National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has made a big point of the fact that Tenet briefed the president nearly every day. Yet at the peak moment of threat, the two didn't talk at all. At a time when action was needed, and orders for action had to come from the top, the man at the top was resting undisturbed.
Throughout that summer, we now well know, Tenet, Richard Clarke, and several other officials were running around with their "hair on fire," warning that al-Qaida was about to unleash a monumental attack. On Aug. 6, Bush was given the now-famousPresident's Daily Brief (by one of Tenet's underlings), warning that this attack might take place "inside the United States." For the previous few years—as Philip Zelikow, the commission's staff director, revealed this morning—the CIA had issued several warnings that terrorists might fly commercial airplanes into buildings or cities.
And now, we learn today, at this peak moment, Tenet hears about Moussaoui. Someone might have added 2 + 2 + 2 and possibly busted up the conspiracy. But the president was down on the ranch, taking it easy. Tenet wasn't with him. Tenet never talked with him. Rice—as she has testified—wasn't with Bush, either. He was on his own and, willfully, out of touch.
A USA Todaystory, written right before Bush took off, reported that the vacation—scheduled to last from Aug. 3 to Sept. 3—would tie one of Richard Nixon's as the longest that any president had ever taken. A week before he left, Bush made a videotaped message for the Boy Scouts of America. On the tape, he said, "I'll be going to my ranch in Crawford, where I'll work and take a little time off. I think it is so important for the president to spend some time away from Washington, in the heartland of America."
As the U.S. House of Representatives was readying a new special committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, many Democrats were arguing that continuing to probe the Sept. 11, 2012, attack -- which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens -- amounted to a political witch hunt.
On May 5, 2014, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., told MSNBC host Ed Schultz that there has already been exhaustive testimony and investigation of the incident.
"This thing is just going on and on to boredom actually," Garamendi said. "The Armed Services Committee actually did a hearing and the result was there’s nothing here. That’s obviously a great tragedy, but Ed, during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died. In Karachi, there was a death of one of our diplomats, and those were not investigated during that period of time because it was a tragedy."
Readers asked us whether it’s true that under Bush, "there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world, (and) 60 people died." ...
Garamendi said that "during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died." There are actually different ways to count the number of attacks, especially when considering attacks on ambassadors and embassy personnel who were traveling to or from embassy property. Overall, we found Garamendi slightly understated the number of deadly attacks and total fatalities, even using a strict definition. Garamendi’s claim is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.
I hope the Republicans keep screaming "four Americans died on Hillary Clinton's watch!" because it will give all of us on the other side of the dial a chance to remind everyone what happened on the last GOP president's watch. For contrast.