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Ex-Senators allege Saudi government role in 9/11
March 2, 2012 8:43 AM   Subscribe

For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats. Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
posted by Trurl (86 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's the record for a correction from the NYT? We've got 10.5 years here.
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on March 2, 2012


From the article:

Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed

From me:

"Mr. Kerrey: WHY IN THE EVERLOVING FUCK DIDN'T YOU SAY ANY OF THIS WHEN YOU WERE ON THE FUCKING 9/11 COMMISSION YOU ASSNUGGET?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on March 2, 2012 [26 favorites]


Oh
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2012


I'm sure we would all like to tell the Saudi royals to go fuck themselves, but we gotta beat that oil addiction first. Otherwise, you gotta pretend the dealer is your friend when you come over to buy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2012 [26 favorites]


India & Pakistan have been aware of this for 10.5 years.
posted by Fizz at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2012


What's the record for a correction from the NYT? We've got 10.5 years here.

Twenty-six years, as far as I'm aware.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:51 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


More in this Democracy Now interview with Michael Moore.
posted by Trurl at 8:51 AM on March 2, 2012


This is my surprised face.
posted by Gelatin at 8:57 AM on March 2, 2012


I'm sure we would all like to tell the Saudi royals to go fuck themselves, but we gotta beat that oil addiction first. Otherwise, you gotta pretend the dealer is your friend when you come over to buy.


If King Abdullah makes me listen to that god damn demo one more time Im going to fucking lose it. He's just using the trappings of "lo-fi" to disguise the fact that the songs are weak. It's like the same idea repeated over. And over. And over. Sludgy recording and tape hiss doesnt automatically make you Robert Pollard.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:58 AM on March 2, 2012 [25 favorites]


I thought the US gets most of its oil from Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]




I know it should have the opposite effect, but hearing Senators, even ex-Senators, make these allegations leads me to be less likely to believe them. It's like when your crazy uncle proclaims over Thanksgiving dinner that anthropogenic global warming is a fact, and you want to agree, but you also know he thinks it's because the CIA is using climate change to obscure UFO flight paths.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


The largest sources of oil into the US are Canada and Mexico, at 11% each, but Saudi Arabia is next at 9%.

But it doesn't really matter; oil is basically a fungible good. If the Saudis stopped producing, the price would go up. We need them to keep pumping and selling the stuff on the world market, regardless of who they actually sell that particular oil to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


With "friends" like these...
posted by mrbarrett.com at 9:08 AM on March 2, 2012


Eh, all this reminds me that it will be at least 50 years from the event until even the hint of what really happened is reveled. Same as the photographs and footage of Hiroshima and such, keep the secrets until anyone who could be held responsible is out of power.
posted by usagizero at 9:11 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Same as the photographs and footage of Hiroshima and such, keep the secrets until anyone who could be held responsible is out of power.

I'm fairly certain that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of that crowd weren't really concerned with...what's that word you used that they've never heard of, oh yeah: "responsibility".
posted by Fizz at 9:13 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This does not seem to pass the cui bono test. What possible reason would the Saudis have had for doing this? Also can we give Saddam Hussein his life and his country back now?
posted by three blind mice at 9:14 AM on March 2, 2012


We have always been at war with Middle Eastasia.
posted by delfin at 9:17 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


What possible reason would the Saudis have had for doing this?

While I am not suggesting there was any rational reason for a bunch of Saudi and Egyptian rich kids to highjack planes and fly them into buildings, presumably there were elements of the Saudi regime unhappy with the fact that there were American military bases on Saudi soil etc etc.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on March 2, 2012


Three Blind Mice:

The Saudis have for a long while now provided assistance to Anti-Western extremists. "Keep 'em focused on the Great Satan overseas, and they'll be too busy to notice how we continue to step on their backs."
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:21 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


elements of the Saudi regime unhappy with the fact that there were American military bases on Saudi soil etc etc.

Perhaps then they should have flown some planes into the Saudi royal mansions or some such as we didn't just show up at 2am in Saudi Arabia, build some bases in a few hours and then when the sun came up go "SURPRISE!!".
posted by spicynuts at 9:22 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is probably payback because the cush lobbying jobs promised to them by the Saudi govt/oil companies didn't pan out.
posted by Renoroc at 9:24 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Also can we give Saddam Hussein his life and his country back now?"

