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WmLambert
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RickB, The "shaking of the trees" that Clarke referred to was sheer chutzpah on his part. Diana Dean was a low level customs agent with no "shaken tree" instruction to do anything at all. What she did was suspect an incoming Arabic driver on a ferry coming in from Canada and asked him to open his trunk. From what I understand, he took off and tried to escape but was successfully stopped by Dean's fellow officers who were able to chase after Ahmed Ressam for five blocks and finally wrestle him to the ground, whereupon he sang like a canary. They found bomb-making supplies in his trunk, and linked them to others who they were able to round up.

Clarke took credit for that.

There was no back and forth between Tenet and Mueller. As a matter of fact, there was no back and forth between either of them and Clinton. Tenet only met with the President twice in the three of four years he was head of the CIA. In an attempt to mitigate the FISA "primary purpose" guidelines and the "Deutch Rules", the Congressional judiciary committee sent an order to the FBI and the CIA to allow more cross-talk. Congress called on Tenet in the fiscal 2002 Intelligence Authorization Act to rescind the existing "Deutch Rules." Even with the non-binding legislation and the directive from the Bremer Commission, The CIA refused to rescind the Deutch Rules on its case officers. The career bureaucrats totally ignored the request. No back and forth - even between agents within their own agency. Law enforcement would be kept from Counter Intelligence and never the twain shall meet.

Coleen Rowley was trying to get anybody to look at Moussaoui's laptop computer, which had enough information on it to have possibly prevented the 9/11 attack. It was the career bureaucrats who authored the information that made it up to the President, through his political staffers, an additional level of bureaucrats who threw out any non-PC info they didn't give credence to, land kept in stuff they thought the President wanted to hear, like the fact that "it was impossible to attack a U.S. warship" immediately before the Cole was attacked.

[ April 11, 2004, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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RickyB
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Yeah, I know about Diana Dean, and all respect to her. But the fact remains that Bush and his ministers were so busy working on a grand plan of offense, that they didn't put as much into playing defense. When the FBI requested funds for agents, translators and analysts, it was turned down. Ashcroft didn't prioritize anti-terrorism at all, and thus the FBI was effectively taken out of the loop on that.

Neither the head of the FBI or the counter-terrorism chief got nearly enough face time with the Boss. Bush met with Tenet every day. He didn't meet with the head of the FBI even once a week. The entire administration was focused only outwards and neglected the homeland defense. They didn't follow up on the info from the Aug. 6th memo. They blithely assumed it was being taken care of. Bush said the other day that he was satisfied that the intelligence personnel was following up. On what basis did he assume that?

True, structural problems are very real and very severe, but as Bob Kerrey pointed out, that's why we have an NSA. Rice seems to have said to herself basically "The system's so messed up, I'm not even going to bother with it". This needs to be addressed. This is an important lesson. You don't stop doing what you can, only because what you can at the moment is frustratingly awkward and indirect. If that's the best tool you have, you use it until you get a better one.

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RickyB
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AS for Tenet only meeting Clinton a handful of times - link, please. Are you saying Clarke lied? He described meetings that never took place?
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Redskullvw
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Ricky

Could you back up your claim that Ashcroft circumvented funding, or somehow restricted funding to various parts of the FBI. Additionally could you provide facts as to the scope of the programs or department units that directly attributes their functions to Islamic terrorism?

I find it hard to think that all of the programs, or even most of these programs, which were not funded were directly aimed at preventing or warning the government about Islamic terrorism. Could it be that the lack of funding was part of attempting to control spending in the Executive branch?

Also after having read the paper from the Democrats, regarding how they would derive political milage out of the hears, actually reading Dr. Rice's open testimony transcript, and reading the breifing memo from August 6th, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with the assesment that interagency legal impediments were one of the cheif causes. Since these issues were reported to the Clinton administration, and since this was the result of the after action report concerning the Y2K threats why is the former administration not being held responsible for not acting on its own findings.

It appears to me that the goal of some members of the commision is to hold the Bush administration responsible for not correcting systemic interagency problems regarding data reporting that were identified yet not acted on by the Clinton administration. I am interested to know the number of appointments that had been made by the Bush administration that were in their positions before Sept 11. I would also like to know how many were appointed but not in office. I would also like to know how many were hold-overs from the Clinton administration.

