Sunday, October 01, 2006


9/11 Panel Members Weren’t Told of Meeting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 — Members of the Sept. 11 commission said today that they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a White House meeting in July 2001 at which George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, about an imminent Al Qaeda attack and failed to persuade her to take action.

Details of the previously undisclosed meeting on July 10, 2001, two months before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, were first reported last week in a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward.

The final report from the Sept. 11 commission made no mention of the meeting nor did it suggest there had been such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice, now secretary of state.

Since release of the book, “State of Denial,” the White House and Ms. Rice have disputed major elements of Mr. Woodward’s account, with Ms. Rice insisting through spokesmen that there had been no such exchange in a private meeting with Mr. Tenet and that he had expressed none of the frustration attributed to him in Mr. Woodward’s book.

“It really didn’t match Secretary Rice’s recollection of the meeting at all,” said Dan Bartlett, counselor to President Bush, in an interview on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

“It kind of left us scratching our heads because we don’t believe that’s an accurate account,” he said.

Although passages of the book suggest that Mr. Tenet was a major source for Mr. Woodward, the former intelligence director has refused to comment on the book.

Nor has there been any comment from J. Cofer Black, Mr. Tenet’s counterterrorism chief, who is reported in the book to have attended the July 10 meeting and left it frustrated by Ms. Rice’s “brush-off” of the warnings.

He is quoted as saying, “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.” Mr. Black did not return calls left at the security firm Blackwater, which he joined last year.

The book says that Mr. Tenet hurriedly organized the meeting — calling ahead from his car as it traveled to the White House — because he wanted to “shake Rice” into persuading the president to respond to dire intelligence warnings that summer about a terrorist strike. Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Tenet left the meeting frustrated because “they were not getting through to Rice.”

The disclosures took members of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission by surprise last week. Some questioned whether information about the July 10 meeting was intentionally withheld from the panel.

In interviews Saturday and today, commission members said they were never told about the meeting despite hours of public and private questioning with Ms. Rice, Mr. Tenet and Mr. Black, much of it focused specifically on how the White House had dealt with terrorist threats in the summer of 2001.

“None of this was shared with us in hours of private interviews, including interviews under oath, nor do we have any paper on this,” said Timothy J. Roemer, a Democratic member of the commission and a former House member from Indiana. “I’m deeply disturbed by this. I’m furious.”

Another Democratic commissioner, former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, said that the staff of the Sept. 11 commission was polled in recent days on the disclosures in Mr. Woodward’s book and agreed that the meeting “was never mentioned to us.”

“This is certainly something we would have wanted to know about,” he said, referring to the July 10, 2001, meeting.

He said he had attended the commission’s private interviews with both Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice and had pressed “very hard for them to provide us with everything they had regarding conversations with the executive branch” about terrorist threats before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Philip D. Zelikow, the executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and now a top aide to Ms. Rice at the State Department, agreed that no witness before the commission had drawn attention to a July 10 meeting at the White House, nor described the sort of encounter portrayed in Mr. Woodward’s book.

Mr. Zelikow said that it was “entirely plausible” that a meeting occurred on July 10, during a period that summer in which intelligence agencies were being flooded with warnings of a terrorist attack against the United States or its allies.

But he said the commissioners and their staff had heard nothing in their private interviews with Mr. Tenet and Mr. Black to suggest that they had made such a dire presentation to Ms. Rice or that she had rebuffed them.

“If we had heard something that drew our attention to this meeting, it would have been a huge thing,” he said. “Repeatedly Tenet and Black said they could not remember what had transpired in some of those meetings.”

Democratic lawmakers have seized on Mr. Woodward’s book in arguing that the Bush administration bungled the war in Iraq and paid too little attention to terrorist threats in the months before Sept. 11.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on “Face the Nation” on CBS that there had been “rumors” of such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice in the summer of 2001.

Mr. Woodward’s book, he said, raised the question of “why didn’t Condi Rice and George Tenet tell the 9/11 commission about that? They were obliged to do that and they didn’t.”

Grand Jury testimony of Bob Woodward, longtime Washington Post editor and author of "State of Denial," leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor).
It is posted at: Bob Woodward Tells Grand Jury Who Leaked First
Woodward apologized to his executive editor at the paper for withholding information that a senior White House official had told him about a CIA operative, even as a questions about those leaks ballooned into a major scandal. “I hunkered down. I’m in the habit of keeping secrets,” Woodward said. “I didn’t want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed.” Woodward's account of his surprise testimony to the Fitzgerald on November 14 makes it apparent he was the first journalist known to have learned the CIA person’s identity.
Bobbing and weaving, a tangled web we do. Book him, Danno. Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret. Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

Woodward: Well Fitzgerald, the Washington Post gave me a job as for as long as I want.?
Fitzgerald: Look Woodward, if you work at the Washington Post, you must know all the players.
Woodward: I certainly do.
Fitzgerald: Well you know I've never met the guys. You are under oath so you'll have to tell me their names, and then I'll know who's involved in the leaking of a CIA officer’s name.
Woodward: Oh, I'll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give the players now-a-days very peculiar names.
Fitzgerald: You mean funny names?
Woodward: Strange names, pet Scooter and Deep Throat...
Fitzgerald: Their brother Daffy.
Woodward: Daffy Throat...
Fitzgerald: And their French cousin.
Woodward: French?
Fitzgerald: Goofè.
Woodward: Goofè Throat. Well, let's see, we have on the list, Who leaked the name of a CIA officer first, What leaked it second, I Don't Know leaked it third...
Fitzgerald: That's what I want to find out.
Woodward: I say Who leaked first, What leaked second, I Don't Know leaked third.
Fitzgerald: Are you a government employee?
Woodward: Yes.
Fitzgerald: You gonna be a political consultant too?
Woodward: Yes.
Fitzgerald: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Woodward: Well I should.
Fitzgerald: Well then who leaked first?
Woodward: Yes.
Fitzgerald: I mean the fellow's name.
Woodward: Who.
Fitzgerald: The guy who leaked first.
Woodward: Who.
Fitzgerald: The first leaker.
Woodward: Who.
Fitzgerald: The guy who leaked first...
Woodward: Who leaked on first!
Fitzgerald: I'm asking YOU who leaked first.
Woodward: That's the man's name.
Fitzgerald: That's whose name?
Woodward: Yes.
Fitzgerald: Well go ahead and tell me.
Woodward: That's it.
Fitzgerald: That's who?
Woodward: Yes.

We can only hope that Fitz doesn't fizzle.
I think Mr. Fitzgerald's motto should be: "If you do a white collar crime then you will serve blue collar time." Look where he lodged Judith Miller. A few months in a blue collar jail and she was ready to sing. Unfortunately, she says she forgot the words.
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