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WarrsawPact
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Anyone see Condoleeza Rice's testimony?

She held her own, and then some.

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Ray Bingham
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I listened to part of it on the radio on the way to work this morning. I thought she clarified a number of interesting issues.

I thought the clapping at one of the more antagonistic inquisitors was really silly, and kind of showed that regardless of the "claims" of the investigative committee's intentions, that there are some out there "rooting" to give her a few black-eyes.

I was also considerably impressed with the clarification of a number of memos, and what has been publicly put forth.

Overall I think it's been a good thing to have her testimony, though I'm sure the spinmasters will have a hey-day with it... spin left, spin right, grab your partner, now do si do!

--Ray

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WarrsawPact
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http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/08/rice.transcript/index.html
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John L
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At first, I thought that she seemed a little nervous and tentative, but the manner in which she managed to continue to answer questions by the pit Yorkie (ben vaneste) or over caffinated Kerrey made me believe that she has a pretty forceful will to drive through ALL the blockades placed in front of her.

And, I believe that the orchestrated Democratic gallery that chose to clap at just the right moment will backfire on them. [Smile]

You simply cannot change the easy access of information that is out there on the Internet and now on Fox News. Please pass the Collectivists some tagamet. [Big Grin]

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jedilaw
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John, this war has BUBKIS to do with collectivists vs classical liberals. That meme has its uses in the debates over the economy, but it simply holds no water here.

It's quite possible, analytically, to be a fiscal conservative/classical liberal and believe at the same time that there are problems with the WoT. So long as any contrarian voices are dismissed as mere carping liberals, effective debate will be precluded.

That's surely not your intent, though, right?

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mv
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quote:
effective debate will be precluded. -- Jedilaw
Effective debate is precluded by the very timing of this hearings: the election year.

These hearings should been done shortly after 9/11; or, alternatively, delayed until the war is over (following the pattern of the Pearl Harbor hearings); doing them now guarantees that any truth is buried by partisan points.

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John L
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Edited by OrneryMod to remove unneeded comments.

[ April 08, 2004, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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FIJC
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I didn't see the testimony on TV, but I heard a lot of it on AM radio while I was driving to school today. I think she held her own, especially considering the amount of time she spent answering questions and defending the Administration.
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WmLambert
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I am impressed by her testimony. I found myself thinking as questions were asked what I would've said in response - and damned if she didn't say the exact things I had in mind - but much better than I could have! Ben Veniste tried to entrap her and got trapped himself. He tried to set up an August 6 Clarke memo as a warning that was ignored, but Rice rolled over his plans to define the memo by defining it first as a passive historical document focused on foreign alarms. When responding to "how the Clinton administration under Clarke had 'shaken the trees' and gotten a huge intelligence coup during the Millenium - she named Diana Dean, the customs officer who acted independently - even outside of what she was supposed to do - and explained how she discovered the al Qeada terrorist with bomb-making supplies in his trunk - which then rolled up his whole network - in spite of the "structural and legal impediments."

I also noted how restrained she was in naming the Congressional intrusion in Intelligence that is the real basis for the "structural and legal impediments" she continually referred to: The Carter 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Frank Church-inspired castration of the CIA and FBI, the Stansfield Turner firing of almost a thousand agents-in-place, the 1995 "primary purpose" firewall guidelines drafted by the Clinton administration that kept Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop computer from being read or Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi names from being given to the Counter-Intelligence side of the FBI from the criminal side, the forced retirement of Intelligence professionals and their replacement with Clinton bureaucrats. The Patriot Act is a stopgap to bridge the Congressional idiocy, and Rice seemed to want the committee to carry the water on that rather than the administration.

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WarrsawPact
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Come on guys, tell me she isn't prime VP material.
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Kamisaki
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HaHa! That's the first time I've seen OM edit an entire post for being an "unneeded comment!" Congrats, John L.

That said, I fully agree with OM, because I read the post before it was edited and it didn't make much sense at all.

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jedilaw
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I've read the transcript. Rice did a good job in a difficult setting.

One thing:

quote:
effective debate will be precluded. -- Jedilaw
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Effective debate is precluded by the very timing of this hearings: the election year.

These hearings should been done shortly after 9/11; or, alternatively, delayed until the war is over (following the pattern of the Pearl Harbor hearings); doing them now guarantees that any truth is buried by partisan points.

