Tom Tomorrow on the October Surprise:
Today, the phrase October Surprise has come to mean something which is sprung upon the public in the waning days of the campaign–the surprise capture of Osama, a last minute presidential visit to Baghdad, that sort of thing. But–to quote Saint-Exupery completely out of context–sometimes the thing that is important is the thing that is not seen. An October Surprise could have just as much to do with what they try to keep from us as what they try to shove in our faces.
Tom could not have been more right if he had bugged Karl Rove’s truss. Robert Scheer has tracked down what they are trying to keep from us.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general’s office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
“It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed,” an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that “the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren’t interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward.”
According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been “stalled.” First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.
The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.
“What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that,” said the intelligence official. “The report found very senior-level officials responsible.”
By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.
“The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after the election,” the official continued. “No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress.”
In September, the New York Times reported that several family members met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector general’s report. “Three thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held accountable,” 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.
The stonewalling by the Bush administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the report have, said the intelligence source, “led the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with impunity. Unless the public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA’s leadership will have won and the nation will have lost.”