« Keep On Making Those Outreach Efforts, Republicans | Main | Raising The Minimum Wage »

November 15, 2006

Comments

While I'm friendly towards most of Guiliani's social positions, the man would be an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy and civil rights. If the Republican party nominated him in '08, they will have done what I thought nearly impossible: nominated a candidate that's more hostile to American civil rights than Bush. His record in NY is dramatic evidence of his willingness to set aside compassion and due process in order to crack down on wrongdoers.

Guiliani is tough, no getting around it. And that's part of his appeal to people who want us to have a strong and hawkish foreign policy--he touches something in the base urges of people whose idea of being tough is carrying a big stick and brandishing it thoughtlessly.

The problem is, being tough isn't enough--you have to be wise and intelligent about how you use that strength. The last six years have shown us exactly what happens when you have toughness untempered by wisdom.

If you're going to be a fan, you need to spell his name right: Giuliani. The first syllable isn't like the first syllable of "Guido".

Catsy raises an interesting point, von. What do you think Giuliani would do about torture, indefinite detention, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, oversightless eavesdropping, and all the other violations of civil liberties Bush has brought us (or increased greatly)?

I'm not hopeful about any future president willingly relinquishing a lot of the power claimed by Bush under the unitary executive theory, but Giuliani might be even less likely than most to return things to sanity.

Patron of mobbed-up Bernie Kerik, backer of killer cops... delightful man.

Von, I know your party can do better than this. Keep looking.

It's all moot. No way Guiliani makes it through the primaries. Social liberalism in a party that is now about half evangelical? The conservatives Republicans made their deal with the devil, aligning themselves with the Christian right, and this is the price they pay.

Thanks much, KC.

Catsy raises an interesting point, von. What do you think Giuliani would do about torture, indefinite detention, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, oversightless eavesdropping, and all the other violations of civil liberties Bush has brought us (or increased greatly)?

As I've written before, I've favored a clear standard that forbids torture, and I have criticized extraordinary rendition and the failure to either seek Congressional or FISA approval for eavesdropping. I don't know, however, whether Giuliani has a position on any of these issues or, if he does, what that position is. (I strongly suspect that he'd defend the NSA wiretap program.)

In any event: I can live with a candidate that does not check every box for me. Giuliani is likely the closest that I'm going to get to a perfect candidate.

I see from the Redstate thread on the Delay post that there are still some folks who can't seem to understand that important and should be mandated by law are distinctly different notions. Sometimes there's overlap, sometimes there isn't. Mandating "strong families" (whatever that means) by some sort of federal regulations is...well...dumb.

Patron of mobbed-up Bernie Kerik, backer of killer cops... delightful man.

"Mobbed-up Bernie Kerik"? A bit rich, don't you think?

"Backer of killer cops"? You're going to have to do a little better than that.

von: Would an (admittedly unlikely) independent run by Mike Bloomberg affect your (somewhat tepid) support of Giuliani? (I assume your qualms re: foreign policy also apply to the current mayor of Gotham.)

As I've written before, I've favored a clear standard that forbids torture, and I have criticized extraordinary rendition and the failure to either seek Congressional or FISA approval for eavesdropping.
I didn't mean to suggest anything else. In fact, that was why I brought it up, since Giuliani might not fit with those positions.

Would an (admittedly unlikely) independent run by Mike Bloomberg affect your (somewhat tepid) support of Giuliani?

I don't think that Bloomberg is fiscally conservative enough for me, although it's tough to tell given the kinds of compromises that are required to run NYC. (Different state, but the same holds true for Ahh-nold.)

McCain is another strong candidate in my view, although I'm very disappointed in his impulses on campaign finance reform and speech regulation. He does have the advantage of being an experienced hand at foreign policy.

Lugar would be another strong candidate, but he no longer wants the job (it appears). I'm also a bit concerned that Lugar -- more conservative on social issues than either Giuliani or McCain -- would tack further to the right.

I don't think that Bloomberg is fiscally conservative enough for me, although it's tough to tell given the kinds of compromises that are required to run NYC.

Noted. I wonder if a Bloomberg presidential run would bleed more votes from the Republican or Democratic candidate...

On what basis do you think "liberal social views" has a prayer of getting the Republican nomination, von? Social conservatives are the rock-hard core of the Republican Party, and I thought they despised Rudy. Do you know something I don't?

"Backer of killer cops"? You're going to have to do a little better than that.

Nell may be thinking of Amadou Diallo.

The case of Abner Louima was arguably not as bad -- the guy lived -- but still.

Giuliani's political career was dead before 9/11. IMHO deservedly so. It's the man at the top that sets the tone.

The Constitution is a "box to check", huh? That's odd prioritization. You don't have much idea what he'll do fiscally and that's heavily influenced by Congress. I very strongly suspect that to get through the primaries, if he gets through at all, which is unlikely, he is going to have to promise to not make any effort to promote any of those socially liberal policies. And you admit that he's got no foreign affairs experience or record (all I know is that he supported the Iraq war, which is a strike against though admittedly widely shared). Why are the issues over which the President has most influence the lowest priorities?

Well, you are a Lieberman fan--I shouldn't expect to agree about anything.

I don't think he has much shot in the primaries.

The Constitution is a "box to check", huh? That's odd prioritization. You don't have much idea what he'll do fiscally and that's heavily influenced by Congress. I very strongly suspect that to get through the primaries, if he gets through at all, which is unlikely, he is going to have to promise to not make any effort to promote any of those socially liberal policies. And you admit that he's got no foreign affairs experience or record (all I know is that he supported the Iraq war, which is a strike against though admittedly widely shared). Why are the issues over which the President has most influence the lowest priorities?

Well, you are a Lieberman fan--I shouldn't expect to agree about anything.

I don't think he has much shot in the primaries.

that's odd, it looked like it just previewed the first time. sorry.

"Backer of killer cops"? You're going to have to do a little better than that.

Really, I think he got his best line off in the Patrick Dorismond killing (so many to choose from). For those who don't remember, Mr. Dorismond was on his way home, when an undercover police officer accosted him in an attempt to buy drugs from him. Mr. Dorismond refused. The police officer persisted, insisting that Mr. Dorismond sell him drugs. Mr. Dorismond continued to refuse, and eventually punched the cop. The cop's backup shot him.

Giuliani's comment? (from memory, as are the rest of the facts above) "We're not talking about an altar boy here." A reporter checked it out, and yes, Mr. Dorismond had been an altar boy.

I don't have a lot of time for Rudy.

Mr. Dorisman also had a criminal record, which is what Rudy was referencing. But, I'll concede that it wasn't a very enlightened comment by the Mayor.

I'm not aware of any wrongdoing or wrongsaying by Giuliani in the cases of Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima. Simply being the Mayor is not enough to make these cases his fault.

