Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Coleen Rowley warns of more attacks
March 6, 2003 7:58 AM   Subscribe

After her experience in the weeks before Sept. 11, she said, "I promised myself that in the future I always would try." Time magazine person of the year - Coleen Rowley warns of more attacks. Is she doing the right thing or out of line by going public with warning?
posted by specialk420 (45 comments total)

 
Is she doing the right thing or out of line by going public with warning?
Yes, she is doing the right thing. Thank you Coleen for having significantly more spine than any of our elected representatives. The truth matters.
posted by nofundy at 8:12 AM on March 6, 2003


go coleen! go coleen! go coleen!
posted by quonsar at 8:30 AM on March 6, 2003


"having significantly more spine than any of our elected representatives"

What are you talking about? Do you have something to back that up, or are you just flailing around with your agenda?

I've heard several representatives comment that future attacks are certain, and that we won't be able to prevent everything. I think the expectations being set are pretty realistic. You don't agree? Where is this lack of spine you allege?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:44 AM on March 6, 2003


I believe both CIA Director George Tenet and FBI Director Robert Mueller have testified before Congress that the U.S. is likely to face an increased risk of terrorist attacks if and when the U.S. attacks Iraq. Given that, I'm not sure what's so "heroic" about Rowley's email -- instead, it looks like grandstanding and opportunism (a conclusion that is only reinforced by her decision to make it public).
posted by pardonyou? at 8:54 AM on March 6, 2003


Well, let's see, when Ridge raises the threat level to orange, that's bad, but when this woman, with no other apparent information than any of the rest of us have, warns that war with Iraq may cause more terrorism in the US, which everybody already knew, that's good.

Or at least taken as something worthy of note.

Is there anyone out there who says war with Iraq won't increase the threat level? Remember all the extra security precautions during the last war for just that very reason?
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:02 AM on March 6, 2003


And where are we on the finally approved investigation into events leading up to 9/11?
Spinelessly nowhere.

There wouldn't even be an investigation if not for Coleen and other whistleblowers. I know the Defenders Of All Things Duhbya don't like it but we need a thorough investigation if we are to prevent another such occurence. Bombing Baghdad won't stop terrorist attacks. The most needed areas of investigation revolve around Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and most politicians know this but are afraid to vocalize it.
posted by nofundy at 9:02 AM on March 6, 2003


Hey, I don't know if this letter was grandstanding or not. I am grateful she sent it. If there is an error let it be on the side of more info, not less.

I like Dubya, but facts are facts and they need to be faced no matter what.
posted by konolia at 9:07 AM on March 6, 2003


I'm really not that much of a cynic, but my first thought was: When is her book coming out?

Seems to me that going through the proper channels is the best way to accomplish her ends. I know they ignored her last time but I think her voice is louder now. A letter to the Times is almost always the sure ticket to the FBI's gulag, the Minneapolis office.

Oops, that's right, she's already there.
posted by mygoditsbob at 9:07 AM on March 6, 2003


Seems to me that going through the proper channels is the best way to accomplish her ends.

Look what happened last time. I don't give the FBI any more credit than they have earned, which is not much by anyone's standards.

Rowley's using what little control she has left (via her 15 minutes) and I think it's the right thing to do.
Is she right about the FBI? I'm sure she is.
It is right to speak out about the problems within the FBI? Yes, when it is we who are paying to be protected by them.
posted by gen at 9:14 AM on March 6, 2003


Can anyone find this second letter on the net and link to it? (I did a quick search, didn't find it, don't really have time to look.)

Good for her for using her fifteen minutes, but the letter didn't sound like news to me - maybe in seven pages she said something that wasn't covered in the article.
posted by orange swan at 9:17 AM on March 6, 2003


This woman is not a whistle blower. There is a huge misconception about that.

What she did was right a very nasty memo venting on several issues, one of which was the Justice Dep't refusal to request a warrent to search the contents of Zacharias Mousawi's (sorry if that's spelled wrong) computer.

The Justice Dep't refused the request on personal privacy grounds.