The Commission was, shall we say, delayed by the White House. Had the idea not been resisted so strongly at the outset, these hearings very likely would have concluded sometime last Summer or Fall. As such, it is hard to call these proceedings an election-year witch hunt against the President. If the timing is inconvenient, there is only one source for the delay, and that's 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
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WarrsawPact
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But that delay is more of a political tool than a hindrance to the Bush administration. They're making themselves look awfully good and they're bringing 9/11 back into the debate during election year, when it can glean them the most political capital.

They've given their political opponents two years' worth of political rope to hang themselves with, and they're looking at gaining the high ground by making them pay for all the hasty comments they made during emotionally heated wartime. Thewy're making their most prominent opponents look hot-headed and foolish on national TV and radio, with only seven months to go til elections.

Remember the campaign to dismantle Kerry hard and early? This is only stage two.

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Mr Xin Ku
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quote:
there is only one source for the delay, and that's 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
And now we see why the Bush Administration was dragging its feet, now that the scandal is unfolding . . . er, wait, a scandal has been found, right?

Maybe they knew it would be used for partisan reasons regardless of when it happened (not that nothing good is coming of it, but aside from the temporary excitement ala John Clarke it has allowed us to conclude that terrorists are bad and we were attacked).

[clapping heard in background]

[ April 08, 2004, 05:54 PM: Message edited by: Mr Xin Ku ]

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Murdok
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John L. No fair - when can I get one of my posts edited out of existance?!?!?

As for Condi - she did okay and really never contradicted much of what Clark had to say...she's a good spin doctor fer shore. Hell, she's had some practice on virtually every news show on the planet these past 4 weeks...I understand they have a sitcom starring her as herself coming out this fall - Condi's Place - a bar where everyone knows your name and yet no one can tell what's spin and whats true. The kids in it are real cute - little Georgie - always getting into trouble with drunk driving - and Dickie boy, setting off firecrackers in school toilets and then pointing at some smart kid saying he did it.

Should be fun!

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musket
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I doubt anybody here expected her to dry up and blow away, or even wilt. She is a person of considerable resources, and very good at polished presentation. Her goal was to survive this, and barring further revelations, she appears to have done so.

So far, general consensus in the media seems to be that she handled herself well, but didn't really have anything new to say. The more leftish papers say, with some justification in my opinion, that she also did a fine job of passing the buck.

Apparently those family members of 9/11 victims who were present are not really satisfied, but all in all her appearance was no disaster for Bush-- but probably not all that much of a help either.

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jedilaw
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I would say she deflected the emphasis of Clarke's assertions, but not the underlying substance. It was repeated several times, however, that this was a 20-year failure by presidents from both parties, so any fault on GWB's part was pretty well deflected in that sense, which is as it should be.
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RickyB
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Condi definitely did a good job under the circumstances, but that is not to say her testimony was good for the white house. There's only so much you can do with a dog of a hand, when the other players at the table ain't buying your bluff.

For one thing, each and every commissioner made it clear that she was, ummmmmm, lying as to the nature of the Aug. 6th 2001 PDB. She kept saying that it was only historical stuff, and they made it clear that it was not, and included very relevant stuff about the fact that specific suspects were known to be enrolled in flight school, for instance. That is not historical. These people could have been picked up for questioning. I don't know why no-one actually put it that way, but I don't see any problem with this line of reasoning. do y'all?

More than one of them challenged her to declassify that PDB so they could simply quote from it and prove she wasn't telling the truth, and it was clear that they were stretching the classification to the limit because the discrepancy was so great.

Second, There was a point where, under fierce questioning from Bob Kerrey (who found it necessary to upbraid her for "filibustering" him, i.e. speechifying without answering his question and thus wasting his alloted 10 minutes), Condi was forced to admit that there were a bunch of things she simply did not know about until after the disaster:

* The hole in security that allowed people to enter without visas by using connecting flights
* The hole in security due to local asylum policies,
* The hole in security that enabled Saudi citizens to get visas without undergoing personal interviews.

As NSA, she should have known about that. If someone failed to inform her, someone should have been fired. Not a single person was fired after the worst homeland security failure in US history.

