Thursday, May 04, 2006

PoliticsTV confronts Joe Klein

In a fascinating piece of video, the fellas at PoliticsTV.com confront Time magazine contributor Joe Klein for going soft on President Bush, among other things.

Klein's response is a fascinating bit of bob-and-weave, though he does make an arguably valid point about the public being as much to blame as the media for buying Bush's lies. Your blogstress certainly agrees that the public at large bears some responsibility for wandering around, channelling Rod Stewart (or Cheryl Crow): Still I look to find a reason to believe... However, let's not forget just from where the public learns of Bush's lies -- from people like Klein. And if people like Klein are advancing and soft-pedaling those lies, then the media needs to pick up the heavier end of the blame burden.

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After Moussaoui, who's next?

That's the question posed by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff last night on MSNBC. Noting that the purported "mastermind" of 911, Khalid Sheik Mohammad, is in U.S. custody (presumably at Guant√°namo), Isikoff is asking whether said mastermind will face trial in the U.S. Answering his own question, Isikoff, according to the host of "Hardball With Chris Matthews," predicted that a public prosecution of Mohammad will likely never come to pass because it would reveal the torture techniques, such as waterboarding, that were likely used to extract information from him.

Well, that's one reason he's unlikely to face the scrutiny of a jury (not to mention the legal questions surrounding his "enemy combatant" status). Your blogtress dares to suggest, however, that it's not waterboarding revelations the administration fears, but rather the resurfacing of certain facts regarding the 911 plot that could raise questions about the administration's role in the failure to capture bin Laden -- and more.

Until now, your cybertrix has written little on these issues, seeking to avoid being lumped in with a legion of 911 conspiracy theorists, many of whom advance ridiculous ideas. However, the administration's dealings with Mahmood Ahmed, Taliban supporter and then the chief of the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, either reveal a stunning ineptitude on the part of the Bush administration, or raise questions of collusion on bin Laden's evasion of capture.

At the time of the 911 attacks, Ahmed was already in the U.S., having met with numerous U.S. officials at the State Department, Pentagon and CIA. Your écrivaine learned this first-hand on September 13, 2001 from a government official who was tangentially involved with the visit of the Pakistani official. After the attacks, Ahmed was summoned back to Washington from elsewhere in the U.S. for talks about next steps.

Over the course of the weekend that followed the atacks, U.S. officials reportedly entrusted Ahmed, widely reported to have wired $100,000 to 911 ringleader Mohammed Atta, to visit the Taliban to urge the extradition of bin Laden. He was also briefed on U.S. plans for the invasion of Afghanistan.

On September 17, Ahmed visited Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, failing to convince the one-eyed cleric to hand over al Qaeda's No. 1. And despite the ferocious seige of the caves of Tora Bora, where bin Laden was said to have taken refuge, America's Most Wanted was never found.

Whether the result of ineptitude or something worse, these are facts the administration would not find helpful to its already sullied reputation. And there's no way to pursue the topic of communications and cash flowing between Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other 911 conspirators without stumbling across the role of the man the U.S. entrusted with the capture of bin Laden.

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