Simply being the Mayor is not enough to make these cases his fault.

Wikipedia is your friend, von. But if you don't trust it, feel free to Google.

Giuliani was unflinching in support of these killer cops.

Suit yourself, von. The Gambino connections are quite real.

Giuliani's refusal to criticize or hold accountable brutal members of the NYPD was a trademark of his administration. That's conventional wisdom for anyone who lived in New York during his mayoral years, both supporters and detractors.

von, what about Chuck Hagel?

I forgot about Dorismond--I had this vague feeling of hostility that I couldn't completely explain.

Don't laugh off the mobbed-up Kerik line -- it's pretty close to the truth.

First of all, one look at his house against a cop's salary, even top cop, would have said trouble.

"However, The News probe calls into question his conduct while holding two of the city's most important public offices.

The probe revealed that for many years, one of Kerik's main benefactors was Lawrence Ray, the best man at Kerik's 1998 wedding, according to Ray, other sources and checks shown by Ray to The News.

Ray and another Kerik pal, restaurant owner Carmen Cabell, helped bankroll Kerik's 1998 wedding reception, contributing nearly 10,000.

Ray also gave Kerik nearly $2,000 to buy a bejeweled Tiffany badge that Kerik coveted when he was Correction commissioner.

And Ray said he gave Kerik $4,300 more to buy high-end Bellini furniture when Kerik allegedly griped that he couldn't afford to furnish a bedroom for a soon-to-be born daughter.

The city's Conflicts of Interest Board requires officials to report any gifts of $1,000 or more.

The board's definition of gifts includes cash, free travel, and wedding presents not given by relatives.

Intentionally failing to report gifts is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $1,000. The board also can impose civil fines of up to $10,000. The News has examined Kerik's disclosure forms and there is no record of any of the gifts for the period concerned.

At the time of the gifts, Ray was working for Interstate Industrial, then a major city contractor. City ethics rules bar officials from accepting gifts worth more than $50 from anyone doing business with the city. The company hired Ray based on a recommendation from Kerik, according to a sworn deposition by Interstate's owner Frank DiTomasso. New Jersey gaming regulators said Kerik had confirmed to them that he had vouched for Ray.

A week after Kerik's daughter was born, Ray and 18 other men were indicted in a $40 million, mob-run, pump-and-dump stock swindle. Kerik repeatedly spoke to Ray's criminal defense attorney before the indictment, but he dropped his longtime benefactor when the case became public.

(New York Daily News)

Who is Lawrence Ray?

The Federal investigation of the DiTommaso brothers concerned their purchase of a Staten Island waste station controlled by Edward Garafola. who is married to the sister of former Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Garafola was indicted in March 2000 along with Lawrence Ray, an executive of the DiTommaso brothers’ Interstate Industrial Corporation, and Daniel Persico, nephew of Colombo Family Godfather Carmine "The Snake" Persico, on Federal charges involving a $40 million stock ‘pump and dump’ scam. Interstate Industrial Corporation was also denied a contract by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 2000 to perform work on an Atlantic City gambling casino.

And forget the sweatheart deals on saudi and iraqi security boondogles, two-timing his wife by fucking Judith Regan in the City's ground zero apartment, etc. etc.

To think, Rudy shared a name -plate with this golden boy.

Neva. Gnna. Happen.


There's a difference between being corrupt -- which, for all I know, Kerik may be -- and being "mobbed up" -- the allegation ro which I was responding. But, more to the point: Other than making a mistake in nominating him, how do Kerik's alleged foibles have anything to do with Giuliani? And do you really think anyone is going to care about this in the election? Unless Giuliani himself did something wrong -- and there is absolutely no evidence of such -- I fail to see the relevancy of Kerik's failings. (And even granting y'all every argument, "mobbed up" is still too strong, if not simply false.)

As for Hagel: He's certainly a possibility, but I just don't know much about the guy.

Kerik is relevant because he was Giuliani's protege -- the only reason he climbed as high as he did was that Giuliani took him under his wing early on in his mayoralty. It's a judgment issue.

Other than making a mistake in nominating him, how do Kerik's alleged foibles have anything to do with Giuliani?

Nominating him for head of Homeland Security was merely the last stage of Giuliani's patronage of Bernie Kerik. He named the Manhattan Detention Center building for him (undone by Mayor Bloomberg after a lot of the dirt became news). He was his business partner (Kerik was CEO of Guiliani-Keric LLC, and also worked for Giuliani's consulting firm). The former mayor is the godfather of two of Kerik's children. He appointed Kerik Police Commissioner (and before that, Commissioner of Corrections -- a job which I will acknowledge that Kerik seemed to have done very well).

They're inextricably linked; the nomination wasn't the work of an overzealous staffer that Giuliani didn't take time to review. Kerik is a sleazy character who was promoted above his abilities by Giuliani.

It's early yet, von. There are a lot of Republicans better suited to be president of the United States than Rudy Giuliani. Keep looking.

There's also that miasma of pure evil you can see rising from his Skeletor-like brow. But I recognize that maybe other people will have trouble seeing that.

Giuliani strikes me as a smart guy who started believing his own press about 10 years ago, with the corresponding loss in keenness that often accompanies such an event.

It's also not clear to me how great a politician he is -- the man has a 1-1 record against David Dinkins, even, and he hasn't had a competitive race in 13 years. OTOH some of these other Republican candidates look a lot easier to beat than David Dinkins.


It is appropriate that Lott should be Senate Minority Whip. After all, there is nothing he likes as much as whipping minorities.

I'm still leaning towards McCain over Giuliani. McCain-Rice would be nice (what a slogan!).

The odd thing about Giuliani is that the crime-fighting policy he's given the most credit for wasn't even his; it was Bratton's (who had to leave after committing the unforgiveable sin of taking some of the spotlight away from Giuliani).

Giuliani's leadership on the day of the terrorist attacks was heroic, no question of that. But he quickly trod all over that when he tried to get the mayoral election postponed for 3 months, which was seen as a power grab.

If you take away those two things - the "Broken WIndow" approach to fighting crime and his conduct on 9/11 - I'm not sure what's left that makes him such a great candidate. Esp. when you add in his ties to Kerik and his moral tone deafness in a truly nasty series of police shootings, and his spectacularly messy private life (installing his mistress in Gracie Mansion and kicking his wife out - pretty graceless).

In addition to all the stuff already listed, it was also Rudy's brilliant idea to put NYC's emergency communication headquarters inside the World Trade Center, even after it had already been targeted once in a terrorist attack...

Does "mobbed up" for you only mean Made Men? He's "a friend of mine" to several high profile Five Family guys, who gave him money under several sets of circumstances, for what reason, the hell of it? Not enough for you?