I had to stop watching about half an hour before the end. Did the last questioner nail her on the flights-as-missiles discrepancy? Again, this is something she must have known about. Precautions were taken against it at the '96 olympics (not her watch, but she should have read up on such stuff), and it was discussed at the G-8 in 2001 in Genoa, which was on her watch. Simply no excuse for her not knowing that this was a possibility.

In short, on a personal level, Condi kept her composure and scored at least one good point, when she gave a credible explanation about Clarke's "doomsday-prophesy" memo of Sept. 4th. She was also excellent at repeatedly hammering her taking points: 233 days in office before the attacks, structural problems, nothing we could have done to prevent 9-11.

But even a very good performance couldn't hide the discrepancies.

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mv
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quote:
so any fault on GWB's part was pretty well deflected in that sense, which is as it should be. -- jedilaw
The fault on GWB's part has nothing to do with preventing 9/11: given the sorry state of CIA and FBI, this likely was not possible.

The real fault is in not undertaking a massive reorganization of the security: something that FDR did post-Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, this error will not be discussed until a 9/11 repeat gets investigated. [Eek!]

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Ray Bingham
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Didn't the commission spend a lot of time explaining that they weren't intent upon finding "fault"? So isn't fault-finding irrelevant to this discussion? [Wink]

--Ray

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Van Aaron
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Ricky, I cannot stand that kind of after-the-fact second-guessing. Every country had a policy for decades prior to 9/11 that passengers and crew should avoid struggling with airplane hijackers, to prevent a possible bloodbath. I heard that discussed many times, but I never, ever heard anyone once say that this policy posed a countervailing danger that the hijackers might fly the plane into a building.

After the fact all of us feel like it should have been obvious to us, but we know that it wasn't. You can look to your heart's content for obscure memos or passages in Tom Clancy novels that mention the possibility, but to blame any living person for not realizing that terrorists were going to do this - whether it's Clinton or Clarke or Bush or Rice - is Monday morning quarterbacking of the worst sort.

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WmLambert
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quote:
RickyB: ...each and every commissioner made it clear that she was, ummmmmm, lying as to the nature of the Aug. 6th 2001 PDB. She kept saying that it was only historical stuff, and they made it clear that it was not, and included very relevant stuff about the fact that specific suspects were known to be enrolled in flight school, for instance.
No - only the Democrats on the committee were spinning that. For your information, Clarke has already stated he did not know about the flight school stuff from either Zacarias Moussaoui or Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi as it might apply to flying into the WTC and the Pentagon. All of the commission members talked about hijacking being used as a bargaining tool in exchange for the blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman in Federal prison. If he did know he might have to go to jail because of the firewall Clinton put up making it illegal for FBI investigators who find incriminating legal evidence to turn it over to the Counter Intelligence side of the FBI, and vice versa. That is why the FBI bureaucrats didn't allow the Moussaoui laptop to be opened and inspected, until after 9/11.

No, there was no spin that the Aug. 6th memo was anything more than just an historical piece that discussed possible foreign repercussions to past events with no call for action of any kind. The document was already in the hands of the committee members, and most secret documents handed to them have already been leaked by ben-Veniste or Bob Kerrey.

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David Ricardo
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Condi came into the hearings today with a pretty weak hand, but she definitely performed pretty well in the face of tough questioning.

The Democratic commissioners all were hitting her pretty hard, and she did her best to deflect the charges -- except, of course, Bob "Vietnam War Crimes and Atrocities" Kerrey, who apparently couldn't help making a fool of himself with his frequent "Dr. Clarke" Freudian slips.

So, Condoleeza Rice gets a B+ grade for diligently sticking to her "blame the FBI/CIA, blame structural problems, we had only 233 days" talking point; filibustering Democratic commissioner statements successfully; and softening the strength of a couple Richard Clarke statements.

On the other hand, the Administration is probably not going to get a long-term political bounce out of her testimony. Her testimony will stop the Administration's political bleeding, but the mass media is already pouncing on a couple new slants to this story. Here are the three Administration weaknesses that the exceptional Rice was unable to deflect despite her best efforts.

1) August 6 PDB "Osama Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" memo declassification battle -- if the Bush Administration continues to stonewall the declassification of this PDB, then they will just eventually embarassed by mounting public pressure led by the famous (infamous?) 9/11 widows.

2) Condoleeza Rice's admission that she "doesn't remember" if she told the President about the intelligence about Al Qaeda sleeper cells within the United States (relayed to her by Richard Clarke). She's an extremely smart girl who memorized Bob Kerrey's speech from 4 years ago, yet she conveniently doesn't remember something as important as Al Qaeda sleeper cells in the US? Puh-leeze.

3) Condi's repeated shifting of blame onto the "structural problems" of the FBI will just amplify the mass media attention on next week's 9/11 hearings with DOJ/FBI law enforcements officials (Ashcroft/Reno/Mueller/Freeh). The piranha-like media will hype up the next week's hearings -- extending the entire 9/11 investigation fiaso for another week.

Conclusion: Condoleeza Rice played her weak hand very strongly, but the mass media still smells blood. Expect "August 6th PDB," "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States," "Al Qaeda Sleeper Cells in the United States," etc. to dominate the headlines for another week. In the short run, her testimony is a political wash. In the long run, several points in her testimony might get picked apart by a media establishment that thinks that it smells blood.

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David Ricardo
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Sorry for the followup, but I just watched all three of the Big 3 nightly newscasts.

All three networks are pushing the August 6th PDB memo "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United STates" story 200%.

For some reason, all three networks are also highlighting Bob "Vietnam War Atrocities and Crimes" Kerrey, but only NBC showed his stupid "Dr. Clarke" remarks.

In any case, it definitely seems that the major TV news networks are jumping all over themselves to push the August 6th PDB story. Given the herd mentality of the greater media establishment, you can bet that the rest of the media are also going to jump all over this meme.

Although I have no particular love for the Bush Administration, I do have to say that CBS/NBC/ABC royally screwed them this time around. They played all of the most damaging parts of the Condi hearings without playing almost any of her strongest points.

Call it Liberal Media Bias, or call it the piranha nature of the media -- but the news organizations already have their story for next week's news cycle:

"Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" -- August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing

[ April 08, 2004, 09:43 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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RickyB
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WmLambert:

quote:
Clarke has already stated he did not know about the flight school stuff from either Zacarias Moussaoui or Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi as it might apply to flying into the WTC and the Pentagon.as it might apply to flying into the WTC and the Pentagon
(bold added by me)

Come on! Isn't it enough to know that suspicious people are behaving very suspiciously regarding learning to fly airplanes, and learning about how commercial aircraft work, especially combined with alerts about possible hijacking of commercial aircraft, to warrant looking into this, sending an agent to have a chat with said suspicious people?

Is it really too much to expect that someone would have discerened at least a vague pattern and said "I don't know what the exact plot is, but it smells like there is one"? To warrant the prez and the NSA telling the director of the FBI "yo, what's up with that suspicious thing you told me about? didja check out that thing yet?" To warrant not saying "hmmm...that's interesting. somebody will probably take care of it. Not my problem. Nobody specifically asked ME to do anything about it. Moving right along to more uinteresting things..."

Van Aaron:

quote:
Every country had a policy for decades prior to 9/11 that passengers and crew should avoid struggling with airplane hijackers, to prevent a possible bloodbath
Sorry, how does this relate to anything I've said? I said nothing about passengers resisting.

As for obscure memos and Tom Clancy novels - this was neither. This was a possibility which was prepared for during a national security event (Atlanta '96) and on her own watch as a direct threat to the president. She simply cannot say that the idea never occured to her. Either She wants to say that the story about the Italians warning about it during Genoa 2001 is not true, or she made a glaring boo-boo which needs to be mentioned. Not so we can gloat and say "Con-di mee-ssed u-up, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah", but rather so we can see where we could have done better. Isn't the the whole point of this exercise?

I'm not blaming anyone for not realizing that the terrorist were GOING to do this. But for a person in Rice's position, with her access to facts and warnings, to say that the very concept never occurred to her, which is to say she never heard of the very idea that someone might do this - this is contrary to what we know.

Again, I'm not insisting on this in order to point fingers. But if we allow an official to simply say that he or she couldn't have imagined something that we know for a fact was raised as a possibility, however remote and theoretical, how are we gonna do better at confronting this sort of threat next time? The wish to avoid pointing fingers, noble and fair-minded as it is, should not prevent us from telling a player on out team "that was your bad. We need to make sure that doesn't happen again". And if she did hear about it but chose to say otherwise after it happened, then we as a team should not allow our player to lie to us like that. That would be letting her use our decency to avoid accountability.

So you're right, Ray, the commission is not about PERSONAL fault finding for the sake of punishing the "guilty".

But if one of our players missed a defnsive assignment and it lead to the other team's winning Touchdown, especially if the opponent's scoring play was something that was mentioned (however briefly) in the tape room, then this needs to be noted, so we can at least hope it doesn't happen again. Not saying anything surely won't do the trick - it'll just give our players the idea that sparing their feelings is more important to us than having everybody do their absolute best.

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WmLambert
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David Ricardo, Hello. Enjoyed your posts. However, whatever gives you an impression that Condoleezza Rice has a weak hand? You seem to gloss over the structural problems as if they are made up, and have a poor understanding of that Aug 6th briefing paper.

Please remember that Clarke has admitted NOT knowing about Moussaoui's case because of that structural problem. He also admitted not knowing about Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi for the same reason. Just what else do you expect to be in that August 6th memo? Rice said the brief only "reviewed past intelligence reporting, mostly dating from the 1990s, regarding possible al Qaeda plans to attack inside the United States. It referred to uncorroborated reporting from 1998 that terrorists might attempt to hijack a U.S. aircraft in an attempt to blackmail the government into releasing U.S.-held terrorists who had participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. This briefing item was not prompted by any specific threat information. And it did not raise the possibility that terrorists might use airplanes as missiles."

The misfounded idea that the Aug 6 brief was about Moussaoui, or Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi is just wrong. The only big thing about that time period was the rise in "electronic chatter." There were more statements like "Unbelievable news coming in weeks," "Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar," "There will be attacks in the near future." The committee has that briefing paper - and Bob Kerrey has already leaked parts of it, even though he was pledged not to do so. What kind of hand does that give him? Rice probably has that thing memorized - and if anything is redacted out of it - it is probably just things that could compromise sources.

Speaking of the structural problems. Did you read my earlier post that listed some of them? When Coleen Rowley testified earlier for the committee she also nailed what the structural problems are. (Zacarias Moussaoui, who had paid cash for pilot training {and was reported to authorities when his bizarre behavior—including intense interest in how cabin and cockpit doors worked—could no longer be ignored}, was detained by the immigration service. Coleen Rowley was the FBI agent who wanted access to his computer.)

The Carter 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) said the executive branch could not be trusted to use whatever tactics it, as the branch with the most expertise and information, determined were necessary to protect the nation. Rather, it would be compelled to go to a federal FISA court newly created for the purpose, and, as with the procedure for criminal wiretaps, it would need to establish probable cause that the target was an agent of a foreign power. Electronic surveillance would be permitted only if the judges approved. Gradually, courts rewrote FISA, grafting onto it a so-called "primary purpose" test requiring the government to establish not only probable cause that it was targeting operatives of a foreign power but also that its real reason for seeking surveillance was counterintelligence, not criminal prosecution.

In 1995 with the "primary purpose" guidelines drafted by the Clinton administration went into effect: henceforth, a firewall would be placed between criminal and national-security agents, generally barring them even from communicating with one another. Rowlings was turned down by supervisors who decided there was insufficient evidence to go to the FISA court. His al-Qaeda membership and numerous connections to the hijackers were not uncovered until after the attacks.

Stewart Baker, general counsel of the National Security Agency during the early Clinton administration reported Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi had trained to pilot planes, lived in California. In August 2001, at the time of the Brief in question, an astute FBI intelligence agent was trying to find them, and asked the criminal division for help. But FBI headquarters stepped in and insisted that the firewall not be breached: criminal agents were to stay out of the intelligence effort. A few weeks later, al-Midhar and al-Hazmi plunged Flight 77 into the Pentagon, their manifold ties to Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers kept safely under wraps.

The structural problems are well-documented. One set of FBI agents were not allowed to give crucial information to other FBI agents because of them. Even when the laws allowed a little "wiggle-room" the bureaucrat managers would not allow any sharing of information. Rowlings actually went to the CIA with her information because her own FBI wouldn't do anything - but the same thing happened at the CIA, and the bureaucrats there would not allow any information to be transmitted.

I'd say Condoleezza Rice has a pretty strong hand to play about the "structural problems." The Patriot Act and the creation of the Homeland Security division is a positive step - but the FISA and "firewall" requirements need to be addressed completely - not just in bits and pieces.

The biggest problem is not FISA, but the bureaucrats who were put in place to replace the Intelligence professionals who were forced out. Tenet has to go. Same thing with Mueller. Bremer is over in Iraq - or else he might have the CIA job right now. I hope he gets it after the June 30th hand-off to the Iraqi Governing Council. Them maybe the CIA and FBI might think about hiring some Arabic-language translaters. They supposedly had one when Clinton was in office.

[ April 09, 2004, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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WmLambert
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And RickyB, you'll see that we agree totally on this. If anyone had known about the flight schools or cockpit doors it would have been simply to deduce imminent dangers. However, the only ones who knew were the low-level agents, like Coleen Rowley, who tried their best to get their information up through channels - but their managers knew best and blocked all info from getting to Clarke, or Tenet, or Rice, or eventually to Bush. These managers are federal workers with Union grievance protections. How do you propose we should fix this problem?

The Intelligence computers, if you don't know, are the worse ones possible. They cannot communicate with one another, and according to Coleen Rowley and Clarke and other officials, you can't type in "Aviation" and "threat" and get any correlation. In a perfect world, one agent could enter information about Moussoui's fixation on cockpit doors and someone else could search it out. In the current CI Computers, they don't even have working eMail. Structural problem.

[ April 09, 2004, 12:09 AM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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David Ricardo
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Lambert: I was speaking from a political perspective (i.e. perceptions versus reality)

Everyone would agree that structural problems certainly do exist. The myriad agencies and bureaucracies relevant to national security are indeed very insulated from sharing information with each other.

Unfortunately, the primary role of the National Security Advisor is precisely to overcome those structural problems by coordinating strategy for the myriad national security agencies through the National Security Council.

Rightly or wrongly, many moderates/swing voters/etc. are getting the feeling that the Bush Administration is "hiding something" in regard to the 9/11 hearings (based off recent polling in the last 1-2 weeks, especially the Rasmussen Tracking Poll). To a large extent, this has occurred because of the tactically unwise maneuver of stonewalling the 9/11 commission -- causing some people to conclude that there is a a Bush Administration coverup because the Bush Administration is extremely reluctant to cooperate with the commission.

For example, the Administration should have simply waived executive privilege and asked Rice to testify right off the bat in order to short-circuit the 9/11 brouhaha. Instead, they ended up getting scolded by the 9/11 widows and conceded to having Rice testify anyway. The damage, however, was done, and some people have concluded that the Administtration is trying to cover up something (rightly or wrongly).

Given that political atmosphere, Condoleeza Rice came off to some people as derelict in duty. To them, her job description as National Security Advisor is all about overcoming the institutional weaknesses (structural problems) of the FBI/CIA. So, when she keeps repeating "structural problems," some people will just react, "So what? Isn't it your job to overcome those structural problems?"

So, I am not trying to argue that structural problems do not exist. I am not even arguing that structural problems are not a valid excuse. I am just saying that that answer won't satisfy the "responsibility freaks" who believe that the "buck stops here." And a lot of those "responsibility freaks" are Independents who are tired of Democrat and Republican politicians who just blame everyone else except themselves.

Anyhow, my other half of my post still stands. The media is running away with the more unfavorable portions of the Condi Rice hearings. Even if you think Condi Rice comes away with an A+ grade for her testimony, it is pretty obvious that the media is declaring the recent 9/11 news as "harmful to the Bush Administration."

Maybe the average American will not believe the media spin on the 9/11 hearings, but I doubt it. As an avid poll-watcher, it seems to me that Bush is gaining ground on the economy (because of the good March economic data), but he is losing even more ground on the War on Terror. President Bush is increasingly losing support on his foreign policy, and more importantly, his credibility -- even as he is getting higher marks on the economy.

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RickyB
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David, it may well be liberal bias, but as a journalist I can tell you that a convenient, juicy angle often creates far more coverage bias than a deliberate attempt to pander to a predetermined side of the issue.

I work for Israel's leading internet portal (not the one you linked to, mv - they're second place, though they belong to our leading daily paper). Anyway, Although all of us at the news desk are left of center (some much more so than myself), we will gladly shaft anyone on the left for a high-ratings headline that'll generate tons of talkbacks and controversy.

So beating the Aug 6th PDB angle one sidedly is simply "good business", not just good for the left side of the map. After all, Condi did a pretty good job of fouling off pitches and staying alive at the plate, but she didn't hit any homers, or even ground rule doubles. Nothing to spin there, unless you want to angrily refute previous claims. Screaming that there is no story after all does not make compelling journalism. [Wink]

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Colin JM0397
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Ricky, I'm not picking on you because it seems you really don't see yourself as biased, but what you just said verifies the bias more than any conservative bellyaching or complaining about it.

Whether it's consciously on purpose or not, it's there nonetheless.

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Redskullvw
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I did not listen or watch any coverage yesterday. I had planned to simply wait for transcripts to read. I figured that any editorializing, or audience reaction, or other detraction from the testimony would be edited out since it wasnt testimony. I was going to then sit back, read this testimony and compare it to other transcripts from other people.

Well last night I popped in saw the link and opened up the cnn page. Looked to me like i t would be about a 20 pager when printed. For some unknown reason I clicked on the "printable" version link. And even worse I click it to print.

Well Long story short, I now have CNN's version of the transcript. Its printed in 20 point font, has mayby 7 paragraphs a page, and has so much whitespace that it took 78 PAGES TO PRINT OUT....

I am sooo pisssed. So pissed that I cant even read the thing right now because I will oviously be so damn biased that anything she says will be right. So now I have to wait another 24 hours to cool off before posting anything. By the time I am ready to post most of you will have washed your hands of this.

So Moral of Story... take time to use standard setups and stylesheets for your printed web based documents. Don rely on their "click me!" crap.

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Murdok
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Red - or the logical thing to do would be:

A) Copy the text of the document to your computers clipboard

B) Open Word or a similar text editor

C) Paste

D) Reformat to 10 to 12 point text, reduce the line spacing

E) Print the 9 resulting pages

F) Read, open Ornery and Rant as is your usual manner

Logic - son, logic.

[ April 09, 2004, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: Murdok ]

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RickyB
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jm, I don't understand what you're saying. I opened my remarks by saying that it may well be not just bias, but liberal bias. I just went on to explain why that isn't the only explanation. The media will generally seize on anything it feels it can have a field day with, cause that's how you sell your product.

Or maybe you're refering to my admission that everyone at the newsdesk where I work is leftist? <shrug> I didn't have to do that, just being honest. But the fact is, we would (almost) just as eagerly seize upon a spin that damages the left.

We're biased all right. Most of the talkbacks we censor, for instance, are the right-wing racist type, but that's mainly because there are more of them. When leftist whackos call for blood we delete them too. It's just that leftist are generallly better at being infuriating without inciting to violence or bigotry.

It is true that we're more likely to post an article about how left wing activists are being harrassed at the airport, than about racist right wing activists who are unfairly treated by the authorities. It's true, and that's why there are other outlets as well, with opposing biases.

However, in Israel at least, the fact is that there has been an attempt to start a right wing daily newspaper (since all the other three non-party trumpet daily rags are leftist to one degree or another - at least as regards the security and Palestinian issue).

It's not like the right in general has a money problem either. The fact is that although the majority of Israel is statistically right of center, no-one wanted to read this right wing newspaper. I don't think it's even a daily anymore - I think they were ofrced to cut back to only publishing on the w/e.

I could be an ass and say that right wingers simply don't have the talent, but that would be ludicrous, as evidenced by the situation in the States, where the right has no problem selling rags and tube stations. I don't know why they can't get it done here.

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WmLambert
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RickyB it could also be that being left of center, yourself, someone form the Left would need to go farther to pull you into no-man's land. Someone on the opposite side may be given shorter shrift.

Redskullvw, I use BBEdit to copy/paste everything, Great for HTML documents, too. As for the Condi Rice Transcripts, ditch the one you have and try Transcript of Rice's 9/11 commission opening statement and questioning. It printed fine for me.

I also noted this transcript matched the spoken presentation, while another was the formal paper presented.

[ April 09, 2004, 02:35 PM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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jedilaw
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Wm, regarding the law pushed by Carter in 1978, limiting Executive power to unilaterally direct intelligence operations, I agree that in the long run it proved problematic. I also think, however, that it should be judged in context: the Johnson and Nixon administrations had so flagrantly abused Presidential power in so many areas, including intelligence, that a lot of what Carter did was an attempt to undo and or prevent further mischief of the kind.

FBI was known to be conducting counterinelligence ops against U.S. protesters, dissidents, et cetera. To be sure, a lot of those groups were dangerous, some even disloyal, but, as Rice said, we have a cultural aversion in America to allowing our own citizens to be spied on. Many of them were, after all, loyal Americans who happened to disagree with the government on a particular issue.

As you yourself pointed out, Watergate stemmed from Nixon's efforts to find out who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and it grew from there. As such, it was tied to an abuse of intelligence resources, and Carter's actions could be seen as a response to that (he was the first elected President after Watergate, after all, and Ford certainly wasn't going to do much more than pardon people involved in the scandal.

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WmLambert
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Jedilaw you are absolutely correct. the FISA bill and the firewalls put up to demand "primary purpose" are the law of the land. But they also stopped us from knowing about 9/11 happening. Many posters in this thread have said that Rice should have somehow forced her people to talk to one another. FISA and the firewalls made that impossible. Coleen Rowley put her FBI career as an agent on the line to buck the system and went to the CIA out of sheer despaeration. It still didn't work - and no information got past her immediate superiors.

Many of the reasons that FISA were put in place are now known to have been overreaction - and that the KGB did have operatives in Antiwar Vietnam student groups and in other places - exactly as claimed by the CIA and FBI. But Congress said they weren't there so it was a missuse of authority. Structural problem.

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RickyB
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WmLambert, if Bush was shackled by FISA, how come the Clinton administration was able to shake the trees the way they did, and have info move back and forth from Freeh (FBI) to Tenet (CIA) at those meetings Clarke describes? Were they breaking the law? [Smile]
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KnightEnder
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Rice did a good job she’s a sharp lady and she certainly used the filibuster and talking points strategy successfully. And she deftly hammered home the old pass the buck and it was nice to see she remembers her parties elders when she dusted off the golden oldie Reagan classic “I can’t remember”. (As in: I can’t remember if I told the president about those Al Queda sleeper cells inside the US or not.)

It was nice to hear her talk so glowingly about Richard Clark. At least somebody in the Bush administration still has a modicum of class.

However, she certainly lied or spun when claiming that they “never” discussed possible terrorist attacks inside the continental United States in the PDB titled “Osama Bin Laden intends to crash jet airliners into the World Trade Center and possibly the Pentagon and White House” (or something like that).

Aren't we supposed to make our points and move on? Doesn't it say somewhere that because someone posts a response to your post doesn't mean you should respond with the same damn post again? Come on WmL 1000 words or less my scroll button is gettin worn out.

KE

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jedilaw
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quote:
Jedilaw you are absolutely correct. the FISA bill and the firewalls put up to demand "primary purpose" are the law of the land. But they also stopped us from knowing about 9/11 happening. Many posters in this thread have said that Rice should have somehow forced her people to talk to one another. FISA and the firewalls made that impossible. Coleen Rowley put her FBI career as an agent on the line to buck the system and went to the CIA out of sheer despaeration. It still didn't work - and no information got past her immediate superiors.

Many of the reasons that FISA were put in place are now known to have been overreaction - and that the KGB did have operatives in Antiwar Vietnam student groups and in other places - exactly as claimed by the CIA and FBI. But Congress said they weren't there so it was a missuse of authority. Structural problem.

I agree that there were significant structural problems blocking effective prevention efforts vis a vis 9/11. I just wanted to make sure we were looking at FISA in the proper context of when it was signed, and taking into account what it was in response to.

That being said, structural problems aside, the most troubling issue is the lack of effective bottom-up communication within the FBI. The Pheonix field office having at least one agent issue red-flag memos should have gone further up the chain than it apparently did. That's not Bush or Rice's fault, as I doubt anyone even knew the extent of the internal sclerosis.

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Puretext
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Well, I thought this was amusing anyway
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