She was angry because Ashcroft was too respectful of the privacy of Arab Moslems - even non-citizen ones.

That's not going to fit the world view of a lot of you out there, but it is excatly what happened. (Of course, Ashcroft's feelings on the issue changed after 9/11.)

But how many of you consider her desire to violate the privacy of Arab Moslems simply due to their religion to be heroic?

Oh, and BTW, nothing on the computer pointed to the 9/11 plot or would have furthered an investigation of same even if the Feds knew what to look for at the time. Most of the damming evidence used in ZM's trial comes from overseas agencies/investigations.

It takes a lot of wishful thinking to turn this person into a whistleblower.

Sorry I don't have time to dig up all the links for this, but it's all available on the web.
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:17 AM on March 6, 2003


It doesn't require a single iota of ability or expertise to predict there will be more terrorist attacks. Any regular Joe can tell you that.

It takes brains to STOP them from happening.

It would be far more impresive if Rowley could come out in public saying that there will be no more attacks, because she's going to prevent them from happening.
posted by skylar at 9:19 AM on March 6, 2003


By no means has the American public been fully warned of the dangers of an attack on Iraq, a few comments before Congressional committees notwithstanding. How could anyone argue otherwise? Most of what gets serious coverage comes out of the White House or other parts of the executive branch.
posted by raysmj at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2003


"the Defenders Of All Things Duhbya don't like it"

Nice try Sparky. I think Bush is the worst president we've ever had, and I think the entire world would benefit if he were impeached. AND I still think you are blowing smoke out your ass. Let's have it. What are you referring to?

".... revolve around Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and most politicians know this but are afraid to vocalize it."

No. Again you are making things up. I've heard several politicians vocalize this. It's been on the news. If you have facts otherwise let's see it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2003


how many warnings do we need?

what if we backed off - gave the canadian plan a chance?

wouldnt the nations of the world opposing war do everything in their power to make sure another attack on the US doesnt happen.... including saddam?
posted by specialk420 at 9:35 AM on March 6, 2003


the way i read it (in plain english), she wasn't parroting the many predictions of increased threats of terrorism, SHE WAS POINTING OUT THAT THE FUCKING FBI IS IN NO POSITION TO DEAL WITH TERRORIST ATTACKS.

for our comprehension-challenged right wing spinmeisters:

"Minneapolis agent Coleen Rowley, who last year exposed FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, has warned bureau Director Robert Mueller that a war with Iraq could provoke new terrorism on a scale that the bureau is not prepared to handle."

"...bureau officials "should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI . . . will be able to stem the flood of terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on Iraq."

A U.S. attack on Iraq, she said, "may have grave consequences for your ability to discharge your responsibility to protect Americans, and it is altogether likely you will find yourself a helpless bystander to a rash of 9/11s."

illiterate, agenda wielding chumps.
posted by quonsar at 9:44 AM on March 6, 2003


Thank you Coleen for having significantly more spine than any of our elected representatives.

Nofundy, our "elected representatives" have been saying the same sorts of things since Sept 11th, though interestingly it's always decried as "fearmongering". Not being in the oval office, Rowley is in a better position to give these warnings with a degree of frankness & objectivity. And please stop applying your boneheaded "Defenders Of All Things Duhbya" rubric to every conversation here--it gives about as much credibility to your comments as the "Slick Willie" epipthet from the Clinton-bashing days. You can practically hear the IQ points dropping.
posted by dhoyt at 9:45 AM on March 6, 2003


y6y6y6,

Ever held a civil discusion? Enjoy name calling? Know how to use Google?

link
You should find both statements corroborated in just one short news piece! Want more? Use Google like I did Sparky! Have you ever seen smoke blow out someone's ass? It would be a rather odd place for your mirror.
posted by nofundy at 9:46 AM on March 6, 2003


Funny... upon reading the article, the impression I got was she was warning that a war on Iraq would cause a volume of terrorism in the US that is beyond the FBI's ability to prevent or control.