Saddam deserved everything he had coming to him.
posted by zeoslap at 9:24 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Section V of Rebuilding America's Defenses, entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force", includes the sentence: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor" (51).[14]

Though not arguing that Bush administration PNAC members were complicit in those attacks, other social critics such as commentator Manuel Valenzuela and journalist Mark Danner,[41][42][43] investigative journalist John Pilger, in New Statesman,[44] and former editor of The San Francisco Chronicle Bernard Weiner, in CounterPunch,[45] all argue that PNAC members used the events of 9/11 as the "Pearl Harbor" that they needed––that is, as an "opportunity" to "capitalize on" (in Pilger's words), in order to enact long-desired plans.
Who says they weren't doing some of their closest allies in the US foreign policy apparatus a favor?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:25 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


My first thought was the same as EC:

"Why on Earth wasn't this information included in the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States"

or what's changed since then? They don't have to get re-elected?

their panels simply did not have the time or resources given their wider scope

Seems like who did it and who funded it is fairly critical to the scope.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:26 AM on March 2, 2012


I know it should have the opposite effect, but hearing Senators, even ex-Senators, make these allegations leads me to be less likely to believe them.

Exactly. I keep thinking "what is their angle here?"
posted by mrgrimm at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gods, Saudi Arabia is barely a nation in the modern sense of the word, so it is entirely possible that they could be the greatest ally and still have an official faction that was at the root of terror around the world.

They are certainly excellent at domestic terror.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know--any such insinuations are exactly like claiming there were holographic planes and explosives inside the towers involved in 9/11. But you know, if you really just wanted a plausible motive.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2012


In all earnestness, and wary of the derail potential, this makes me wonder how this muttering about "ties and links" to X Y or Z is going to play out in the future. Will having Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections or being on a blogger's linkroll mean you could be caught up in the "ties and links" game?
posted by chavenet at 9:29 AM on March 2, 2012


The actual news contained in this article is rather less dramatic than the comments in this thread would suggest. Two former senators suspect that there "might" have been some connection between elements in the Saudi govt. and the 9/11 terrorists. Well, duh. Who doesn't or didn't suspect that there "might" be such connections?

What the statements make clear is that they have seen no concrete evidence that there were, in fact, such connections or what the nature of such connections is or is not likely to have been.

I don't see what difference, really, this news is supposed to make at this point. Did any of us ever believe that Iraq had any connection of any kind to the 9/11 attacks? Did any of us ever not suspect the Saudis of having at least some kind of connection/association at some level?
posted by yoink at 9:31 AM on March 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Who says they weren't doing some of their closest allies in the US foreign policy apparatus a favor?

This is Truther B.S. You're better than that.
posted by yoink at 9:32 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I was about to say the same thing. According to that democracy now clip a saudi couple left the US a few weeks before 9/11. What kind of evidence is that. To me it is evidence they owed money to a bookie.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:34 AM on March 2, 2012


What's the record for a correction from the NYT? We've got 10.5 years here.

There's a 49 year example.

In 1920 the Times published an editorial making fun of Goddard's space-flight ambitions because in space there would be nothing for the rocket to push against, ergo no thrust.

I know.

They got around to correcting this in 1969 while Apollo 11 was on its way. On googling, they had the good grace and humor to write that "Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Besides my rather inflammatory comment, I really hate statements like

“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia...”

Why are you convinced? With what evidence. Why should I give a shit about the opinion of some senator collecting his pension?

Content-free news.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perhaps then they should have flown some planes into the Saudi royal mansions or some such

Hey, no one ever said the people who planned and conducted the 9/11 attacks were rational or logical, or had some sort of coherent political ideology.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2012


They are certainly excellent at domestic terror.

That's the thing: they are a regime known for using terrorism to consolidate their own hold on power. We already know the Saudi's are pretty okay with exactly the kinds of tactics that get laughed off as "tin-foil hat" conspiracies here.

Here's an LA Times article, BTW, dating back to 2003 on a classified report (possibly the same one under discussion here) that showed evidence of direct Saudi involvement in 9-11.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is Truther B.S. You're better than that.

