As the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. comes to a close, here’s something to think about:
Dick Cheney went on the offensive against President Obama in a statement to a conservative news site as both political campaigns paused to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The former vice president released a statement to The Daily Caller late Monday that criticized the president over GOP allegations that he has skipped daily intelligence briefings and took undue credit for Osama bin Laden’s death.
“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney told the site in an email through a spokeswoman.
Yes, that’s the guy who got us into an unnecessary war in Iraq that allowed a trapped Osama bin Laden to escape from Afghanistan. That’s the guy who served in the administration that gave up on tracking down the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attack that killed almost 3,000 Americans.
What exactly did the Bush/Cheney administration do to protect the U.S. from terrorism early in its term?
By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real….
Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.
Just remember. Today was the first Sept. 11 since the attacks that Osama bin Laden was dead. It wasn’t done by Bush. It wasn’t done by Cheney. They would have erected statues to themselves if they had done it. Bin Laden is dead and at the bottom of the ocean because the Obama administration found him and took him out.
There are two appropriate responses to Dick Cheney’s recent comments.
The first is from Joe Biden at this year’s Democratic National Convention.
“Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
The second is from Dick Cheney in a comment to Sen. Pat Leahy in 2004:
“Go f**k yourself.”