Kurt Eichenwald's op-ed at the New York Times and his subsequent appearances on CNN and MSNBC serve as a reminder, welcome or not, of an elephant that remains in the room even after being acknowledged and discussed in public.
The consensus view of how the events of 9/11 came to be are generally and politically filed under ... "failure of intelligence" i.e ... a failure of those in the intelligence community.
If someone, if something has to "carry the can" into the pages of History for the slaughter in New York City it will have to be CIA, NSA, FBI, "firewalls", political overseers...
It would make sense to me that guilty or not.. the "intel community" would have reason to fight back, to rectify, to squirm if duty implies that they will wear the sackcloth with resignation.
What Eichenwald has reminded us of, what we need to rethink is that the conspiracy that brought about 9/11 was penetrated. It was compromised.
Somebody, or a number of somebodies, knew, saw, found out, reported, got cited and finally got included in presidential security briefings.
The repeated warnings from the spring of '01 on as Eichenwald reveals and/or reminds "logically" indicate one of the following as to their provenance:
1) The intelligence community was making shit up that unfortunately happened to come true. Odds.. very long. Can we dismiss option 1?
2) The American government's and military's intelligence communities had "HUMINT" [ people/agents penetrating the plot to some degree ] ... SIGINT.. taps of whole or parts of telephone calls, emails, that revealed the plot to some degree. A combination of the above? Odds, given the secret budgets and range of NSA and CIA ops... better than even?
3) Gifts from other/allied governments... Intel from the list of countries who claim or are claimed to have sent warnings. The other governments sources being human or signals. The motives for sharing good intel or disinformation of the foreign states may vary.
Odds that some of those reports are accurate or useful ... high?
You can challenge my odds ratings. But it's hard to come up with other sources for the ramped up series of warnings. Somebody somewhere was on to something.
The MIHOP theory would be that senior conspirators inside the USA had no option than to bury, discourage, undermine and deny evidence that the intel community was on their tail. And yet the intel turns up in the PDB's ? Odds.. very low?
And yet one has to wonder...one needs to ask... just how penetrated was the conspiracy to attack the USA in the way that unfolded on 9/11.
(Is it at all possible to argue that the conspiracy to commit the acts we call "9/11" were never penetrated or never compromised by the intel services of any country? That seems untenable and has never been asserted.)
So. We all need to comtemplate. How deeply was the 9/11 plan penetrated? By whom? (foreign or domestic)
How "actionable" was the intel from that penetration?
What would one deduce if the record were to show that the 9/11 conspiracy was highly compromised and penetrated? Significantly compromised and penetrated? Somewhat compromised and penetrated?
Answers to those questions would go pretty much all the way to answer the questions of "legitimate historians" and investigative journalists, 9/11 "truthers", partisans of America's two political parties and members of the gobsmacked horrified public.
Ari Fleisher accused Eichenwald of being a "truther" on the grounds that he did not include Bill Clinton in the list of failures. Is Fleisher suggesting that the 9/11 consensus is a bi-partisan "no blame game" deal that Eichenwald has violated?
To me, everything about understanding 9/11 rests on who generated the warnings and on what grounds the warnings were based. No one argues today that there were no warnings. That there were no war-gamers who looked at the implications of hijacked aircraft and skyscrapers, that there were no "cells" identified inside the USA.
"Firewalls" and intel community vanities currently carry the freight. Public servants fail us. Professional employees of various agencies.. the likes and classmates of Valerie Plame. Dana Carvey might have opined... "howww conveeeenient".
Given that foreign connections to 9/11 got redacted and black inked, given that PDB's were onto something big... and behind those PDB's were sources... an informed American public, an informed American electorate deserves and should demand to be treated as grown-ups now.
We have spent 4000+ lives, trillions of dollars and bled out America's perception of itself as generally virtuous. Obama has a repaired the optics while Guantanamo and Hellfires from drones continue.
Ought we not demand, ought we not insist that 11 years after the initial shock, days after Eichenwald's reminder... to know who and what entities were providing how much detail about how 9/11 was going to go down in the months preceding.
Can we not put the " intel/political failure thesis" that sticks it to the CIA agent, the FBI agent, the grim NSA listenter/analysts to test?
Who's "hair was on fire" according to Richard Clark? The intel community or the Bush admin? How did the people ringing the alarm bells, yelling and pointing to intel we don't even appreciate end up being blamed?
Thank you so very much Kurt Eichenwald. Thank you so much teacherken.
Public servants and their friends in this political climate might see the slow boil coming to a froth. They have been blamed for a failure to see that which they saw and reported.
Democrats may wish to rethink Max Cleland.... and Jamie Gorelick?
What did the Bush administration know and when did they know it?
What did the Clinton administration know it and when did they know it?
Why would Clinton warn Bush who to keep his security focus on bin Laden if he wasn't being sincere?
Why have the Democrats signed on to a 9/11 history that spreads culpability so widely as to be no culpability? Why did the purveryors of intel failures all get promoted upwards?
As US taxpayers, as the funders of the massive intel communities in the NSA, the CIA and the myriad of Defence Department intel agencies.. should you not demand to know who was reporting what to the president and his administration based on what degree of penetration of the 9/11 plot had been achieved, and by whom?
Is the 9/11 historical consensus a Linus style comfort blanket? It didn't work for me. I don't think it worked for the 9/11 widows who insisted there be an investigation.
( Do you remember when not investigating the 9/11 event was executive department policy? Do wish that had prevailed? Do you remember that Bush was not under oath and accompanied by his chubby brain/friend? Do you remember that 9/11's investigation was underfunded compared to Whitewater/Lewinsky...
You can't have repeated warnings over two seasons delivered to the president (as Eichenwald restates) without the plot having been compromised. Who got inside the plot and how deeply? I think you deserve to know. It's our intel community that's on the hook, blamed. Yet they were the ones screaming "emergency". And we pay for them. Maybe they were working for you.