Yeah, it's all just as unlikely as claims of holographic towers and faked cell phone calls from the hijacked planes. There's no variance in degrees of likelihood here at all.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:38 AM on March 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


About as crazy as the idea that Osama bin Laden might be living right next to a Pakistani military base.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:42 AM on March 2, 2012 [21 favorites]


And Cheney and Bush being extremely close on a personal level--and in terms of their tight business dealings with them--to the Saudi's isn't a factor that should even be acknowledged as meaningful. Nor the fact that the Bush administration literally went on to argue that capturing/killing Osama Bin Laden was not a top priority for the US. And paid billions in untraceable US aid dollars directly to the leader of the country that turned out to be harboring him (a country whose own intelligence services have since positively been implicated in terrorist attacks in India and elsewhere).
posted by saulgoodman at 9:47 AM on March 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hey, no one ever said the people who planned and conducted the 9/11 attacks were rational or logical, or had some sort of coherent political ideology.

Well, I'll say it. They aren't particularly rational and their logic is Underpants Gnomes-grade faulty, but, yes, al-Qaeda has a coherent, if utterly repellent, political ideology. Everything they've done is an attempt to spur the West into a massive war with Islam that would result in the whole Islamic world banding together under a new caliphate under the direction of Osama bin Laden when he was alive, which would then drive all Westerners out of the lands of Islam and go on to enjoy peace and prosperity in perpetuity.

They haven't had much success on any of this beyond the part where Western countries invade places (and I think it's almost impossible that the Caliphate will ever come back), but that's their stated goal.
posted by Copronymus at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


You mean that Saudi Arabia, the country from whence Osama, the rest of the wealthy Bin Laden family (who were flown out of the country during the national air flight grounding), and 75% of the 9/11 hijackers hail from, the country who commit the same sort of backwards atrocities to their own people that we blamed Saddam and the Taliban for, and yet we've never taken so much as a sidelong glance MIGHT have had something to do with 9/11?

My word, I'm fit to have a spell from all these shocking revelations.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:00 AM on March 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


I don't see what difference, really, this news is supposed to make at this point.

I'm sure some people were saying the same thing about Woodward and Bernstein continuing to investigate the Watergate Burglaries instead of giving up once Nixon got re-elected and sworn in.

Me, I'd still like to know what Bush knew and when he knew it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Me, I'd still like to know what Bush knew and when he knew it.

This is the exact equivalent on the left of birtherism on the right. The notion that Bush would have idly sat by and allowed the 9/11 attacks to proceed is absurd--and offensive--on its face.

Do you really think that Bush's "My Pet Goat" moment looked like the cunningly prepared reaction of someone who knew that this attack was about to happen? Not that one needs to marshal counterarguments to such a self-evidently ridiculous conspiracy theory.
posted by yoink at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, there was that memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US."

Other than that, I'm sure he had no idea.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, there was that memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the US."

Other than that, I'm sure he had no idea.


Christ, this thread is embarrassing. Now I know how sane people on the right must feel reading birther threads or "Obama setting up FEMA concentration camps" threads.

Yeah. Bush knew that Al Qaeda wanted to attack America. So did I. So did you if you were reading newspapers at the time. That is not the same thing as saying that he was privy to the details of the 9/11 plan, or--worse--that it was specifically arranged at his behest.
posted by yoink at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Me, I'd still like to know what Bush knew and when he knew it.

This is the exact equivalent on the left of birtherism on the right.


I think it plainly preposterous to claim that Bush knew anything in advance. That story does stink of Truther bullshit. However, I think it was not very long after 9/11 that he probably DID get evidence of Saudi governmental complicity.

But because the Saudi "government" is really a very loose collection of Princes with their own hundreds of governmental fiefdoms, complicity doesn't need to go all the way up to the Royal Palace in Riyadh. So Bush, being buddies with the house of al-Saud, figured he could keep his war drum pounding about Iraq and let his proxies roll with the implications that it was Iraq and not the Saudis who were the governmental sponsor of the attacks.
posted by chimaera at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This doesn't make any sense, as the Saudis have been on the US gravy train for quite some time. They are repressive, violent and backward, but they are not stupid.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:28 AM on March 2, 2012


The notion that Bush would have idly sat by and allowed the 9/11 attacks to proceed is absurd--and offensive--on its face.

