write off half the movie as idol worship, you would still have to concede that President Kennedy and his advisors were smart, resourceful men capable of deep, nuanced thought under extreme stress.

    Now the GOP praises a monkey for supposedly getting himself on a plane by himself.

  •  aoeu (3.50)
    They have to sign a document when going under.  Bush didn't sign jack.

    Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is...a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial...discrimination.

    by TealVeal on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:22:46 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

  •  Bushit was clearly (none)
    incapacitated, trying to square the goat with airplane hijackings and planes being flown into buildings.  Trying to remember what children's book in which he'd read about that, and how it turned out for the hero.

    So Cheney acted legally.

    A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

    by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 03:36:38 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm... (none)
    Can we get Bush to testify again?  Preferably alone and under oath this time?

    I mean if Clinton was man enough to face a Grand Jury alone and under oath about his private sex life, shouldn't we expect Bush to be similarly brave when it's a matter of national security?

    George W. Bush: It's the Morning After in America

    by ChicagoDem on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:14:23 PM PDT

  •  What really happened (4.00)
    The captain of a navy sailing ship sees a pirate ship on the horizon. "Bring me my red shirt" he commands his lieutenant, who dutifully carries out the task. The two ships fight and the pirate ship is repelled. Days later the ship's captain sees two pirate ships on the horizon and again commands his lieutenant to "Bring me my red shirt!" After a successful battle against the two pirate ships the lieutenant asks the captain, "What's the secret of the red shirt?" The captain replies, "So that if I'm wounded in battle the crew won't be disheartened by the sight of my own blood on my person."

    Several more days go by when the captain sights five pirate ships on the horizon. "Lieutenant, Bring me my brown pants!"

    The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

    by Thumb on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:14:34 PM PDT

  •  Really though (none)
    what is to stop them from editing everything that's damning out of the report? Who is going to object? Congress? The media? Maybe Bush will say "fuck" the day the report comes out to distract our soccer ball chasing press...
  •  omg omg omg omg omg omg.... (none)
    did you guys hear that Cheney dropped the F-bomb on the Senate floor?? holy crap man!!

    people on the street often stop me and ask, "what does rmg stand for?"

    -- to which i reply, "love, peace, and above all justice!"

    by rmg on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:16:16 PM PDT

  •  Cheney in charge (3.50)
    Maybe, just maybe, the reason Cheney sent Bush off on AF1 and took control of the government is because he knew that Chimpy wouldn't be able to make any fast, rational decisions.

    I can't stand Cheney but in a moment of crisis I sure trust him to make an important decision--ANY decision--than I trust Bush.  So Cheney gave the shoot-down order instead of Bush.  SOMEONE had to give the order and if it was left to Bush he would be sucking on his thumb looking for Dick, Condi, or Momma Bush help him decidde.

    •  Read Richard Clarke (none)
      Cheney wasn't making decisions about how to protect the country. Cheney was making decisions about how to spin the country.

      Really. Just go read it.

    •  that's not the issue, however (4.00)
      the issue is the constitution - just another instance of how this admin thinks sept 11 invalidated our constitution and they can do whatever they want. as i recall from Clarke's book [hark, hark, the clarke] Cheney and the Mrs were watching CNN- and didn't they have the telephone off the hook or something?

      Hark! Hark! the Clarke!

      by Errol on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:06:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Noticed this last week (4.00)
    I noticed Cheney's apparent coup in this article and in this article in the WaPo from June 17, and was shocked that it hasn't received more comment from the media or the blogosphere.

    Of course, I have never doubted that Cheney is the real decision-maker in the administration. Bush is little more than a figurehead. If you read closely you'll see that Cheney also made the decision that Bush shouldn't return immediately to DC but should bounce around the country in AF1.

  •  PSA :: veterans' attorney representation amendment (none)
    please write your congressman and ask them to support this new amendment, which would set better precedent for many of the "tribunal" / representation issues that u.s. soldiers are facing.

    bottom line: it's a civil liberties issue, regardless of what you feel personally about the war in iraq or on "other terror fronts".

    H.R. 3492 Title:

    To amend title 38, United States Code, to allow claimants for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay fees for attorney services during any stage of the Department of Veterans Affairs claims process.

    Bill Sponsor: Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2]

    (introduced 11/17/2003)


  •  The Newsweek article (4.00)
    also made clear that 9/11 staffers think Bush and Cheney are lying.

    Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning? -- G. W. Bush

    by Unstable Isotope on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:22:13 PM PDT

    •  Indeed (none)
      According to one knowledgeable source, some staffers "flat out didn't believe the call ever took place." When the early draft conveying that skepticism was circulated to the administration, it provoked an angry reaction. In a letter from White House lawyers last Tuesday and a series of phone calls, the White House vigorously lobbied the commission to change the language in its report. "We didn't think it was written in a way that clearly reflected the accounting the president and vice president had given to the commission," White House spokesman Dan Bartlett told NEWSWEEK.

      now how can we get a hold of an earlier draft?
      •  You didn't print our spin (none)
        So the White House was angry that the 9-11 report went with the evidence instead of the story Cheney and Bush concocted and insisted on in their not-under-oath moment.

        Do they really have the power to force their spin over the evidence? Somebody please tell me that in my country the law still has some power over these idiots.

      •  That NORAD was clearly in disarray, (none)
        with no idea what to do, indicates that no one was exercising leadership -- including Cheney.

        And Rumsfled was "out of the loop," which is understandable because he's loopy in an unloopy way.

        And Cheney was probably using the opportunity while everyone was watching TeeVee and not watching him to shove some more contracts Halliburton's way.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 03:52:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Shootdowns and F9/11 (none)
    It's important to keep this shootdown issue in mind when confronting spin directed against the 7 minutes of uncomfortable pet goat footage in Fahrenheit 9/11.  That's the reason every minute counted: only Bush could give the order (in theory).  

    The pilots who were sent to intercept have pointed out that it wouldn't have mattered if they got there in time because they had no authorization to fire.

    •  Yeah. What's that about: (none)
      Cheney gave the shoot-down order after Bushit, frozen with indecision, didn't get on the phone and gave him permission to do so, and then the pilots never got the order.

      Though Cheney gave the order.

      Who did Cheney give the order to?  Halliburton?

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 03:56:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure which is worse (4.00)
    The fact that the President and Vice President have apparently lied, circumvented known protocol and chain of command structure in something as serious as shooting down a civilian plane; OR the fact that I have such high regard for the man sitting in the chair of the President of the United States, that I would rather see a man as despicable as Dick Cheney take charge when there is a crisis situation, even if he did not have proper orders.
  •  And you thought... (4.00)
    it was scary when Alexander Haig took charge.
  •  Thanks kos (4.00)
    for great reporting

    The Center For Cooperative Research explores the fate flight 93 and considers the possibility that the plane WAS shot down and the shootdown subsiquently covered up.   Adding to this that Cheney may have been covering up his illegal power grab could explain motive a lot more clearly than before.

