Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Don't Know Much About History

You can always tell when this administration is in trouble in the polls. Top officials fan out to Sunday morning talk shows like circuit preachers to church. The top rated Meet the Press is an obligatory stop on the whirlwind tour.

Tim Russert, host of the program, is the eminence grise of television interrogators. He is well known for his relentless questioning. Actually it depends on who is being questioned. Democratic presidential hopefuls get the third degree. The Bush teams gets a softer touch. Secretary of State Colin Powell made his appearance on September 7th and Vice President Dick Cheney left his bunker for the September 14th show.

Before I go one I should give a little background. Did you know that Osama Bin Laden had relatives in the United States on 9/11? Did you know that they and other Saudis were allowed to leave the United States on special flights when the rest of us were still stuck on the ground?

Passengers on these flights were not questioned by the FBI until they were on board and ready to take off. It is interesting that a drug dealer's mother will be asked about his whereabouts while the kin of a wanted terrorist are allowed to leave the country without being asked "just the facts ma'am."

This event has been known ever since that time but the mainstream media have chosen to discuss it only recently. Russert asked about the story, but ever so gingerly.

MR. RUSSERT: The cover of Time magazine tomorrow, headlined, The Saudis: Whose Side Are They On in the War on Terror? — in this release from Vanity Fair magazine, “Former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke tells Vanity Fair that the Bush administration decided to allow a group of Saudis to fly out of the U.S. just after September 11 — at a time when access to U.S. airspace was still restricted and required special government approval. According to other sources at least four flights with about 140 Saudis, including roughly two dozen members of the bin Laden family, flew to Saudi Arabia that week — without even being interviewed or interrogated by the F.B.I.”
Why was that allowed?
SEC’Y POWELL: Well, I don’t know that that’s accurate. I don’t know the details of what happened. But my understanding is that there was no sneaking out of the country; that the flights were well-known, and it was coordinated within the government. But I don’t have the details about what the FBI’s role in it might or might not have been.

Is it possible that the Secretary of State couldn't know that Osama's relatives had literally flown the coop? I can't even think it with a straight face. Powell is either a liar or an incompetent. I don't believe he is incompetent.

Cheney did not do any better.

MR. RUSSERT: Vanity Fair magazine reports that about 140 Saudis were allowed to leave the United States the day after the 11th, allowed to leave our airspace and were never investigated by the FBI and that departure was approved by high-level administration figures. Do you know anything about that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t, but a lot of folks from that part of the world left in the aftermath of 9/11 because they were worried about public reaction here in the United States or that somehow they might be discriminated against.

Did the tough talking Mr. Russert ask follow up questions? No he did not. You can check for yourself. Powell's interview is here and Cheney's is here

I could say a lot but I will keep it simple. The Bush administration is made up of liars from top to bottom. They get away with lying because the media allow it.

So much for liberal bias in the press.