Or he has to be "a friend of OURS" to qualify for you?

As I say, use Google and see if you can find a picture of his suburban house for me, not counting the apartment, and tell me that's a cop's house, one who had noted financial problems along the way.

He WAS corrupt, plead guilty already to the lightest load he could get away with, not "may have been."

And don't forget, this was while he was Rudy's Top Cop!

He also had shady deals over providing weapons on security contracts in the middle east, ran home from his gig in Iraq months early with no explanation, and as I said used the 9-11 ground zero apartment owned by the city for screwing his mistress, literally overlooking the steaming hole.

And he shared a name-plate with Rudy for years, his best favorite go-to guy.

Give up the ghost, man....not. gnna. happen.

And those of you pining for Rice on a ticket, nevah gonna happen either.

The negative ads produce themselves, just CSPAN footage with no voiceover of her 9-11 testimony. Stonewalling, outright lies, and denial, minutes of it, complete with awkward silences.

That's not counting the emergence of Rice loyalist Philip D. Zelikow's aid in covering up and ommitting from the report the the July 10 meeting Tenent had, warning Rice of an imminent attack.

She forgot to mention that one on the hill at all.

No, getting a tanker named after her was the best she can do i'm afraid.

oh, I would just love to see Bush endorse McCain and that illegitmate african-american child of his ... Mwahahahahahhahahahaha

It'd be interesting to finally see what this warning consisted of. If it has a Nostradamus-like quality, I'd tend to discount its importance.

It's not as if Tenet had been exactly attentive to details in security matters prior to 9/11, after all, or that he'd given an accurate report of the quality of evidence in the matter of Iraqi WMD capability. And it's not as if Tenet doesn't have some image-buffing to accomplish and a book to sell.

So, I'm thinking: let's see it. I'm disinclined to take either Rice's or Tenet's word for it at this point.

Well, that would be foolish. So far, all evidence backs up this claim, which isn't even from a Tenet book, but from Bob Woodward, who has plenty to back it up. Forget the discount-as-equal-spin game.

And the gist of the account has been co-oberated

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003189479

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/03/AR2006100300410.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/washington/01cnd-book.html?ex=1317355200&en=beb29e8f20ad8f76&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

But you believe whatever you'd like.

She ain't never. gonna. happen.

Having lived in NYC during his administration, I can attest that Giuliani goes to sleep every night with a cry of "I'll get that First Amendment if it's the last thing I do!"

No. Keep him away.

The 9/11 warning story is all about hindsight bias. There are dozens of really truly honestly seriously strong warnings every single year. After the fact you can easily determine which one of them was real, before the fact you tend to be groping in the dark unless you get notice of a specific act at a reasonably specific time. We didn't.

Similarly, I can look like a great financial advisor if you let me make hundreds of reccommendations per year and after five years I get to pick my best two.

There are dozens of really truly honestly seriously strong warnings every single year.

Got a cite for that?

In particular, got a cite confirming that there are dozens of PDBs entitled "X Determined to Strike in U.S." every year?

before the fact you tend to be groping in the dark unless you get notice of a specific act at a reasonably specific time. We didn't.

My understanding is that that's false, see, e.g., here.

Having lived in NYC during his administration, I can attest that Giuliani goes to sleep every night with a cry of "I'll get that First Amendment if it's the last thing I do!"

I used to feel so sorry for the poor city lawyers. He'd make them bring those cockamamie lawsuits about how he could prevent people from making fun of him in bus ads, and they'd have to give those painful press conferences pretending that they had some vestige of a legal theory supporting his idiotic positions. That must have been an awful job.

I don't necessarily hold the failure to stop 9/11 against the admin - but I do think their entire approach to terrorism was awful and unforgivably politicized - refusing to listen to the outgoing Clinton team, for example. "Now you've covered your ass", Bush said on being warned (or words to that effect).

It doesn't matter what kind or what level of serious error the warnings were. That's not the point, to re-debate 9-11. The point is the optics.

The point is, Condi Rice ain't ever gonna be on a White House ticket, not only because she and others were warned, but because of her inept, stumbling explanation of her response to the threat in front of the american people, with demonstratable falsehoods strewn throughout her term.

And on top of it, the appearance of a cover-up of the fact of a July meeting with Tenet. That looks like someone trying to hide something, so if she thinks that the admin response was appropriate her actions don't show it.

I'm not even gonna mention going 3-figure shoe shopping in NY during Katrina.

She has no, i repeat no, demonstratable successes to point to in the key foreign policy areas.

Well, that would be foolish.

I'd ask what the antecedent you had in mind for "that", before responding.

That, and there are perfectly good, useful tutorials for how to embed links in your comment, so that we can click them. Because that's what we do.

Also handy would be some actual argument: what in those links do you think tends to render some statement or other of mine silly, false, or tricksy.

The point is the optics.

Lenses? Mirrors? Prisms?

ah, your whole point? The one just before my comment?

You know, the one dismissing the validity and/or importance of Rice lying about a Tenet threat meeting in July 2001, assuming that it was just as likely that Tenet was lying in order to sell his book (when he wasn't the one who broke that story, Woodward was), and saying that because Tenet didn't do a good job that it doesn't matter.

And not having embedded the links doesn't change the widespread evidence that the meeting took place, was about the serious threat, inexplicably didn't turn up in the 9-11 report authored in part by her loyal former colleage, and is the final nail in the coffin for any white house quest for Condi.

I can't help it if you can't figure it out, with or without glasses. I think the majority of the American people would if she were put on a ticket.

LizardBreath: There's also that miasma of pure evil you can see rising from his Skeletor-like brow. But I recognize that maybe other people will have trouble seeing that.

{LOL!} I'll never see him again without spotting the miasma of pure evil... or without laughing. Thanks, LB.

A) PDBs aren't the only form of warning.

B) Note what the acronym means: President's DAILY briefing. That means more than hundred such memos by the time of that memo and and a hundred between that memo and 9/11.

C) Note that the text of the briefing offers no hint of WHEN which is a key problem in foresight dealings, though of course no problem in hindsight. Economists confidently predicted the end of the tech bubble as early as 1997. Warren Buffet could have lost all his money ten times over betting wrong on that prediction in 1998 or 1999. I will confidently and in the long run correctly predict right now that a Cat 4+ hurricane will strike New Orleans and cause immense devestation at some point in the future. I confidently and in the long run correctly predict that the Earth will go through another ice age.

D) The text of the briefing contemplates a traditional hijacking, not the much more dangerous suicide bomb-hijacking that actually occurred.

E) The PDB gets the purpose of the predicted attack wrong.

F) The most specific warning (that bin Laden was planning an attack in the US with explosives) was flatly wrong.

Classic Hindsight Bias.

