Scooter Libby's Pardon and 9/11
I thought back to something I had tripped upon a while ago, something that involved Libby, which happened on September 10, 2001, the day before the twin towers were struck.
On the CNN site, in a timeline available from this page, I found this stunning entry:
SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 A CIA plan to strike at al Qaeda in Afghanistan, including support for the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, is given to the White House. Sen. Dianne Feinstein asks for a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney. The California Democrat is told that Cheney's staff would need six months to prepare for a meeting.
When I read this, I was stunned on two levels.
First, read that again. The CIA was going to do BEFORE 9/11 exactly what it did AFTER 9/11 - strike at al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Since we hadn't been attacked yet, 9/11 provided a nifty justification for this plan.
But second, Feinstein is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a group that works closely with intelligence agencies and--ostensibly--provides oversight of intelligence activities. (I say ostensibly because the committee does not know of, and therefore has no option to approve or disapprove all intelligence activities). How could it be that, as the 9/11 Commission report states, when the "system was blinking red" on a possible terrorist attack on the country, and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee comes to say hey, something serious is afoot and we need to talk, the VP's office could blow off Feinstein by saying they couldn't review her plans for six months?
Curious, I called Senator Feinstein's office and asked, is it normal for the VP to blow off a meeting with Senator Feinstein for six months? The four people I spoke to in her office all said and did the same thing. They said no, that's not usual, what is this about? I said this is about the Senator's 9/10 visit to Cheney, the day before 9/11. At this, each staffer got nervous and transferred me to the next person. None of them would even confirm that this conversation had transpired, but in the end, I found it on a press release on Feinstein's senate site:
I was deeply concerned as to whether our house was in order to prevent a terrorist attack. My work on the Intelligence Committee and as chair of the Technology and Terrorism Subcommittee had given me a sense of foreboding for some time. I had no specific data leading to a possible attack.This just begs the question. Did Scooter Libby know what was going to happen? Did he know just how busy they really would be over the next six months due to the coming attack the next day? It's hard not to see that as a possibility.
In fact, I was so concerned that I contacted Vice President Cheney's office that same month to urge that he restructure our counter-terrorism and homeland defense programs to ensure better accountability and prevent important intelligence information from slipping through the cracks.
Despite repeated efforts by myself and staff, the White House did not address my request. I followed this up last September 2001 before the attacks and was told by 'Scooter' Libby that it might be another six months before he would be able to review the material. I told him I did not believe we had six months to wait.
I was particularly interested that it was I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby who put Feinstein off. Libby was one of the co-signers to the seminal document, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). In contrast to JFK's call that we seek a true peaceful co-existence with other countries, rather than a "pax Americana," the PNAC report calls for just that - ensuring a pax Americana. This is the same report that said,
...the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.
That quote gave rise to the notion that perhaps 9/11 was made or allowed to happen by the government as an excuse to get us back into a war. We know now that the administration tried hard to make that war one in Iraq, despite the fact that no evidence from 9/11 linked Iraq to the attack in any way. And the CIA already had plans to strike Afghanistan (as the CNN site showed) so instead we made a great show of taking down the Taliban, even as we let Osama Bin Laden slip through our fingers at Tora Bora.
We had pinpointed OBL's location by radio. We could absolutely have picked him up. Several friends of mine in the black ops world have told me repeatedly that we've known were OBL was at all times. A man in Hollywood was approached by a CIA operative to do a documentary of the secret tailing of OBL. So it's not like we can't find him.
And if we weren't picking him up, why? Could it be because ties between his actions and those of our intelligence community might raise disturbing questions about 9/11? An intelligence asset told me of a friend of his that had just come back from handing OBL a wad of cash. "For attacking us, or so he wouldn't attack us again," I asked, but got (predictably) no response.
We know now too that not only were there no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, but, as the Downing Street Memo tells us, that Team Bush knew there were no weapons, and were deliberately falsifying intelligence to justify an attack on Iraq anyway.
When Ambassador Joe Wilson tried to tell us intelligence was being falsified to justify the march to Iraq, what happened? Scooter Libby talked to Judith Miller of the New York Times about the fact that Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, was a covert CIA operative. Six days later, Robert Novak reveals this fact in a column that essentially broke the law by revealing the identity of a covert source.
I believe that Libby's blowing off of Feinstein on the 10th should be investigated. Why did he tell her it would be six months before they could review her proposal when such a timeframe was utterly out of keeping re a request from a high profile Senator to the Vice President? I can't help but wonder if the pardon is intended, in part, to keep Libby silent on that point.