Whoa, whoa, where are you getting the idea that I'm claiming Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time?

No, I'm talking more "what Michael Moore was talking about in FAREINHEIT 911", and investigations into Bin Laden AFTER September 2001, and why Bush was talking so loud about Iraq all of sudden out of god-damn nowhere.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This doesn't make any sense, as the Saudis have been on the US gravy train for quite some time. They are repressive, violent and backward, but they are not stupid.

They are repressive, violent, backward, MASSIVELY flush with cash, completely factionalized among the HUNDREDS of Princes each with access to hundreds of millions or billions of dollars with little or no oversight -- so long as they don't work against the King. They may not be collectively stupid, but with that kind of weird backward Oligocracy, it is eminently believable that some faction (or factions) operated as high level funding and other assistance for the attacks.
posted by chimaera at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


The notion that Bush would have idly sat by and allowed the 9/11 attacks to proceed is absurd--and offensive--on its face.

Because of his deep concern for American lives, no doubt.

If I was a hypothetical government conspirator in 9/11, I might not put that moron in the loop either. Plausible deniability, and all that.

But what you take offense at is germane to nothing.
posted by Trurl at 10:35 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gods, Saudi Arabia is barely a nation in the modern sense of the word, so it is entirely possible that they could be the greatest ally and still have an official faction that was at the root of terror around the world.

Quite. Absolute monarchy with a huge royal family, vast and easily accessible mineral resources, and the anachronistic center of a large and socially conservative religion. It's not the sort of country where you'd expect to have strong executive accountability, is it? They don't really bother with elections and half the population is required to drape itself in black sheets and live in conditions midway between parole and house arrest, because something something religion.

To be honest, I'm surprised the country is as stable as it is, given how anachronistic its sociopolitical structure is.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


... the next time someone tells you that the U.S. should intervene in this or that country out of its deep and abiding concern for human rights, think about how that is reconciled with what the White House calls “the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
posted by Trurl at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Kingdom and the Towers, Vanity Fair, August 2011
posted by BobbyVan at 10:46 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


We know when Bush first learned about the 9/11 attacks - he was sitting in a Florida classroom reading "My Friend Has Two Dads" or something. The stupid look on his face when he heard the news is pretty memorable.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:49 AM on March 2, 2012


Well we know that Saudi Arabia provided most of the hijackers.
posted by Legomancer at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2012


Well we know that Saudi Arabia provided most of the hijackers.

And that women gave birth to all of them!
posted by yerfatma at 11:05 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


WOMEN DID WTC
posted by Kwine at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, sure, only crazy truther types have ever expressed doubts about the nature of US knowledge/involvement in 9/11.

But apart from it being "plainly preposterous," "embarrassing," etc., just what are the arguments again for the absurdity of anyone in the Bush admin having possibly played a role (if only a relatively passive one) in 9/11?

As far as I know, just because something seems unthinkable, that doesn't in any way imply it's impossible.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:49 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Link should have gone here: Insiders voice doubts about CIA’s 9/11 story.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:59 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


just what are the arguments again for the absurdity of anyone in the Bush admin having possibly played a role (if only a relatively passive one) in 9/11? As far as I know, just because something seems unthinkable, that doesn't in any way imply it's impossible.

It's not impossible. But it is absurd because if any US government official was found to have had specific foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot and done nothing with that knowledge, that official would be tried for treason and likely executed. I really can't imagine such a scenario.

I can easily imagine bureaucratic turf wars getting in the way of intelligence sharing that could have prevented the attacks, but that's quite different.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:05 PM on March 2, 2012


But apart from it being "plainly preposterous," "embarrassing," etc., just what are the arguments again for the absurdity of anyone in the Bush admin having possibly played a role (if only a relatively passive one) in 9/11?

They took their eye off the ball, downlplaying and ignoring the threat that was staring them in the face. Isn't that enough?