    9:58 a.m.      Complete 911 Timeline

    Edward Felt.

    A man calls 911 from a bathroom on the plane, crying, "We're being hijacked, we're being hijacked!" [Toronto Sun, 9/16/01], then reports that "he heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him." [ABC News, 9/11/01 (B), ABC News, 9/11/01 (C), AP, 9/12/01 (B)] One minute after the call began, the line goes dead. [Pittsburgh Channel, 12/6/01] Investigators believe this was Edward Felt, the only passenger not accounted for on phone calls. He was sitting in first class, so he probably was in the bathroom near the front of the plane. At one point he appears to have peeked out the bathroom door. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 193-194, 196] The mentions of smoke and explosions on the recording of his call are now denied. [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 264] The person who took Felt's call is not allowed to speak to the media. [Mirror, 9/13/02] If that's true, why is this important fact only denied now, when the FBI got a copy of the recording on 9/11, and let the media report the smoke and explosion story for month

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:30:34 PM PDT

    •  that's an interesting theory (none)
      wonder if the 9/11 commission has looked at that issue?  

      "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

      by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:38:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The flight 93 timeline (4.00)
        linked above is worth a close look, especially in light of this latest stuff.

        A distinct possibility is that the passengers had gotten control of the plane, knew how to fly it, and were shot down anyway, perhaps in an abundance of caution or carelessness. There were two people on the plane who were potential pilots. One was a professional pilot. The other was a flight controller.

        Center For Cooperative Research timeline

        (9:57 a.m. and After)      Complete 911 Timeline

        "In the cockpit! In the cockpit!" is heard. Hijackers are reportedly heard telling each other to hold the door. In English, someone outside shouts, "Let's get them." The hijackers are also praying "Allah o akbar" (God is great). One of the hijackers suggests shutting off the oxygen supply to the cabin (which apparently wouldn't have had an effect since the plane was already below 10,000 feet). A hijacker says, "Should we finish?" Another one says, "Not yet." The sounds of the passengers get clearer, and in unaccented English "Give it to me!" is heard. "I'm injured," someone says in English. Then something like "roll it up" and "lift it up" is heard. Passengers' relatives believe this sequence proves that the passengers did take control of the plane. [MSNBC 7/30/02; Telegraph 8/6/02; Newsweek 11/25/01; Observer 12/2/01]

        <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

        by moon in the house of moe on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:46:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  just read the timeline.... (none)
          so complicated...what i've always wondered about is why did it get pulverized? was it the speed it went down? the angle?  just thought that was always strange because in almost any other plane crash there are pieces and often big pieces left...would that have anything to do with it being shot down or not?

          i wouldn't be surprised if it did get shot down...frankly i think the kentucky governor was lucky he didn't get shot down the other week during Reagan's funeral....

          you're right that it becomes even more complicated if it's cheney running the show and if he wasn't authorized to do so...and that could have induced such a coverup

          "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

          by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:17:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not so strange (none)
            When a plane buries itself into the ground there typically isn't anything big left.  Think to the Valuejet flight that hit the Everglades a few years ago.  It also buried itself and there weren't many large pieces visible.
            •  What about the reports that an engine (none)
              was found 8 miles away?

              And the guy who saw papers coming down from the sky?

              Might those be spurious?

              A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

              by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:01:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Also.. (none)
      I'm sure I read somewhere, though can't come up with it now, that some witnesses on the ground nearby saw a strange looking, single fighter jet fly over just after the plane went down.

      Anyone else remember something like this?

      •  Witnesses on the ground (none)
        This conspiracy theory has been around since shortly after the crash. There are at least six eye-witnesses who claim to have seen an unmarked white military aircaft near Flight 93. More info at among many other sites.

        Without a clear motive for a cover-up--why deny shooting down the plane if it was to save countless lives?--it was just another conspiracy theory with some anecdotal evidence. However, now that Cheney's decision to shoot down the plane has been confirmed and his apparent coup has come to light, it makes much more sense why he would prefer to give credit to the passengers of the flight for crashing the plane. This would be doubly sad if it's true that the passengers had gained control of the plan and could have been landed it safely.

        "If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

        by mofus on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 11:32:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reason to Conceal? (none)
          If Flight 93 was shot down because the hijackers had lost control of it (thus raising the possibility of interrogation of some of the hijackers,) one can see why the government would want to hide that.
          •  Not necessarily. (none)
            If Cheney, unauthorized, ordered the plane shot down, and it was shot down, there could have been legal repercussions.  Thus greater scrutiny, therefore questions about why Bushit was so incapacitated -- frozen with indecision -- that he couldn't give the order.

            That would have screwed up his image as being the dashing and daring and decisive leader we all know he has always been.

            A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

            by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:06:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Center for Cooperative Research... (none)
      Best thing I ever did, was read the entirety of their massive 9/11 entry, time lines of every part of the day, each flight, it is exhaustive... read it in summer of 02.

      I can really recommend it.  One thing that people used to use against the site (to say it had an unpalatble viewpoint) was the entry of mainstream media reports of the departure of the bin Laden relatives... but I had read those at the time and felt it was entirely feasible.  And now it is in the regular conversation with regard to that day, that week.  (Despite the inability to make clear sense lately out of the two disparate Clarke versions of "authorisation".)

      Great site.

      I guess we have Gen. Boykin Rules of Engagement: our god is bigger.

      by Marisacat on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:05:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  another relevant passage (none)
        Terry Butler, at Stoystown: He sees the plane come out of the clouds, low to the ground. "It was moving like you wouldn't believe. Next thing I knew it makes a heck of a sharp, right-hand turn." It banks to the right and appears to be trying to climb to clear one of the ridges, but it continues to turn to the right and then veers behind a ridge. About a second later it crashes. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/01]

        Ernie Stuhl, the mayor of Shanksville: "I know of two people--I will not mention names--that heard a missile. They both live very close, within a couple of hundred yards... This one fellow's served in Vietnam and he says he's heard them, and he heard one that day." He adds that based on what he has learned, F-16s were "very, very close." [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01]
        Accounts of the plane making strange noises:
        Laura Temyer of Hooversville: "I didn't see the plane but I heard the plane's engine. Then I heard a loud thump that echoed off the hills and then I heard the plane's engine. I heard two more loud thumps and didn't hear the plane's engine anymore after that." (She insists that people she knows in state law enforcement have privately told her the plane was shot down, and that decompression sucked objects from the aircraft, explaining why there was a wide debris field.) [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01]

        Charles Sturtz, a half mile from the crash site: The plane is heading southeast and has its engines running. No smoke can be seen. "It was really roaring, you know. Like it was trying to go someplace, I guess." [WPXI Channel 11, 9/13/01]

