- Clarke began his testimony with an apology to loved ones
of those roughly 3,000 people killed in the attacks on airliners, the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon.
- "Your government failed you, and I failed you,"
he said. "We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed
you. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for
your understanding and for your forgiveness."
- SenderBerl: This apology by Clarke suggests that there
is something to apologize for. Firefighters who valiantly try to save a
child from a burning house will apologize to the parents as a matter of
courtesy and form when failing to extract the child. This type of apology
does not indicate fault. Thus, for the record, failure does not suggest
culpable fault. Thus, again, it is important to keep your eye on the ball.
The true issue is whether there is complicity for an event without which
the plans in hand could not unravel.
- March 24 2004 Ben-Veniste questioning Armitage
- BEN-VENISTE: Is it correct that -- let me go to the period
of just prior to 9/11. At this point you were confirmed?
- ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.
- BEN-VENISTE: At this point you were aware, were you not,
of the most heightened alert level in the United States up to that point
with respect to the potential for a terrorist attack of significant magnitude.
- ARMITAGE: Yes, I was. I was one of those to whom Director
Tenet turned, along with other seniors in the administration, and made
it very clear that we had a big problem coming. He didn't know where and
he didn't know when, but he said it was coming.
- SenderBerl: This is proof positive of affirmative malfeasance.
Foreign intelligence agencies pointed out that American surveillance of
the skies and seas were lacking on 9-11 and without question the response
or should we say lack of military response proved the point.
- SenderBerl again highlights to you that the President's
schedule on September 7 dramatically changed to allow him to visit two
elementary schools in a non election period and year to read with second
graders AFTER being criticized for being away from Washington at his ranch
the entire month of August. Thus while the President keeps saying his qualified
statement that if he knew terrorists were going to strike on the morning
of 9-11 he would have done everything to prevent the attack, it leaves
open for the record whether he knew that an attack was otherwise imminent
and that there were many around him who were awaiting it to launch the
agenda that unraveled immediately after 9-11.
- BEN-VENISTE: Now, Dr. Rice told us that Mr. Clark had
briefed her that there were Al Qaida sleeper cells in the United States.
Dr. Rice told us that she did not know what basis Mr. Clarke had for that.
She told us that the FBI was trying to actively find Al Qaida personnel.
She did not, she told us, talk to Richard Clarke prior to 9/11 about the
potential for Al Qaida sleeper cells. Were she here, I would ask her the
question as to why she did not discuss the issue of Al Qaida sleeper cells
in the United States with her counterterrorism coordinator. Do you have
any information you might be able to shed on that subject?
- ARMITAGE: No, of course not.
- BEN-VENISTE: Dr. Rice, following 9/11, made a statement
that -- I want to make sure I get it right -- she said, I don't think anybody
could have predicted that those people could take an airplane and slam
it into the World Trade Center. Take another one, and slam it into the
Pentagon. That they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked
airplane as a missile.Do you recall that she made that statement publicly?
- ARMITAGE: No, I didn't see that.
- SenderBerl: When a witness uses this type of technique
in answering the question, it shows he was prepared to obfuscate the Commission's
inquiry and further he is not serving his duty to his public office.
- BEN-VENISTE: Similarly, yesterday, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld made a statement with respect to anticipating the use of commercial
airplanes as weapons. And then after I questioned him about it, he retracted
that statement and said that he personally could not have or did not imagine
that such a thing might happen. Dr. Rice told us privately that she wished
to correct that statement that she made publicly by saying to us that she
misspoke and that she, like Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday, would say that
she could not have imagined using planes as missiles. Can you shed any
light on who then in the apparatus of protecting the United States against
threats, both foreign and domestic, ought to be coordinating this information
for the benefit of the president?
- ARMITAGE: I know that the director of Central Intelligence
had, on at least one occasion to my knowledge, talked about hijacking of
aircraft. I just don't think we had the imagination required to consider
a tragedy of this magnitude. I don't know what other answer to tell you.
We didn't have a homeland security czar. We've traditionally, generally,
in terrorism unfortunately looked overseas. Of course, that's the major
direction of Secretary Powell's and my attention.
- SenderBerl: This should make the families of the victims
bitter indeed. Al-Qaeda historically has shown little imagination in implementing
terrorism but here the United States government declares it lacked the
imagination to perceive planes being used against buildings but Al-Qaeda
not only then had the imagination to plan the deed but also had the capability
of carrying it off! Do you see the folly of Armitage's argument to wit
that therefore Al-Qaeda is more competent and imaginative than the U.S.
government and therefore better suited to implement such actions. Further,
if this in fact is the case the entire current government responsible for
security should be sent to pasture because if they admit to not having
the creative ability to anticipate the terrorism how in the world can such
people be suited to protect us against further attack? Will they claim
the next act of terrorism as successful due to their inability to imagine
it? The point of course is that they didn't need imagination at all. When
four planes went off transponders, our military defensive apparatus, costing
taxpayers untold billions of dollars, should have intervened. But they
were kept grounded. This is where the Commission shows itself to be a whitewash.
The real message of the Commission is for Bush and friends to retire; similar
to Netanyahu telling Peres don't succeed in winning in Israel after Rabin's
assassination unless you want the public to start seeing proof revealed
regarding what really took place.
- Further, the National Security Agency misses nothing
monitoring telephone and E-mail around the world. If they didn't know that
there were allegedly nineteen hijackers here in the United States with
plans to implement 9-11, we will eat crow. We know that out government
is quite expertise and adept when it wishes to be and demures from the
truth when it has reason to hide truths from the American people. What
did Commission Member Kerrey say when he threatened to resign his post:
"I am no longer ... feeling comfortable that I'm going to be able
to read and process what I need in order to participate in writing a report
about how it was that 19 men defeated every single defensive system the
U.S. put up to kill 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11."
- BEN-VENISTE: Well, can you tell me, since you're sitting
in for Dr. Rice, what it was that Dr. Rice had before her to suggest that
the United States might be a target in this period of extraordinarily heightened
threat during the summer of 2001?
- ARMITAGE: I can't.
- BEN-VENISTE: Have you paid attention to at least some
of the appearances Dr. Rice has made on the airwaves?
- ARMITAGE: No, actually I haven't.
- BEN-VENISTE: Well, when did you learn for the first time
that Al Qaida was responsible for the Cole?
- ARMITAGE: I don't know the exact date. I think it's just
like building coral: came to the conclusion.
- BEN-VENISTE: Some time after March?
- ARMITAGE: Yes, that would be my recollection.
- BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you,
- SenderBerl:: When did you learn that Al-Qaeda was responsible
for 9-11? A real inquiry would pursue the important issue whether he and
others could believe, even with their admitted lack of imagination, whether
from their knowledge of previous acts of terrorism, whether Al-Qaeda could
have pulled this event off by itself. No one of course appears with demolition
expertise and no one of course has appeared to confirm that those at flight
school would have near zero chance of hitting two building with the dead
point accuracy done on 9-11. It's all a farce, and the only way more truth
will unravel is if Bush insists on re-election. Bush 41 will paint the
picture for his son. As we interpreted on November 19, 2003, Bush will
not be allowed to undertake a second term unless he can manipulate an environment
to platform an attack and occupation of Syria and Iran. Madrid was the
first evidence of such an effort but yet again he has fumbled on the twenty-yard
line. Now, we have Sharon out to help him out. Its time to bench them all.