Ten years after the 9/11 catastrophe, the Bush administration cover-up of why the terrorist attacks were carried out despite the White House, CIA and FBI being repeatedly warned of them still holds. Not only has the final word not come out about this malfeasance of enormous and arguably criminal proportions, hardly any word about it has.

The mainstream media has been complicitous in ignoring this cover-up and ancillary efforts to hide the truth, which is not to be confused with the rantings of so-called 9/11 Truthers but rather an effort to hide the serial negligence and incompetence that characterized the government response before, during and after the attacks.

The key elements of the cover-up are:

* That President Bush, Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice were separately warned that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the homeland but did nothing.

* That the CIA and FBI between them were aware that five of the 19 hijackers were in country but because of their historic rivalry and bureaucratic inertia failed to communicate with each other. As recently as last month, the spy agency was demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former Arabic-speaking FBI agent who argues that it missed a chance to derail the plot.

* That detailed warnings of impending attacks were received from German and Russian intelligence agencies.

* That although the 20th would-be hijacker had been arrested and FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley prepared a detailed memo outlining the eventual 9/11 scenario three weeks before the attacks, she was scolded for writing the memo and it was ignored by her superiors.

* That the military conducted secret exercises in 2000 and 2001 simulating hijackers using jetliners as weapons to crash into targets, including the World Trade Center and Pentagon, causing mass casualties, yet the White House and Pentagon feined shock when the 9/11 attacks were carried out.

* That no communications between key military and law enforcement entities after the first hijacked aircraft hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center have been made public that might show that there was time — albeit precious little time — to possibly prevent the attack on the Pentagon almost an hour later.

* That the Air Force response to the attacks was problematic in the extreme. During the 100-minute period between the first airliner crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and the last airliner crashing into a field in Western Pennsylvania, the Air Force scrambled a mere four armed fighter jets and one unarmed trainer jet.

* That the attacks created widespread confusion among air traffic controllers, who needed three days to sort out domestic and international flights.

* That air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners make a tape recording describing the events within hours of the attacks, but the tape was destroyed by supervisor before a transcript could be made or the tape could be turned over to the FBI.

* That the attacks might never have happened had the State Department denied entry into the U.S. of 15 hijackers who failed to fill out visa documents properly in Saudi Arabia.

* That despite an extraordinary forensic investigation to understand the structural failures that led to the collapse of the Twin Towers, there was no remotely comparable effort to ascertain why Al Qaeda was able to carry out the attacks.

* That a bipartisan inquiry narrowed its scope after Bush and Cheney personally intervened and pressured congressional leaders to limit the investigation for the implausible reason that it would drain sources from the war on terrorism.

* That when the congressional inquiry was completed, key findings went into the national security maw and were never made public.

* That even after being shamed into creating the 9/11 Commission by the widows of 9/11 victims, the Bush administration still withheld much of the pertinent information about the attacks.

* That the 9/11 Commission was repeatedly deceived by the Defense Department and Federal Aviation Administration, which fudged the timelines of the flights of two of the hijacked aircraft, suggesting that the agency was slow to realize what was transpiring and sound the alarm.

* That FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, who accused the bureau of deliberately curtailing its investigations, was threatened with retribution if he talked to Congress or testified before the 9/11 Commission.

* That parts of the 9/11 Commission report were redacted before publication, including a section that stated that a year before the attacks a secret Pentagon project had identified four of the hijackers.

* That major telecoms — including AT&T, MCI and Verizon — were instructed to keep secret the records of attack-related phone calls on and after 9/11 and were immunized against lawsuits with the help of Congress.

* That despite knowledge that the debris at Ground Zero was highly toxic, first responders and clean-up workers were repeatedly told by the EPA that the air was safe to breathe without respirators.

* * * * *

Absent death bed revelations, the story behind the 9/11 story is unlikely to ever come out. Administration officials who slept through their watches were not dismissed or punished, and one major official was given a commendation by the president.

That stands in marked contrast to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

No fewer than 10 official inquiries were conducted after the December 7, 1941 attack. All concluded that Japanese intentions and capabilities had been underestimated, key Army and Navy officials were incompetent, there was a lack of adequate manpower for intelligence, excessive secrecy and unclear divisions of responsibility between the Army and Navy. A Navy vice admiral and Army lieutenant general were forced into retirement.

* * * * *

While hindsight provides a clarity that is not always present beforehand, it was no secret among intelligence agencies that Al Qaeda had shifted tactics and was planning attacks on the homeland.

President Clinton was warned of that possibility in 1998 after the attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa and President Bush himself five weeks before 9/11. The White House spun the Bush warning by stating that nobody in the White House or intelligence community had “specific information” about a possible hijacking plot, which was a lie.

The spinning went into high gear in the days after the attacks as senior administration warned that suicide bombers would next strike the homeland, and the White House astutely drowned out the revelation of Rowley’s memo by abruptly announcing creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Before the Bush administration, there had been no precedent in the last five decades for an administration that was so determinedly disinterested in getting to the bottom of a major disaster.

By contrast, the Warren Commission was formed seven days after President Kennedy was assassinated and investigative groups were quickly empaneled after the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.

* * * * *

Like Pearl Harbor, there has been no end of 9/11 conspiracy theories, chief among them that Bush administration officials knew of the attacks in advance and permitted them to proceed.

The mainstream media has treated these theories with bafflement and amusement, nor do I take them seriously. But that does not forgive the news media’s uncuriousness concerning why so little of substance about key events in the months before the attacks and the response to the attacks themselves has been reported on. In this the news media has a willing helpmate — a public that wants to move on and not look back and, in fact, lost interest in the War on Terror within weeks of 9/11.

Ten years on, American is less vulnerable. Osama bin Laden had been denied his caliphate long before his assassination in May, but Al Qaeda remains a dangerous if diminished force, witness the recent string of bombings in Iraq. Pundits declared that Bin Laden’s death finally brought closure to the families of the 3,000 9/11 victims and the U.S. as a whole, but because of the continuing government cover-up and the news media’s complicity in it, that is a convenient if tragic fiction.

SOURCES: ABC News, The Associated Press, BBC News, Chicago Tribune, CNN, CBS News, Fox News, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, New York Times, 9/11 Commission Report, Salon, Slate, Time, USA Today, Vanity Fair, Washington Post.

Click here to go to Kiko’s House for additional 9/11 anniversary coverage.

Shaun Mullen
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • Allen

    I watched the Bush interview the other night. I don’t think Bush really had a clue about what to do when told: “The United States is under attack”.

    The “I don’t want to upset the kids” explanation don’t cut it. An explanation like that would get any military officer a court’s marital. Then he just got up and left anyway after several minutes of that dufus look on his face.

    Then that slllllooooowww realization manifestation materializing upon his face as he, (so he said): “saw the media people behind the camera getting excited apparently about the info they were just getting that I had already received”…and bingo the lights came on…`merica under attack…oh lordy….! Never did make it up to those kids did he? The whole story he told about concern for the kids was BS.

    In the end, this whole thing is the Republican Party’s fault. It all started with Nixon/Ford and their over emphasizing “containment” of the Soviet Union by screwing up Iran with their massive military support for the Shah, while not stressing civil rights as any form of condition for our generosity. Nope, can’t have any of that liberal stuff making negotiations difficult. No sir, war first, people last.

    Then arming and supporting Saddam Hussein as he used chemical weapons against the Iranians defending against the U.S. Supported Iraqi invasion of Iran, (no wonder they hate us). Then using chemical weapons against his Own people! Not to mention sending an anti-ship missile into the U.S.S Stark, killing Americans! Yep, them Republicans have a STRANGE type of patriotism and an even STRANGER sense of right and wrong. Could this be…evil..? I mean really now….how many dead has all this caused to date? Whoa and the COST!

    Then yet again with Reagan/Bush by arming bands of ideological Arabs that came from abroad for “jihad” against the Soviets in Afghanistan, rather than just the Afghans fighting for freedom. Nope not a clue, not the Republicans anyway.

    Nearly had the same problem just south of or boarders in Nicaragua with the Iran-Contra slaughter fest that Reagan/Bush caused in central American countries. Nuns and Priests being slaughtered by Reagan supported right wing paramilitary. Only God knows how many innocent died in the name of Republican gall.

    All this military adventurism wasting our money and destroying our national credibility around the world is rooted within the brain dead, slow to learn, Republican political Philosophy. The John Wayne syndrome. Which now seems to be centered dead in the middle of the Tea Party contagion. One can only pray and complain and that is exactly what I’m doing.

  • EEllis

    That President Bush, Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice were separately warned that Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the homeland but did nothing.

    Since Al Qaeda had already attacked before and nothing changed the fact that they would try again means nothing and without more evidence there is little that could be done. Of course you could be referring to the fact that the White House was informed that Al Qaeda might try to hijack American planes. Administration officials did issue a private warning to transportation departments and national security agencies weeks before the attacks. Of course the threat was general in nature, did not mention a specific time or place and was similar to the variety of different terrorist threats of which the Government gets hundreds of every year. So no you don’t want to go brag about it but the country wouldn’t of allowed a “code red” every time there was a general threat. even post 9/11 people whine like crazy about airport screening. Also the one main fact left out was that warning was that “a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.” I see nothing about flying planes into buildings.

    That the CIA and FBI between them were aware that five of the 19 hijackers were in country but because of their historic rivalry and bureaucratic inertia failed to communicate with each other. As recently as last month, the spy agency was demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former Arabic-speaking FBI agent who argues that it missed a chance to derail the plot.

    Lots of people knew they were in the US. Unless you are specifically saying they knew those 5 were in the US for a terrorist attack it means nothing just sounds like it might. Example the FBI got a tip about Moussaoui from a flight school. Not that BS about how he didn’t need to know how to land. Thats just mad up crap. He did tell the school that he wanted to learn to fly but didn’t need a pilots license. Anyway the FBI investigated and an agent asked for a search warrant for Moussaoui’s computer. Attorneys at FBI headquarters turned down the request on Aug 21. Sure they “knew” or you can say they should of but there still is that pesky thing of probable cause.

    That although the 20th would-be hijacker had been arrested and FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley prepared a detailed memo outlining the eventual 9/11 scenario three weeks before the attacks, she was scolded for writing the memo and it was ignored by her superiors.

    Come on get the facts right. Three weeks before 9/11 Moussaoui was arrested and the FBI screwed up the case. Rowley wrote a paper after saying how bad the FBI screwed up leading to changes in how they do things today. That isn’t evidence of a cover up but of learning from a mistake.

    That FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, who accused the bureau of deliberately curtailing its investigations, was threatened with retribution if he talked to Congress or testified before the 9/11 Commission.

    Great Robert Wright was having a big fight with his bosses in the FBI. To bad everyone leaves out that it started before Bush was elected. He (Wright) headed up a asset forfeiture team targeting terrorists that was shut down in 1999 and Wright had hired lawyers and wrote a book long before Bush came to town. So while the FBI may not be looking good who else would care?

    I don’t feel like wasting my time with the rest. It blows my mind that you got the facts so wrong with Rowley and how little most of the other crap relay matters when placed in perspective. It’s just sad.

  • Allen


    Yeah Bush’s bunch had been warned again and again in security report briefs after George W Bush was sworn in. They choose to ignore it. Probably because Bush, for one, didn’t know what he should do about it. Cheney certainly did. So there you have it. Then there is Rumsfeld, a long time Washington insider. He had to of know what to do about it.

    So he lied: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rRqeJcuK-A

  • ShannonLeee

    Funny how the Bush Admin’s decision, pushed by AG Ashcroft, to focus away from terrorism and back to the “war on drugs” is never mentioned in these articles.

    Personally, I feel that every mistake made by the Bush Admin before 911 was more a symptom of that decision. They were warned numerous times. The war of drugs was more important to them.

  • But then the administration changed hands, the cover-up was exposed, and the criminals prosecuted.

