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Commandos Get Duty on U.S. Soil Somewhere in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol this week, a small group of super-secret commandos stood ready with state-of-the-art weaponry to swing into action to protect the presidency, a task that has never been fully revealed before (New York Times)
Bush & Bin Laden George W. Bush Had Ties to Billionaire bin Laden Brood - The unexplained death of Salem, Osama bin Laden's oldest brother, in 1988, brought to an abrupt end a long and intriguing relationship between President Bush and the head of the bin Laden family fortune (American Free Press)
Area man stirs debate on WTC collapse South Bend firm's lab director fired after questioning federal probe - Underwriters Laboratories Inc., according to Ryan, "was the company that certified the steel components used in the construction of the WTC buildings." Ryan wrote that last year, while "requesting information," UL's chief executive officer and fire protection business manager disagreed about key issues surrounding the collapse, "except for one thing -- that the samples we certified met all requirements." UL vehemently denied last week that it ever certified the materials. (South Bend Tribune)
Larry King Live: Bin Laden Releases New Videotape Tonight, four days before America votes in the first election since 9/11, a new Osama bin Laden tape addressing the American people and naming both President Bush and John Kerry. How will this affect the race? We'll ask a living legend of broadcast journalism, Walter Cronkite, the former CBS News anchor. (CNN)
2 say they found 9/11 'black boxes' Two men who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center claim they helped federal agents find three of the four "black boxes" from the jetliners that struck the towers on 9/11 - contradicting the official account (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.
''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .
''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''
Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?''' (New York Times)
Sen. Kennedy Flagged by No-Fly List U.S. Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy said yesterday that he was stopped and questioned at airports on the East Coast five times in March because his name appeared on the government's secret "no-fly" list.
Federal air security officials said the initial error that led to scrutiny of the Massachusetts Democrat should not have happened even though they recognize that the no-fly list is imperfect. But privately they acknowledged being embarrassed that it took the senator and his staff more than three weeks to get his name removed. (Washington Post)
F.B.I. Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been questioning political demonstrators across the country, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York (New York Times)
Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds Your report has omitted any reference to this most serious issue, has forgone any accountability whatsoever, and your recommendations have refrained from addressing this issue, which when left unaddressed will have even more serious consequences. This issue is systemic and departmental. Why did your report choose to exclude this information and this serious issue despite the evidence and briefings you received? How can budget increases address and resolve this misconduct by mid-level bureaucratic management? How can the addition of a new bureaucratic layer, "intelligence czar", in its cocoon removed from the action lines, address and resolve this problem? (Asia Times)
Failures of the Sept. 11 Commission For all its somber-faced seriousness, the report of the Sept. 11 commission turns out to be a childlike explanation of what went so tragically wrong nearly three years ago. - "The whole name of the game is to exculpate anyone in the establishment," says McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and a member of a group of former agents called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. " 'Mistakes were made,' but no one is to blame. Why is it that after all this evidence and months and months of testimony, the commission found itself unable even to say if the attacks could have been prevented?" McGovern has no doubt they could have been. (Washington Post)
9/11 report: Key findings The US 9/11 commission's report has urged sweeping changes to how the intelligence services operate after finding that the government had "failed to protect American people" from the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Here are the key findings of the 576-page report: - Failure to confront -- The report charts how al-Qaeda was allowed to develop into a real danger to the US, concluding that while the attacks "were a shock... they should not have come as a surprise" (BBC)
Extract: 'We have some planes' The report from the bipartisan commission set up to investigate the 11 September 2001 terror attacks describes in detail how the hijackings unfolded, and what is known of the final moments on board the four flights - AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 11 FROM BOSTON TO LOS ANGELES
Among the travellers were Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al-Omari, who arrived at the airport in Portland, Maine.
Atta and Omari boarded a 0600 flight from Portland to Boston's Logan International Airport.
When he checked in for his flight to Boston, Atta was selected by a computerised pre-screening system known as Capps (Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System), created to identify passengers who should be subject to special security measures.
Under security rules in place at the time, the only consequence of Atta's selection by Capps was that his checked bags were held off the plane until it was confirmed that he had boarded the aircraft... (BBC)
In-flight cell phones 'worked great' in test The race is on to enable airline passengers to make and receive cell phone calls in flight.
Cell phone company Qualcomm (QCOM) has teamed with American Airlines (AMR) to develop satellite-based air-to-ground cellular service. Several smaller companies are working on rival systems. In-flight cell service could be introduced within two years and become commonplace within four, developers believe.
Last week, American and Qualcomm officials circled over West Texas in a jetliner making calls from their cell phones. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission authorized the flight to test the technology's safety and transmission quality. (USA Today)
Where Big Brother Snoops on Americans 24/7 Customers of the Bank of America branch at 3625 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia, often wonder about the Arlington police car that is always parked in front of the building in the next block.
They also can’t help but notice the two armed guards from the private Cantwell Security Service who patrol the street in front of the building and eye each passerby warily.
“What’s going on across the street?” one woman asked while waiting in line to deposit her paycheck last Friday.
“Not sure,” said the man ahead of her in line. “Something to do with the government. The police cars and guards have been there since shortly after 9-11.”
“Oh,” she said. “No matter.”
Actually, if the woman knew what was happening inside the nondescript office building at 3701 Fairfax Drive, she might think it really does matter because the building houses the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Total Information Awareness Program, the “big brother” program Congress thought it killed. (Capitol Hill Blue)
TRIPOD II and FEMA Lack of NORAD Response on 9/11 Explained - Since the Tripod II biowarfare exercise was a joint New York-Department of Justice exercise we now must ask: Prior to 9/11, under US government Executive Branch procedure, what part of the government or official was responsible for and had the authority to coordinate and act as liaison between the military, federal agencies and state and local agencies and private corporations so that they did not overlap or interfere with each other, or occupy enough essential assets at one time to jeopardize operational readiness or impair the national security of the United States? (From the Wilderness)
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