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After the TV cameras at the 9/11 Commission hearing were shut
off, Bill Harlow phoned the commission staff to say, Oops, sorry, Tenet
misspoke. Even then, Harlow admitted only to Tenet's Aug. 17 visit to Crawford
(and to the briefing on the 31st).
How do we know Tenet was again in Crawford, on Aug. 24? From
a White House press release quoting President Bush to that effect -- information
somehow completely missed by our vigilant Fawning Corporate Media.
Funny, too, how Tenet could have forgotten his first visit to
Crawford on Aug. 17. In his memoir, At the Center of the Storm, Tenet waxes eloquent about the "president
graciously driving me around the spread in his pickup and me trying to make
small talk about the flora and the fauna." But the visit was not limited to
In his book Tenet writes: "A few weeks after the August 6 PDB
was delivered, I followed it to Crawford to make sure the president stayed
current on events." The Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief contained the
article "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US." According to Ron Suskind's
The One-Percent Doctrine, the president
reacted by telling the CIA briefer, "All right, you've covered your ass
If, as Tenet says in his memoir, it was the Aug. 6, 2001 PDB
that prompted his visit on Aug. 17, what might have brought him back on Aug. 24?
I believe the answer can be found in court documents released at the trial of
Zacarias Moussaoui, the fledgling pilot in Minnesota interested in learning to
steer a plane but indifferent as to how to land it.
Those documents show that on Aug. 23, 2001, Tenet was given
an alarming briefing focusing on Moussaoui, titled "Islamic Extremist Learns to
Fly." Tenet was told that Moussaoui was training to fly a 747 and, among other
suspicion-arousing data, had paid for the training in cash.
It is an open question -- if a key one -- whether Tenet told
Bush about the two hijackers, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, while keeping that key
information from the person who most needed it -- White House counter-terrorist
czar Richard Clarke. Clarke finds the only plausible explanation in his surmise
that Tenet was personally responsible. Clarke says:
"For me to this day, it is inexplicable, when I had every other detail about everything related to terrorism, that the director didn't tell me, that the director of the counter-terrorism center didn't tell me, that the other 48 people inside CIA that knew about it never mentioned it to me or anyone in my staff in a period of over 12 months."Enter Harlow
But Tenet's aide-de-camp Bill Harlow has branded Clarke's
statements "absurd and patently false." And the statement Harlow shepherded for
Tenet, Black and Blee adds, "reckless and profoundly wrong ... baseless ... belied by the record ... unworthy of serious consideration."
And Harlow never lies? Right. I'm reminded of Harlow's
reaction to Newsweek's publication on Feb. 24, 2003, of the intelligence information provided by Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, when he defected to Jordan in 1995. Kamel brought with him a treasure trove of documents and unique knowledge of Iraq's putative
"weapons of mass destruction."
Most significantly, he told his U.S. debriefers there were no
WMD in Iraq. He knew. He had been in charge of Iraq's chemical, biological,
nuclear and missile programs for almost a decade, and he ordered what weapons existed destroyed before the U.N. inspectors could discover them after the war in 1991. In his words:
"I ordered the destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons -- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed."
He told the U.S. much more, and the information that could be
checked out was confirmed. But Kamel's information didn't fit with the Bush
administration's propaganda regarding its certainty that Iraq did have WMD
stockpiles and was defying United Nations demands that the WMD be destroyed.
Those pushing the Iraq War juggernaut in early 2003 almost
had a conniption when Newsweek acquired
a transcript of Kamel's debriefing and published this potentially explosive
story barely three weeks before the invasion.
gingerly that this information "raises questions about whether the WMD
stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist." It was, in fact, the kind of
impeccably sourced documentary evidence after which intelligence analysts and
But this was not at all what Bush, Cheney, and -- by
sycophantic extension -- Tenet wanted Newsweek readers, or the rest of us, to learn less than a
month before the U.S./U.K. attack on Iraq ostensibly to find and destroy those
Bill Harlow to the rescue: he told the FCM in no uncertain terms that the Newsweek story was, "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." And
the media cheerleaders for war breathed a sigh of relief, saying, Gosh, thanks
for telling us, and then dropped the story like a hot potato.
By all indications, Harlow is still able to work his
fraudulent magic on the FCM, which have virtually ignored this major Clarke v.
Tenet story since it broke six days ago.
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