Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Clinton not to blame for pre 9-11 intellegence failure

The Washington Times front page story (3-7-16) “NSA was left ‘brain dead’ in final 9-11 plotting stage – Hyden hints at Clinton neglect” focused on Hayden’s views expressed in his new book. I can understand Hyden wanting to sell his book and the Times for wanting to trash Clinton. But for historical record this 'news' article missed multiple ‘non Clinton’ factors leading up to 9-11.  Key factors that point to the failure of Presidents and policy makers before and after President Clinton.

First, budget cuts to the foreign aid bill before and during the Clinton years greatly reduced US humanitarian programs.  Aid programs that could have effectively stemmed the tide of failed states where al Qaeda, lethal poverty conditions, and illiterate masses provided fertile ground for fueling the violent extremism.  Aid that could still be effective today.

Second, the NSA’s failure to capture email and phone messages of the 9-11 planners is irrelevant.  It was illegal for the NSA to conduct such domestic surveillance prior to 9-11.   More important, relevant hijacker messages were intercepted by both the FBI and the CIA prior to 9-11.  Unfortunately, similar Constitutional barriers then, prohibited these two ‘independent’ agencies from sharing that vital information.  

Last, President Clinton was well aware that the rapidly changing world and threat factors to our nation and the next President would be different in the new century.  September 15, 1999 his bipartisan Presidential Commission on National Security in the 21st Century released its first report.  Its final report was released two months after Bush was sworn in and six months prior to 9-11.   It clearly labeled terrorism as the greatest threat we faced warning that we ‘should prepare to die in large numbers on American soil.’  Tragically, the Bush Administration, Congress, and the NGO community I worked in then ignored the warnings and the report’s recommendations. 

I would hope Rowan Scarborough’s reporting in the future will offer more comprehensive views on important historical facts.   Perhaps he could give exposure to another important report released last summer.  It was co-authored by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and offered more threat analysis and useful recommendations. The quick summary of this Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance warns that without new global structures and systems for justice we will continue to see a decline in security at every level (individual, national and global).  This report should not be ignored by any US politician committed to protecting American lives, our cherished freedoms and our future prosperity.


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