This is also evident in Rowley's memo:

While reasonable minds may differ as to whether probable cause existed prior to receipt of the French intelligence information, it was certainly established after that point and became even greater with successive, more detailed information from the French and other intelligence sources. The two possible criminal violations initially identified by Minneapolis Agents were violations of Title 18 United States Code Section 2332b (Acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, which, notably, includes "creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States") and Section 32 (Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities). It is important to note that the actual search warrant obtained on September 11th was based on probable cause of a violation of Section 32.1 Notably also, the actual search warrant obtained on September 11th did not include the French intelligence information. Therefore, the only main difference between the information being submitted to FBIHQ from an early date which HQ personnel continued to deem insufficient and the actual criminal search warrant which a federal district judge signed and approved on September 11th, was the fact that, by the time the actual warrant was obtained, suspected terrorists were known to have highjacked planes which they then deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To say then, as has been iterated numerous times, that probable cause did not exist until after the disasterous event occurred, is really to acknowledge that the missing piece of probable cause was only the FBI's (FBIHQ's) failure to appreciate that such an event could occur. The probable cause did not otherwise improve or change. When we went to the United States Attorney's Office that morning of September 11th, in the first hour after the attack, we used a disk containing the same information that had already been provided to FBIHQ; then we quickly added Paragraph 19 which was the little we knew from news reports of the actual attacks that morning. The problem with chalking this all up to the "20-20 hindsight is perfect" problem, (which I, as all attorneys who have been involved in deadly force training or the defense of various lawsuits are fully appreciative of), is that this is not a case of everyone in the FBI failing to appreciate the potential consequences. It is obvious, from my firsthand knowledge of the events and the detailed documentation that exists, that the agents in Minneapolis who were closest to the action and in the best position to gauge the situation locally, did fully appreciate the terrorist risk/danger posed by Moussaoui and his possible co-conspirators even prior to September 11th. Even without knowledge of the Phoenix communication (and any number of other additional intelligence communications that FBIHQ personnel were privy to in their central coordination roles), the Minneapolis agents appreciated the risk. So I think it's very hard for the FBI to offer the "20-20 hindsight" justification for its failure to act! Also intertwined with my reluctance in this case to accept the "20-20 hindsight" rationale is first-hand knowledge that I have of statements made on September 11th, after the first attacks on the World Trade Center had already occurred, made telephonically by the FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) who was the one most involved in the Moussaoui matter and who, up to that point, seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents' efforts (see number 5). Even after the attacks had begun, the SSA in question was still attempting to block the search of Moussaoui's computer, characterizing the World Trade Center attacks as a mere coincidence with Misseapolis' prior suspicions about Moussaoui.

I quoted the whole section because she tries to deal with the objection. But the bolded section is deeply misguided. It is absolutely routine in police work for probable cause not to exist for a prediction of a crime that could exist after a particular crime has been discovered. If I published on the internet a very specific 'story' about a murder, it wouldn't form probable cause to search my house. If police later discovered a murder that matched my description in certain types of details, the story might very well offer probable cause to search my house--because the story when coupled with the actual facts of the murder created a a reasonable inference which did not exist before the crime was discovered. This type of thing happens all the time.

See also this:

In one of my peripheral roles on the Moussaoui matter, I answered an e-mail message on August 22, 2001, from an attorney at the National Security Law Unit (NSLU). Of course, with (ever important!) 20-20 hindsight, I now wish I had taken more time and care to compose my response. When asked by NSLU for my "assessment of (our) chances of getting a criminal warrant to search Moussaoui's computer", I answered, "Although I think there's a decent chance of being able to get a judge to sign a criminal search warrant, our USAO seems to have an even higher standard much of the time, so rather than risk it, I advised that they should try the other route." Leaked news accounts which said the Minneapolis Legal Counsel (referring to me) concurred with the FBIHQ that probable cause was lacking to search Moussaoui's computer are in error. (or possibly the leak was deliberately skewed in this fashion?) What I meant by this pithy e-mail response, was that although I thought probable cause existed ("probable cause" meaning that the proposition has to be more likely than not, or if quantified, a 51% likelihood), I thought our United States Attorney's Office, (for a lot of reasons including just to play it safe) in regularly requiring much more than probable cause before approving affidavits, (maybe, if quantified, 75%-80% probability and sometimes even higher), and depending on the actual AUSA who would be assigned, might turn us down. As a tactical choice, I therefore thought it would be better to pursue the "other route" (the FISA search warrant) first, the reason being that there is a common perception, which for lack of a better term, I'll call the "smell test" which has arisen that if the FBI can't do something through straight-up criminal methods, it will then resort to using less-demanding intelligence methods. Of course this isn't true, but I think the perception still exists. So, by this line of reasoning, I was afraid that if we first attempted to go criminal and failed to convince an AUSA, we wouldn't pass the "smell test" in subsequently seeking a FISA. I thought our best chances therefore lay in first seeking the FISA. Both of the factors that influenced my thinking are areas arguably in need of improvement: requiring an excessively high standard of probable cause in terrorism cases and getting rid of the "smell test" perception. It could even be argued that FBI agents, especially in terrorism cases where time is of the essence, should be allowed to go directly to federal judges to have their probable cause reviewed for arrests or searches without having to gain the USAO's approval

Here she outlines a course of action which would strike many civil libertarians as illegtimate if not for the benefit of hindsight--she suggests an attempted end run around local oversight.

I'm not at all saying that counter-terrorism was taken seriously enough pre-9/11. But I am saying that the 'warning' game really is not convincing. Yes, if we had violated the established criminal procedures with Moussaoui, we had a somewhat larger chance of discovering the 9/11 attack early enough to stop it. But I don't remember you being all that keen on short-circuiting the established procedures--even now.

OMG.

First of all, what do you know about what I was keen or not keen on doing about counter-terror policy?

Second of all, the only reason to bring up 9-11 is to point out that Condi Rice ain't gonna be on a WH ticket. Fair, or unfair.

It doesn't matter what Rowley, or anyone else said.

Condi Rice sat before cameras and congress, and stammered, lied, and stonewalled in a way that makes the oppositions' commerical for itself.

Then, it comes out that she lied about a key meeting. NOT the pdb. A meeting. A high level, central meeting to the threat that emerged later.

Did she really forget about it? Who cares. It looks like someone who isn't gonna be perceived as presidential material. And someone who has something to hide.

Or, she could stick with the "we couldn't imagine it" theme.

But the public is going to see her as not proud of her track record, based on her actions and words.

But you keep refighting another debate, that's alright.

I believe that senior members of the Bush administration - having been warned that a terrorist hijacking of planes was probable that autumn - quit travelling by public flights.

rilkefan: their entire approach to terrorism was awful and unforgivably politicized

And continues to be to the current moment.