    Whoops, sorry, wrong fairly tale.

  • JSpencer

    We live in the era of non-accountability – that is, unless you’re an average middle class citizen, in which case you’d damn well better watch your back. The movers and shakers have more and more immunity, which means there will be no changes for the better any time soon. Welcome to neo-amerika, which is mostly the legacy of republican “governing”, although we can certainly blame democrats for their spineless acquiescence. 9-11 was a turning point for this country; the terror attack was bad enough, but the reaction from the administration in power tore this country apart and started it’s downward slide. In that sense, the terrorists were enabled. AFAIC, Bush/Cheney represents the worst governing body in modern American history – bar none. Where we go from here? A Perry/Palin ticket maybe?

  • ShannonLeee

    Presidents cover for previous Presidents to ensure their protection in the future.

    It is kind of like a Don can’t kill a Don… or you can’t become a Don if you kill the current Don.

  • dduck

    No conspiracy, just usual governmental inefficiency and confusion during major disasters.
    Blame Game II.

  • merkin

    I don’t think that this was as much a criminal conspiracy as it was bureaucratic cover their a$$.

    The Bush administration was terrified they would be blamed for the disaster. Certainly there was an element of projection here. Who believes the Republicans would have not taken the opportunity to make political attacks had the Democrats still been in the White House? Remember the Republicans, including Bush, had attacked Clinton for his cruise missile attacks on Al Qeada

    You could write a book on how Republican projection, fear the Democrats will behave like the Republicans would in the same situation if the roles were reversed, spawns some of the country’s major disasters. You can’t help but feel that the Republicans aggressive attitude toward the current administration was due at least in part to an ‘attack is the best defense’ strategy assuming the administration would blame Republicans for the financial collapse and subsequent recession, including massive Congressional hearings and criminal indictments. That is what they would have done.

    (Of course, that would only be a chapter in the book. The rest of it would be about the Republicans self-delusion, how the Republicans coming to believe their own false talking points repeated over the years ultimately lead them and the country to disaster. How believing that Chicago machine politics stole the 1960 election from Nixon eventually spawned Watergate. How a semantic oddity, liberal media referring to one not controlled by government not to a political bias, lead to the building of the large conservative propaganda machine we have today, whose job is to generate spin and lies to obscure facts in support of conservative positions, lies about liberal political bias lead to actual, intentional conservative media bias. But as always, I digress from the point.)

    If you can blame the Bush administration for anything it would be for shifting the focus of the government from NGO led terrorism like Al Qeada to state sponsored terrorism like that they thought was coming from Iraq. Ironically they saw the Clinton administration’s obsession with Al Qeada standing in the way of a much needed invasion of Iraq.

  • davidpsummers

    It may not be supporting the main “truther” meme, but this is, in the end, another conspiracy theory. If you read through it the list of those involved includes the media, the Administration (both Bush and Obama, since the latter would have access to the “secret” and could have released it), and Congress (again, both Democrat and Republican contorted), all working together for nefarious purpose.

  • EEllis

    Well when you have a choice of trying to look good and trying to look bad who would try to look bad? As unusual the truth is prob somewhere between the two extremes. But the idea that there is some massive coverup……… it’s childish. Sure there were mistakes and I don’t think anyone could say there weren’t but expecting or requiring no mistakes is idiotic. That and in this particular article these gotcha! examples are garbage for the most part. Some are just wrong and others don’t show what they are supposed to.

    It’s easy to say after the fact that someone should done x y or z but the truth is they were and did try to do what they thought best. There was increased activity against Al Queida it just appears that the general belief held it that overseas attacks were most likely. There isn’t any need for a cover up. This is just life. Can we do better, sure, but sometimes the BG will get their shots in.

  • dduck

    LOL at this: “Well when you have a choice of trying to look good and trying to look bad who would try to look bad?”
    I think Obama manages to do that some times as do most politicians from time to time. The problem is when you TRY to look good it is vanity or hubris and thus often backfires.
    (Thank goodness no one here at TMV is so shallow as to try and look good.)