By marginalizing Richard Clarke (and anything or anyone who was highly placed in the Clinton administration), by already drooling over the prospect of precipitating a war in Iraq, by pretending that al Qaeda wasn't so much of a threat because that would've validated something Bill Clinton did -- then yeah, the Bush administration played a BIG role in 9/11, by simply being out of their depth and playing political bullshit games.

But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so the burden of proof is on you that someone DID know, at a reasonable level of specificity, what was coming, and did nothing about it.
posted by chimaera at 12:36 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]




their panels simply did not have the time or resources given their wider scope

Whitewater investigation: Six-plus years, $60 million.

9/11 Commission: A year and eight months, $12 million.

what's changed since then? They don't have to get re-elected?

Sen. Graham: Bush covered up Saudi involvement in 9/11, September 2004.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight: Iraq was invaded and at least 100,000 of their citizens were killed even though we knew that they had nothing to do with 9/11 and that there were no WMDs, and yet two ex-senators come out and say not only that Saudi Arabia may have had something to do with 9/11, but that they've known this for the last decade--and it's coming out now because Saudi Arabia is getting sued???
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:49 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bush knew that Al Qaeda wanted to attack America. So did I. So did you if you were reading newspapers at the time.

You and I weren't getting President's Daily Briefs with 40 mentions of Al Qaeda or Bin Laden during 2000-2001. We didn't get the PDB that said Al Qaeda agents were in the US, bin Laden wanted to attack Washington DC, and there were "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."

But then if we had seen that memo, maybe our response would not have been to say, "All right. You've covered your ass, now." and stay on vacation.

That is not the same thing as saying that he was privy to the details of the 9/11 plan, or--worse--that it was specifically arranged at his behest.

There is a range of possibilities between having no knowledge of the attacks and having complete insight into the details of the plan.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:58 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Also can we give Saddam Hussein his life and his country back now?"

Saddam deserved everything he had coming to him.



And his fellow contrymen (and women and children) too I suppose.
posted by notreally at 2:52 PM on March 2, 2012


Saddam deserved everything he had coming to him.

“When bad things happen to bad people for bad reasons.”
posted by acb at 5:45 PM on March 2, 2012




This is Truther B.S. You're better than that.

But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so the burden of proof is on you that someone DID know, at a reasonable level of specificity, what was coming, and did nothing about it.

I'm not claiming that the US government was behind 9/11, but don't these sworn statements contradict the 9/11 commission report?

I get that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but these revelations appear to make it clear that the 9/11 report is a bogus document, with deliberate lies, or at the very least critical omissions in it.

I'm beginning to think the burden of proof should be on the party that has been caught in countless lies, from illegal surveillance to starting a war with fake evidence. If these sworn statements are true, the official story is not true.

Or, as a great man once said.. "Fool me once, shame on.. shame on you. Fool me.. can't get fooled again."
posted by formless at 6:59 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saddam deserved everything he had coming to him.
It's a shame how small a minority are the people who can both believe that, and believe the Iraq war was a serious error anyway.

Nor the fact that the Bush administration literally went on to argue that capturing/killing Osama Bin Laden was not a top priority for the US.

Reminds me of the our dumb history Onion headline: "Iran Releases Hostages; Reagan Urges Nation Not to Put Two and Two Together"

The notion that Bush would have idly sat by and allowed the 9/11 attacks to proceed is absurd--and offensive--on its face.
Why wouldn't he?
It's not like the Bush family are humanitarians. Prescott Bush did make money dealing with the Nazis. Other firms did as well, like Standard Oil (sorry, my patron saint is coming out a bit), but there's documented evidence (for example, Union Bank having their assets seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act).
The family has been involved in a number of very shady deals over the past few decades. Neil Bush and Silverado offhand.