Condoleeza Rice made a wave of appearances on right-wing outlets in the recent elections, after having been rebuked for making campaign appearances as NSC Advisor in 2004 and having promised that she wouldn't do so as Secretary of State.

What kinds of things was she saying on the campaign trail? Among other things, pushing the old chestnut Big Lie of Saddam-Al Qaeda ties.

A political tool, a lightweight way in over her head for years now, willing to say anything on behalf of this regime. Mmmmm, impressive candidate!

You know, the one dismissing the validity and/or importance of Rice lying about a Tenet threat meeting in July 2001

"I don't remember" is not a lie if she doesn't remember.

the meeting took place

If I were disputing that, this would be absolutely devastating.

assuming that it was just as likely that Tenet was lying in order to sell his book

Differences of opinion don't necessarily indicate one of the party is lying. The question is, is it Rice or Tenet that's distorting what happened more?

This is why what Condi was actually briefed on is important, if you're considering that she ignored something she should not have. If she got what was in the PDB, well, I don't blame her. The PDB basically says that for the last four years, they've been getting indications of bin Laden planning attacks on the US, not that bin Laden was planning a specific attack using a specific strategy on a specific target. Or on a specific scale.

But why do I even bother? You've convinced yourself, even if you didn't have to try very hard.

Well, we only have Woodward's version, backed up in the linked stories. Since she doesn't remember. And, oddly, the meeting didn't make it into the Commissions report.

But for the last time, you can argue 9-11 all you want, they could have discussed cheese. You can be convinced or not about her role, its not the damn point. No one, least of all I, cares what she remembers, what a pdb said.

She ain't going on a ticket, and the quality and truthfulness of her testimony, how that plays on film, and the disturbing aspect of the missing info about the meeting is the final ( not only, just final) reason why.

Now go back to trying to save John Bolton.

Well, we only have Woodward's version

Ah, Woodward was there? How lucky for him.

Slarti, you're a smart man. You've proven. Why play dumb? You know what Chris' point is: It looks bad. It looks bad in a way that sandbags any attempt Rice has to play up the standard GOP national security card in an election.

The only "truth" that matter is the "truth" of whether or not it looks bad. Feel free to dispute that, since that's Chris' point. I suppose it's easier to argue 9/11 and PDB's -- but that's a strawman here.

Chris might as well have stated the OTHER obvious fact -- Rice won't be on the top of the ticket because she's a black woman, and the GOP base won't elect her. She won't run as VP because the GOP is quite aware of the fact that a black woman a "heartbeat from the Presidency" will not do wonders for GOP turnout.

Is it a pretty fact? No. Is is a fact that SHOULD be true? No.

But there is a non-zero number of Republican voters who -- when faced with the thought of voting for a black woman -- won't do it.

Let's run down the OTHER nasty facts: Whats-his-face from Massachusetts? Won't win the primary because he's a Mormon. Sad, but true. The GOP base won't elect a Mormon -- especially not one from Massachusetts (who cares where he's really from -- his primary opponents will paint him as a NE liberal in public, and a cultist/non-Christian in push polls).

McCain? I don't think he can manage the balancing act. He seems to be angering liberals by making moderate statements then doing very right-wing things (Bob Jones, the torture bill, etc) -- and angering conservatives by saying moderate things BEFORE doing very conservative things. Put him in "Maybe".

Frist? No. Santorum? No. Allen? Oh god no.

If it makes you feel better, I think the bulk of the Democratic 2008 field looks equally crappy. Just for different reasons.

If you wanted a real, solid prediction -- I'd say the GOP will force an "electable" candidate onto the GOP with the argument that they need to hold the White House. The GOP base will be unenthusiastic and won't turn out. They'll lose, unless the Democrats do the exact same thing only worse. Which they might.

"Chris might as well have stated the OTHER obvious fact -- Rice won't be on the top of the ticket because she's a black woman, and the GOP base won't elect her."

I don't think that is in fact a fact. At least not in the sense that I would expect such a ticket to lose more racist votes than it would gain black votes. (Which isn't to say necessarily a large number in either direction frankly.)

A) PDBs aren't the only form of warning.

Never claimed they were.

B) Note what the acronym means: President's DAILY briefing. That means more than hundred such memos by the time of that memo and and a hundred between that memo and 9/11.

Then would you mind answering my actual question: got a cite confirming that there are dozens of PDBs entitled "X Determined to Strike in U.S." every year?

I will confidently and in the long run correctly predict right now that a Cat 4+ hurricane will strike New Orleans and cause immense devestation at some point in the future. I confidently and in the long run correctly predict that the Earth will go through another ice age.

While the latter is probably worthless since it almost certainly won't happen on a human time-scale, the former is not worthless precisely because, although we don't know when it's going to happen, it's likely to happen on a reasonable time-scale and we should therefore plan accordingly. And a failure to so plan is a sign of negligence which, given the potential scope and damage, counts as criminal negligence in my book.

Which, to continue the analogy, is much like being warned of Al Qaeda's intentions: I don't blame the Bush Administration for not stopping 9/11 -- sometimes the enemy gets lucky, and them's the breaks -- I blame them for not planning. I blame them for ignoring the threat of terrorism; I blame them for blowing off the Clinton administration's plans of actions; I blame them for taking most of the summer of 2001 off while the warning levels were getting ratcheted to unprecedented levels; I blame them for neglecting their basic duties. And Condi Rice was dead in the center of this criminal negligence.

D) The text of the briefing contemplates a traditional hijacking, not the much more dangerous suicide bomb-hijacking that actually occurred.

It was an entirely traditional hijacking -- boxcutters and knives, for god's sake -- though it was non-traditional in its purpose. A modicum of seriousness about airport security might have prevented it; and while it might not have (see above re not blaming the Bush Administration for 9/11), this was a simple, common-sense measure that could and should have been employed regardless (see above re criminal negligence).

E) The PDB gets the purpose of the predicted attack wrong.

F) The most specific warning (that bin Laden was planning an attack in the US with explosives) was flatly wrong.

Classic Hindsight Bias.

E and F are completely correct and are a good point; your conclusion is, however, wrong. To be a case of true hindsight bias, you'd have to demonstrate that the information confirming the incipient attack was de facto indistinguishable from the rest of the information. Essentially, that the signal was impossible to separate from the noise. This is manifestly untrue, though, as witnessed by the myriad reports specifically warning of bin Laden and Al Qaeda, not to mention the specific warning about hijackings. What the evidence shows is that the Bush Administration had received several warnings about Al Qaeda's plans, that those plans were coming to fruition in a reasonable time-frame, and that those plans involved (among other things) a hijacking. The signal was not only distinguishable from the noise, it had been distinguished, albeit indistinctly. The Bush Administration's failure to act on this (indistinct) signal is their crime, and Condi's at the forefront of the culpable.

