9/11 Half-Time Report: Bloggy, Chance of Rain

Daniel Eggen: "Most of what we learned today so far has come not from the commission's questioning of Freeh and Janet Reno--which was remarkably tame and meandering--but from two staff reports . . . [they] are quite harsh in their portrayal of Ashcroft, who is depicted as disinterested in terrorism for the most part. . . This will be the flashpoint this afternoon." [WP]

"Most positive development of the morning: the unanimity against the creation of a new intelligence bureaucracy, the American MI-5. . . ." [The Corner]

"You tried reforms,'' Mr. Kean told Mr. Freeh. "You tried very hard to reform the agency. According to our staff report, those reforms failed.'' [NYT]

"To put it another way, during the last two years, in order to justify an invasion of Iraq, administration hardliners established an entirely new Pentagon agency to examine raw intelligence -- second-guessing the analysts at the CIA and FBI to build, from the intelligence equivalent of spit and sealing wax, an argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was willing to use them himself or give them to terrorists." [Tapped]

"Even though Attorney General John Ashcroft had already taken the precaution of ending his flights on commercial jetliners, the president apparently did not allow the threats we faced to interfere in any way with his month-long August vacation.  Major airline carriers were not even given any special alerts to watch out for potential hijackers.  If Bush took any action at all, there�s no evidence for it." [Altercation]

"The problem is that Gorelick has a powerful motive to focus on blunders that occurred after she left office, and particularly after the Bush administration entered office. . . But the fact that she has the motive at all makes the Commission's overall fact-finding and blame assessment on the crucial issues suspect."[The Corner]


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