News Release

Assessing Rice’s Testimony to the 9-11 Commission


Salisbury’s son-in-law Ted Hennessy Jr. was killed on 9/11 when his flight, AA 11, was crashed into the World Trade Center. After today’s tesimony by Condoleezza Rice, he said this afternoon: “Ms. Rice offered a lot of detail which was not particularly relevant to the questions asked. The main question — why did the president and his cabinet not hold a meeting on the Al Qaeda threat until a few days before 9/11 — was not answered, except to assert that Al Qaeda did not seem to be a clear and present threat. The fact that Richard Clarke … had been warning them for months that he thought an attack to be imminent, she made light of. The fact is that Mr. Clarke had asked for an audience with President Bush and [was] not granted one, so that whatever warnings he gave to Ms. Rice were probably not forwarded to the president with the necessary urgency.”

Author of the just-released book Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, Flanders said today: “When the National Security Advisor took her stand before the independent commission Thursday, she brought with her her treasured reputation as a foreign policy expert to two successive Bush presidents, but Rice, who claims an expertise in nothing less than the high-stakes world of global power, has failed spectacularly — not once but twice ­- when it comes to anticipating the most critical shifts of her time: the rise of global terror networks, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they’re not unrelated.”
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Grosscup is author of the book The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. He said today: “The Bush administration wanted Rice to testify in public to counter Richard Clarke’s claims about the Iraq invasion undermining the ‘war on terrorism’ and that they were soft on Al Qaeda before 9-11. Rice attempted to do both. First she reasserted the White House mantra that Saddam’s Iraq was a state that sponsored terrorism, thus an appropriate target. Second, she tried to document that the new Bush team was as hardline on Al Qaeda as Clarke wanted them to be. The real point to her public testimony is that nobody in the Bush administration, given the kind of intelligence they were being given and the ‘structural situation,’ dropped the ball previous to 9-11. Thus it couldn’t have been prevented. But, if anyone did drop the ball it was Richard Clarke and his little group who were put in charge of the terrorism watch by the president himself.”

A former Washington Post columnist, McCarthy is founder and director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., and the author of the book I’d Rather Teach Peace. He said today: “To hear Rice and the commissioners tell it, we were this peaceful country before 9-11 and our passivity is why we were attacked. In fact, in the 20 years before 9-11, we attacked Iraq, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia. All the members of the 9-11 Commission are members of the establishment; they advocate military solutions. That mentality is the problem, not the solution.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167