While everyone else has been having fun in Boston, I’ve been plugging away at the 9/11 Commission report (*sniff*).
I’ve come up with some results. Bush doesn’t look good in the report, but you have to search things out. If the facts were embarassing for Bush or for Clinton, the bipartisan commissioners reported them without spelling out their significance. And while they did leave stuff out, there’s a lot to work with in there.
1. Despite many urgent warnings, Bush took almost no action on terrorism before 9/11. On August 6 he was informed by PDB that Osama Bin Laden intended to strike within the U.S. He left for a month-long vacation the next day, and did not talk with anybody about this new information until after the 9/11 attack had taken place.
(Text of Bush’s Aug. 6 PDB)
2. Easy-to-get Saudi visas made Osama’s job a lot easier. The problem was bipartisan, but Bush made it worse and, for fear of offending the Saudis, was very slow to correct the situation. There are some very odd twists and turns in this story. For example, how did Armenia get lumped in with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?
3. Bush and Ashcroft have a propensity for fibbing and passing the buck.
4. Contrary to the media spin, the 9/11 report is devastating for Bush. Where comparisons can be made, Clinton’s pre-9/11 performance was definitely better than Bush’s (which was wretched).
5. Before 9/11 Ashcroft had no interest in terrorism and took no action on it whatsoever, despite repeated attempts to talk to him about the subject. The day before 9/11 he denied a request for additional counterterrorism funds.
Revised 10:46 PDT