Sebastian: At least not in the sense that I would expect such a ticket to lose more racist votes than it would gain black votes.

Other way round, surely? Whether or not the Repub party runs a black woman as V-P candidate, most black Americans have excellent reasons for never voting Repub.

Whereas racists (and sexists: think of how so many Repubs reacted to the mere idea that a woman would be Speaker of the House of Representatives) would think about a black woman as V-P candidate, shudder, vote against her in the primaries, and probably fail to vote at all at the election if by some chance she won the primaries.

think of how so many Repubs reacted to the mere idea that a woman would be Speaker of the House of Representatives

Such as...? Just asking.

Nell: A political tool, a lightweight way in over her head for years now, willing to say anything on behalf of this regime. Mmmmm, impressive candidate!

Worked well enough for the GOP in 2000 and 2004, didn't it?

Jesurgislac: Whereas racists (and sexists: think of how so many Repubs reacted to the mere idea that a woman would be Speaker of the House of Representatives) would think about a black woman as V-P candidate, shudder, vote against her in the primaries, and probably fail to vote at all at the election if by some chance she won the primaries.

VP candidates are selected by the presumptive nominee, not elected in primaries.

Sebastian, I can't see a whole lot of black voters crossing over to vote for Condi just because she's black. For one thing, she's a part of the current administration, which hasn't built up much of a reservoir of goodwill among the african-american community. The attack ads about her buying shoes during Katrina would be just too easy. Also, any theoretical gain in black votes from Condi is predicated on the absence of a black candidate on the Dem ticket. If Obama is there as veep for the Dems, Condi loses most of her advantages and instantly becomes a liability on the Republican ticket for the reasons stated above.

"Sebastian, I can't see a whole lot of black voters crossing over to vote for Condi just because she's black."

I agree. But racist Democrats (and surely no one is going to be so silly as to pretend there aren't plenty of them) vote for black Democrats so I'd be rather surprised to find that Republican racists can't vote for black Republicans. Which is why I said that I think it is likely to be a wash.

Anarch,

"Then would you mind answering my actual question: got a cite confirming that there are dozens of PDBs entitled "X Determined to Strike in U.S." every year?"

Of course not. They aren't all declassified. But the PDBs have warnings every single day, and that according to all reports is the only day with an Al Qaeda warning.

To be a case of true hindsight bias, you'd have to demonstrate that the information confirming the incipient attack was de facto indistinguishable from the rest of the information. Essentially, that the signal was impossible to separate from the noise. This is manifestly untrue, though, as witnessed by the myriad reports specifically warning of bin Laden and Al Qaeda, not to mention the specific warning about hijackings.

You honestly don't seem to be understanding how hindsight bias works. Getting 'myriad reports' 'specifically warning of bin Laden and Al Qaeda' isn't enough. You must be able to reliably separate the reports with hints of the thing that happened (9/11) from the thousands of hints and reports and rumors of other things that aren't going to happen and you must do so prospectively. Retrospectively, the hints are all there, but the ability to sort the good hints from the spurious ones is not. That is one of the most frustrating things about intelligence services, but to my knowledge it can't be avoided except by being able to uncover specific plots. This is especially true in an open society where you can't arrest people just for being "anti-government".

Let's say I exhaustively research 1000 stocks. I identify 100 that I think will skyrocket. I tell you about them. 5 years later exactly 1 skyrocketed. I specifically named the stocks I had in mind. One of them did well. Am I a brilliant stock-picker? Only if you use hindsight bias.

The PDB didn't even do the equivalent of picking individual stocks. It didn't have an actual occurrence in mind. It is like me saying that "tech stocks will do well". As a general awareness issue, it would have been useful. It would have plowed the ground for future (but never arriving) warnings of actual plots. But looking at that PDB as some kind of specific warning can only be justified by the fallacy of hindsight bias.

I'm genuinely interested in what Sebastian, OCSteve, Charles, von, Slarti (and any other conservatives lurking in the background who plan on voting Republican in '08) think about these comments from John McCain, published in the Fall 2006 issue of New Perspectives Quarterly.

Ugh: Conservative reactions to Pelosi's elevation:

http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_echidneofthesnakes_archive.html#116304577444783026>Chris Matthews.

http://pandagon.net/2006/11/10/hey-guys-did-you-know-nancy-pelosi-and-hillary-clinton-are-girls/>Matthews & Luntz, Hannity, Colmes

http://pandagon.net/2006/11/02/nancy-pelosi-has-girl-cooties/>Dennis Miller

http://nrcc.org/>catch this NRCC poll

Gromit: [lightweight, political tool] Worked well enough for the GOP in 2000 and 2004, didn't it?

Yes, but now the brand's pretty badly damaged, and I don't think the economic/security conditions of the next two years are going to revive it.

Let's say I exhaustively research 1000 stocks. I identify 100 that I think will skyrocket. I tell you about them. 5 years later exactly 1 skyrocketed. I specifically named the stocks I had in mind. One of them did well. Am I a brilliant stock-picker? Only if you use hindsight bias.

Picking high-performing stocks seems like a poor analogy for identifying threats, however. A better analogy might be ruling out stocks that you think will tank badly. If you pick 100 out of the 1000 that you think are shaky, and the one stock that loses its value overnight is in that 100, would you chalk it up to luck?

The PDB didn't even do the equivalent of picking individual stocks. It didn't have an actual occurrence in mind. It is like me saying that "tech stocks will do well". As a general awareness issue, it would have been useful. It would have plowed the ground for future (but never arriving) warnings of actual plots. But looking at that PDB as some kind of specific warning can only be justified by the fallacy of hindsight bias.

First, what you describe above sounds like a rather passive approach to counter-terrorism. What about using these warnings as a guide to allocating intelligence resources, or as an impetus to tighten airport security?

Second, I can't speak for others, but my complaint isn't that the PDB was the key to foiling the 9/11 plot. Rather, it is that the evident inattention to that PDB is illustrative of the administration's inattention to matters of national security generally up to that point. The Cole had been bombed only ten months earlier. How hard was it to figure out that Al Qaeda was a threat? It's not hindsight bias to say that Bush and his team should have at least been trying to put these puzzle pieces together, and it seems pretty clear they were doing a substandard job on that count. And I don't say this just because we got hit. I can easily imagine circumstances under which the attacks were equally successful, but it became clear in the subsequent investigation that we got hit in spite of a vigorous effort to combat terrorism and to thwart Al Qaeda. But it is pretty clear that that's not what happened in reality.

I think Sebastian has a point about the problematic nature of hindsight bias, but it is a point that should go quadruple when discussion turns to blaming Clinton for Bin Laden and AQ. I don't recall Sebastian ever asserting blame, mind you, but when that notion raises its ugly head, I hope he will be front and center in shooting it down.

