I run across the occasional quote that seems particularly apt and thought I would start a page to document them.

Gerald Posner in Why America Slept, the failure to prevent 9/11, p152 concerning high level management.  Posner wrote, “”The U.S. government can only manage at the highest level a certain number of issues at one time—two or three,” Michael Sheehan, the State Department’s former coordinator for counterterrorism, told The Washington Post. “You can’t get to the principals on any other issue.  That’s in any administration.””

Donald Rumsfeld in Known and Unknown, page 389, concerning Predator.  Rumsfeld has a footnote that is consistent with what I learned while working this issue on the staff of the Congressional Joint Inquiry.  “Until 2001, UAVs had been used mainly on an experimental basis.  When they first had been ready for operations, Defense and CIA officials debated over who would control them and who would pay for their use.  In both bureaucracies, some officials were eager to avoid responsibility and preferred not to be burdened with the cost.  After 9/11…George Tenet and I began to sort out Defense-CIA joint Predator operations.  We came to an agreement over who owned and paid for the assets, where they woild operate, and who would ‘pull the trigger’ on the very few UAVs that were armed at the time.”

Donald Rumsfeld in  Known and Unknown, page 305, concerning Russia and China. Rumsfeld wrote that on assuming duties as Secretary of Defense in 2001 he “was particularly focused on our relations with two of America’s former rivals–a resurgent Russia and a strengthening China.”  That is consistent with what I learned while on the Congressional Joint Inquiry Staff from the Senior Executive Intelligence Briefs (SEIB) and Chairman Joint Chief of Staff intelligence briefings for the period Mar 1 to Sep 11, 2001.  I found that the plurality of SEIB articles concerned China and that the Chairman’s briefings typically referred to Russian military activity as unprecedented in a decade or unprecedented since the end of the Cold War.  Concerning China, specifically, on April 1, 2001 they forced an American EP-3 reconnaissance flight to violate Chinese airspace in order to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island.

Donald Rumsfeld in Known and Unknown, page 309 concerning conspiracy theories.  Rumsfeld wrote, in reference to Lyndon LaRouche, “LaRouche, of course was well-known in the United States as a political extremist and conspiracy theorist.  He inhabited the murky zone where the far left and far right wings of politics bend toward each other.”  Demonstrably, current day conspiracy theorists do meet in that infinite reach of space where extremes cohabit because that is the nature of things.

Robert Redford, Parade Magazine, Sunday April 10, 2011. (Yes, it was delivered on Saturday, April 9.)  “…whenever there is chaos, there’s ambiguity, and where there’s ambiguity, there’s fear.  And fear gets manipulated.”

Redford was speaking to Jamie Malanowski and the quote is in the author’s article, “History is Telling Us Something, Director Robert Redford tackles the tensions of post-Civi War America.”  The context is Redford’s new movie, The Conspirator, the trial of Mary Surratt and her role in the plot to assissinate President Lincoln.

There is a parallel to events of 9-11.  My assessment is that because of the ambiguity about the government’s response, the government and the administration was fearful that ambiguity would be seen as weakness or uncertainty.  Therefore, the government manipulated a story in the aftermath that was contrary to the facts of the day.  One egregious post-mortem was that of the Air Force National Guard and NORAD.  They got it wrong in their Sep 18, 2001 timeline and got it wrong again when they testified before the Commission on May 23, 2003.