911 CITIZEN WATCH
BOOK REVIEW of: COVER UP:
Thu Sep 23, 2004 13:20
Commentary: BOOK REVIEW of: COVER UP: What the Government Is Still Hiding About
the War on Terror
Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 11:39 PM
Posted by: khence
By Peter Lance -- Regan Books, $25.95
The failure of our protective intelligence
That's not all, folks
9/12/04 -- Reviewed by LIN ROLENS – Santa Barbara News Press
This country is as divided and distrustful as perhaps no time since the Civil
War. The destruction of the World Trade Center and its aftermath momentarily
pulled us together, and then suspicion and anger set in. After much denial,
discussion and manipulation, the current administration acceded to the
establishment of the 9/11 Commission to tell us why and how that disaster
happened, but investigative journalist Peter Lance has spent three years
researching the roots of the 9/11 tragedy and dogging the heels of those
responsible and in command. Mr. Lance published "1000 Years for Revenge" last
year, which exposed startling intelligence gaps in both the Clinton and Bush
administrations, and he now follows up with further revelations and an
indictment of the gloss over critical military and government lapses as the
events of 9/11 unfolded.
"Cover Up" strives to assemble pieces and connect dots that either have been
scrupulously ignored or missed by our intelligence organizations. Credibility is
hard to establish when many sources are underworld or terrorist, but Mr. Lance
backs his assertions with authoritative secondary sources that corroborate his
primary sources. The result of his research and revelations seems to show that
"the Mozart of Terror," Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the WTC
and nephew of the infamous Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- Osama bin Laden's right
hand -- was responsible for the downing of TWA Flight 800; he developed the
technology before his imprisonment, and then apparently ordered the flight
destroyed in an effort to effect a mistrial in his own terror bombing case.
Mr. Lance demonstrates how our protective intelligence failed, willfully and
through negligence, to understand the relationship of Mr. Yousef to Mr. bin
Laden and the specific intent of both Mr. bin Laden and al-Qaeda many years
before they succeeded in the greatest mass murder in American history.
Arrogance and mistreatment by FBI functionaries drove away the source closest to
Mr. Yousef; our intelligence organizations repeatedly ignored warnings from
Philippine and other intelligence sources; the 9/11 Commission quietly ignored
disquieting sources whose information didn't fit the mold they chose to fill for
their report. In a series of revelations Mr. Lance shows "that evidence linking
Ramzi Yousef to 9/11 has been systematically excluded from the Commission's
carefully censored account of the attacks."
Certainly hindsight is 20/20 and connecting the dots is easy in retrospect, but
Mr. Lance proves repeated and disturbing disregard for the truth and the common
good on the part of primarily the FBI. What becomes clear is the failure to
recognize the level of threat presented by Islamic terrorists by an organization
focused on the Mafia for decades. He also demonstrates how the New York office
of the FBI carefully and ruthlessly squelched critical evidence in order to
protect itself from scandal and proof of its own corruption and inadequacy.
Police officers, FBI agents and others who could point fingers or had too much
information to be harmless have been fired or discredited consistently.
Mr. Lance takes on the 9/11 Commission's reluctance and the Bush
administration's remarkable and sustained resistance to the commission and its
work. Here he poses chilling questions left unanswered by the commission's
genteel approach. From the initial arrogant misstep of appointing Henry
Kissinger to head the commission to staff director (one of two people allowed
full access to documents) Phillip Zelikow's co-authorship of an earlier book
with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Lance chronicles the mixed
allegiances of commissioners on both sides of the aisle. He also reports the
profound reluctance of the White House to provide documentation and reveals
that, after almost a year of existence, the commission had not issued a single
subpoena or taken a word of testimony under oath in open sessions. In fact, some
90 percent of the testimony was "casual" -- without oath or recording other than
notes of the commissioners.
Richard Clarke's testimony is taken into account here as is that of Laurie
Mylroie, a Bush administration expert who insisted against all apparent logic
that Mr. Yousef was an agent of Iraq and not al-Qaeda.
Some of the really hard questions concern the lack of response on 9/11. Among
other issues, the 50-minute lapse by President Bush after he's informed of the
initial attack comes under Mr. Lance's scrutiny as does a truly appalling
30-minute delay, after the attack of the third plane, to take the military alert
to DEFCON Three. Why did Vice President Cheney have to say yes three times to
engaging the flight that was downed in Pennsylvania? Why weren't planes
scrambled earlier, why did they take the "quiet" route over the ocean to protect
the capital? Why were planes farther from New York and Washington sent, after a
considerable wait, rather than closer planes, and why were they kept away from
attack areas in a holding pattern? Why did the FAA wait 18 minutes
to alert NORAD to the first Boston hijacking? These and many more relevant
questions remain unanswered by the commission's gloss.
Mr. Lance's name- and acronym-dense prose sometimes make this difficult to
follow, but he spares no person, organization or party: "Cover Up" asks powerful
questions and serves as a disturbing indictment of those we trust to care for
the common good.
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