And the administration itself - my God - the failure to come up with anything in the anthrax attacks, the lies - lie after lie after lie - about about Iraq and WMDs and al Qaeda, the profiteering in Iraq by KBR and Halliburton, procurement contracts in general and the outsourcing of war and security to mercenaries (Blackwater), outsourcing intelligence, the Total Information Awareness datamining gestapo rat on your neighbor Program, changing Sarbanes-Oxley to screw over whistleblowers, losing literally Billions in cash and Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority running around with their thumbs up their ass, the abuses at Guantanamo, the legal changes to the law providing for detention at Gitmo, the insinuation that torture might be legal, then the actual use of torture, Rumsfeld and his jagoff Future Combat Systems program, Rumsfeld and funneling money to defense contractors, anything to do with Rumsfeld really, changing the national guard mission, heckova job Brownie, the Patriot Act, Jeff Gannon, loyalty oaths, the wiretapping, siphoning resources from Afghanistan and putting it on the back burner for years, blocking the 9/11 commission, objecting to an investigation into 9/11 in the first place, the preventative war doctrine … that’s without touching Google, I’m ranting here.
But is there any question there are no lengths to which those people did or may have gone to further their own ends?

Plenty of examples throughout history of false flag operations, looting the treasury, democide (which in fact outpaced war as a cause of death in the 20th century). Is there any reason to believe it couldn’t happen here?

Now, is there any direct and provable evidence to support Bush or admin officials actively or passively allowed attacks on American soil?
Not as far as I know, no.

The idea that terrorists involved in an international conspiracy might have the backing of one, or several, sympathetic elements of governments and that their goals might dovetail with elements within western countries isn't absurd.

Even if there's no connection at all, they sure as hell made the most of it didn't they?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:13 PM on March 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


did bush know? call me naive, but i have to believe he didn't. just the same, there is little doubt in my mind that with a more intelligent/qualified/scrupulous president, 9/11 doesn't happen.

so, you know - for that, and so much more, mr bush - this new yorker says "go fuck yourself."
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:09 PM on March 2, 2012


did bush know? call me naive, but i have to believe he didn't.

It just bothers me a lot that all we've really got to go on one one way or another when it comes to any lingering questions about what Bush (and maybe more importantly, Cheney, Tenet, and others in the administration and its intelligence apparatus) knew is just that: our own subjective, gut impressions about what is or isn't plausible-seeming.

When there are even former FBI managers making official statements like the following, it's hard to see what justifies the presumptions that there's no reasonable basis for suspicion here (if you haven't read it, you really should read the Salon article at that link I posted above if you're on the extremely skeptical side of this issue; it seems to me that even if you don't concede there's direct, hard evidence of intentional official wrong-doing here, there's definitely too much circumstantial evidence of that possibility to take simply unexamined on trust for my taste):
Jack Cloonan, former manager at the FBI’s al-Qaida-busting I-49 Squad, is another insider pained by the CIA’s actions.

“If you start to look into everything that’s Khalid Al Mihdhar and Nawaf Al Hazmi, you can’t help but conclude to most people’s minds that this is it,” Cloonan, said during an emotional interview in his New Jersey living room. “9/11 occurred not because the systems failed. The systems actually worked. Somebody made a critical decision not to share this information … If you look at this, it’s really just a handful of people. I don’t know how they sleep at night, I really don’t.”
In the event of an actual official conspiracy to let something like this happen, you'd expect to see exactly the pattern of events/circumstances that many former counter-terrorism officials describe: specifically, you'd expect to see a small, secretive group of intelligence operatives somehow actively involved in covering up/thwarting the proper functioning of the counter-terrorism systems meant to prevent such an attack. Well, if these first-hand official accounts have any credibility at all, that's exactly what they saw happening. That should at least give the public serious pause.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:56 PM on March 2, 2012


I hear you, saulgoodman - I just don't reach the same conclusions. Here's why: if memory serves, several tens of thousands of people worked in the WTC every day. No matter how evil and Machiavellian I believe the Bush administration to have been, I do NOT believe that they were willing to kill that many people - that's a whole other order of magnitude more evil than, say, manufacturing a subway or bus bombing that maybe killed a dozen or so people. The latter would be horrific to be sure, but just nowhere near the ballpark of the level of slaughter they would have had to sign on to if they had on some level orchestrated planes-into-buildings.

