The failure of our protective intelligence
The failure of our protective intelligence
Thu Sep 23, 2004 13:10

The failure of our protective intelligence
That's not all, folks




COVER UP: What the Government Is Still Hiding About the War on Terror
By Peter Lance

Regan Books, $25.95

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.


* Court TV Catherine Crier Live Interview REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
* Fox News Rita Cosby Interview REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
* Bo Deitel Imus Interview Part One REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
Bo Deitel Imus Interview Part Two REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
* Fox and Friends Interview Part One REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
Fox and Friends Interview Part Two REAL MEDIA // WINDOWS MEDIA
* Up in the Air: Did terrorists destroy TWA Flight 800?
* Warren Report-Watergate II: Cover Up Review
* Did Yousef order airliner's destruction?
* The failure of our protective intelligence
* 9/11 Commission Nixed al-Qaida Link to Flight 800?
* Writer accuses FBI of obstruction, cover-up
* Connecting the dots S.B. Writer Peter Lance Dismisses 9/11 Commission Report in Cover Up 

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