Ahmed Ressam

Dick Cheney Made No Mention of Millenium Plot in His Book

I’m still slogging through Dick Cheney’s awful book–I will write some more comprehensive things when I finish.

But I found this passage particularly curious given recent claims by Ali Soufan and Richard Clarke that we might have been able to prevent 9/11:

They had struck us before, blowing a crater five stories deep in the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. Al Qaeda had attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing hundreds, including twelve Americans. Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s leader, had personally chosen the operatives who bombed the U.S.S. Cole in a Yemeni harbor in 2000. Seventeen crew members had died. During the nineties, the United States had treated terrorist attacks primarily as law enforcement matters, indicting terrorists when we could, trying them, and sending some of them to prison. But that approach hadn’t stopped the attacks. Al Qaeda had just delivered the most devastating blow to our homeland in its history.

We needed a new way forward, one based on the recognition that we were at war.

In this abbreviated passage, Cheney makes his case that we had to combat al Qaeda with a wartime approach, something different that had been used up to that point.

There’s a lot else he misses in the lead up to 9/11. He makes no mention of Richard Clarke and his efforts to do something about al Qaeda. That’s not surprising given Cheney’s churlish approach to mentions of others in this book.

Cheney also lays no blame for the Cole bombing–not on the Navy and not on Clinton. This, in spite of the fact that he attacked similar military errors contributing to the 1983 Marine barracks attack in Beirut and the Blackhawk attack in Somalia, and in spite of his almost gleeful joy at blaming Carter and Clinton for the failed Desert One rescue and Somalia, respectively.

But the failure to mention that law enforcement had discovered and prevented a plot is really telling. Because, of course, alert law enforcement had “stopped the attacks” on one occasion, but it’s that occasion he completely ignores in his recitation of past al Qaeda attacks.

So there it is–the bulk of the justification for Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine, omitting all mention that sound counter-terrorism policy might have prevented the USS Cole or at least the casualties, that our counter-terrorism efforts had successfully interdicted a plot, and that Richard Clarke (and George Tenet) had been issuing shrill warnings in the days leading up to 9/11.

Sure, he needs to omit those details to make his logic work. He needs to present war as the only option.

But it also makes you wonder whether he knows, too, that we could, and should, have prevented 9/11.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @KenDilanianAP GOP response says he said something like that, tho later.
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emptywheel @Shan681 You DO realize ISIS already knows abt our torture bc some lived it? @biasedreporter
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emptywheel Cause not only do torture timeline & dragnet timeline coalesce, but so does the "Oh fuck will I get busted for outing a NOC" timeline
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emptywheel It's 2014 I am matching date Robert Grenier was working on torture propaganda w/Cheney & day when he "remembered" Cheney knew Plame was CIA.
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emptywheel RT @MikeElk: #ff @greenhousenyt round of applause for the dean of labor reporter for his last day on the beat - thanks for keeping it alive!
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman Not saying that, but there weren't that many people involved. Saying she's classic case of involvement w/reward.
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman Mind you, no one is more responsible than Cheney and Addington, but I don't think they're hanging her out either.
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman Here was my piece well before NBC. https://t.co/hb4ut72cOp
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman She is significantly responsible (and, admittedly, there are a lot of people fr CIA who'd like to see her pay for it).
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emptywheel Next up on SonyGate: Sure, Mark Zuckerberg is a douchebag, but he didn't hack Sony to stop a movie abt him.
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman No. I'm certain it wasn't.
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emptywheel @firetomfriedman 2) hide her promotions under O 3) which were used to keep quiet/reward loyalty 4) hide relation bt 9/11 torture propaganda
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