Getting 'myriad reports' 'specifically warning of bin Laden and Al Qaeda' isn't enough. You must be able to reliably separate the reports with hints of the thing that happened (9/11) from the thousands of hints and reports and rumors of other things that aren't going to happen and you must do so prospectively.

Well, yes. And the fact that these data points were being so separated -- as evidenced by, again, the fact that Tenet and the CIA were raising these issues, that there was a PDB entirely about bin Laden/Al Qaeda, etc. -- is precisely the proof that this was being done prospectively. I completely agree that the specific actionable intelligence required to stop the actual 9/11 plot was not there, which is (as I said) why I don't blame the Bush Administration for not stopping it; I completely disagree that the Bush Administration was somehow awash in interchangeable information which prevented them from distinguishing signal from noise and therefore prevented them from taking any action whatsoever.

[BTW, "myriad reports" here refers not to raw intelligence -- which would indeed be a pointless observation, I completely agree -- but reports from the CIA et al. to the upper echelons of the Administration. There's a massive qualitative difference between the two.]

You are an investor for a living. You are the breadwinner for your entire extended family, whom you support by picking stocks. A reputable and trustworthy source has informed you that tech stocks are going to do well.

Do you:

a) do nothing

b) buy utilities

c) buy tech stocks at random

d) attempt to verify your source's suggestion, and then engage in additional research in order to identify particular tech stocks which have particular promise

Blistering Barnacles! Why is it too much to ask, when informed that a wealthy, experienced, well established terrorist is expected to strike, that the leader of the free world actually take some proactive measures to prevent that from happening?!?!

On second thought, scratch that. Knowing what I know now I'm confident that anything W did would have made the problem worse, not better. And come to think of it, he did take some measures. He cleared the brush from around his vacation home, so Bin Laden wouldn't be able to skulk around in the shrubbery.

As I see it the problem with the pre 9/11 briefings was that they were pretty much ignored. The focus IIRC was on 'rogue states'.

If the DPB had said "Saddam determined to strike in US..." Judith Miller would have been tippity tapping away about that within a week is my guess.

If the admin focus had been on the threats that actually existed, Judith Miller could have been writing about the actual DPB they did get, hyping a war to destroy the fanatical SOB's hiding in Afghanistan.

They didn't need hindsight to know about these threats; ask Richard Clarke, or Bill Clinton for that matter. They just didn't see them as a priority because, I think, they believed non-state actors were impotent. That was a failure of judgement, and the type of judgement that it is their job to have.

The thing is they still don't appear to get it. They lost focus on AQ in Afghanistan once they rolled the Taliban (which was always the secondary mission) and turned their attention to Iraq, seemingly because they still think states are the problem.

It looks bad

It looks bad if you're willing to take Tenet's word for just how serious and detailed the warning was. Color me skeptical.

I see a couple of different responses to Tenet's story: it was a slam dunk case, or Tenet's misrepresenting, again. Maybe there are other responses, but these are the ones I'm considering. In any event, I'm not quite so concerned about Condi for President as others are; this notion that she was briefed at some useful level of detail is worthy of examination all by itself, independently of what that does or doesn't do to Rice's political aspirations. If true, it's an indication that something is broken. If false, it's an indication that something else is broken.

Blistering Barnacles! Why is it too much to ask, when informed that a wealthy, experienced, well established terrorist is expected to strike, that the leader of the free world actually take some proactive measures to prevent that from happening?!?!

Excellent question. It's one that should also be directed at Bill Clinton, because we'd been getting those indications, as the PDB stated, since 1997. Measures that Clinton took would have been equally ineffectual at defending against the 9/11 attacks.

I look at it this way: let's say, for instance, that you're France. You know that the Germans are going to attack you; they've been making covert moves to do so for the last half-decade, but you don't know where, or when, or how. Defend yourself.

Not a good analogy, certainly, but possibly something to consider.

Slarti: It looks bad if you're willing to take Tenet's word for just how serious and detailed the warning was. Color me skeptical.

You're skeptical because the Bush administration have shown how honest and open they are, especially about their own mistakes, so an outside source that says they're lying to cover up a serious error is likely to be wrong? /sarcasm

Wasn't a - very much redacted, of course - copy of that PDB made available online? I seem to recall reading it via Kevin Drum, and Drum - who generally bends over backwards to give the Repubs the benefit of the doubt if he can possibly find any - said that according to other sources more familiar with the style of such documents, said that in no way could the style of it be described as "routine".

More for Ugh:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/11/beltway-attacks-on-nancy-pelosi.html>Glenn Greenwald just posted about Beltway Pundit attacks on Pelosi, with many links.

It's one that should also be directed at Bill Clinton, because we'd been getting those indications, as the PDB stated, since 1997. Measures that Clinton took would have been equally ineffectual at defending against the 9/11 attacks.

And since - as is well known in Repub circles - Clinton left office on September 10th 2001, Clinton's failings as President are those that should be given major attention. It would obviously be unfair to blame Bush, who wasn't really in office at the time.

Doctor Science - much obliged.

Can I change the subject? I found an article via RedState that perfectly encapsulates the practice of law, as well as human bizarreness.

"Prosecution of a Douglas County case involving alleged sexual contact with a dead deer may hinge on the legal definition of the word “animal.”
Bryan James Hathaway, 20, of Superior faces a misdemeanor charge of sexual gratification with an animal. He is accused of having sex with a dead deer he saw beside Stinson Avenue on Oct. 11.

A motion filed last week by his attorney, public defender Fredric Anderson, argued that because the deer was dead, it was not considered an animal and the charge should be dismissed. (...)

The Webster’s dictionary defines “animal” as “any of a kingdom of living beings,” Anderson said.

If you include carcasses in that definition, he said, “you really go down a slippery slope with absurd results.”

Anderson argued: When does a turkey cease to be an animal? When it is dead?

When it is wrapped in plastic packaging in the freezer? When it is served, fully cooked? (...)

“The common and ordinary meaning of a word can be found in how people actually use the word,” Boughner wrote in his response to the motion.

When a person’s pet dog dies, he told Lucci, the person still refers to the dog as his or her dog, not a carcass.

“It stays a dog for some time,” Boughner said.

He referred to the criminal complaint, in which Hathaway told police he saw the dead deer in the ditch and moved it into the woods. Hathaway called it a dead deer, Boughner said, not a carcass.

“It did not lose its essence as a deer, an animal, when it died,” he said."

The law in all her majesty.

The law in all her majesty.

There are six or seven recent district court cases (and some appellate court cases) where the IRS argued that "and" really meant "or" with respect to a tax on long-distance calls. They won once, but have since given up, as you will see on your 1040 for 2006.

