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THE PRESIDENT’S BEHAVIOR: WHY DID HE ACT AS HE DID?

March 28, 2018

This will take several minutes to read, but it’s worth it, for those interested.

The following is Chapter Four of David Ray Griffin’s book The New Pearl Harbor

CHAPTER FOUR:
THE PRESIDENT’S BEHAVIOR: WHY DID HE ACT AS HE DID? Disturbing questions about the official account have been raised not only by the four aircraft crashes of 9/11 but also by President Bush’s behavior on that day. Although the questions that critics have raised about that behavior are legion, I will focus on those that seem most disturbing. The president’s schedule that day called for him to visit an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, where he was to listen to students read as a “photo opportunity.” He arrived at the school shortly before 9:00 AM, at which time, according to at least one version of the official account, he was told that a plane had flown into the WTC. Since it was by then known that this plane as well as two others had been hijacked, one would assume, critics point out, that the president would also know this. Allan Wood and Paul Thompson state the problem thus:

The first media reports of Flight 11’s crash into the World Trade Center began around 8:48, two minutes after the crash happened. CNN broke into its regular programming at that time…. So within minutes, millions were aware of the story, yet Bush supposedly remained unaware for about another ten minutes.1

Critics find this difficult to believe. The members of the president s traveling staff, including the Secret Service, argues Barrie Zwicker, “have the best communications equipment in the world.” Accordingly, says Zwicker, within a minute after the first airliner hit the World Trade Center, the Secret Service and the president would have known about it.2 In fact, Thompson points out, Vice President Cheney evidently let the cat out of the bag. During his interview on “Meet the Press” on September 16, Cheney said: “The Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the World Trade Center was…”—stopping himself, Thompson adds, before finishing the sentence.3 So, the Secret Service personnel in the presidents motorcade, including the ones in his own car, would have known about the first attack on the WTC before the motorcade arrived at the school at 9:00. Indeed, it is even part of the official account that Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, learned about the first attack on the way. Having cited that story, Thompson adds: “It would make sense that Bush is told about the crash immediately and at the same time that others hear about it. Yet Bush and others claim he isn’t told until he arrives at the school.” Thompson’s implied question, of course, is that if President Bush knew about the crash before arriving at the school, why did he and others pretend otherwise? The vice presidents inadvertent revelation about the open lines between the Secret Service and the FAA creates an even greater difficulty, critics point out, for another part of the official account. Upon learning that a plane had hit the WTC, President Bush reportedly referred to the crash as a “horrible accident.”4 However, Zwicker’s complete statement, only partially summarized above, includes the point that by that time, the Secret Service and the president would have known that several airliners had been hijacked. So how could President Bush have assumed that the first crash into the WTC was an accident? Giving voice to the disturbing question raised by this story, Thompson asks: “[Are] Bush and his aides putting on a charade to pretend he doesn’t know there is a national emergency? If so, why?”5 In any case, the president was then reportedly updated on the situation via telephone by his National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, who would presumably have made sure that he knew not only about all the hijackings but also that the Director of the CIA, George Tenet, had already concluded that the hijackings were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden to carry out terrorist attacks.6 But the president reportedly told the school’s principal that “a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center and we’re going to go ahead and…do the reading thing anyway.”7 Critics find this incredible. If the hijackings were unanticipated occurrences, as claimed, with one of the hijacked airplanes having already completed its terrorist mission, the country was suffering the worst terrorist attack of its history. And yet the Commander in Chief, rather than making sure that his military was prepared to shoot down all hijacked planes, sticks to his planned schedule. The strangeness of this behavior is brought out well in a summary of the situation by Wood and Thompson:

At approximately 8:48 AM …, the first pictures of the burning World Trade Center were broadcast on live television…. By that time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the National Military Command Center, the Pentagon, the White House, the Secret Service, and Canada’s Strategic Command all knew that three commercial airplanes had been hijacked. They knew that one plane had been flown deliberately into the World Trade Center’s North Tower; a second plane was wildly off course and also heading toward Manhattan…. So why, at 9:03 AM— fifteen minutes after it was clear the United States was under terrorist attack—did President Bush sit down with a classroom of second-graders and begin a 20-minute pre-planned photo op?8