No, I think it was more like an after-the-fact consipiracy - and my casual reading of "The Looming Tower" bears this out, if my somewhat drunken memory serves. The dots were all there, and HAD they been connected, 9/11 would have been prevented. But various turf wars, power struggles, etc, prevented the dots from being connected. In that sense, the system DID work - the hijackers WERE on the radar, just waiting to be nabbed. But layers and layers of bureaucracy prevented this from happening. And after the fact, NO ONE wanted that much egg on their face - from the lowly agency workers to the big men in the high profile positions. So there WAS a conspiracy - not a conspiracy to MAKE something happen, but a conspiracy to divert attention from WHY something horrific happened.

And the fact is that we all smell it, that none of us, from the most hardcore truther to the most accepting among us, can REALLY stomach that we are being told everything. OF COURSE there's more going on than we know about. Governments lies to their constituents all day every day. But as constituents it does us no good to assume that every lie is being told to cover up the worst of the worst.

Put more simply - it's a choice between evil and stupid. And for my money, there's no doubt that the Bush administration was just about as stupid as you could imagine. Or invent, ffs. That, to me, is a much more plausible explanation than that they risked murdering a Stalinesque amount of their own citizens just for their own agenda. YMMV.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:35 PM on March 2, 2012


I'm honestly mystified how the "what did Bush know" thread of the conversation has turned to "what did Bush know before the attacks". What I'm much more interested in, is -- what did Bush know about the 2001 attacks in 2003?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on March 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Project for a New American Century said that seizing the power they wanted would require a new Pearl Harbor. Shortly afterward, they got one. I don't believe in that kind of luck.

Bush had to be forced into allowing even the limited independent investigation that took place. He is a war criminal with the blood hundreds of thousands on his hands. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who refuses to consider the possibility that he knew about the attack because they just can't imagine him doing that are more delusional than the most extreme conspiracy theorists.
posted by Trurl at 6:59 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if the reason that you doubt his fore-knowledge is because you genuinely think that he was literally too ignorant and stupid to have known how to process anything even if he did get it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on March 3, 2012


How did this become a what did Bush know thread? Isn't the FPP about what the Saudis knew?
I'm certain Bush knew little or nothing, because I'm certain he was one of the dumbest presidents in American history, and knew little or nothing about anything, as a principle. I believe he was genuinely shocked and scared, and only discovered that his willed ignorance would have consequences there and then in that classroom, reading my pet goat. I believe some of the more idiotic decisions he made after that moment were based on fear and ignorance.
However, I also believe some of his advisors, and some of USA's "allies", took advantage of that ignorance from the very outset of his presidency, and then after 9/11 also of that fear. To me, its almost incredulous that so many highly educated Americans could fail to recognize the roles of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the terror of the last decade and in the general undermining of American society. I don't see a conspiracy. I see a completely open and quite crude attempt to use the US as a very real and very violent bogeyman in order to consolidate regional power. As dictators have been doing it throughout the last 60 years or more. But this time with huge consequences for the global economy.
posted by mumimor at 7:52 AM on March 3, 2012


How did this become a what did Bush know thread? Isn't the FPP about what the Saudis knew?

Do you remember Bush strolling through the bed of bluebonnets hand in hand with Crown Prince Abdullah?

I think a lot of people were very unsettled by that who weren't at all homophobic.

I'm not contesting your point. But I don't think simple ignorance explains it. The American political system is too complex for that. This is not to say the president himself isn't distractable and a small oligarchy couldn't pull some fast ones.
For example, the Teapot Dome scandal.

But there always used to be this sort of antagonism between our ideals and realpolitik.
Where we see a dictator or something and say "Well, we believe in democracy... but, shit...yeah, we'll work with you.... for now. To achieve a greater end."

That point, with Bush holding hands, was sort of a symbol of the admin just chucking any semblance of that.
And it was a kind of affront - even if we couldn't cast 'why' into words - whatever forces colluded to make 9/11 happen.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:01 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if the reason that you doubt his fore-knowledge is because you genuinely think that he was literally too ignorant and stupid to have known how to process anything even if he did get it?

Bush grew up in the company of the Saudi royals, though. He was practically raised to see himself as belonging to the same class of international elite--a class that has consistently proven itself to have little regard for the sanctity of human life when those values come into conflict with business interests.

As detailed in House of Bush, House of Saud, the Bush family has had close business and political dealings with the Saudi Royals going back to the 70s, an ongoing relationship that's been worth millions to both sides over a period of decades.

