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Bush May Invoke 9/11 Executive Privilege and Secrecy
by Tom Flocco May 3, 2003
This article appears in TomFlocco.com

Proof of prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks is continuing to trickle out of the purportedly "leak-proof" White House, as more corroborative chickens of 9/11 are coming home to roost -- even as President Bush is considering invoking executive privilege to keep the clamps on evidence that could alter the political landscape for the nation's conquering "top-gun."

However, for those still concerned about the mysteries of September 11, such issues as: 1) poorly documented visas -- issued fraudulently by immigration officials failing to follow the law, 2) restrained U.S. military air defense protocols, 3) millions of dollars in suspicious pre-attack stock market insider trading profits as yet unclaimed and unrevealed within a still-unpublicized Securities Exchange Commission 9/11 "Control List," 4) redacted presidential intelligence documents, plus other unanswered questions directly related to prior knowledge of the attacks all seem fair game -- given the explosive evidence.

Newly-revealed statements from a CIA July, 2001 presidential intelligence briefing -- when placed within the context of planes crashing into buildings, one-by-one on September 11 -- should bring to mind Bush's reactions that morning at the Sarasota, Florida elementary school. But the public has never heard the reason for the President's lack of swift and decisive action at the school.

The intelligence committee staff director, Eleanor Hill -- a former federal prosecutor and Pentagon Inspector General -- was blocked at the last minute from divulging precisely who in the White House received the July briefing, classified by CIA Director George Tenet. According to Newsweek, a source said one of the recipients of the still-unpublicized July briefing which foretold the 9/11 attacks was Bush himself.

But Hill was only permitted to say "senior government officials." And no one has testified regarding who exerted the pressure on the staff director. The President has not testified. And the congressional hearings are over.

The weekly periodical also revealed that the congressional report "names names, gives dates, and provides a body of new information about the handling of many other crucial intelligence briefings -- including one in early August 2001 given to national-security advisor Condoleezza Rice that discussed Al Qaeda operations within the United States and the possibility that the group's members might seek to hijack airplanes."


National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice briefing reporters at the May 16, 2002 "damage-control" news conference in response to the "Bush Knew" headline in the New York Post. Afterward, the White House and CNN transcripts erased the name of the Pakistani Intelligence General Mahmud Ahmad who had met with State Department officials just days prior to the attacks, but shortly after sending a $100,000. check to lead hijacker Mohammed Atta.

The astonishing validation of presidential prior knowledge that a major attack would occur against the American people on U.S. soil is only superceded by still-hidden evidence regarding the specificity of the details, how the information was obtained, and the complete list of pre-9/11 meetings and briefings recipients, even as supposedly redacted papers were sent to the people's elected representatives -- thus far mum about the subject.

THERE HAS BEEN A COVER UP OF THIS

That is, everyone except Senator Bob Graham of Florida. Our phone interview yesterday with Paul Anderson, Graham's communications director, confirmed the overnight Newsweek Online story revealing Graham's ire over the fact that George W.'s lawyers are currently determining whether the president will invoke executive privilege to prevent critical 9/11 evidence from reaching the public via the 9/11 Commission.

Anderson told us "I am unable to tell you whether Senator Graham (former co-chairman of the Joint Senate-House 9/11 Intelligence Committee) has even seen the complete and un-redacted versions of the two (pre-9/11) presidential briefing documents to which you refer," adding that "the senator has been fighting for [evidence] declassification since the end of February -- after we had waited since filing our original 'classified first pass' on the (800+ page) report last December 20."

Senator Bob Graham (D-FL)  It will be interesting to see whether Presidential candidate Graham considers all the 9/11 evidence and testimony important enough to fight for the public's right to know -- in the face of a possible presidential invocation of Executive Privilege regarding document suppression.

Anderson also said that "since late February, we have been on the second pass, and Senator Graham has been urging (FBI) Director (Robert) Mueller and (CIA) Director (George) Tenet to help expedite the release of all or as much information as possible regarding meetings, briefing papers, and other documents."

According to the Newsweek report (5/1/2003), Graham had claimed that "There has been a cover up of this." His co-chairman, Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) added "I find this process horrendously frustrating," offering further that "senior intelligence officials said things in public hearings that they [administration officials] don't want us to put in the report."

"That's not something I can rationally accept without further public explanation," Goss said. Our three phone calls yesterday, attempting to seek comment from Goss's press aide, Julie Almacy, were unreturned.

When we asked Anderson what Graham would do if he disagreed with Bush's lawyers regarding what evidence Americans have a right to know about, the senate aide told us "I can't tell you at this time whether the Senator will make a major issue out of either invocation of presidential executive privilege or withholding what he considers key evidence."

However, in a portent for down-the-road 9/11 machinations, Anderson added "the President's attorneys have told the Intelligence Committee that their consideration of the 'second pass' will be delayed until the end of May [5 months since the original submission] -- and Senator Graham has complained repeatedly and publicly about this."

That more media and public inquiries regarding what is being hidden and why it is being hidden is assured once the more public 9/11 Commission hearings commence this summer.

BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX

The Associated Press confirmed on May 22, 2002, that members of congress only received "portions of the "Phoenix Memo" [revealing that Middle Eastern nationals were enrolling in U.S. flight schools]; moreover, reporter Christopher Newton said that the memo's author, FBI agent Kenneth Williams, had urged FBI headquarters in Washington to canvass flight schools across the country to identify possible Arab students.

But FBI middle managers decided late in the summer of 2001, just prior to the attacks, to "set Williams' plan aside because his memo was based on information they considered speculative...," said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity -- also according to AP.

"Every indication was that the traffic light went from yellow to red and the FBI just kept driving," Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), said on ABC Good Morning America on May 22, 2002, adding "They seemed to ignore what was a very clear warning."

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), said that FBI Director Mueller said he saw the (Phoenix) memo shortly after the attacks but still could not explain why it didn't catch the attention of top bureau officials. And Attorney General John Ashcroft learned of the general topic of the memo in the days after the September 11 attacks but was not briefed extensively on the memo until several weeks ago [7 months after the attacks], a Justice Department official told AP.

All this, as Floridian Dan Hopsicker (Madcowprod.com, 12-26-2001), began breaking new ground regarding Rudi Dekkers and Wally Hilliard, partners in the Venice, Florida flight schools where most of the Saudi terrorists developed their airplane hijacking skills. Hopsicker reported that the day after the attacks the local police had collected all the files detailing Dekkers' relationships and business with the hijackers.

Curiously however, one local law enforcement official said, "The FBI took all our files, everything." Then he added, "they loaded two Ryder trucks right outside that (police station) window, then drove them right onto a C-130 military cargo plane at Sarasota airport which flew out with [Governor] Jeb Bush aboard." And so went all the evidence.

Strangely -- and Governor Jeb Bush notwithstanding, directors and subordinates of government entities such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Justice Department (DOJ) -- and current Bush Administration officials and cabinet members -- have not publicly testified regarding their activities, discussions and meetings in the months and days leading up to September 11.

If the matter were not so tragic, the Sunshine State journalist's recent reference to "Bin Laden Airlines," and that "the FBI pointedly said -- early -- they knew about terrorists rotating through Rudi Dekkers' flight school in Venice, Florida," one might consider it a sick joke; but Hopsicker draws a startling comparison:

    "48 hours after the slaying of John Fitzgerald Kennedy a CIA pilot named    David Ferrie was under suspicion of participation in the assassination conspiracy. Thirty years later Joe Pesci plays Ferrie in Oliver Stone's JFK the movie."

    "48 hours after the September 11th attack, a flight school owner named Rudi Dekkers, known to have trained virtually the entire terrorist pilot cadre, and a possible CIA asset, seemed impervious to suspicion. What suspicions? He was being booked onto Larry King Live."


But given the staggering evidence, the question is begged as to why no one is calling for subpoenaed testimony of the unidentified "senior administration officials."

This, just as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States begins to expend its $3 million budget -- financially restricted by the President's congressional majority; while by comparison, the government spent over $47 million investigating the sexual shenanigans between Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton.

Former Indiana congressman and 9/11 Commission member Tim Roemer, tried to review transcripts of some of the joint intelligence committee's closed-door hearings last week, according to Newsweek, but he was denied access because "the commission staff had agreed to a White House request to allow its lawyers to first review the material to determine if the president wants to invoke executive privilege to keep the material out of the panel's hands."

RACING SLOWLY TO THE RESCUE

Perhaps the single most damning indictment on September 11 was the failure of normal United States military protocol to be followed as standard procedure. The testimony of victim family member Mindy Kleinberg,  presented on March 31, 2003 before the National 9/11 Commission is so articulate that it will likely stand as a permanent U.S. historical document in and of itself:

    "Prior to 9/11, FAA and Department of Defense Manuals gave clear, comprehensive instructions on how to handle everything from minor emergencies to full blown hijackings.
These 'protocols' were in place and were practiced regularly for a good reason -- with heavily trafficked air space; airliners without radio and transponder contact are collisions and/or calamities waiting to happen."

    "Those protocols dictate that in the event of an emergency, the FAA is to notify NORAD. Once that notification takes place, it is then the responsibility of NORAD to scramble fighter-jets to intercept the errant plane(s). It is a matter of routine procedure for fighter- jets to 'intercept' commercial airliners in order to regain contact with the pilot."

    "If that weren't protection enough, on September 11th, NEADS (or the North East Air Defense System dept of NORAD) was several days into a semi-annual exercise known as 'Vigilant Guardian." This meant that our North East Air Defense system was fully staffed. In short, key officers were manning the operation battle center, 'fighter jets were cocked, loaded, and carrying extra gas on board.' "

    "Lucky for the terrorists that none of this mattered on the morning of September 11th.  Let me illustrate using just flight 11 as an example: "

    "American Airline Flight 11 departed from Boston Logan Airport at 7:45 a.m. The last routine communication between ground control and the plane occurred at 8:13 a.m. Between 8:13 and 8:20 a.m. Flight 11 became unresponsive to ground control. Additionally, radar indicated that the plane had deviated from its assigned path of flight. Soon thereafter, transponder contact was lost -- (although planes can still be seen on radar - even without their transponders)."

   "Two Flight 11 airline attendants had separately called American Airlines reporting a hijacking, the presence of weapons, and the infliction of injuries on passengers and crew. At this point, it would seem abundantly clear that Flight 11 was an emergency."

    "Yet, according to NORAD's official timeline, NORAD was not contacted until 20 minutes later at 8:40 a.m. Tragically the fighter jets were not deployed until 8:52 a.m. -- a full 32 minutes after the loss of contact with flight 11."

   "Why was there a delay in the FAA notifying NORAD? Why was there a delay in NORAD scrambling fighter jets? How is this possible when NEADS was fully staffed with planes at the ready and monitoring our Northeast airspace?"

    "Flight's 175, 77 and 93 all had this same repeat pattern of delays in notification and delays in scrambling fighter jets. Delays that are unimaginable considering a plane had, by this time, already hit the World Trade Center."

   "Even more baffling for us is the fact that the fighter jets were not scrambled from the closest air force bases. For example, for the flight that hit the Pentagon, the jets were scrambled from Langley Air Force in Hampton, Virginia rather than Andrews Air Force Base right outside D.C. As a result, Washington skies remained wholly unprotected on the morning of September 11th. At 9:41 a.m., one hour and 11 minutes after the first plane was hijack confirmed by NORAD, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. The fighter jets were still miles away. Why?"

   "So the hijackers' luck had continued. On September 11th both the FAA and NORAD deviated from standard emergency operating procedures. Who were the people that delayed the notification? Have they been questioned? In addition, the interceptor planes or fighter jets did not fly at their maximum speed."

    "Had the belatedly scrambled fighter jets flown at their maximum speed of engagement, MACH-12, they would have reached NYC and the Pentagon within moments of their deployment, intercepted the hijacked airliners before they could have hit their targets, and undoubtedly saved lives."

GOVERNMENT BY SECRECY

While the Bush Administration's seeming penchant for secrecy is of itself quite extraordinary, it is only a continuing pattern of procedure; for on November 1, 2001 -- 7 weeks after the 9/11 attacks -- President Bush signed Executive Order 13233. The Order ends some 27 years of Congressional and judicial efforts to make Presidential papers and records available.

Unchallenged by weak congressional oversight, President Bush has effectively used his executive power to deteriorate public disclosure of public presidential documents, while essentially creating new law. It started with his gubernatorial papers, letters, and notes -- accumulated during six years as governor of Texas. All papers were quickly moved to his father's presidential library in College Station.

And since all materials archived there are under federal jurisdiction, they are exempt from the Texas Open Records Act which requires a response within 10 days after a request for records. This is now an impossibility.

JOHN DEAN, Former White House Counsel

In an November 9, 2001 essay for Findlaw.com, John Dean, former Nixon personal counsel during Watergate, offered a revealing look at Bush's executive secrecy: 

   "The mystical veil of 'national security'  has been cast over much of the Bush Administration. There were the secret arrests of terror-related suspects (currently over 1,000 publicly unknown people). There was the expansion of the wiretap granting powers of a secret federal court hidden within the Department of Justice. There was, and continues to be, an apparent policy of precluding news organizations and congressional leaders from access to anything other than managed and generic news about Afghanistan."

    "The Executive Order suggests that President Bush not only does not want Americans to know what he is doing, but he also does not want to worry that historians and others will someday find out....He has sought to significantly modify the law, and made its procedures far more complex, cumbersome and restrictive. In doing so, he has exceeded his executive powers under the Presidential Records Act of 1978."

    "President Bush has also shifted the burden from the former President to the person seeking the material. Under the Executive Order, the person seeking material must show that he should be given it; it is no longer necessary for the former President to show why material must not be disclosed."

    "The new Executive Order also takes the Archivist of the United States out of the role of deciding if a former President's invocation of [executive] privilege should or should not be honored. That role is now assigned to the incumbent President."

    "The new Executive Order creates an elaborate procedure for an incumbent President to block his predecessor from releasing documents. In addition, under Bush's order, a former President can indefinitely block release of his material, which is not possible under existing law."

    "Another added benefit for former Presidents is this: When the incumbent President agrees with the former President about his decision to not release records, the incumbent President (through the Department of Justice) will defend the privilege against attack. That saves the former President what can be significant legal expenses [using public funds] for attorney's fees to contest the case [such as documents related to 9/11] in court."

Given the fact that soft congressional oversight has permitted the President to exert total control over all his documents, some may question ulterior motives -- if one listens to John Dean: "I can assure you from first-hand experience that a President acting secretly usually does not have the best interest of Americans in mind. It is his own personal interest that is on his mind instead."

The American people, however, must in the end rely upon their elected leaders -- soft as they may seem -- regarding rebalancing the rules and procedures governing the tax-paying public's "right to know."

For without a strong, viable and un-intimidated legislative branch, such a legitimate need for high-ranking individual testimony, documents, and meeting notes which respond to thousands of questions connected to the September 11 attacks on America will never be achieved. Instead of full sunlight, Congress opted to punt the ball over to a Commission.

Nevertheless, it is still tragic that even the 9/11 "Independent" Commission has built-in conflicts of interest, yet-to-be revealed -- let alone the surety of many tied subpoena votes.

Oh, that the United States Congress had carried out its oversight responsibilities in full view of the American people, instead of allowing public distrust and suspicion to creep into the mindset of so many citizens who feel that they've been "had" -- like a Hollywood movie script  -- regarding the truth surrounding the events of September 11, 2001.


Critical Time Frame Illustrating How The Most Powerful Nation in the World Was Left Totally Vulnerable for 59 Minutes (Unable to Protect Even Its Own Military Headquarters), While It's President Wasted Precious, Potentially Life-saving Time As the United States Was Under Attack on September 11, 2001 -- This, in Spite of Emerging Evidence of Multiple Pre-Attack Presidential Intelligence Briefings and Meetings:

8:38 a.m.: Boston air traffic center notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked.

8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower 9:01 a.m.:   Bush later makes the following statement. "And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I used to fly myself, and I said, 'There's one terrible pilot.' And I said, 'It must have been a horrible accident.' But I was whisked off from there -- I didn't have much time to think about it." Bush could not have possibly seen the first plane (American Airlines Flight 11) hit the WTC, because the only video showing this was not shown on television till later in the day. So how could he have possibly seen and said this?

9:02:54 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the south side of the South Tower of the WTC. NORAD says that when United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the WTC at 9:02:54, the F-15's from Otis are still 71 miles away. This means their average flight speed was only 23.9% of their top speed in trying to intercept United Airlines Flight 175.

Otis is 153 miles from WTC. F-15's have a top speed of 1875+ MPH. Minus 71 miles left from 153 miles equals 82 miles covered in the 11 minutes from 8:52 take-off to 9:03. 60 minutes divided by 11 minutes equals 5.45, multiply this by the 82 miles covered, equals 447.3 MPH. divided by 1875 MPH equals 23.9% of their top speed. How could these two F-15's possibly be going less than one quarter of their top speed in trying to intercept United Airlines Flight 175?

The following passages are from a BBC article published on August 30, 2002. Two of the pilots patrolling northeast America told the program how they struggled to get to New York as fast as possible after the first plane had hit the World Trade Center. Pilots "Duff" and "Nasty" recalled they were only minutes away when the second plane hit the towers. Pilot Duff said: "For a long time I wondered what would have happened if we had been scrambled in time. "We've been over the flight a thousand times in our minds and I don't know what we could have done to get there any quicker." Perhaps if they flew a little faster than 23.9% of their top speed is how. Will "Duff" and "Nasty" publicly testify?

9:05 a.m.: Andrew Card walks up to Bush while he is listening to a Goat Story with 16 second graders in Sandra Kay Daniels's class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Card whispers in his ear "A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack." Bush (commander-and-chief?) keeps listening to this Goat Story with these children for at least 7 minutes, and perhaps as long as 18 minutes. Why Bush didn't excuse himself from these children right away, and immediately address this national emergency, is totally unexplainable.

There is no way this should have happened. What of course should have happened, was as soon as the secret service found out about United Airlines Flight 175 impacting the WTC (now knowing it was a "terrorist" act), they would have immediately grabbed Bush and brought him to an undisclosed location. There is no way the secret service leaves Bush in a place (Emma E. Booker Elementary School) where everyone knows he is. Remember, secret service agents moved Vice President Cheney to a secure location immediately. This was a Military Stand Down.

9:37 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 is lost from radar screens and impacts the western side of the Pentagon. The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices. The Pentagon says American Airlines Flight 77 hits them at 9:37. Other published reports have American Airlines Flight 77 striking at 9:40 to 9:43; The New York Times even published 9:45.

8:38 a.m. to 9:37 a.m. = 59 Minutes of Vulnerability

The 9/11 Commission failed to place the two most pre-eminent researchers on the subject of the September 11 attacks on their staff, opting instead to pick politically-connected staffers -- even in the face of Paul and Mark's demonstrated and incredible research. View their complete work below. There is absolutely nothing on the internet to compare with it for those who desire to know the timeline-oriented facts about 9/11:

(Click Here for the Paul Thompson 9/11 Time-Line )
(Click Here for the Mark Elsis 9/11 Time-Line)
Thanks to Paul and Mark for the above, partial 9/11 timeline and commentary.


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