Thursday, April 08, 2004

Declassify the PDB

From what I heard of Condeleeza Rice's testimony today before the 9/11 Commission, it's clear to me the Presidential Daily Brief of August 6 needs declassification. It sounds like the commission is pushing for that.

The impression she left me with, fwiw, is she still doesn't think what Richard Clarke was saying in his memos and meetings were significant as 'strategic plans.' Not that she slammed him. To the contrary, she seemed to avoid character assassination - something that Bush probably wouldn't be sophisticated enough to leave alone, if he were to testify.

Declassifying the PDB will show us whether or not, to our minds, the highest echelons of government were getting a level of warning which should have triggered more proactive, top-down, action. All sides agree a threat was on the table. Rice's position seems that without specific tactical (where, when, how) intelligence, the administration's focus on a policy shift towards a strategic 'war-posture against terror' was the only available course to take. To me, that seems a sadly academic position to take.

I also need to read Clarke's book soon.

I'm trying (very hard) not to slam Rice solely because she is part of the Bush administration. After listening to her testimony, although clearly an intellect, Rice is symptomatic of the problem with this administration. She was incapable of an extra leap of integrity and leadership, which would have helped. Specifically, if Clarke's memos didn't have the detailed intel, nor 'a plan,' why didn't she then ask for that? It still looks like she sat on it. Or, maybe she passed it on to Cheney and Bush, asking them what they wanted to do and they sat on it. That PDB will clearly show how strong the threat warning was at the time.

This 9/11 Commission still won't ask the tougher, albeit conspiratorial, questions though. Like what about the Bush-Saudi connections. Why was the bin Laden family allowed to be flown out of the country, when no one else was flying, post disaster?

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