That seems pretty significant to me.

y6y6y6's comments include this idea, but miss the very point cited by Rowley -- Invasion of Iraq (A) leads to a great volume of terrorist attacks (B). A->B. Not "more attacks are very likely" or "we won't be able to stop everything." She sets up a straightforward cause and effect relationship.

skylar makes an interesting point. It does take brains to stop terrorist attacks. It was my hope that the FBI was developing such capability in the 18 months since the attacks, but this letter implies that they are still ill-prepared.

quonsar says it right, though. Would more people protest the war if they knew that it guaranteed more domestic attacks, on a level that we are currently unprepared to prevent or handle?
posted by VulcanMike at 9:48 AM on March 6, 2003


You can practically hear the IQ points dropping hahaha.. ... what did someone say about glass houses?

she is in no way saying the same thing some individuals have been saying since 9-11.... she is warning that the future unilateral actions by the bush administration could have serious consequences for the safety of americans worldwide ... we still have a choice in the matter and in no way seems to be fearmongering unlike the daily BS that comes out of the office of the attorney general and homeland security.
posted by specialk420 at 9:52 AM on March 6, 2003


It seems to me that she is pointing out that if you go and beat the hell out of a hornets nest in your yard and all of your doors and windows are wide open then you're going to get seriously stung. Maybe, just maybe, you should think of the consequences before beating the hell out of those pesky hornets.
posted by daveg at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2003


"You should find both statements corroborated in just one short news piece!"

Right. My point is that this is common knowledge and that many people, including elected officials, are talking about it.

"she is warning that the future unilateral actions by the bush administration could have serious consequences for the safety of americans worldwide"

Is this not obvious to everyone? As in every single person? Where are the spineless elected officials who are denying this?

"....should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that there is any way the FBI . . . will be able to stem the flood of terrorism..."

I'm sorry, but this just seems obvious. I was under the assumption that no one is doing this sort of "deluding". I keep hearing officials state, clearly and openly, that increased attacks are likely if we go to war in Iraq.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:02 AM on March 6, 2003


VulcanMike, that is just the "recruitment' theory a little warmed over.

She doesn't add anything new to that debate, though. Yes, she's in FBI branch office, but saying that you think that your bosses aren't very good at their jobs isn't excalty novel.
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:02 AM on March 6, 2003


"a rash of 9/11s" following an attack on Iraq? Yeah, just like 9/11, when the US was so heavily at war with... oh wait, the US was strategically withdrawing from much of the globe when that happened.
posted by clevershark at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2003


can anyone post the link where ridge, bush, fleischer, wolfowitz etc..... have provided the public any warnings that the rush war may actually increase the threat to american citizens rather than vice versa..... all we have heard is that if we DONT go to war the threat will grow. come on people... where is the straight talk from pro-war side?
posted by specialk420 at 10:08 AM on March 6, 2003


Although I agree with most of what she is saying, isn't this a little odd?

In the letter, she cited Mueller's recent Senate testimony in which he contended that Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida network will remain the most serious threat facing the United States for the foreseeable future, while also noting that a U.S.-Iraq war could prompt Saddam Hussein to give Al-Qaida weapons of mass destruction.

"But you did not connect these very important dots," Rowley wrote.


Did you not connect the dots about regime change and the subsequent lack of Saddam? I think Saddam's pissed enough at us to give them weapons WITHOUT WAR, if he had the means. I just don't really think he DOES have the means, or the gall, with the world breathing down his neck.

But of course there is Osama's blatant dislike and loathing of Iraq, to make that even MORE unlikely.
posted by Espoo2 at 10:28 AM on March 6, 2003


y6y6y6 (and for that matter nofundy):
i think you're both right. yes, y6, a certain "everyone" knows what to expect when iraq gets sacked. everyone on metafilter does. but there are PLENTY of USians who are not as media savvy as we. the most recent Harper's Index reporterd the results of a survey on which Jesus Christ and William Jefferson Clinton were tied for #13 Greatest Americans of All Time. lots of people think that Ossama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are the same person.

furthermore, (and not to rip on the "unwashed", or come off as an elitist) someone has to be buying this "good and evil" bullshit, and those people -- seeing as how they participate in the same deicision-making processes as the rest of us -- really ought to be prodded back to rationality. and perhaps an administration that is afraid of granite boobies is not the best vehicle for attaining such newfound rationality.