You really can't raise the subject of what the Saud's knew about 9/11 without having to also consider as a consequence what that implies for what Bush might have known; the closeness and durability of the personal and business relationships between the two is well documented.

And it's worth pointing out that many of the sources most vociferously raising doubts about the unsavory nature of Bush's relationship with the Saudi Royals in light of the tragedy of 9/11 are well-connected Republicans--not the crazy leftist equivalent of "birthers." For example:
Author Kevin Phillips, a top Republican strategist under President Nixon, reported in his new book, "Bush made his first connection in the late 1970s with James Bath, a Texas businessmen who served as the North American representative for two rich Saudis (and Osama bin Laden relatives) - billionaire Salem bin Laden and banker and BCCI insider Khalid bin Mahfouz. Bath put $50,000 into Bush's 1979 Arbusto oil partnership, probably using bin Laden-bin Mahfouz funds." Also of interest: Former CIA Director James Woolsey testified to the Senate on 9/3/98 that Mafouz's sister was married to Osama bin Laden. And according to the conservative American Spectator, "Bush has given conflicting statements about Bath's investment in Arbusto, finally admitting to the Wall Street Journal that he was aware that Bath represented Saudi investors."
Richard Clarke, for another. Not to mention dozens of former FBI officials who I doubt could be classified as "raving liberals" under any rubric.

Bush and/or senior members of his administration made a deliberate choice to wage an unnecessary war in Iraq premised on falsehoods and that almost all credible military analysts warned could likely lead to casualties ranging in the hundreds of thousands. As far as Bush feeling hampered in his actions by the possibility of the loss of human life, I believe he put any doubts on that matter to rest when in response to insurgent attacks on US troops he famously issued the challenge: "Bring it on."
posted by saulgoodman at 11:21 AM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or as this reprint from a New Yorker article on the subject puts it:

Bandar, who is fifty-three and has been the Saudi Ambassador for twenty years, was accustomed to an unusually personal relationship with the White House; he was so close to the President's fatrher, George H. W. Bush, that he was considered almost a member of the family.

Bush number two grew up with Saudi Royals for peers. Is it really such a stretch to think his moral outlook might have been colored by the society he grew up in, a society that has never shown itself bound by the kinds of moral restraint some posit would have restrained him?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2012


saulgoodman, of course these are facts. And again, facts any literate person should have been aware of when they supported the Bush administration. But I still see Bush as the dumb jock, who doesn't get what is wrong with mixing up family relations, money and government. Not that I think that excuses him. Ignorance is not an excuse for anything.
posted by mumimor at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2012


Fair enough, mumimor. But any direct evidence of official Saudi involvement in 9/11 makes this look very bad indeed for the Bush admin--either the Bush admin deliberately covered up Saudi involvement after the fact (which is still treason) or they had foreknowledge. Either way, it's still a tragic miscarriage of justice not to have a thorough investigation and public accounting that explicitly and completely examines all these issues. In hindsight, it's clear the 9/11 commission report failed miserably to address the actual substantive issues surrounding the Bush administration's involvement/role in 9/11.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:26 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And of course, the Saudi role, which is a closely related question.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:38 PM on March 3, 2012


Bush number two grew up with Saudi Royals for peers. Is it really such a stretch to think his moral outlook might have been colored by the society he grew up in, a society that has never shown itself bound by the kinds of moral restraint some posit would have restrained him?

Assuming you mean "Bush was influenced by the Saudi royals" and not "Bush was influenced by Saudis in general," "society" probably isn't the best word choice here.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:45 PM on March 3, 2012


I meant "society" in the traditional sense of upper-class society.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:18 PM on March 3, 2012


and BCCI insider Khalid bin Mahfouz.

Wow, how could I have forgotten BCCI? All that ranting, just slipped my mind.
I remember watching MST3K and the "SAND STORM! SAND STORM! SAAAND STORM! Deep hurting!" and just laughing my ass off.

Now, it's like oatmeal between my ears. gah.
I mean, I know there's no connection, but it was kinda funny at the time.
If you're on six hits of acid I mean...

note to self: end comments several sentences earlier
posted by Smedleyman at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


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