April 14, 2004
Condoleezza Rice; Obfuscation, Finger-pointing and Lies
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Condoleezza Rice has shown that she can tip toe through a political mine field with the best of them. Her performance in front of the "hand-picked" 9-11 panel demonstrated that she is as competent at obfuscation as any of her piers in the Bush Administration.
On one level, her testimony was remarkably effective, shoring up the crumbling credibility of her bosses in the White House. She showed that sheís a credible witness who can stick "religiously" to her script. Her comments produced few surprises.
On a deeper level, however, she was ineffective in distancing herself from charges that she ignored the conspicuous warnings that were emerging with increasing regularity during the period between June and Sept of 2001; the period leading up to the attacks of 9-11. As "National Security Advisor" the blame for missing those warnings falls entirely on her shoulders.
Thereís no question that she should be removed. She failed miserably in her most important duty, to protect the American people. The larger issue, however, is whether or not she should be charged with criminal negligence.
Riceís defense bore all the hallmarks of the Bush White House. Instead of addressing the issue head on, she filibustered for long periods of time and shifted blame to the many institutions in the government.
She wisely anticipated the panelís questions and prepared a number of "catch-phrases" that she knew would appear prominently in the media. Among these sound bites were "swatting at flies," "structural and legal changes in the government" and "no silver bullet."
This shows how adroitly the Administration manipulates the press and controls the message. By reducing her defense to a simple slogan like "no silver bullet" Rice was able to determine what the average American would glean from the proceedings and what the country would be talking about at the water cooler the next day.
It was a stroke of genius.
It should also be noted that following her testimony CNNís Wolf Blitzer, FOX News and the other TV media provided the apologetics for the dayís activities by using the very same sound bites she used in her defense! (Another unfortunate example of state media).
Regardless of her cogent performance, Riceís ship is taking on water and headed for the reef. Most of the (hand-picked) panel members are on record with their belief that 9-11 could have been prevented. If thatís the case then someone has to accept the blame, and the first place to look is the "National Security Advisor."
The growing furor over the August 6, PDB (Presidential Daily Brief); a document that was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike within United States," poses the greatest threat to Riceís career plans.
Her response was a classic bit of dissembling that was admirable in its delivery, but pathetic as an excuse. She referred to the memo as merely a "historical document" with no real "actionable" content.
Is this how the highest ranking security officer in the country dismisses a blatant threat on the United States?
Riceís prevaricating is reminiscent of an "Illusionist" who tries to convince his audience that what they are seeing with their own eyes is not actually real.
Sorry, Condi, not this time.
As Richard Clarke stated earlier in the investigation, both he and the CIA warned the Administration repeatedly from July through Sept that a massive attack was being planned. Rice simply ignored those warnings and never notified the appropriate agencies. (Including the FAA or Dept of Justice)
Now, we know that Bush, Rice and everyone else at the top of the Administration knew that Al Qaida was planning an attack on American soil and failed to take any remedial action.
Whether or not they chose to look the other way so they would have a popular mandate to pursue their policies of deposing foreign leaders and stealing their resources is still a matter of debate. But, at this point, we can be absolutely certain that they knew we would be attacked (with airplanes) and chose to do nothing.
It is the greatest case of "criminal negligence" in the nationís 200 year history.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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