Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bush Lies, Again (Surprise, Surprise)

Via the LA Times, and Ezra Klein we get another whopper from our would-be King George.

In his radio address Saturday, Bush said two of the hijackers who helped fly a jet into the Pentagon -- Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar -- had communicated with suspected Al Qaeda members overseas while they were living in the U.S.

"But we didn't know they were here until it was too late," Bush said. "The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after Sept. 11 helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities."

But some current and former high-ranking U.S. counter-terrorism officials say that the still-classified details of the case undermine the president's rationale for the recently disclosed domestic spying program.

Indeed, a 2002 inquiry into the case by the House and Senate intelligence committees blamed interagency communication breakdowns -- not shortcomings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or any other intelligence-gathering guidelines.

See, as it turns out, the NSA had been monitoring calls between a safe house in Yemen and an apartment in San Diego rented by the hijackers. They knew at least one of the men was in the country, and communicating with suspected Al Qaeda members at that safe house. Furthermore, they knew that the safe house had been a base of operations for planning the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and to the 2000 bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole.



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