        Michael Merringer, two miles from the crash site: "I heard the engine gun two different times and then I heard a loud bang..." [AP, 9/12/01 (B)]

        Tim Lensbouer, 300 yards away: "I heard it for 10 or 15 seconds and it sounded like it was going full bore." [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12/01 (B)]
        Accounts of the plane flying upside down:
        Rob Kimmel, several miles from the crash site: He sees it fly overhead, banking hard to the right. It is 200 feet or less off the ground as it crests a hill to the southeast. "I saw the top of the plane, not the bottom." [Among the Heroes, by Jere Longman, 8/02, p. 210-211]

        Eric Peterson of Lambertsville: He sees a plane flying overhead unusually low. The plane seemed to be turning end-over-end as it dropped out of sight behind a tree line. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12/01]

        Bob Blair of Stoystown: He sees the plane spiraling and flying upside down before crashing. Its not much higher than the treetops. [Daily American, 9/12/01]
        Accounts of a sudden plunge and more strange sounds:
        An unnamed witness says he hears two loud bangs before watching the plane take a downward turn of nearly 90 degrees. [Cleveland Newschannel 5, 9/11/01]

        Another unnamed witness sees the plane overhead. It makes a high-pitched, screeching sound. The plane then makes a sharp, 90-degree downward turn and crashes. [Cleveland Newschannel 5, 9/11/01]

        Tom Fritz, about a quarter-mile from the crash site: He hears a sound that "wasn't quite right" and looks up in the sky. "It dropped all of a sudden, like a stone," going "so fast that you couldn't even make out what color it was." [St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/01]

        Terry Butler, a few miles north of Lambertsville: "It dropped out of the clouds." The plane rose slightly, trying to gain altitude, then "it just went flip to the right and then straight down." [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/12/01 (B)]

        Lee Purbaugh, 300 yards away: "There was an incredibly loud rumbling sound and there it was, right there, right above my head--maybe 50 feet up.... I saw it rock from side to side then, suddenly, it dipped and dived, nose first, with a huge explosion, into the ground. I knew immediately that no one could possibly have survived." [Independent, 8/13/02]
        Upside down and a sudden plunge:
        Linda Shepley: She hears a loud bang and sees the plane bank to the side. [ABC News, 9/11/01 (C)] She sees the plane wobbling right and left, at a low altitude of roughly 2,500 feet, when suddenly the right wing dips straight down, and the plane plunges into the earth. She says she has an unobstructed view of Flight 93's final two minutes. [Philadelphia Daily News, 11/15/01]

        Kelly Leverknight in Stony Creek Township of Shanksville: "There was no smoke, it just went straight down. I saw the belly of the plane." It sounds like it is flying low, and it's heading east. [Daily American, 9/12/01, St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/01]

        Tim Thornsberg, working in a nearby strip mine: "It came in low over the trees and started wobbling. Then it just rolled over and was flying upside down for a few seconds ... and then it kind of stalled and did a nose dive over the trees." [WPXI Channel 11, 9/13/01]
        What sense can be made of all these different accounts? Some say it was flying a couple thousand feet up and suddenly plunged down, some say it was flying extremely low. Turns, climbs, strange noises, flipping, etc.... While many of these accounts conflict, virtually all support a missile strike, because of the common theme of noises and a plane struggling to rise and stay in the air. The plunge doesn't seem to be a deliberate thrust of the plane toward the ground, but instead the result of engine failure.

        Flight 93 crash site. North is to the top. Note the impact point north of the road, and the burned trees to the south of it.
        Other passenger planes hit by missiles continued to fly for several minutes before crashing. For instance, a Korean Airline 747 was hit by two Russian missiles in 1983, yet continued to fly for two more minutes. [KAL Cockpit Voice Recorder transcript] Is that what happened here?


        <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

        by moon in the house of moe on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:15:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  how fortuitous (none)
          this answers some of my questions above...

          certainly being shot down doesn't seem to be at all reaching out of the realm of possibility...

          "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

          by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:24:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now The Real Question... (none)

            ...Why was it shot down? An overabundance of caution? Or because Cheney didn't want to risk any of the hijackers coming back alive?

            •  Downing makes sense, Cheney doesn't (none)
              Although the decision would be difficult to make, it does have logical merits.

              Option 1: Shoot down plane in rural area.
              Total Dead: Those on board.

              Option 2: Let the terrorists crash the plane (as was clear their intention).
              Total Dead: Those on board + 100? 1,000? 10,000?

              Let's say the plane hadn't crashed in PA, but made it to its target (US Capitol building?) and taken additional lives as well as another symbol of our democracy. What would people say if they found out later the plane could have been shot down over a field, but that the administration had hesitated or simply decided to do nothing?

              I think the issue here isn't that the decision was made to down the plane, but rather it was made by someone who was clearly exceeding his authority.

              "If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

              by mofus on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 11:51:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Please: until you can come up with a (none)
              sane tying of Cheney to the highjackers, leave that conspirabunk out.

              If the plane was shot down, it was so it wouldn't reach it's theorized destination.  One could say that would be the only possibly-responsible anyone in power took regarding the attck.  The other three planes got through because planes were (1) scramled too late, and (2) from distant instead of near airfields.

              A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

              by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:14:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (none)
    I posted a diary on a related topic last week.

    If you aren't completely appalled, then you haven't been paying attention.

    by Trix on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:38:28 PM PDT

  •  There is no other word for this than... (none)
    •  Rule of law! (Repeat 3x) (none)
      I forgot that the cries of "rule of law" only matter when it's about Clinton's dick.  When it's little things like an extra-Constitutional order, what's the big deal?

      The fool wonders, the wise man asks.

      by NTodd on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:46:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We've only known this since 9/11/2001 (4.00)
    On that day we knew Cheney was 'in a bunker' under the White House and Dubya was flying around the sky until finally he joined the pre- scheduled meeting hosted by Warren Buffet.

    So, who else was coordinating 'events'? Cheney. I don't understand all the surprise. Here you have a man who has failed at everything he has ever attempted, 'interviewed' to be president, (as opposed to tapping his brother Jeb) then a group of retreads from the Reagan administration becomes his cabinet, along with a man who goes back to the Nixon administration... Dick Cheney. Does anyone think that was an accident? The only 'accident' if there was one, was tapping Dubya instead of his brother (whom his father tells anyone who will listen, is smarter than Dubya). And we really believe this man is the one calling the shots?

    An unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

    by crone on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:56:09 PM PDT

  •  I would use (none)
    the old stand by of rats leaving the sinking ship but rats are a creature with intelligence, integrity, and purpose whether you like them or not, on the other hand Bush, Cheney, and the rest of this band of outlaws don't have the same redeeming values, if any at all.
  •  That's funny (4.00)
    Combat air patrols were aloft, and a military aide was asking for shoot-down authority, telling Cheney that a fourth plane was "80 miles out" from Washington. Cheney didn't flinch, the report said.


