Why caused 911 to happen?

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Ace in the Hole © January 31, 2002 The Daily Brew

Enron might be getting all the press, but there is another Congressional investigation revving up that promises to be far more treacherous for the Bush Administration. Over the course of the past several weeks, heads of both the House and Senate intelligence committees have been meeting to plan a bipartisan House-Senate investigation into the events of September 11. While revelations from the Enron probe could be embarrassing to the White House, revelations concerning the terrorist attack could prove to be devastating.

Thanks to the saturation coverage by the corporate media, the public is already well versed in the basic facts likely to be uncovered in the various Enron hearings. Will anyone really be surprised to learn that Enron executives had unprecedented access to White House officials as they formulated their energy plan? Will anyone be shocked if it turns out that the energy plan was heavily tilted towards the interests of corporate energy concerns, or that it favored the unregulated markets that made energy companies rich over the public power that kept the lights on in LA, while blackouts rolled across the rest of California?

The fact is, the Enron cat is already out of the bag. The public already understands that the Bush administration was letting the crooks at Enron write federal energy policy, right up until the time they ran Enron into the ground. The public also understands that when Enron's own criminal conduct eventually caught up to it, the Bush administration realized their good friends had become toxic waste, cut their ties, and let the implosion run its course. Given what is already known, the Enron hearings aren't likely to cause any damage to the Bush administration that hasn't already happened. So why are Bush and Cheney both so eager to fight the lawsuit looming with the GAO, seeking records of their contacts with Enron?

It can't be because they perceive some political benefit. They read the polls. They understand that the American public believes they are hiding something. They know that the longer they fight to keep their records secret, the more guilty they look. They understand that in the long run, the "principle" they are pushing on the Sunday talk shows; that congressional oversight is an unwarranted intrusion into their right to make public policy unfettered by any accountability to the public, isn't going to hold water. So why is the White House so willing to take the slings and arrows for Enron, when the damage from the scandal has already been done?

Perhaps they are simply laying the groundwork for fighting off a larger scandal.

The American public remains blissfully unaware the Bush administration's policies concerning Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden just prior to September 11. Few Americans understand the organizational effort to fight Osama bin Laden and his Al Queda network that was put in place under Clinton, and how changes by the incoming Bush administration impacted that effort. At the same time, a series of very serious allegations concerning changes to these policies have been widely reported in Europe. With a few exceptions, the US corporate media has so far provided very little coverage of these reports. Hearings into these events could change that coverage dramatically.

The reports indicate that, prior to September 11, the Bush administration was eager to do business with the Taliban. Specifically, the Bush administration wanted to see an oil pipeline built across Afghanistan, unlocking the vast oil and gas reserves surrounding the Caspian Sea. In their zeal to open these reserves, reports indicate that the Bush administration impeded the ongoing FBI manhunt for Osama bin Laden, who the US had been agressively targeting in the wake of the attacks on the USS Cole. The reports further indicate that just prior to the attacks, the Taliban were given an ultimatum; the US was either going to give them a "carpet of gold, or a carpet of bombs." Shortly thereafter, the talks are said to have broken down, and the events of September 11 unfolded.

If these allegations are aired in Congressional hearings on CSPAN, the Bush administration will have a much bigger scandal on its hands than Enron. If these allegations are proven to be true, the Bush energy policy was much more than crony capitalism and a massive payback to the multi-national corporations that paid for Bush's ascension to the White House. If true, these allegations would show that Bush's energy policy led directly and predictably to the most devastating terrorist attack in history, an attack that caused billions in property damage and cost thousands of innocent Americans their lives.

So when President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, there was a lot more at stake than a corrupt company that ripped off its employees. And when Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey called for a broad and far reaching investigation, saying "We do not meet our responsibilities to the American people if we do not take an honest look at the federal government and all of its agencies and let the country know what went wrong. The best assurance that there's not another terrorist attack on the United States is not simply to hire more federal agents or spend more money. It's to take an honest look at what went wrong. Who or what failed? There's an explanation owed to the American people;" the stakes became astronomical.

In the end, the Bush administration's decision to fight the GAO ensures that the limits of Congress' power to investigate both the Enron debacle, and the events leading up to September 11, will be decided by the Supreme Court. At a minimum, this will buy the Bush administration time. It also means that the ultimate arbiters of what information, if any, the Bush administration must make public will be decided by the same five jurists who put Bush in the White House, holding that the very act of counting American ballots would have caused Bush "irreparable harm." Perhaps this Court, the Bush administration's ace in the hole, is what makes them think the fight is worth it.

The Daily Brew

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-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 02, 2002

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