----I'm sorry, but this just seems obvious. I was under the assumption that no one is doing this sort of "deluding". I keep hearing officials state, clearly and openly, that increased attacks are likely if we go to war in Iraq.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:02 AM PST on March 6-------------

i have heard about teh saudi arabia and pakistan connections in the media, but not from the 6 0'clock please watch joe millionaire next news that is the only source of information for a lot of [lazy] people.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:49 AM on March 6, 2003


Yes, she is doing the right thing. Thank you Coleen for having significantly more spine than any of our elected representatives. The truth matters.


I think you mean to say that you will vote for her when she runs for office, Right?

She is an opportunist at best using the spotlight to fulfill her own ambitions.

Statements I agree with in this thread:
Well, let's see, when Ridge raises the threat level to orange, that's bad, but when this woman, with no other apparent information than any of the rest of us have, warns that war with Iraq may cause more terrorism in the US, which everybody already knew, that's good.


it looks like grandstanding and opportunism


Hey folks, 4 out of 5 dentists will tell you, same as 9 out of 10 doctors agree....

She said nothing that wasn't known. Don't break down the party lines and start beating each other up.

The FBI isn't prepared to stop a lone bank robber. You know what will stop terrorists (and probably has them scared shitless)? The millions of Americans nicknamed Bubba that own assault rifles that will come out of the woodwork for a chance to kill a terrorist, or their neighbor. Whomever they come across first...
posted by a3matrix at 10:54 AM on March 6, 2003


but bubba, as someone else pointed out, is an ignorant moron who thinks jesus was an american, who thinks osama is saddam, who thinks protesters are traitors, who thinks bush is annointed by god to cleanse the earth of the heathen islamic hordes. he thinks bill gates invented computers and the internet, and he thinks if it's on television it must be true. bubba will certainly shoot more of his neighbors than terrorists. i fear bubba and his president far more than i fear saddam.
posted by quonsar at 11:43 AM on March 6, 2003


"...if you go and beat the hell out of a hornets nest in your yard and all of your doors and windows are wide open then you're going to get seriously stung. Maybe, just maybe, you should think of the consequences before beating the hell out of those pesky hornets." - daveg (*clap clap clap*)

The US CIA, Senator Bob Graham (as head of the relevant Senate committee), and many others have made the same warnings. Graham said that the terrorists could be from Hamas.

I'm betting that any such future acts of terrorism will be tied -by the Bush Administration- to Iran and Syria (maybe to North korea also) - and will, of course, require the US invasions of all of these nations. Expect concurrent, heavyhanded repression of domestic political dissent in the US also.

You heard it here first.
posted by troutfishing at 12:58 PM on March 6, 2003


Aha, the recruitment theory.

It's wrong, but what if it were right? So what.

In the 1960's the black struggle for civil rights unleashed the largest wave of terrorism ever seen in this country. Of course, it was by white folks and directed at blacks, but terrorism it was. That's recruitment in action.

Does that mean that blacks should have stopped agitating for civil rights?

Trout, your arguments are exactly the same as made by the so-called moderate whites of the south in the 60's. Perhaps the blacks have a point, in an academic sort of a way, but all this backlash - that's the real problem, they said.

And those 'moderate' southern whites didn't trust the government in Washington any more than you do today, Trout. Not one bit.

If you really are sold on recruitment, where do you draw the line? Shouldn't you be advocating the repeal of women's sufferage - that pisses off Al Quida, too, you know.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:14 PM on March 6, 2003


Jos Bleu

im sure you will catch your tail if you keep chasing it...

meanwhile you are convincing no one of anything with your goofy use of your ari fleischer logic...
posted by specialk420 at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2003


Oops, I forgot Andalusia, too.

One of the stated reasons for 9/11 was the loss of control of Spain to Christians 500 years ago or so.

