Here's the news that made many people in the
Eastern Time Zone heave up their breakfasts at 8:31 this morning: President
Bush introduced Porter Goss as the new CIA director.
Bush called Goss a "reformer." The two of them
ought to be toast.
How fitting that this is the same House Intelligence chairman
Porter Goss who was having breakfast in D.C. on 9-11 with Pakistan's security
chief, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad—who was later revealed to be
hijacker Mohammed Atta's bagman.
The Washington Post's Rich Leiby mentioned the breakfast
as a cheery aside in a May 18, 2002, puff profile of Goss. Florida senator
Bob Graham was also munching with Mahmoud, as the Post and others, including
the Asia Times have reported. But why didn't the Post mention the chowdown
in its first lengthy stories this morning?
Digest this: The two Floridians wound up running the joint
congressional inquiry into 9-11 in their roles as chairmen of the House and
Senate Intelligence committees. Not a word of the breakfast appears in Goss-Graham
858-page report. No one's saying that Goss and Graham are necessarily hiding
any big thing. But the breakfast, in retrospect, is at least somewhat embarrassing.
And is it really such a worthless fact that it merited no mention at all?
And chew on another factoid: This is the same Porter Goss
who stood up on the floor of the U.S. House on October 9, 2002, during the
crucial debate about whether to authorize Bush to go to war against Iraq,
and said, according to the Congressional Record, that the 9-11 attack "was
delivered by depraved men."
Two quick questions: Was the Pakistani general too depraved
to have another cinnamon roll that morning? Or was he just full?
Goss also said on October 9, 2002:
Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and their radical ilk
are at the epicenter of terrorist activity in the Middle East. Nobody doubts
that. It is not debatable. President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and others
have made convincing cases about the threats the despotic Iraqi regime poses
to world peace and stability today—today as well as tomorrow.
And he added:
Iraq has expanded its weapons of mass destruction capabilities
against its pledge not to. It still has deadly chemical weapons hidden throughout
the country, and it has tried to develop nuclear devices as well. It is certain
that Iraq has ties to many Islamic terror groups in the region, including
Al Qaeda. Evidence supports Iraq's involvement in the first and probably the
second World Trade Center bombing.
So, let's see: Goss, a former CIA agent, ignored studying
something that did happen—his breakfast with the bagman of a 9-11 hijacker—while
strongly pushing for a war based on a "threat" to our security that
Sure, let's make him CIA director. What the hell. He's been
an effective stonewaller and excuse-maker ever since 9-11.
"No smoking gun," he said in 2002, when the Goss-Graham
report was released.
It's "not about blame," he said in 2003. Here's
his full quote from that rare public hearing of his House panel on 9-11 investigations,
as reported by PBS at the time: "None of remarks we're talking about,
nor any of history, and this certainly carries over to the 9-11 review, it's
not about blame. This is about better protecting the United States of America
in the world as it is today."
Keep this in mind: Since 9-11, various probes have found
that the hijackers and other Al Qaeda operatives were constantly coming and
going through Pakistan before the fateful day.
In the Goss-Graham report, you'll find Pakistan all over
the 858 pages, but not a crumb from the 9-11 breakfast. What was talked about?
Why was Pakistan's version of a CIA-FBI director in D.C. at that time? Who
knew what? And when?
At the time of the attacks, the U.S. had a complex and rocky
relationship with Pakistan. During the Reagan era, the U.S. helped finance
and arm Arab militants so they could drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
It's common knowledge that neighboring Pakistan was the base for those militants.
And the agency Ahmad ran, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was often on
friendly terms with the Taliban and other Arab militants but on shaky terms
with the U.S.
Judge for yourself who's smoking what by going to the Center
for Cooperative Research's unparalleled website of heavily annotated 9-11
timelines and essays. Search "Goss" and see what comes up.
The best analysis of this naggingly curious breakfast is
perhaps this piece by Michel Chossudovsky, director of the Centre for Research
on Globalization, a Canadian outfit that boldly goes where most other probers
It's more interesting than the congressional report
produced by Goss and Graham. Or is it? Would you like an after-meal