    When the plane was 60 miles out, Cheney was again informed and again he ordered: take it out.

    The closest the fourth plane ever got to Washington was 125 miles.

    For the first link, click the "flight 93" button; for the second, see the last line of the article.

    I don't want the world; I just want your half.

    by Finrod on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:14:36 PM PDT

    •  Flight 77 (none)
      Flight 77 (the plane that allegedly hit the Pentagon) obviously got within 60 miles of D.C.  If it was shot down, that may explain why it had to be a missile that hit the Pentagon.

      By the way, did anybody else notice about how Jamie Gorelick questioned Rumsfeld in the 9/11 hearings about a missile being headed towards the Pentagon the morning of 9/11?

      •  Don't go there (none)
        People saw the plane hit the Pentagon. Despite counterclaims by that French conspiracy theorist, aircraft-related debris was recovered from the grounds and the building.
        •  Yeah, I really get irritated (none)
          by the conspirabunk red herrings.  They only muddy and obscure.

          Which sometimes I think is a deliberate conspiratorial intent . . .

          A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

          by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:23:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Witnesses to Plane Hitting Pentagon? (none)
          I used to work at the Pentagon, a few years ago.  I know people who still work at the Pentagon, and I live in the D.C. area.  I don't know anybody who saw the plane hit the Pentagon.

          If the book The New Pearl Harbor is to be believed, very few people say they actually saw a commercial-size airliner hit the Pentagon.  

  •  Question: (none)
    Will this actually get any play in the SCLM?
    •  SCLM? (none)
      Sorry for the newbie question, but what does SCLM stand for? I'm usually pretty good deciphering these, but this one has had me stumped since I first came across it. Thanks.

      "If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

      by mofus on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:00:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coup? I think not. (3.00)
    He may have violated chain of command and other protocols but this just isn't a coup.  This kind of overblown hyperbole really hurts our cause because it gives those we need to convince a bad taste and reduces our legitimacy.

    It's fairly obvious that Bush's cabinet and advisors (namely, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfovitz, etc) have great sway over the president's beliefs and decisions but its pretty dumb to think that GWB isn't intelligent and capable in his own right.  He isn't a retard and he isn't stupid (I'm not suggesting that he is brilliant by any means either).  If anything he is hobbled by his chosen beliefs in seeing the world in simple terms, hence he appears simple.

    But I do believe that he is in power and control and I hold him responsible for everything that happens.  He does trust his advisors and if they tell him that it is too dangerous to fly back to Washington, he did.  (Funny how it was safe enough to hang around that school for 20 minutes chit chatting with teachers though).  

    Stop with the feel-good attacks on Bush.  They don't help our cause and don't help us to deal with the situation. Just as Bush is barking up the wrong tree with his rhetoric on terrorism, so are those who just blather about puppets and retards.

    I'm in this fight to fix the country.  Stop being so shallow and get over your disgust.  Time to buck up and do what needs to be done, not just what looks good.  We spend too much time blowing each other's clits and dicks and not enough time digging out of the hole we are in.

    Maybe Logic gets you farther.

    by Nutrimentia on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:23:19 PM PDT

  •  93 (none)
    It's clear that they shot down flight 93.  This is proof that Cheney gave the order to do it.  They say he gave the order but nothing happened?  Horseshit.  Regardless of the way you want to characterize it, it is clear that Cheney was in charge.  And I am sure that by September it was clear to everyone that Cheney was calling the shots.  So we are to believe that his direct order to shoot down an airliner was disobeyed or ignored? There was a lot of speculation at the time that the plane had been shot down.  Now that Cheney has admitted issuing an order to do just that, don't you think the whole thing should be revisited with an open mind?  I mean really.  They had reason to do it.  They gave the order to do it.  The plane went down but we're not supposed to entertain the notion that it was shot down?
    •  If they shot it down, good for the military (4.00)
      If Flight 93 was shot down, sorry for the people on board, but chances are that the hijackers were going to do their best to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol, the White House or some other building and kill many more people than the crash of Flight 93 killed.

      Under the circumstances, shooting down Flight 93 was/would have been a tragically heroic act.

      As far as I'm concerned, proof that our military shot down Flight 93, on Cheney's illegal orders or anyone else's orders, would be the only proof I've seen in a long time that we have a military capable of doing anything other than piling naked prisoners in pyramids.

      •  Well... (none)
        the question of whether or not it was the right call is entirely independent of the incredibly slimy nature of the cover-up.  It is beginning to look like this is just another aspect of the big lie that their response to 9/11 was.
      •  Shooting (none)

        Actually, shooting was a very cowardly act. Especially since confirmation had been recieved from several sources that the plane was no longer in terrorist hands and had changed course away from DC. So the question must be asked - why did Cheney want it shot down at any cost? Enough to warrant (by some accounts) three missiles fired at the plane, enough to cause it to break apart?

        •  Read the fucking timeline -- (none)
          the phone call from the guy who allegedly saw smoke after the hijackers were apparently overcome was within a period of seconds.  If it was shot down, the missile/s were on their way from just before the passengers took control, and they couldn't be called back.

          Unless there's evidence that there was a "necessity" to ensure the hijackers were killed, drop the conspirabunk.

          A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

          by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:32:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  legally (none)
    I can't find it with google, but I was pretty sure that only the President is allowed to order planes to be shot down, and if someone else does that, aren't they breaking some sort of law - subject so some sort of punishment?
    •  9/11 Timeline (none)

      If you haven't seen it, this site is amazing-  tons of detail regarding the events before and after 9/11.  Compiled by Paul Thompson, relying entirely on mainstream news sources.

    •  IF there's a law limiting such actions to (none)
      only the president, but Bushit was incapacitated -- which is obviously the fact, as the video shows, then Cheney violated the law.

      But if the facts are that he ordered the plane shot down out of genuine concern that if not shot down it would be flown into a building in DC, and those facts were to come out, Cheney would be "forgiven".

      Why the cover-up, if there is one?  To hide the fact that Bushit was incapable of functioning so couldn't himself give the order.  Remeber: the only thing that matters to these people is keeping Bushit looking good for the purposes of election.

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:36:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I like this (none)
    I don't like Cheney, but, in this case, he was making a split-second decision under terrible circumstances, and he gave a reasonable, practical order that Bush obviously would have supported.

    I think it makes sense to criticize Cheney for (apparently) lying about the circumstances and refusing to take responsibility for his actions now that we're past the crisis, and I think it makes sense to ask, "How can we improve the vice president's response in the future?", but I don't think it makes sense to criticize Cheney or punish him for doing what he could to take control of a chaotic situation. If he thought he had to lie and stage a temporary coup to keep an airliner from crashing into the Capitol, well, who knows, maybe he was right.