  • Bub Snikt

    There’s no cover up here, just an utter lack of accountability. Some of you think that’s a good thing to have in government, depending whenever your tribe is in power.

    And Shaun of course could lay almost every single accusation at Obama’s feet as well, but won’t do that. When Bush policies are enshrined and extended by Democrats, it’s still Bush’s fault.

    You and Logan deserve each other.

  • dduck

    LOL: “When Bush policies are enshrined and extended by Democrats, it’s still Bush’s fault.”

  • ShannonLeee

    “You and Logan deserve each other.”

    Now that is funny.

  • rudi

    The 9-11 and Pearl Harbor were beyond anyone’s ability to prevent. Part of our strength, and at the same time a weakness, is our geographical isolation from the rest of the world. It give us a false security. Another problem is we think no one would attack the US superpower.

    The bigger problem is the over reaction to 9-11. We renewed the Patriot Act. Obama’s administration continues to attack civil liberties to avoid the curse of Democrats being weak on the military and law enforcement front. We continue to pat down granny at the airport…

  • Allen

    In a Wolf Blitzer interview, Dick Cheney just said: “We had no choice but to spend a lot”….

    Well, you fight a band of terrorist criminals with the president you have…not the president you want.

  • I object to the title of this article.

    “Cover-up” means to sweep under the rug.

    Actually, most of this stuff is known and has been known for close to 10 years, and at least since the Commission released it’s report and the rebuttals started.

    What we do have here is an avoidance of accountability and honesty.

    Equally bad, of course, but I’d prefer an accurate title.

  • dduck

    Inaccurate titles draw the most flies.

  • D.R. WELCH

    I happened to have just left the Frankfort Airport in Germany in the mid-eighties when terrorist blew the front off of it. When they started blowing up embassies in Africa I my friends and I discussed the potential for Terrorism here on a large-scale. We couldn’t believe it would happen here.

    Sadly, the people in charge of our safety felt the same way.

    In the aftermath of the bombing I saw Germany react in much the same way we did after 2001. My wife and I used to love going over to watch the barges lock through the dam (old married couple’s submarine races). Now there are 10 foot high barbed wire fences around the locks. It is hard not to see that fence and wonder if the terrorist won.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    thank you D.R. that is such a poignant vignette from your life. I appreciate your sharing it, for it is meaningful in more ways than one at this time, this time of remembering freshly again. And again.

  • dduck

    dr.e, question, are we better off remembering or forgetting an event like this, or is each individual different? I read that 10 years after Pearl Harbor, there was little notice of the event. Living in Manhattan, I tend to try and forget, (but I’ve always been that way about negative things). Just musing.

  • Ras

    Hi Dr E.
    Don,t know if this is proper but I asked for help from a friend who is very accurate and always well up on the political arena, so I emailed him and here is his response..also hope that Shaun is still reading this post because this guy is as well informed as you are going to get: ____________________________________________

    bodyIndisputable facts come to mind regarding the CYA complicity of the bush admin with the 9/11 eventsn.

    The bush family were thick-as-thieves with the Saudis and 19 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The bushies had many business dealings with them including junior and Salem bin laden(usama’s brother) being business partners in a joint oil venture.

    The bushies and saudis were investigated for “largest bank fraud in world financial history” in 1980:


    and junior was quite spurious in the way he had the FBI spirit usama’s family out of the country immediately after the attack:


    Also take into effect that cheney and rumsfeldt were instrumental power players when reagan and the CIA secretly sent billions of dollars of military aid to (their good friend) usama’s mujahedeen in Afghanistan in a US-supported jihad against the Soviet Union.


    It is completely understandable why little bush did little within his powers to follow through on the pre-9/11 warnings of the potential dangers and threats of bin laden.

    Although it is probably not correct to say it was all neatly planned, what is in all probability true is that 9/11 was seen as an opportunity and used as an excuse to get a neocon foothold into Middle-East oil by way of declaring war on hussein’s Iraq.


  • dduck

    Ras, you should probably consult a few more doctors.