Able Danger Blog


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Friday, September 08, 2006

Capitalizing on the 9/11 tragedy?

Scathing editorial by John Prados of the National Security Archive:

The point here is not to belittle 9/11 conspiracy theories. Raising questions is perfectly legitimate, and some of those the 9/11 truth seekers posit are sufficiently troubling as to demand answers. At the same time, almost by definition with this administration, the official explanations are flawed, perhaps even outright deceptions. A steady stream of revelations has appeared that challenge the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the 9/11 Commission’s work—from its failure to deal with the prior knowledge implied by the “Able Danger” military intelligence unit, to the recent declassification of new data on U.S. air defense performance on that tragic day. At an earlier stage, when the House and Senate intelligence committees were conducting their own inquiry into 9/11, there was the similar Bush suppression of knowledge of CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief warning Bush of aerial events, and of the investigation’s treatment of U.S. links with Saudi Arabia. These were, and are, 9/11 truths whose emergence is important, and has occurred or will take place largely as a result of public pressure, not least that of the seekers.

My problems with the conspiracy theories are different. One is a question of focus, the other more political. In terms of focus, the 9/11 Truth Movement has largely steered clear of such outlandish attributions as to the Elders of Zion, and they do aim properly at the Bush administration. But the theories largely postulate that the Bush White House either made 9/11 happen, or this president knew all about what impended and let 9/11 happen. Neither is likely in my view. There is no doubt that the events of 9/11 flowed from an immense chain of actions in many places by a host of actors. Orchestrating all this activity implies a level of skill that just does not track with the Bush administration’s demonstrated incompetence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israeli-Palestinian matters, on selling democracy in the Middle East, on detention and torture, domestic wiretapping, actually finding Osama bin Laden, and on so much else. What the Bushies were good at was at capitalizing on the 9/11 tragedy to push their domestic and foreign policy agendas.