500 years of recruitment! Do we want 500 more?

Normally, you have to win a war before you start ethnic cleansing - why not do it for AL Quida pro-actively, and avoid the war altogether?

Who cares about the welfare of 30 million Spaniards - we can avoid a war!

Oh, and specialk420, you can't just invoke your devil and say that makes me wrong. Try actually proving your point.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:30 PM on March 6, 2003


Jos Bleau - Colorful comments there, but I was actually not making an argument, strictly speaking, but rather enjoying the imagery of daveg's visual analogy (I've made it myself also).

And irregardless of the "recruitment" argument, I think Bob Graham - and the CIA also (perhaps) - were suggesting that existing, already recruited members of other terrorist groups (such as Hamas) might attack the US in the event of an invasion of Iraq.

Sure, whacking that hornet nest can be a good (or at least necessary) thing. I'm glad the Civil Rights movement whacked it's particular "nest". But comparing Iraq to the US deep south?......I think it probably obscures more than it reveals.
posted by troutfishing at 2:17 PM on March 6, 2003


I stand by my comparison - if you look at the newspaper editorials back then, you'll see identical arguments to those heard to today.

Why rush into anything, what right does Washington have to impose it's views on local people, and since all this agitation causes violence, let's not agitate for civil rights.

But that's assuming that recruitment is right in this case - and I don't.

The lesson of history is very clear.

The militia movement bloomed in this country (Waco was the stated reason for recruitment) until the OK City bombing, and then the Feds got tough, and the militia movement died off as an active fomenter of terrorism.

And I don't recall people saying that we should not crack down on the militias's because it might cause another OK City. Or that we should enact their agenda.

Same story for abortion clinic bombings - once the Feds got tough, they died off (though sadly, not completely out).

And I don't recall people saying that we should not crack down on the clinic bombers because it might cause more bombing. Or that we should restrict abortion rights for that reason.

Those were two sources of domestic terror who had narrow but quite very deep reservoirs of support in this country. Among native born Euro-americans who could easily blend into the larger population.

And both were eliminated as terror threats when the Feds got tough.

The Fed's didn't get tough on Al Quaida until after 9/11.

That's not saying nothing will happen now, but if you compare vague unspecified fears of those who want to appease to the lessons of history, I'll take history.

So why enact the terrorists' agenda for them (no war in Iraq)? Just because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't?

Like I said, since now they don't have to actually win to get what they want where will you stop?

They have a big agenda.
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2003


except there is no proven terrorist/iraq connection... they are tenuous at the very best.

on the other hand... pakistan has nukes and a helluva lot of hot heads (n korea as well)... so, using your (ari) logic we should actually be flattening those two countries first.


the agenda in iraq is something entirely other than the safety of US citizens. oil and israel.
posted by specialk420 at 3:07 PM on March 6, 2003


specialk420, the argument Rowley et al. are making is not that the terrorists are connected to Iraq, but that their attacks will be motivated by war against Iraq.

And as for the rest of your comment (Pak & NKor nukes are the real threat so aren't we attacking them?), be careful what you wish for, you might just get it...
posted by Jos Bleau at 3:25 PM on March 6, 2003


except there is no proven terrorist/iraq connection

What about this?

I'll agree there doesn't seem to be a specific connection between Hussein and the members of al-Quaeda involved in September 11th, but Hussein is walking a very fine line by offering money to "martyrs".
posted by dhoyt at 3:30 PM on March 6, 2003


Here's the full text of Rowley's letter to Mueller. And here's an shortened version of her infamous memo from last year.

Here's an article on how several senators are quite critical of the FBI's lack of preparedness. My favorite part is how the people who wouldn't help Rowley investigate Moussaoui before 9/11, rather than being fired, have been promoted. Senator Graham has cited the lack of reform in the intelligence agencies as his primary reason for running for president. He also says they've refused to follow links between the 9/1 hijakers and a foreign government, probably the Saudis.
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on March 6, 2003


A risk of more terror? And you guys said there is no link between Saddam and terror! You merry pranksters!

All the more reason to get Hussein out of the picture now.
posted by hama7 at 4:23 PM on March 6, 2003


And where are we on the finally approved investigation into events leading up to 9/11?
Those questions about airline security are critical to the investigation. But, now comes a serious allegation: that the Sept. 11 commission is stacked with members tied directly to the airline industry.

"Here we've got the most important event in America in the past 50 years, the most horrible thing that's happened to Americans, and yet we pick a bunch of people who are connected to the very people who are at the center of the question of who's at fault," says Terry Brunner, a former federal prosecutor who now runs the Aviation Integrity Project in Chicago. "It's ridiculous."
posted by homunculus at 4:39 PM on March 6, 2003


I'm glad she made her letter public, but to tell the truth I wasn't counting on the FBI to protect us from bad guys. I think if we attack Iraq we are going to see some serious badness, a "rash of 9/11s" as her letter states. Ready or not, here it comes.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:40 PM on March 6, 2003


Sometimes, I wonder if the present foreign policy is one the US has pursued before, which we may call for the purposes of this example: "Beat the Red-Headed Step-Child."

Example: A member of your family (the Royal Sauds) broke a vase (supported radical Islamic terrorists.)

So, you call in your child (the Saud family) to watch as you beat your red-headed step-child (Iraq) to a six-alarm pulp.

You nearly scare to death your real child (the Sauds) and teach them a hard lesson, all while not harming a hair on their beloved head.

Meanwhile, at the same time, you get to indulge in your favorite hobby; which is the beating and dominating of your despised and loathed carrot-top step-child (Saddam.)

...

Thank you. Now, back to the beating of favorite step-children, already in progress....
posted by Dunvegan at 6:53 PM on March 6, 2003


I'll agree there doesn't seem to be a specific connection between Hussein and the members of al-Quaeda involved in September 11th, but Hussein is walking a very fine line by offering money to "martyrs".

Money yes, but not WMDs, as some at the Cato Institute keep pointing out:
The idea that Hussein views a WMD strike via terrorist intermediaries as a viable strategy is rank speculation, contradicted by his past behavior. Hussein's hostility toward Israel predates his struggle with the United States. He's had longstanding ties with anti-Israeli terror groupsand he's had chemical weapons for over 20 years. Yet there has never been a nerve gas attack in Israel. Why? Because Israel has nuclear weapons and conventional superiority, and Hussein wants to live. If he's ever considered passing off chemical weapons to Palestinian terrorists, he decided that he wouldn't get away with it. He has even less reason to trust Al Qaeda with a potentially regime-ending secret.

Of course, if regime change is coming anyway by force of American arms, Saddam Hussein "probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist action." That's what CIA director George Tenet told the House and Senate intelligence committees last October, to the embarrassment of the Bush administration. Is Tenet right? We're about to find out.
posted by homunculus at 8:18 PM on March 6, 2003


The US CIA, Senator Bob Graham (as head of the relevant Senate committee), and many others have made the same warnings. Graham said that the terrorists could be from Hezbollah (not Hamas as I earlier, mistakenly, wrote.)

When the US invades Iraq I'm betting that retaliatory acts of terrorism, if they occur, will be tied -by the Bush Administration (and legitimately so)- to Iran and Syria (even, less legitimately, to North korea also). These ties will, of course, require US invasions of any or all of these nations: meanwhile, also expect concurrent, heavyhanded repression of domestic political dissent in the US.

As this scenario unfolds, it will equal - in the public mind - a "global" conflict (albeit one which the Bush adm. sees as manageable) which will confer upon GW the patina of a "wartime" president. Reelection will be a shoo-in: Bob Graham's (and the CIA's) warnings will be consigned to the realm of "wild speculation".

This train of events is a little less predictable than a cascade of dominoes, but only slightly less so. Plans are in place to capitalize on these likely contingencies, to further the GW Bush agenda.

You heard it here first. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by troutfishing at 10:47 PM on March 6, 2003


« Older Intellectual Dishonesty...  |  The most important scientific ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments