Monday, Cheney responded to counter-terrorism czar Dick Clarke’s statements that Cheney and Bush dropped the ball on 9/11 by saying:
You know, Dick Clarke. Dick Clarke, who was the head of the counter-terrorism program in the run-up to 9/11. He obviously missed it. The fact is that we did what we felt we had to do, and if I had to do it all over again, I would do exactly the same thing.
This is, of course, patently ridiculous, as Cheney ignored Richard Clarke’s many “hair on fire” warnings about an Al Qaeda attack.
But there’s a more interesting issue.
Remember, Cheney was apparently in charge of ALL of the many war games being conducted on 9/11 and coordinated the government’s “response” to the attacks. See this Department of State announcement; this CNN article; and this previously-cited essay.
A retired 27-year CIA analyst who prepared and presented Presidential Daily Briefs and served as a high-level analyst for several presidents stated that the Pentagon is a heavily-defended building, with defensive weapons on the roof. This matches a Pentagon employee’s statement that she was told “you are now standing in one of the most secure building in all of the United States”.
And a former air traffic controller, who knows the flight corridor which the two planes which hit the Twin Towers flew “like the back of my hand”, and who handled two actual hijackings, says that that planes can be tracked on radar even when their transponders are turned off, and that Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon tracked three of the four flights from the point of their hijacking to hitting their targets (see this).
Indeed, the Secretary of Transportation – Norm Minetta – testified to the 9/11 Commission that:
“During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President … the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!?”
Why did Cheney watch the plane approach from many miles away but say “the orders still stand”, when such orders led to the plane not being intercepted?
So when Cheney says “we did what we felt we had to do, and if I had to do it all over again, I would do exactly the same thing”, what, exactly, is he talking about? Letting a hijacked plane slam into the Pentagon?