Given the extremely short transistion period, the animosity between both sides <missing "W"'s on keyboards etc>, and the non-specific threats as reportedin the daily briefing of August 6th, can we hold the current administration responsible for issues that date back to the Carter administration? Why are we not having other past presidents giving testimony as to how they "ignored" the systemic data sharing failures and lack of communication between various departments. Clearly, the attack on the Beruit Barracks should have woken president REgan up to the threat. President Bush should have recognized the rising Islamic threat and activities which lead to the woeful intelligence data that fouled us up in Gulf War 1. And Clinton should certainly be taken to task for Khobar towers, Somolia, and the Cole because our current enemy al Queda was responsible for all three. Multiple attacks which resulted in no change.

Why then is the Bush administration being raked over the fire for not instituting a radical realignment and having it completed when it wasn't even in office for 9 months when we were attacked again? It seems to me that according to Dr. Rices testimony, that they were realigning how we deal with interagency/intraagency reporting of data in responce to the Y2K after action report. If they weren't then why was Richard Clark effected by the realignment?

Just some questions...

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RickyB
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Run a search. You can find it in Salon today, and I believe there was mention in the NYT as well. I'ver also read about it in Slate. I've known about it for about three weeks, I'd say. It came out during the hearings, I can't remember if in testimony or in commissioner's comments. Horrible liberal outlets all, 'tis true, but despite some well publicized recent incident, not generally given to publishing unsourced material.

I totally accept your right to doubt the claim till I provide a link, I'm just apologizing that I haven't the time at the moment.

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David Ricardo
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To illustrate the documentation upon which RickyB is probably drawing, here is a chrnological history of Department of Justice policy towards counterrorism under Reno and Ashcroft (links to the actual memos are also provided -- bold text indicates the memo in question, followed by a weblink to transfer you to the actual memo):

PRE-SEPTEMBER 11 - Reno Makes Counterterrorism DoJ's Top Priority

5/8/98 – FBI Strategic Plan (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/FBI98.PDF): Mission statement from internal FBI Strategic Plan dated 5/8/1998 in which the Tier One priority is counterterrorism. This document clearly proves that the FBI under the previous Administration was making counterterrorism its highest priority. As the document states "Foreign intelligence, terrorist, and criminal activities that directly threaten the national or economic security...To succeed we must develop and implement a proactive, nationally directed program."

4/6/00 – DoJ Budget Goals Memo (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/RENOMEMO.PDF): Official annual budget goals memo from Attorney General Janet Reno to department heads dated 4/6/2000 detailing how counterterrorism is her top priority for the Department of Justice. In the second paragraph, she states, "In the near term as well as the future, cybercrime and counterterrrorism are going to be the most challenging threats in the criminal justice area. Nowhere is the need for an up-to-date human and technical infrastructure more critical."

PRE-SEPTEMBER 11 – Ashcroft Shifts Direction Away From Counterterrorism

5/10/01 – Ashcroft New DoJ Budget Goals Memo (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/ASHCROFTMEMO.PDF): Official annual budget goals memo from Attorney General Ashcroft dated 5/10/2001 (directly compares to the 4/6/2000 Reno memo). Out of 7 strategic goals described, not one mentions counterterrorism, a serious departure from Reno.

8/9/01 – Internal Draft of New Ashcroft DoJ Strategic Plan (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/STRATEGICPLAN.PDF): Internal draft dated 8/9/2001 of DoJ's plans to revamp the official DoJ Strategic Plan strategic in which Attorney General Ashcroft's new priorities for DoJ were highlighted in yellow (because of color constraints with PDF, the items with black boxes were the ones actually highlighted). As it says, highlighted items equal the specific goals of the new Attorney General. Specifically highlighted by Ashcroft are domestic violent crime and drug trafficking prevention. Item 1.3 entitled "Combat terrorist activities by developing maximum intelligence and investigative capability" is passed over. After September 11, Ashcroft quickly amended his plans for DoJ's reorganization. The final strategic mission, which was released in November looks starkly different than Ashcroft's pre-September 11 draft. (to see this reversal, you can compare "stragicplan.pdf" attached to this email with the final strategic mission that is found on the web at http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/strategic2001-2006/chapter2.pdf).

