Previous to 9/11 and forward, the Bush and Cheney administration made major decisions which affect our safety here at home. One such decision was to leave the safety of the nation up to industry by allowing industry to set the standards of safe practice with the understanding that if a security measure was going to cost industry substantial money it wasn't a national security necessity. As a result, we still have no workable cargo, port or passenger check system in place eight years after 9/11.
Bush and Cheney created new security agencies in the name of national security, including Homeland Security, which were to coordinate and channel intelligence and information between all pertinent government bodies. They didn't. This administration not only made it impossible for Homeland Security to do it's job because of inept setup, lack of proper computer networking, lack of information sharing and standardized procedural follow through, the Cheney penchant for secrecy and control of intelligence solidified the ongoing problem of lack of basic inter-agency communication.
When Bill Clinton left office, he left in place specific security provisions created by his administration to help combat organized terrorism here at home. Upon Bush and Cheney taking office, these provisions were removed. At this time, Bush and Cheney also called off an ongoing FBI investigation into Saudi financing of terrorism. After 9/11, when it was found the majority of the terrorists who attacked America were from Saudi Arabia, Bush and Cheney refused to reopen the investigation.
The years since the World Trade Center attack have shown us that many of the extremists have been and continue to be Saudis. Our own military reports showed that the the majority of the foreign fighters in Iraq were Saudis, and half of them were suicide bombers. Who is to say we could not have caught some of those who financed these Saudi foreign fighters, or those who still finance Saudi terrorism today or, at the least, learned more about their network, if Bush and Cheney had only let the FBI do their job previous to 9/11, or even johnny-come-lately, post 9/11?
Who is to say we could not have learned more about who was behind our largest terrorist attack in history if Bush and Cheney had not ham-stringed the 9/11 Commission as well? Bush and Cheney repeatedly stonewalled any investigation sought by the American people through their constant refusal to release documents requested, their refusal to supply testimony and even their blatant refusal to answer subpoenas issued by the 9/11 Commission, a commission they objected to in the first place. It seems Bush and Cheney both stand ready to play hardball with the American people but were never willing to play hard ball with the Saudis when it came to investigating terrorism.
Instead, Bush and Cheney created a revolving door strategy for the capture, torture and later release into the general population further radicalized detainees. This administration imprisoned tens of thousands Muslim during their eight years in power but did nothing to ensure these 'enemy combatants' were properly vetted, charged, treated, tried or even released in a secure manner. Instead, after many years of captivity and sometimes torture, unstable radicalized men were released to unstable radical countries in the midst of war. Most of those released to Saudi Arabia were Saudi and Yemeni detainees who were then freed and told to go play in Yemen. Over the years, more than several of these particular uncharged detainees have been implicated in terrorist acts, including the most recent Flight 253 terrorist attack directed towards the United States.
Bush and Cheney's Catch And Release program created thousands of extremists out of radicals and insurgents before setting them free to inspire and train even more extremists to carry out attacks now planned with the growing cooperation of well funded terrorist factions. Bush and Cheney, through their national security measure of mass
imprisonment, selective torture and mass release, gave the cause of Jihad thousands of
hardcore heroes who now sit around the
training ground campfires and impress thousands more with their stories, true or not, of torture
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, these hard riding, hard lined, hard balling protectors of our nation, Bush and Cheney, did diddly squat to protect us here at home from their newly created extremists.
Before Cheney runs off at the mouth even further, I'd like to see him produce an actual accounting of national security and first responder measures put into place here at home during the years following 9/11. Where are the strict security measures that Hardline Bush and Hardball Cheney required of our private nuclear facilities in the days following 9/11? What number and type of scanning devices for airports were mandated as the minimum national standard of safety in order to help prevent another 9/11? Never mind that they both ignored repeated warnings, intelligence and memos leading up to the 9/11 attack, what exactly did they do in the aftermath to keep us safe?
What minimum level of cargo checking was made mandatory for airlines, ports and the trucking industry? What percentage of cargo is actually checked today versus the percentage checked previous to 9/11? Is requiring only a check of truck cargo in Mexico before the truck enters our borders a high enough standard? Is that considered 'hardball'? What provisions were put into place by the Bush and Cheney administration in the event of a national security emergency such as a pandemic, other than telling the states they were own their own? Maybe that's what they mean by hardball?
Please Mr. Cheney, where are the sweeping reforms your administration initiated as to visa requirements, background checks and visa compliance enforcement, all areas that needed immediate attention on 9/12. What did your follow up reports in this regard show as far as implementation and results and what did you do to improve those results?
Tell us exactly just how hard you worked over your eight years in power to set up a practical, coordinated, procedurally correct networked international air travel security system utilizing all necessary tools and tech. Tell us just how you worked with industry to get the job done, and tell us exactly what industry contributed. Explain what your follow up reports told you about the success of this security system, how you improved it over the years and, please, tell us, sir, why, with eight years to perfect it, your system still cannot not function properly today.
Playing hardball with terrorism means you have to be willing to play hardball not just with the Saudis, but with industry Mr. Cheney, that's the bottom line. You and Mr. Bush had the moral responsibility to tell them both "THIS is what you are going to do" not "YOU get to set your own terms." Your actions show us you just didn't have the moral fortitude to do it, to do right by us. You, Mr. Cheney and, yes, you, Mr. Bush, and your enabling Republicans, are all equally accountable to the American people for our nation's present day overall lack of actual national security, our lack of inter-agency tools and cooperation and our further lack of first responder teams, all needs sorely neglected each and every year since 9/11, and, yes, even for our present day lack of an on the job TSA Chief.
Playing hardball with terrorism means your security strategy and implementation of same would have enabled your administration to pass, at the least, at the very least, one national security test during the years between the worst attack on our nation and the time you left office. Just one freaking security test in seven years, Dick...just one. Is that simply too damned much to ask from such a hardline, hardballing protector of our nation such as yourself?