Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tenet and 9/11: a Real Cover-Up?

From CounterPunch, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern on a startling development that ought to make the 9/11 Truthers get their panties in a wad:

In an interview aired on Aug. 11 on a local PBS affiliate in Colorado, Clarke charges that Tenet and two other senior CIA officials, Cofer Black and Richard Blee, deliberately withheld information about two of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 — al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. The two had entered the United States more than a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Clarke adds that the CIA then covered it all up by keeping relevant information away from Congress and the 9/11 Commission.

Lying by senior officials is bad enough, and there is now plenty of evidence that former CIA Director George Tenet and his closest agency associates are serial offenders. Think for a minute about the falsehoods spread regarding Iraq's non-existent "weapons of mass destruction" stockpiles.

But withholding intelligence on two of the 9/11 hijackers would have been particularly unconscionable — the epitome of malfeasance, not just misfeasance. That's why Richard Clarke's conclusion that he should have received information from CIA about al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, "unless somebody intervened to stop the normal automatic distribution" amounts, in my view, to a criminal charge, given the eventual role of the two in the hijacking on 9/11 of AA-77, the plane that struck the Pentagon.

More here.

Unfortunately, it appears that no American official will ever see any criminal charges at all for, well, anything. Not torture, not war crimes, not lies about WMD, and of course, not rank incompetence or conspiracy regarding 9/11. Even if there ends up being mountains of evidence. Just for the record, I am in no way a 9/11 Truther. I mean, at one point I was convinced that Bush, like FDR with Pearl Harbor, knew that a massive terrorist attack was imminent, even if he didn't quite know when or where, but then I read Noam Chomsky's observation that the total debacle that was the Iraq occupation made speculation about some sort of US collusion in the WTC and Pentagon attacks pretty much moot. That is, I'm very much in the incompetence camp when it comes to understanding how it was all allowed to happen.

But there continue to be many unanswered questions.

The biggest of them is figuring out who, exactly, fell asleep at the switch. Another is about how the intelligence system, which costs hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, broke down. It's been years now since the hurried, and probably white-washing, 9/11 Commission Report was released, but, as far as I know, nobody has been held responsible for the break down, certainly not the guy who was in charge of it all, President George W. Bush. But it sounds like some tantalizing information is starting to bubble its way to the surface.

So if we're to believe Clarke, who has a well deserved reputation as a straight-shooter, slimy CIA Director George Tenet purposely kept the US official who had the responsibility to keep terrorist attacks in the US from happening out of the loop. Why? Will we ever know?