Bush’s behavior is made even more astounding by the fact that his Secret Service would have had to assume that he was one of the intended targets. Indeed, one Secret Service agent, seeing the television coverage of the crash of the second airliner into the WTC, reportedly said: “We’re out of here.”9 But if one of the agents actually said this, he was obviously overruled. At the same time, by contrast, Cheney and Rice were reportedly being rushed to bunkers under the White House.10 And yet, “For some reason, Secret Service agents [do] not hustle [Bush] away,” comments the Globe and Mail ‘‘Why doesn’t this happen to Bush at the same time?” Thompson asks. “Why doesn’t the Secret Service move Bush away from his known location?”11 The reason for pressing this question is that, as Wood and Thompson point out: “Hijackers could have crashed a plane into Bush’s publicized location and his security would have been completely helpless to stop it.”12 This apparently unconcerned behavior, critics point out, continued for almost an hour. The intelligence expert James Bamford has written:

[H]aving just been told that the country was under attack, the Commander in Chief appeared uninterested in further details. He never asked if there had been any additional threats, where the attacks were coming from, how to best protect me country from further attacks…. Instead, in the middle of a modern-day Pearl Harbor, he simply turned back to the matter at hand: the day’s photo op.13

This photo opportunity involved, as indicated above, the president’s listening to second graders read a book about a pet goat. After Bush had been in the classroom a few minutes, his chief of staff, Andrew Card came in and whispered in his ear, reportedly telling him about the second attack. But the president, after a brief pause, had the children go ahead with the reading demonstration. To emphasize the strangeness of this behavior, Bamford adds this reflection:

As President Bush continued with his reading lesson, life within the burning towers of the World Trade Center was becoming ever more desperate…. Within minutes, people began jumping, preferring a quick death to burning alive or suffocating.14

While this was going on, the president was listening to the students read: “The-Pet-Goat. A-girl-got-a-pet-goat. But -the-goat-did some-things -that -made -the-girls -dad -mad.” After listening to this for several minutes, President Bush made a joke, saying: “Really good readers, whew! These must be sixth graders!”15 Another person who has found the contrast between the presidents behavior and what was happening in New York troubling is Lorie van Auken, whose husband was one of the victims of the attacks on the towers. Having obtained the video of the president’s session with the children, she watched it over and over, saying later: “I couldn’t stop watching the president sitting there, listening to second graders, while my husband was burning in a building.” Also, noting that the president had just been told by an advisor that the country was under attack, she wondered how the president could make a joke.16 Besides joking, the president lingered, not at all acting like a commander in chief with an emergency on his hands. Indeed, according to a book called Fighting Back by the White House correspondent for the Washington Times, Bill Sammon—a book that presents the White House perspective on most issues and generally provides an extremely sympathetic account of the president17 —Bush was “openly stretching out the moment.” When the lesson was over, according to Sammon’s account, Bush said:

Hoo! These are great readers. Very impressive! Thank you all so much for showing me your reading skills. I bet they practice too. Don’t you? Reading more than they watch TV? Anybody do that? Read more than you watch TV? [Hands go up] Oh that’s great! Very good. Very important to practice! Thanks for having me. Very impressed.18

Bush then continued to talk, advising the children to stay in school and be good citizens. And in response to a question, he talked about his education policy.” Sammon describes Bush as smiling and chatting with the children “as if he didn’t have a care in the world” and “in the most relaxed manner imaginable.” After a reporter asked if the president had heard about what had happened in New York, Bush said, “I’ll talk about it later,” then, in Sammons words, “stepped forward and shook hands with [the classroom teacher] Daniels, slipping his left hand behind her in another photo-op pose. He was taking his good old time…. Bush lingered until the press was gone.” Sammon, in fact, refers to the president as “the dawdler in chief.”20 Amazingly, perhaps stung by the criticisms of the president’s behavior, the White House put out a different account a year later. Andrew Card, Bush’s chief of staff, was quoted as saying that after he told the president about the second attack on the World Trade Center, Bush “excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students” and left the classroom within “a matter of seconds.”21 In an alternative wording of the new story, Card said, “Not that many seconds later the president excused himself from the classroom.”22 Apparently, say critics, the White House was so confident that none of its lies about 9/11 would be challenged by the media that it felt safe telling this one even though it is flatly contradicted by Sammons pro-Bush book and by the video tape produced that day, which, as Wood and Thompson put it, “shows these statements are lies—unless ‘a matter of seconds’ means over 700 seconds!”23 In any case, back to real history, the president finally left the classroom at 9:16 to meet with his advisors, reportedly to prepare his television address to the nation, which he delivered at 9:29. Thompson comments: “The talk occurs at exactly the time and place stated in his publicly announced advance schedule—making Bush a possible terrorist target.”24 And not only Bush. When Andrew Card and Karl Rove were later asked why the president had not left the classroom as soon as he had word of the second attack, their answer, Wood and Thompson point out, was that he did not want to upset the children. But, they ask, “why didn’t Bush’s concern for the children extend to not making them and the rest of the 200 or so people at the school terrorist targets?”25 Might the answer be that Bush knew that there was really no danger? In any case, the president and his people then went in their scheduled motorcade on their scheduled route to the airport, during which they reportedly learned that the Pentagon had been struck and also heard that the president’s plane, Air Force One, was a terrorist target. Nevertheless no military escort was ordered. “Amazingly,” says Thompson, “his plane takes off without any fighters protecting it,”26 This seems especially surprising given the feet that there were still over 3,000 planes in the air over the United States and there was no way to know at that time how many airlines had been hijacked. For example, about an hour later, Thompson reports, the FAA had said that there were six missing aircraft— a figure that Cheney subsequently mentioned—and at one time eleven flights were suspected of having been hijacked.27 According to Karl Rove, furthermore, the Secret Service had learned of “a specific threat made to Air Force One.”28 So, why had fighter jets not been ordered from one of the two nearby military bases, which have fighters on 24-hour alert?29 The strangeness of the president’s behavior, given the apparent circumstances, has not gone unnoticed by family members of the victims of the attacks of 9/11. For example, Kristen Breitweiser, whose question about how a plane could have struck the Pentagon was quoted earlier, also said:

It was clear that we were under attack. Why didn’t the Secret Service whisk him out of that school? He was on live local television in Florida. The terrorists, you know, had been in Florida…. I want to know why he sat there for 25 minutes.30

Much attention at the time was given to the fact that once Air Force One became airborne at 9:55, President Bush remained away from Washington for a long time, perhaps, speculated some commentators, out of fear. Indeed, some reporters who criticized the president on that score lost their jobs31 —which may account for why the White House could later be confident that the news media would not challenge any of its fabrications. In any case, the real question, the critics suggest, is why there was apparently no fear during the first hour. The implied question is, of course, a disturbing one: Did the president and at least the head of his Secret Service detail know that he was not a target? The idea that the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the attacks is further suggested by a statement later made by Bush himself: “I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in,” he claimed, “and I saw an airplane hit the tower—the TV was obviously on, and I used to fly myself, and I said, There’s one terrible pilot.”32 Given the fact that according to the official story, Bush did not have access to a television set until at least 15 minutes later,33 this statement raised questions. An article in the Boston Herald said:

Think about that. Bush’s remark implies he saw the first plane hit the tower. But we all know that video of the first plane hitting did not surface until the next day. Could Bush have meant he saw the second plane hit—which many Americans witnessed? No, because he said that he was in the classroom when Card whispered in his ear that a second plane hit.

Pointing out that Bush had told this story several times, the writer asked: “How could the Commander-in-chief have seen the plane fly into the first building—as it happened?”34 This is an excellent question. But it is simply one of many excellent questions mat have been raised by individual reporters and then allowed to die by the rest of the news media. They have not pressed for an answer. Thierry Meyssan, however, has suggested a possible answer. Pointing out that “according to his own declaration, the President of the United States saw pictures of the first crash before the second had taken place,” Meyssan emphasizes the fact that the pictures reportedly seen by Bush could not have been “those accidentally filmed by French documentary-makers Jules and Gedeon Naudet,” because “their video was not released until thirteen hours later.” On the morning of 9/11, therefore, Bush could not have seen the pictures of the first crash that we have all seen time and time again. Therefore, Meyssan suggests, the pictures must have been secret images transmitted to him without delay in the secure communications room that was installed in the elementary school in preparation for his visit. But if the US intelligence services could have filmed the first attack, that means they must have been informed beforehand.35 Meyssan’s suggestion, in other words, is that although the president did not see the plane fly into the first building “as it happened,” he did see it, as he claimed, before he went into the classroom. According to critics of the official account, in sum, the behaviour of President Bush on 9/11 reinforces the conclusion, inferable from the fate of the four crashed airliners, that government and military officials at the highest level had advance knowledge of, and conspired to allow; the traumatic events of that day.36 With regard to our list of possible views, furthermore, the critical account of the president’s behaviour seems to eliminate the first five possible views, according to which the White House had no expectation of any attacks. The behavior of President Bush and his Secret Service seems to imply at least the sixth view, according to which the White House expected some sort of arracks. Furthemore, if we accept Meyssan’s conjecture about Bush’s statement that he saw the first WTC crash on television before entering the classroom, the seventh view—according to which the White House had foreknowledge of the targets and the timing of the attacks—is suggested. That view is also suggested by the evidence that President Bush and his Secret Service seemed to know that they would not be targets of the attack.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2018 10:25 am

    Reblogged this on Boudica2015.

    Like

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