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Condi's Self-Defense is as Awful as her National Defense
Robert E. Reynolds

In a Washington Post op ed, Condoleezza Rice now is asserting that the FAA and the administration were on the alert for the possibility of aircraft hijackings.

Isn't this the same Condoleezza Rice that had asserted that no one had a clue as to airplanes being hijacked and used as missles?

If this is the case, that the administration was on top of things and the airlines and the FAA and NORAD had all been alerted than how do you explain the following:

1. The failure of FAA ,NORAD, and the FBI to defend the country and the failure of NORAD to intercept even one of the planes.

2. After having been warned, as asserted by Rice, why their failure was not punished and why instead promotions and awards were given to those who failed us.

3. Why Bush and Rove did not have the same reaction as Tenet, who immediately connected al-Queda to the attacks, as reported in your own series "10 Days.."

4. Why Bush and Rove told stories about small aircraft and lousy pilots when if Rice's assertions are true, they would have to have immediately thought of hijackings. Also reported in your series.

5. Why did Bush then do nothing for a period of 30 minutes to an hour, even sitting in a classroom after he himself admits to believing we were at war.

6. Why the Secret Service did not immediately act to protect the President and remove him from the school.

7. Why as reported in your series, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld did not immediately go to their posts (respectively AF One, the WH commmand center, and the National Military Command Center)

8. As reported in your series, why were the shoot down orders not given until just before 10 a.m. almost 2 hours after the first hijackings were known.

This adminstration has a policy of changing its story as the circumstances require.

These latest assertions by Rice, and last night on 60 minutes by Hadley, raise the question of "what did they know, and when did they know it".

If as they now claim they were warning everyone in sight, how can they account for the failure to defend the country?

Don't forget that up until now they have been playing the "nobody knew this could happen" card. Tenet in your series admitted that he knew immediately that it was al-Queda. Now as part of the response to Richard Clarke they are invoking Tenet's daily briefings as proof that they were on top of things.,

Well you can't have it both ways. If they were as they now claim aware of the problem then they have to account for their failure to protect us.

The conduct of the principals and the lies that were told in the aftermath of that horrible day all point to asking the question "Did they let the hijackings happen?".

Its interesting that in your series, and subsequently in Woodward's book ":Bush at War" no one ever asked why he just sat there, why he did not immediately act. Now that Rice, Hadley, and Bartlett are all claiming they were warning everybody in sight, the question becomes even more meaningful.