Saturday, August 14, 2004

Where Was Rumsfeld on Sept. 11?

Rumsfeld and Bush Failed Us on Sept. 11: "Rumsfeld and Bush Failed Us on Sept. 11" by Gail Sheehy
  Donald Rumsfeld, one of the chief opponents of investing real power over purse and personnel in a new national intelligence chief, told the 9/11 commission that an intelligence czar would do the nation 'a great disservice.' It is fair to ask what kind of service Rumsfeld provided on the day the nation was under catastrophic attack.
  'Two planes hitting the twin towers did not rise to the level of Rumsfeld's leaving his office and going to the War Room? How can that be?' asked Mindy Kleinberg, one of the widows known as the Jersey Girls, whose efforts helped create and guide the 9/11 commission. The fact that the final report failed to offer an explanation is one of the infuriating holes in an otherwise praiseworthy accounting."
  Rumsfeld's testimony before the commission last March was bizarre. Asked point-blank by Commissioner Jamie Gorelick what he had done to protect the nation — or even the Pentagon — during the "summer of threat" preceding the attacks, Rumsfeld replied simply that "it was a law enforcement issue." That obfuscation — was the FBI expected to be out on the Beltway with shoulder-launched missiles? — has been accepted at face value by the commission and media.
  Rumsfeld is in charge of NORAD, which has the specific mission of protecting the United States and Canada by responding to any form of air attack. The official chain of command in the event of a hijacking calls for the president to empower the secretary of Defense to send up a military escort and, if necessary, give shoot-down orders.

Yes, investigating and prosecuting those who are engaged in illegal activities are "law enforcement" issues.

Responding to air attacks and hijackings are not "law enforcement" issues. Activating NORAD is the Defense Secretary's responsibility, and his alone.

This is the administration claiming superior ability to "defend America"?


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