    The reason to vote against Bush and Cheney is because they've done everything they could before and after 9/11 to alienate other countries, flout international law, and weaken the dollar, not because they happened to act like flawed human beings on 9/11.

    •  No but... (none)
      they've been lying through their teeth about it ever since.  Its the fundamental dishonesty, the "institutionalized lying" that is at the heart of my disgust with these people.
      •  They've been lying about everything (none)
        since before they stole their ways into office.

        If their lying about shooting down the plane, it can be understood why, and therefore be "forgiven".

        There're enough other, impeachable offenses, to fill a libary.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:39:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cheney (none)
      The point on Cheney issuing the order is that he was not in the chain of command....and so it is not surprising that the order was never relayed to the pilots.

      If a pilot shot down a plane on an order from the Vice-President it would be illegal.

      The second point isn't a criticism of Cheney but a criticism of the President who decided that he would spend 10 minutes reading a goat story and posing for photographs while Flight 77 was cruising toward the Pentagon and Flight 93 was heading toward the Capitol Building that was filled with our representatives.

      He then wrote a little speech for ten minutes, gave the speech and then left for the airport...but he never issued an order to down any additional airplanes...which is about the only thing he could really do to help matters.

      Meanwhile Rumsfeld abandoned his post and went outside the Pentagon after Flight 77 hit, rather than be in a position to order the downing of planes...since he WAS in the chain of command.

      "Black folks voting for the Republican Party is like a bunch of chickens voting for Col. Sanders!"- JC Watts father

      by BooMan23 on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It Can't Be a Coup (none)
    Since everybody knew Cheney would be in charge when he anointed himself veep back in 2000. Many of us consoled ourselves, however briefly, after they stole the election, thinking Cheney wasn't the mindless dolt W was, and that he at least had the executive experience required to do the job. Little did we know he would start of war to profit Halliburton and his many other cronies. Um, wait...yeah, we knew he'd do that given the chance, we just didn't think the voters would give the evil fucks both houses of congress in 2002.

    This isn't on Cheney. It's on America. They empowered these shitheads.

    ...he didn't make the mistake that some politicians do of wearing his religion on his sleeve. -Ron Reagan Jr.

    by easong on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:41:23 PM PDT

    •  i agree except (none)
      i also hold the 9/11 hijackers responsible as well....

      BC would never have been able to get away with half of what they have done without that event occurring....the unification of the country for a year or two after 9/11 and the overwhelming demands for absolute patriotism even at the expense of some basic American civil liberties (like dissent) has let BC get away with murder both figuratively and, really many would say literally....

      "It is the peacemakers, above all, who earn a place in history." --Mikhail Gorbachev

      by southc on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:58:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I'd known (none)
    If, at the time, I'd known that Cheny was in charge, I might have actually felt better.

    Better to remain silent and thought a fool, then to speak up and remove all doubt.

    by David in Burbank on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:53:52 PM PDT

  •  The 9/11 commission discussion of comms. (none)
    I was listening to the replay of part of the hearings last week on CSPAN radio and I was struck by the fact that when the panel asked a question obout communication issues between the FAA, NORAD, the NMCC, the Whitehouse (where Cheney was) and AF1, the witness basically described some difficulties with establishing secure comms with the FAA, but that eventually they established the links with the WH.  One of the panelists followed up by pointig out that he hadn't mentioned connecting to AF1.  The interesting thing about his original answer and his follow-up answer was that it was clear that his focus was on extablishing comms to Cheney at the WH, and connecting to Bush was clearly an afterthought.  At least, that was the impression I had from listening.  
    •  He probably thought first to (none)
      contact the White House on the assumption Bushit was there.

      Not to contact Cheney instead of Bushit.

      And wasn't the FAA "out of the loop"?  Was it only possible to get it into the loop from the White House side of the equation?

      We get a pretty clear picture of what was happening with NORAD, and it was in disaray.  I want as detailed a timeline of what was happening on the Bushit-Cheney side of the equation.  I suspect that, if not a lie, would show that the NORAD disarray was because there was no leadership from that other side.

      The NORAD side is described as not having any sense of urgency.  Cheney was probably scrambling, totally unprepared, trying to figure out what to do.  Who contacted whom first: NORAD the White house?  Or White House, NORAD?

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:47:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  coup is a little over the top (none)
    "Coup" is not the right word.

    This isn't a criticism, just a reminder that people are going to dismiss writers as "not serious" if they float words like "coup" too cavalierly.

    There are many reasons, even if lame, for Bush not to come immediately back to the White House.

    Regardless, he was always within phone contact, and, in a moment of crisis, someone has to take charge.

    If George W. Bush wasn't prepared to take charge, if as president he was willing to have the VP tell him to fly around for awhile, then it's better he does so.

    Leaders respond.  Since Bush didn't step up, Cheney did.  Whether Cheney encouraged it or not doesn't matter.

    I'd prefer the guy who wants the mantle to be calling the shots, and that's apparently what happened.

    free the information

    by freelixir on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:48:33 PM PDT

    •  and I say this as a big Cheney critic (none)
      I look forward to Cheney being removed from power, along with Bush.  I don't think they're competent, or rational.

      Cheney is just the type of politician tied into big corporations that I have no tolerance for.  

      Yet, in this matter of 9/11, just pointing out that leaders take charge, and don't let their underlings or assistants tell them what to do.

      If they do, then it's clear who the real leader is, and who's in charge.

      Leadership is rarely acquired, in my opinion.  It's a natural trait.  You either exercise it (some say "command" it), or you don't.

      free the information

      by freelixir on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:51:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  all true, freelixir (none)
      what that doesn't account for, however, is that Cheney apparently concocted a story about relaying Bush's order, when it appears to have originated with him. I agree that there might be a good argument made for what happened with the shoot-down order. But then, he should have made that argument. He didn't. He concocted a story. That tells me there may be more to the real story.
      •  maybe (none)
        But it's pure speculation.  I do find that interesting, but in my mind the order to shoot down planes should have happened before that time, and Bush backs up Cheney (maybe he just said "do what you have to do" and then decided not to make a big deal out of it).

        I just don't see this as a controversy that will last with anyone but conspiracy thinkers.  Bush says he gave Cheney the order...we can speculate all we want, but that's exactly what the Right has been doing to Clinton the past decade...finding a couple strands that can prop up a conspiracy theory and then expounding it as "obvious".

        free the information

        by freelixir on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 08:31:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ever since I heard this testimony (none)
    I've been convinced that this is actually why Cheney insisted on being interviewed with Bush. It makes perfect sense to me. He had to be there to ensure that Bush did not blow this open.

    As a Wyomingite, I've been watching dick for a long, long time & he acts in his own self-interest, first & foremost, always. He wasn't there to rescue Bush; he was there to save his own hide.


    •  I had the very same thought . . . (none)
      as soon as that conflict of phone calls thing got press.  Cheney and Bush had to say exactly the same thing about that day, and apparently Cheney decided Chimpy wasn't a good enough liar to be trusted.

      Beyond that, I cannot believe the people up thread who don't think this is significant. It sure the hell does matter who gives chain-of-command orders in the Executive branch; and this crap that "the President would surely agree with it" doesn't even pass the laugh test. NO ONE in the administration gets to automatically assume the responsibility the President owns unless he specifically gives it to them.

      Cheney takes charge because "someone had to do it"?  W.T.F.?  How many fucking phones and how many staff people does Bush have around him 24 hours a day? Are people saying that when he travels he has essentially ceded Presidential power to whoever is roaming the halls of the West Wing?

      Shrimpy was President that day, and for whatever confluences of reasons, he wasn't giving orders. But orders were being given. If that ain't a coup against the powers provided to his postition by us through the Constitution, I'm gonna start giving orders myself----  And pull down my pants and sing a stiring rendition of  "I'm a Little Teapot"*

      *somebody said that on another thread today and I've been laughing about it ever since . . .

      •  The Constitution authorizes the VP (none)
        to act "as if" president if the president is incapacitated.

        I think the video shows Bushit as frozen with indecision.  Incapacitated.

        So Cheney acted in his stead because he wasn't incapacitated by peepee pants.

        If there's a cover-up, the main purpose of it is to protect the image of Bushit as the dashing and daring decisive leader and hero we've always known him to be.

        There's no "coup" in any of that.  There is the scandal that Bushit showed what we've also all along known: that he was and is out of his depth.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:54:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Constitution authorizes the VP (none)
          That is funny.  Dashing, daring, decisive hero?  ROTFLMAO!   I see somone else is having fun with this "official" story.

          I must finish writing my version of this story now that I know some of the stuff I wrote as a joke is actually true.  What a fun thing to leave to my grandchildren so they can see if my verison was the closest to the truth!

          I agree with jnagarya.  The Coward in Chief was Incapacitated!  AND I'm betting he was peeing his pants too!

    •  The Bobbsey Twins Testimony (none)
      I've been called paranoid and a few other names when I suggest that Bush has never been the president.  Obviously many others think this too because I've seen dozens of cartoons & articles that show Cheney as the Chief Puppeteer in this puppet show.  They had to testify together to keep their stories straight.   That is one that should have been public!

      I wonder if my joking story of Bush hijacking AF One and heading out of the country might be awfully close to the truth!  That "fact" could be what's keeping little  Georgie under the thumb of Uncle Dickie.

      How else could Bush spend half his term on vacations and the other half campaigning for the Republican party?

      Oh what a mess these crooks are.   One wrong turn and they could  all self implode.   It might be scary but it might also be a lot of fun watching these crooks scream and point  fingers.

      Oh heck..... there I go dreaming again.  I forgot it's all President Clinton's fault!

  •  Read Richard Clarke (none)
    This is all entirely consistent with Clarke's description.

    He basically describes Cheney insisting Bush go elsewhere (which makes sense, absolutely, but is also convenient in that it leaves Cheney in charge).

    And then he describes Cheney, Lynne (who has no technical reason to be there), Karen Hughes, and Mary Matalin strategizing in the bunker on spin while all the adults were trying to save the country, not in the bunker.

    And then he describes something akin to the 9/11 Commission descripion of the shootdown order--although I believe it relates to the FAA orders Cheney gave.

    And then he describes how, finally, from Nebraska, Cheney let Bush come home.

    And through it all, Clarke very carefully describes Cheney as a cunning person who never lays his hand on the table.

    Oh, and one more thing.

    Condi orders Richard Clarke to go home and get some sleep. He kind of obeys. He goes home, showers, and then comes back. Only to return to them plotting about Iraq. Think about it. She gets him out of the WH, thinking they'll have 6 hours while he's gone. And then they immediately set to work planning this disastrous Iraq war.

    Coup might not be the word. But chain of command isn't it either.

    •  Meaning of COG (none)
      All of the participants agree that the Continuity of Government was declared before Flight 93 went down by whatever means in PA, and right after the Pentagon was hit.  A good deal about what COG means is highly secret, and it certainly changes from administration to administration -- but in essence it is a "doomsday" agreement that places authorities in the hands of those able to act -- and I suspect the proper interpretation of what happened when the Pentagon was hit was a COG that took Bush with his poor radio and telephonic connections out of the Command seat for a time was initiated. Clarke tells us this -- as do many other witnesses.  

      I have no idea what kind of COG Bush and Cheney have with each other -- the only description at any lenght I've ever heard of these was Walter Mondale's description of the one between himself and Carter.  Their agreement apparently had a whole set of principles that defined conditions in which Mondale would assume command because the President would be "out of the loop" for various reasons.  Apparently (and I am relying on Mondale here) in the week prior to assuming office leaders of the Secret Service meet with both the incoming President and VP and go over all the parts of the standard agreement -- make necessary changes, and then it is signed with some sort of oath a day or so before the inaguration.  Following this, they are read into the really highly classified stuff -- and Mondale made a little joke of this when I heard him discuss it -- "you know, the stuff about how you blow up the world." --- read that knowing Fritz laid it on with a very droll attitude.  I would assume that what Fritz said is about all anyone does say about this directly -- but I don't think you can call something a coup when indeed what happened that morning when COG was declared may well have put Cheney in charge. (as planned).  We can't know because we have no idea exactly what kind of COG agreement they had, or have. My own guess (and that is all it is) is that when communications are sub-normal and undependable, that COG places the VP in temp command until such time as the President recovers dependable communications -- which I assume would be when he arrived at Barksdale or Offutt in Nebraska.  If you read Clarke's description of his briefing of Bush when he arrived at the command center at Offutt, it is pretty clear this is a "reading back in" to a dynamic situation of someone who has been out of the command loop.  

      I think the real criticism of Bush that morning has to do with the failure to leave that classroom, immediately, when the 2nd plane hit a tower, and actively participate in assessing the situation either from the school, or by quickly returning to the Presidential Plane.  If the Secret Service had been up to snuff that morning, Bush would have essentially disappeared from sight into a security net.  In fact apparently the VP was picked up near bodily by the SS and rushed toward the bunker.  


      •  That should have happened (none)
        after the first plane hit, which he knew about when leaving the hotel for the school.

        Certainly on the way to the school someone was monitoring the situation so he knew by the time he got to the school that the first plane was not a private plane but a commercial airliner.  The moment he learned that, he should have been "on the case," not "on with the photo op".

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:01:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank God so,meone did something (none)
    Look, Bush was cringing in a corner. Cheney knew Bush wasn't going to do shit. asking the President, who was stunned stupid, was useless.

    Bush is useless. Remember that. Cheney stepped in because Bush was holding his dick and wimpering.

  •  Clarke's Running the Country Not Cheney (none)
    From Clarke's account, it appears that he is the top seat running the country while Cheney and Rice are in the bunker. As I recall, Clarke is aware of procedures that require Presidential authorization and simply uses Cheney as a conduit to Bush when he HAS to, such as requesting the shoot down order. I did not get the idea that Cheney was running the operation or trying to save the country from further attack. I see that as Clarke, Clarke, Clarke (and all those communications with the different agencies and military ops with Clarke has to be verified--otherwise Cheney would have taken credit for all that, too--but he wasn't even in the room with Clarke and everyone else running things).

    What I like about the first chapter of Clarke's book is that it paints this vivid picture of what happen that day with Clarke in charge at the White House. When the book came out, they all attacked him as being a loser and unimportant in the anti-terror front. They did NOT attack the facts relayed in the first chapter about 9/11. I assume because the WH couldn't effectively refute it. They just talk about how he was "out of the loop" on things. WELL, WHY WOULD THE OUT OF THE LOOP person be put in charge of the White House operations during the biggest crisis in in the US? For one reason only, he was the best person for the job. Out of the loop, my ass.

    I agree with others here that indicate that Cheney was in the bunker managing spin and keeping Bush out of the picture. Whether it was Clarke or Cheney, I have to say that it would have been even more of a disaster if Bush had been handy and "pretended to play commander" that day. We probably would have bombed Iraq, Iran, and N. Korea that very day.

    I think that virtually every other president would have done a better job taking command of the situation. I also don't think it's critical that he wasn't in Washington...I think a true leader can command from anywhere. However, I think that Bush's insistance that he wanted to come back to the White House immediately were purely political. Everything's a photo op to him. He wanted to look presidential, not be presidential. I don't think he realizes there is a difference.

    •  Agreed: Rice said that she asked (none)
      Clarke to take the "command seat" (or whatever it's called).

      And of course he was "out of the loop".  The "loop" was Cheney, Rice, etc.  It didn't include Clarke, who was handy and knew what to do, but they'd apparently all along disparaged the importance of terrorism, and had demoted his position as anti-terrorism "czar".

      Here's a thought: if Bushit said he thought the first plane that hit the WTC was a small private plane, then wouldn't that fit the sorts of planes the FBI described on which the potential hijackers were training?

      So, no big deal: we'll let it happen, because it's only gonna be a small plane that causes a little damage.  Maybe a dozen killed.  Then we can invade Iraq.

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:08:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I kinda liked the ... (none)
    "with no destination at take-off"

    Sounds like the slogan for the Iraqi war.

  •  Give Cheney a break on this one (none)
    You all know I despise Cheney as much as the fiercest of you, but I will give him a break on this one. He told Clarke and the Air Force they had the shoot-down order, which was obviously the right order to give.

    Bush was out of reach, and whimpering in shock, someone had to do what had to be done.

    To say anything else will come off as formalism and technicalities to realistic swing voters. This isn't even close to at "coup d'etat" in my book. Better to stick with the talking points that works.

    •  The V-P has no military authority (none)
      Still, the question is: did Cheney authorize the military to shoot down planes, or was he simply passing along that order from the President (even if he solicited the President)?  As I understand it, the Vice President is not in the chain of comand (that is he is not the "vice commander-in-chief"), and therefore has no authority to tell anyone in the military to do anything.
      •  Cheney's Authorities (none)
        We can't actually know Cheney's authorities because the COG agreement between a sitting President and his VP are top top secret, codenamed, classified during any administration.  To know that agreement would enable an enemy to decapitate the command structure.  The closest you can come to it is what Mondale has said publicly -- or maybe Clinton and Gore could someday discuss their rules regarding COG.  Clarke or anyone else in his position would know the operative COG rules -- so you can perhaps infer them from his description.  Note -- the first act almost was to move Sec. of commerce Don Evans (Bush's best buddy flying friend from TANG days) to a secure locatiion.  Could be this is in the current operative agreement.  

        I agree -- Clarke's chapter is very important for understanding major moves that morning.  I'd like to also recommend James Bamford's parallel chapter in "A Pretest for War" -- because he has chased down a long list of communications with critical security agencies.  (Recommend the whole book -- but particularly Part One, Destruction.)  Eventually we are going to have an interesting time of it fitting these descriptions of particular persons and agencies into the final report of the 911 Commission.  As Kean said last week what surprised him was that until the commission started work, no one had attempted to puzzle the whole thing together, look at the data and documentation, and throw out the inaccurate stuff.  

    •  Absolutely disagree (none)
      Forget what swing voters want for a sec -- we are talking about what is constitutional. That's hardly a technicality or formalism in my book. Let's talk about what is the right thing, and the constitutional thing, to do.

      The VP, to my knowlkedge, and as another poster has said, has zero constitutional authority to give a military order, unless the president cannot act. I do not know what the VP's authority is if a decision must be made in the immediate moment and the president cannot be reached. But that does not seem to be the case here. In the story as given, Cheney knew where Bush was and how to reach him, and apprently made no attempt to do so, or to determine other facts perhaps affecting the decision (how much time before the plane was over major targets, etc.). Indeed, if there was no opportunity or possibility of contacting the president, why would the national security staffer suggest that this be done?

      Perhaps the president in this kind of situation can delegate his authority to the VP, who has better access to communications. But that does not appear to have happened either.

      Bottom line, if Dick Cheney ordered a civilian airliner shot down, it is fair to ask by authority he did so. And if he could have contacted the president and did not, and if the order exceeded his constitutional authority, then that is an impeachable offense.

      Is it good POLITICAL strategy to push that idea? Well, I think it is good political strategy to point out when the VP does not obey the Constitution. But is this story really about strategy? For me, if true, this story is about the essence of how a constitutional democracy functions in crisis. Shooting ordinary civilians dead (what this order meant) is obviously the most extreme exercise of governmental power. The importance of lines of authority to exercise this power is not when there is no threat, but when there is crisis.

      If I'm wrong about the VP's actual constitutional prerogatives in this situation, by all means educate me. But don't tell me this is a technical detail. We already have a president who claims bizarre imperial powers (ask Jose Padilla) at the drop of a hat. Let's not have the VP -- especially this one -- getting into the act as well.

      "Scrutinize the bill, it is you who must pay it...You must take over the leadership." - Brecht

      by pedestrian xing on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Common sense (none)
        You're right on the constitutional issues, no doubt.

        I guess the President can delegate powers to the veep, at his discretion, and at the President's own responsibility, but I don't know it that is the case.

