Bush and Ashcroft: fibs, excuses, evasions


(A non-Conventional post from John in Portland)

Bush and Ashcroft’s explanations of the events leading up to 9/11 have a pattern familiar to those who have raised children. While Bush was questioned only once and was not under oath (and had Cheney holding his hand), several of the little evasions that have served him so well during his career showed up.(As for Ashcroft, he’s apparently one m of the Lying Baptist denomination immortalized by Mark Twain.)

“They’re lying! I didn’t really say that!”


“Clarke has written that on the evening of September 12, President Bush told him and some of his staff to explore possible Iraqi links to 9/11. ‘See if Saddam did this,’ Clarke recalls the President telling them.’See if he’s linked in any way.’ While he believed the details of Clarke’s account to be incorrect, President Bush acknowledged that he might well have spoken to Clarke at some point, asking him about Iraq.” (X, p. 334)


“Pickard told us that after two such briefings Ashcroft told him that he did not want to hear about the threats anymore. Ashcroft denies Pickard’s charge.” (VIII, p. 265)


“Nobody told me!”


“The President told us the August 6 report was historical in nature. President Bush said the article told him that al Qaeda was dangerous, which he said he had known since he had become President.” (VIII, p. 260)


Aug 6 report:

“Al-Qa’ida members—including some who are US citizens—have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.Two al- Qua’da members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s…..Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York. The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.” (VIII, pp. 261-2)



“Clarke mentioned to National Security Advisor Rice at least twice that al Qaeda sleeper cells were likely in the United States. In January 2001, Clarke forwarded a strategy paper to Rice warning that al Qaeda had a presence in

the United States. He noted that two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens and that one jihadist suspected in the East Africa bombings had “informed the FBI that an extensive network of al Qida ‘sleeper agents’ currently exists in the US.” (VIII, p. 263)


“It’s not my fault!” 

Ashcroft said he therefore assumed the FBI was doing what it needed to do. He acknowledged that in retrospect, this was a dangerous assumption. He did not ask the FBI what it was doing in response to the threats and did not task it to take any specific action. He also did not direct the INS, then still part of the Department of Justice, to take any specific action. (VIII, p. 265)


The President said Bin Ladin had long been talking about his desire to attack America. He recalled some operational data  on the FBI, and remembered thinking it was heartening that 70 investigations were under way…. He did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the  Attorney General or whether Rice had done so. He said that if his advisers had told him there was a cell in the United States, they would have moved to take care of it. That never happened. (VIII, p. 260)


Chapter 8 pdf

Chapter 10 pdf

August 6, 2001 PDB

 Read between the lines: George W. Bush failed on 9/11