As to the curious case of carcass copulation, if the purpose of the ban on beast buggery is beast protection, it serves no purposes to apply it to ex-beasts (though I suppose it provides a loophole for those inclined to shoot first and bugger later).

Can I change the subject?

Oh god. *covers eyes* Must you?

I have to say, I always thought the main point of having anti-bestiality laws was the issue of cruelty to animals/rape. So if the animal's dead, unless the rapist killed it in order to screw it, I can't see that there's a moral issue here. If he was doing it by the side of the road, there's certainly a case to be made that he was being publicly offensive.

That's hilarious...God bless public defenders.

Jes and Ugh: strange to say, the defense made that argument too, though the prosecution seemed to think that it might somehow license people who wanted to kill animals by having sex with them...

All I can say is, I really don't want a deeper peek inside the psyche of someone who's driving down the road, sees a dead animal, and becomes aroused.

Of course, this could simply be an extension of a scene from Portnoy's Complaint.

Hilzoy: , though the prosecution seemed to think that it might somehow license people who wanted to kill animals by having sex with them...

All my life I've heard jokes about Wales/Aberdeen/Australia/wherever "where men are men and sheep are nervous". This lends a whole new meaning to that...

This gives new meaning to the phrase "bagging a doe".

It was a doe, I hope. Because if not, yuck!

But seriously, this was in the Duluth Times.
As in Minnesota, right? In October?

If I divide ambient wind-chill temperature by the percentage chance of catching brucellosis, what I derive is a very lonely guy who obviously felt he didn't have the charm to approach the deer when it was in a better mood.

I'll stop now.


Actually, one more.

I think fawning over roadkill is illegal where I live.

Measures that Clinton took would have been equally ineffectual at defending against the 9/11 attacks.

The fact that Clinton did in fact take measures is pretty much the key distinction, isn't it?

Excellent question. It's one that should also be directed at Bill Clinton,

Asks Slarti, blissfully unaware that it has indeed been directed at Bill Clinton, and rather forcefully, too, and that one of the occasions on which he answered created something of a major media stir. Fortunately, I'm aware of your preference for blissful unawareness, so I can take this response in the lighthearted and insouciant spirit in which it was offered. Ha ha ha. Bush's "Maginot line" of brush clearing didn't work any better than the French version. Hardee har har.

That also saves me the trouble of telling you about the measures that Bill Clinton and his peeps actually, you know, proactively did take, in order to reduce the threat that Bin Laden posed. Including but not limited to attempting to get Bush's NSC to pay some %#^% attention.

Pascal's bookie, I agree about the underlying problem, but I'd go even further. I think they believed that only the other superpowers could pose a threat. Which, strictly speaking, was mostly correct. 9/11 was remarkably destructive, but the only reason it "changed everything" is because some people wanted change. After all, the Bushies' hard-on for Iraq and Iran (cover your eyes Slart, this will just upset you) wasn't because they thought Saddam or the Mullahs posed a threat, but because, well... you know... black gold.

The fact that Clinton did in fact take measures is pretty much the key distinction, isn't it?

Ineffectual measures are much more effectual than no measures, then?

I'm not faulting Clinton, here: he had no more of a notion of where and when and how we'd be attacked than Bush did.

Ha ha ha.

Penalty. Wilful missing of the point: 15 yards, repeat first down.

The point was, by the way, that Clinton had 3 entire years to ready himself against the nonspecific threat of a terrorist attack. And accomplished little.

That also saves me the trouble of telling you about the measures that Bill Clinton and his peeps actually, you know, proactively did take, in order to reduce the threat that Bin Laden posed.

Which had what effect?

Yes, we had crappy intel back then. We had crappy intel in 2001, too, as far as I can tell.

And accomplished little.

Not saying there was much to accomplish, mind you. Sure, he might have been able to take out bin Laden if he'd tried to, but taking out the leader isn't always all that effective. Sometimes it turns into martyrdom. But we'll never know, now.

I sometimes start threads from the bottom. So I saw Thullen's joke about fawning over roadkill and wondered what the heck that was about.

Should have left it there.

Ineffectual measures are much more effectual than no measures, then?

When it comes to defending oneself against charges of criminal negligence? Hell yes.

But that's an irrelevant question: as radish noted, the measures weren't ineffective. [To give one specific example, consider the Millenium plot.] Those measures didn't stop everything, that's true -- but that's a fair cry from claiming they were "ineffectual" and simply leaving it at that.

I'm not faulting Clinton, here: he had no more of a notion of where and when and how we'd be attacked than Bush did.

No offense, but that's flat-out wrong no matter how you slice it. There might be a colorable argument lurking in there but I'll wait until you've made it before responding.

Slarti: Penalty. Wilful missing of the point: 15 yards, repeat first down.

Oh. I thought the point you were trying to make was "If someone tries to blame Bush for 9/11, quick! blame Clinton!"

And you were making that pretty effectively.

Errr, "far cry". Oy.

Copulating with dead animals is not limited to the human species. See the 2003 winner of the Ig Nobel prize in biology, for observation of a homosexual necrophiliac copulation between ducks.

Quoth the Slarti:

Ineffectual measures are much more effectual than no measures, then?
Clinton's measures kept the Towers standing, at least.

Funny that Anarch is citing an indirect link to the same Juan Cole story that I eviscerated a few years back. If you care to follow that link all the way to the newspaper article Cole got his information from, you'll notice a funny thing: the Millenium Plot wasn't foiled by any activity initiated by Clinton, it was foiled by an ordinary customs inspector doing the same job she'd be doing with or without any measures initiated by Clinton.

But don't take my word for it.

Clinton's measures kept the towers standing...heh. Good one. I was going to claim full credit for that, but you got there first.

I do claim full credit for Florida's blocking of the South Carolina field goal in the final seconds of the game last weekend, on account of how hard I wished for it, and how loudly I yelled for it.

Slarti, I see someone else mentioned this just a few posts up, but...were you unaware of the "Millennium plot"? The story's an interesting one. As I understand it from reports over the years, no major investigation had the plotters' group targeted. But alert officials on the spot noticed signs of trouble, acted, and reported their concerns up the chain. Because the intel agencies were taking the general threat of terrorism seriously, the low-level reports got a hearing and follow-up then got co-conspirators. It's a useful demonstration of how top-down attitude influences what happens at the bottom.

In addition, of course, Clinton's anti-terrorism crew had a response to the Cole attack prepared and ready to go; Clinton held off on the grounds that it was properly Bush's decision to make at that point. Unfortunately for him and us, Bush's team had priorities like lying about outgoing staffers vandalizing the White House and Air Force One, and the moment for useful response passed. Presumably had Clinton gone ahead with Clarke's proposal, Bush's supporters would have denounced it as more wag-the-dog showboating by the lamest of lame ducks.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad