While on the subject of 9/11, I saw the Clarke Video again, and while trying to decide how crazy I was, I understood this.
The reason I hate this kind of thing I have preached often before. My theme : reasoning is damn hard work, is very imprecise at best, according to the things I have understood to evaluate the decisions of the past and their often-disastrous consequences, and my thinking is just like that, and should be trusted just as much, and that in itself is misleadingly approving of my opinion. You can’t adjust enough, often enough or far enough, to keep up with the jitter in reality.
The Richard Clarke interview sure makes you think the CIA was running an operation to recruit Al Qaeda insiders stupidly and just made a mistake, anyone could have done it, and having made such a stupid mistake, it was so human to cover it up. In the name of national security, of course, wouldn’t do to let the enemy know CIA recruiting techniques failed in that particular way – none of those terrorists had cell phones, did they?
I want to do this reasoning carefully, this saves a lot of work, the 9/11 Consensus Report. I am now assuming those points as foundation truth.
Clarke’s story is 1st-level consistent, plausible, actually pretty convincing, if and only If you forget that the WTC towers were explosively demolished in synchrony with jet planes flying into the towers, and building 7 was explosively deconstructed. Those facts are not questionable, and if you keep them firmly in mind, you will think you are losing your mind listening to this stuff, the cognitive dissonance is very great, and he is someone you want to believe in, the interview format, etc. is very powerfully persuasive. That story is backed up to various degrees in his testimony to the 911 Commission, Congress, other interviews, etc. You can find them on Youtube also.
Richard Clarke is telling a story very very well, he is not being played, because that could not be the story nor one he could believe, even if there were no nanothermite in all of the dust samples from that day, a point easily checked, and has been. Yes indeed, I am hammering on grounding points, it is so easy to fool yourself in these things. Hard evidence every time, just like checking back to reality in the world of science and technology. Need to look at every point from as many points of view, cross checking.
I didn’t see the full movie, so will ignore questions of fact such as “Where did all those other people come from?” Clarke talks about two in that interview segment, but there were 14 taking flying lessons, etc. I don’t believe we have videos of all of them getting on airplanes.
We are supposed to believe that those guys get into the US, no discussion of who gave them visas, the CIA leadership is running a recruitment campaign on their own outside of all accepted rules and regulations and scripts and the FBI is going to be so pissed along with every other domestic agency, and I am supposed to believe they don’t have 10 agents all over each of the Arabs every moment of their life? Known bad guys, our security agencies never having protected the country from an actual independent-of-them bad guy, none of the 14 wandering the country controlled by our government, you don’t have to guess they must be up to something bad, and be meeting local bad guys. This was an opportunity to lose your ass so publicly, and they apparently couldn’t be bothered to monitor the people they were supposedly recruiting.
Seriously, we are to believe that the CIA allowed 14 known bad guys to wonder around the US of A doing obviously nefarious things, such as, giving them generous benefit of the doubt that things are awfully apparent in hindsight, they didn’t notice the guys taking flying lessons suspiciously. I said that precisely, pay attention. The FBI woman agent did. Tried to tell everyone, worked it through the system, but it kept getting side-tracked. The very topic on which George Tenant got raw intelligence feeds before his analysts, and called Richard Clarke 3 times a day to discuss up to the year before 911, kept getting side-tracked. Do you think that is likely to be true, even as dumb as our government has shown itself to be in every other way?
So these guys put together the 911 plot and executed it while George Tenant and Cofer Black weren’t being successful with their recruiting one of them as an Al Qaeda insider? Right, that seems so likely. Anyone could have made that mistake, even super-experienced CIA people experienced in bureaucratic games and risks.
A serious player at CIA didn’t get where he got just by being a cowboy. They covered their asses 10 ways from Sunday. In fact, is that not the reputation of people in the CIA? So Clarke’s story is not even possible, they would have been so exposed in the turf wars, people lose their jobs over idiocy like that. Even in a world of facade they would, while never spending a day in prison and spending just enough $ on the lawyers to make it all believable.
For Richard Clarke’s version to be true, there could be no physical or chemical evidence from the controlled demolition of the twin towers nor the controlled demolition of building 7, and no conjunction with the 2 planes crashing into the towers, and et cetera that you have to keep very hard in your head or you will go crazy contemplating all this. This is an amazing propaganda effort, professionals must be impressed.
Richard Clarke’s version of the failure is simply not possible even in its own terms, independent of how the buildings came down, if I have a clue about the kind of policies those organizations develop. Maybe I do, I have read all the standard stuff, Bamford, various CIA critiques, exposes. I have kept up over the years, read a lot, re-read and relearn. There is more stuff in my head than most, evaluate it as I will I cannot think this is even close to plausible. Outsiders can’t know for sure, but I keep reading about how tightly cia agents are controlled*.
It is a button-down Ivy League place, CIA headquarters, take no responsibility, refer everything through 8 committees. I have 2 parallel thoughts. They do a lot of mahem, so pockets of excellence, probably congregating on the dark side, the one with the most fun and excitement and money, the CIA guys who can get blood on their shoes are really needed for the enforcement operations. Senior CIA people retire at least well-off, they have many ways of making money, insider trading is not the least of them. Note the bonus her boss got, Lindauer’s insider account is interesting.
If Clarke was interested in tracking down the problems, he would be coordinating with all of the whistleblowers and trying to pull more of them into the open, joining the families of the victims. He would be pushing to re-open the 911 Commission investigation, this time with a big budget and all the witnesses who wanted to testify to the first.
But that isn’t what Richard Clarke is doing. Richard Clarke is playing theatre, the role of tame critic who hired some kids to help him do a coverup, one that must have been coordinated with the CIA. Fine job, speaking as a fellow professional (well, I run a web site, what do you think we do?) The guy is probably making serious $ from speaking fees.
Wonder who did the coordination with the CIA? Charging Bush and Cheney with war crimes is clever.
*I doubt it, because of things like the criminality of FBI and CIA that Siebel Edmonds, the FBI translator, say NSA routinely picks up evidence of many crimes, and also that Federal employees can get away with some pretty serious crimes before anyone looks twice. Ditto FBI’s crimelab’s 2 cycles of criminal incompetence and reform after many many prisoners have been in jail based on faulty evidence. CIA is a lot less constrained than that, so to describe Cofer Black as a back alley guy probably also says here is the drug dealer, hirer of contract killers. To me it it says ‘Trustworthy insider, give him the dirty stuff’. The CIA always has a few, and they are publicized by the same agency that goes ballistic if one if its agents is outed by anyone. I assume publicized so as to attract the kind of people they need.
I found at least the ‘Ivy League vs native speaker’ class part of “Charlie Wilson’s War” believable, I had seen that other places. I think you could find many other things in that line to support this argument, but it would be cherry-picking evidence if someone did that for an argument I didn’t like. “Charlie Wilson’s War” just popped into my head : does that make it legitimate to mention it?
Added later. This is more of this story, all coverup.
Added much later : This is Lindauer saying the CIA controls assets very closely. Couldn’t happen this way. Very believable woman.