        My point is that Cheney told the relevant person, Clarke, that the President had signed on to the concept of shooting down the planes. As I understand it, that was the President's own, expressed decision.

        Understandably, NORAD came back with questions about the exact rules of engagement, that's what this is about, if I understand it correctly. To what extent was the President in on the details of the ROE discussions? Clarke expresses concern in his book about "not being willing to litigate the ROEs with the Air Force JAGs beyond the point of it being too late", and was happy with swift decisions from the bunker.

        In all likelihood, it was too late anyway, so the point is kind of

        So, my point is down to common sense. Shooting down the plane before it hit the Capitol or the WH, but at the latest possible time, is so obviously the right course of action (except for pacifists), that I'm willing to appeal to people's common sense on this one.

        The right thing to do, with a competent President, would have been to get the veep away to a bunker somewhere, real quick, and bring in the President ASAP. But, in this world ... not going to go there ...

  •  You know what? (none)
    Good.  Cheney is at least capable of making a decision by himself.  It's like that episode of Star Trek where the transporter malfunctions (as usual) and splits Kirk into Pussweed Kirk and Evil Kirk, and Pussweed Kirk is on the bridge sweating and twitching and incapable of making decisions, while Evil Kirk slinks about being generally, well, Evil and capable.

    You don't really want either of them in command, but when the Klingons appear off the starboard bow, I know which one I'd rather have in the Chair.

  •  not a coup, but shows who wears the pants (none)
    Kos, this is an important story, but "coup" is an inaccurate and unhelpful exaggeration here. Cheney seems to have arrogated presidential authority to humself for at least one important decision. That's not a coup (after all, Bush still has his chair in the oval office); and calling it that obscures the deeper implication of this story: Cheney (apparently -- for sake of argument, let's assume that in fact he did not consult the president) did not feel it was important to confirm this order with Bush.

    Now, can anyone imagine giving such an order -- allowing civilian airliners to be shot down -- without being awful sure you had the authority to do that? I therefore cannot help but wonder, if this account is indeed true, what other things has Cheney done without proper consultation of the president, before or after 9/11 ? In other words, the shoot-down approval did not effect or represent a coup, as much as it revealed an extremely arrogant disdain by this VP of his consitutional role (perhaps that would be a "coup in situ.")

    In any case, I assume this would be an impeachable act, again assuming it is true.

    "Scrutinize the bill, it is you who must pay it...You must take over the leadership." - Brecht

    by pedestrian xing on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 09:23:05 AM PDT

    •  Too much speculation. (none)
      Assume Cheney got the authority -- even if it was from Card.  Even if only as a technicality.  Otherwise, he acted because he knew Bushit Bunnypants was incapable of doing so.

      Unconstitutional?  Compare that with having apparently saved lives by having the plane shot down.  Which would be the greater "irresponsibility"  Do you really think We the People would demand Cheney be impeached because he took command, unconstitutionally, and as result saved hundreds of lives?

      Keep it to the essentials, the "facts" we so far know.  All the speculation is wasteful distraction.

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:17:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lipping Out of the Memory Hole (none)
    Seems like almost everyone nearly missed this story.  I TiVoed it a few days back, when CNN showed long stretches of the 9/11 Commission finding being read, and couldn't believe my ears when they got to the Cheney shoot-down order.  From its wording, it was quite obvious the Commission didn't believe Cheney consulted Bush first.  I thought this would be a major story.

    Guess not, but at least it's not been completely disappeared.  Maybe it's break late, like Lott or Plame.

    •  If Cheney didn't consult Bushit before (none)
      giving the shoot-down order (if he even did), the bigger issue is Bushit's incapacition and incompetence.

      Screw Cheney in this instance: taking out Bushit takes out Cheney.

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:21:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  pResident Cheney (none)
    I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.  For the past 2 1/2 years I have been writing variations of this story in NY Times forums to bug the radical right joksters who post there.  The really big difference in my story and the one you post here is that I had Bush going AWOL again and that Cheney had to have him hog tied and sedated to get him back to DC, but I always had pRes.Tricky Dicky taking charge.

    Yee gods.  When this story finally does come out it should be a humdinger.

  •  Apparently... (none)
    In the communications in the first hour there were apparently considerations of taking Bush to his Ranch.  I wonder who threw that idea into the mix?  Apparently it was during discussions after they returned to Air Force One, and before they took off -- and no evidence it received further consideration, but what if Bush's idea of security was his little ranch house on the prairie?  

    Details -- details, it is all there in the details.  

  •  violating the constitution is not common sense (none)
    Again, the issue for me is not was it right to order a plane shot down. The question is whether the person who orders the plane shot down has the authority to do that. And the answer is simply the legal rules for this authority. Let's take it up a notch: If Cheney got info that a nuclear strike was imminent, he still has no authority to order a nuclear launch. There may be exceptions here, related to the inability of the president to act, but these exceptions are part of the rules. My overall point is that really, for the point in question, common sense has nothing to do with it: it is a question of law.

    Now as a practical matter, it may be that Cheney would assert he was acting on the general instructions of the president, that in effect the president, as you say, had decided in concept that planes should be shot down. Alternatively, if the plane actually had been shot down (I think in fact the plane was already down, or else this was another plane that tuened out not to be hijacked; in any case no plane was actually shot down by this order), Cheney could say, "hey, I did what I think was right, saving the Capitol (or WH, or whatever), and there was no time to consult with the prez, and so fuck you big time" (or some other colorful Cheneyism).

    And we might all agree it was good to save the Capitol and ask questions later. But hundreds of Americans would also be dead at the hands of their own government, and we should also agree that no one elected Dick Cheney to have the power to kill them (technically, no one except 5 Supreme Court justices elected W to have that power either, but we'll skip that part here). So personally, I'd have to be convinced there was absolutely no possibility that Cheney could have contacted the president for such action on his part to be lawful (this all assuming the story is accurate as reported to us here -- i.e., that there was no presidential authority given in this case).

    Common sense is a funny term. BY definition, it references a shared perception of facts and values that is so broadly held, the correct action to take is self-evident to most observers. But asserting common sense in this kind of situation begs the question of such shared views. After all, it also appears to be common sense to Dick Cheney that Iraq and Al Qaeda had linkages (I think "obvious to anyone with open eyes and an open mind" was his phrase). "Common sense" is sort of up for grabs in a moment when planes are being hijacked and hitting buildings and noone knows what's going on is up for grabs. That's precisely when I don't want Joe Schmo, even if he is the VP, deciding what to do: I want the person who everyone has given this authority to by LAW to decide what to do.

    "Scrutinize the bill, it is you who must pay it...You must take over the leadership." - Brecht

    by pedestrian xing on Sun Jun 27, 2004 at 06:40:33 PM PDT

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