By Michael Kane, March 27, 2004
Case study: How the Commission went easy on Rumsfeld, Myers and Wolfowitz
“I had no idea hijacked airliners would be used as weapons.”
So said Rumsfeld, in his opening remarks to the Kean Commission on March 23, 2004. His final statement on the topic while under oath was, “I plead ignorance.”
Officials at NORAD have said that when the hijackings first occurred, they initially thought it was part of the Vigilant Guardian drills running that morning. Despite some confusion, once Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center at 8:45 AM, everyone should have known this was not a test.
Former White House terrorism adviser Richard Clarke’s testimony, one day later, was interesting, but amounted to little more than a distraction. There were more cameras on Clarke than on anyone else during the two-day national broadcast of the commission hearings. In reality, his testimony was nowhere near as interesting as the joint appearance by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Myers the day before. I do not question Clarke’s sincerity at this time, just the timing, which he did not choose. His book was released at a time chosen by the White House, and the testimony depended on the book. He had finished it well over 6 months before, but it was held up by the White House security clearance.
As a result, the book came out on the eve of Rumsfeld’s sworn testimony to the 9/11 Commission. Very clever if intentional, because it distracted everyone from two issues completely ignored by the commissioners, and overshadowed by Clarke and his book when they questioned Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
ISSUE #1 On the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD was running war games involving the scenario of hijacked airliners, while the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was running a drill for the scenario of an errant aircraft crashing into a government building, at the exact same time as an identical scenario was perpetrated in reality.…Continue reading