Late August 2001 – Internal FBI FY2003 Budget Request to Ashcroft (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/FBI03REQUEST.PDF): Internal FBI FY03 budget request to DoJ dated roughly late August 2001 (FBI submits its request to DoJ, DoJ adjusts and sends a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which then puts it into the final budget). This is not FBI's total request - but only the areas where FBI is specifically requesting increases over the previous year's baseline. In this request, FBI specifically asks for, among other things, 54 translators to translate backlog of intelligence gathered (line 3 under Foreign Language Services, cost of $5.1 million), 248 counterterrorism agents and support staff (line 14 entitled CT field investigations, cost of $28 million), and 200 professional intelligence researchers (line 16, entitled Intelligence Production, at a cost of $20.8 million). FBI has repeatedly stated that it has a serious backlog of intelligence data it has gathered but simply does not have the staff to analyze or translate it into usable information.

9/10/2001 – Official FY2003 Dept. of Justice Budget Request To White House (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/FY03ASHCROFT.PDF): Official FY03 DoJ budget request from Attorney General Ashcroft to OMB Director Mitch Daniels, dated September 10, 2001. This document specifically highlights only the programs slated for above-baseline increases or below-baseline cuts. On page 29 of the PDF, Ashcroft outlines the programs he is trying to cut. Comparing this document to FBI's request to DoJ, it shows that Ashcroft ignored FBI's anti-terrorism requests (detailed in this internal FBI document). More specifically, this document shows that Ashcroft was planning to ignore the FBI's specific requests for more translators, counterintelligence agents and researchers, mentioned above. It additionally shows Ashcroft was trying to slash funding from counterterrorism and grants and other homeland defense programs before 9/11.

POST-SEPTEMBER 11: Ashcroft Still Ignores FBI Counterterrorism Requests

Post 9/11 – Budget Document Detailing OMB Rejection of FBI Counter-Terror Request (http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/OMBPASSBACK.PDF): Internal document showing that FBI requested $1.499 billion for counterterrorism for the post-September 11 emergency supplemental but received just $530 million from the White House, despite serious counterterrorism needs.

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David Ricardo
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At the same time, for the sake of evenhandedness, I have also read that President Clinton rarely had meetings with CIA Director Woolsey or CIA Director Tenet -- supposedly because "workaholic" Clinton preferred to read their intelligence briefings late at night instead of "wasting" too much time during the day meeting the CIA Director face-to-face.

This is documented in nonpartisan sources like Ghost Wars (which is an exceptionally impressive book analyzing the interaction of the CIA/Bin Laden/Pakistan intelligence in Afghanistan from the start of the Soviet invasion right up until 9/11).

In fact, I would recommend Steve Coll's Ghost Wars as perhaps the best primer about the state of the CIA and our counterterrorism policies before 9/11. If you have read Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies, you will notice that Ghost Wars confirms many of the same facts in Against All Enemies but paints them in a much more evenhanded way (IMHO, Richard Clarke is a little biased against the Bush Administration, key words being "a little").

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Ray Bingham
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What would you expect briefings to look like? I can't imagine, even if (which they hadn't) had someone discovered a "terror-conspiracy" that the department would take action rather than waiting for the President to get involved.

It's not like they sit there and say, "Uh-oh Mr. President, Ahkbar just clicked on a weblink to United Airlines!"

I think that's why it's important to focus on what has been done to shore up holes in the past beauracratic inadequacies.

--Ray

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RickyB
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Here's a link. Ashcroft talked nice -
quote:
Ashcroft, in testimony at a Senate terrorism hearing, said the Justice Department "has no higher priority" than protecting Americans from terrorism at home and abroad.
but he sure didn't give that impression to the people under him in any kind of internal correspondence. In fact, I think it's fair to say he gave them a decidedly different impression.
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Ray Bingham
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Again I don't know what's the point. They didn't forsee 9-11, and clearly the incentive structure in the FBI was directed towards bringing down big criminal actions.

I have a friend who is an FBI agent, in counter terrorism. Sounds exciting, right? WRONG. She spent every day travelling for miles to investigating whether everyone that purchased fertilizer had legitimate cause to use it. They did a lot of that, as a reaction of the Timothy McVeigh thing.

I think it's a great thing that Bush wants to boost our intelligence gathering network, but I hold little faith that such a thing will be precognitive, unless we at least take an active role in fostering the building of democratic and non-hostile self-policing nations the world.

--Ray

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WarrsawPact
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Note to self:

Think up good alibi for buying a truckload of fertilizer.

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