Two days ago, in a post about My main reasons for being suspicious about 9/11, I wrote the following about Bush’s behavior on the morning of 9/11/2001:
Once the second plane hit, it was obvious that there was a coordinated attack. If the President was not in on the plot, then there was every reason to believe that he was a likely next target. That being the case, he should have been immediately whisked off to an undisclosed location. He should not have remained in any previously-announced location – especially any previously-announced location where his presence also endangered the lives of children, such as a school. By dawdling for almost a half hour in a classroom – which, even worse, was near an airport – Bush was, at the very least, guilty of reckless endangerment. The only way he could not be putting himself and all those children in danger would be if he knew enough about the plot to know that he personally was not a target.
Furthermore, Bush, as the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, had an obligation to turn his full attention to the attack ASAP. By not having done so, he is, at the very least, guilty of criminal negligence, if not treason.
Let me digress, for a moment, to the first day of the Iraq war in 2003. On the first day of the invasion, I heard an interview with one of the generals on the radio. The general was asked a question about the “weapons of mass destruction.” I don’t remember the general’s exact words, but his answer was something to the effect of, “oh, we’ll worry about them later.” I thought, wait a minute! If you’ve just invaded a country that really does have weapons of mass destruction, you don’t worry about them later, you worry about them immediately. Destroying them should be your top strategic priority. Thus I figured out, on the first day of the war, that the WMD excuse must have been a lie. Sure enough, later it turned out that I was right.
This example does not absolutely prove, as a universal rule, that whenever high officials who should be acting like they’re in obvious danger don’t act like they’re in danger, this necessarily and always means that they must be lying about the nature of the danger. However, when high officials who should be acting like they’re in obvious danger don’t act like they’re in danger, this is indeed good grounds for suspicion about the nature of the danger.
(For more about this and related matters, see the Emperor’s Clothes website.)
In a comment, ref1 replied with a link to a page about Bush at Booker School on Mike Williams’s “9/11 Myths” website. I hadn’t seen this particular page before, though I’ve read many, probably most, of the pages on that site.
Mike Williams suggests that there might have been legitimate reasons for the Secret Service not to move Bush out of the Booker School immediately, but to wait until they had a better idea of what was going on. He makes some good points.
Before I discuss Williams’s page in detail, I will first point out that his arguments, if correct, do absolve the Secret Service of any blatant wrongdoing, but do not absolve Bush. For example, the Secret Service might have had legitimate reasons for preferring that Bush stay exactly where he was, not even leaving the classroom until the Secret Service figured out a plan. But Bush himself, in order to do his job as President, should have insisted otherwise. Even if he didn’t leave the school, he should have insisted, at the very least, that he be allowed to leave the classroom ASAP and move to an otherwise empty room where he could be alone with people who could keep him informed about what was going on. There was clearly a national emergency in which every second counted. So, Bush should not have spent a full twenty minutes in the classroom listening to children read about a pet goat.
Anyhow, Mike Williiams first writes the following in response to some people’s perception that Bush’s slowness about leaving the school implies that not only Bush, but also at least one person in the Secret Service, knew enough about the 9/11 plot to know that Bush was not in danger:
We’re constantly told that no, 9/11 wouldn’t have required a lot of people to pull off, compartmentalisation and the “need to know” would have limited those with inside knowledge. And yet claims such as this keep adding more people to the list. Because plainly, you couldn’t simply have one or two security service personnel knowing Bush wouldn’t be attacked: it would have to be all, to avoid confusion and people speaking out. And enough of the hierarchy for them not to be disciplined about it later.
No, it would only have taken just one lackadaisical person in a position of authority to create a bottleneck that slowed everything down. Furthermore, even if Williams’s arguments further down on the page are not valid, the one lackadaisical person night nevertheless have been able to use arguments similar to Williams’s as an excuse, if questioned afterwards about the slow response.
If this were true, then the conspirators have now got another large group of people who, if any of them were to go public, could blow the whole story. Because it doesn’t matter what else they know, simply saying that they knew Bush was safe would be a serious leak.
Indeed it would be, which is why, if anyone in the Secret Service had reason to knew anything about the plot at all, then it could only have been at most a few especially highly-trusted people.
And the gain to the conspirators of letting these people know is what, exactly? How does giving the security service advance knowledge of the attack, then letting them behave in what’s claimed to be an unrealistic way, help the conspiracy at all?
Indeed, I can’t think of any good reason why anyone in the Secret Service would need to have been told anything.
So, if we can find a way to exonerate the Secret Service, then we can thereby remove a weakness from the case against Bush.
Let’s also remember that Bush was also criticised for his actions after leaving school, as he flew around the country rather than return to Washington. Are we to believe that he knew he was safe in Florida, but believed he might still be in danger afterwards? What kind of faulty foreknowledge is this?
Perhaps Bush belatedly realized that he had better start acting like he was in danger?
Perhaps there’s an alternative explanation for the actions of the security service, then. Maybe they weren’t sure where to take him, for instance. How did they know that the attackers might not be relying on Bush being moved? Perhaps there was a truck bomb waiting for Bush to be moved to the airport. Maybe there was an ambush planned there. What if Air Force One was the target? The Security Service staff at the school with Bush did not have an overview of what was going on, and as Bush was in an area that was secure on the ground, at least, then surely it’s reasonable to take time to consider where Bush should go next. And take guidance from someone who was in the loop, back at the White House.
Indeed, figuring out where Bush should go once he left town might have taken quite a bit of time.
However, if I were in charge of Bush’s Secret Service detail, I think I would have dispatched someone to contact the local police for advice on finding a good local place for Bush to go temporarily, while other people in the Secret Service continued to work on the more complicated question of where Bush should go once he left town. Finding a good temporary local destination should not have taken more than 10 or 15 minutes. And it does seem to me that getting Bush out of the school ASAP should have been considered urgent enough to justify a two-step move.
But I suppose it’s possible that the Secret Service might have had a rule like “When in doubt, stay put.” Or perhaps the Secret Service did try to find a good temporary local destination and couldn’t find one.
Williams then goes on to discuss the contrasting case of Dick Cheney, who was moved to a secure location immediately. As Williams points out, this was a simple matter of moving Cheney from one part of the White House to another, not nearly as complicated as figuring out where and how to move Bush.
In support of the idea that the Secret Service needed help figuring out where to move Bush, Williams cites a passage from Against All Enemies by Richard A Clarke, who was the man in charge of the White House Situation Room at the time.
Anyhow, I can see how it might have been most convenient, from the viewpoint of the Secret Service, for Bush not only to stay at the school but also to stay in the classroom while the Secret Service was still trying to figure out what was going on. If Bush stayed in the classroom, then no one else had to move either, and the Secret Service could focus singlemindedly on the question of where to go next. If Bush stayed in the classroom, this also meant one less person butting in on the Secret Service’s phone calls to Washington, D.C. And the Secret Service’s responsibility was only for Bush’s safety, not for making sure that Bush did his job as President.
So, I can envision the Secret Service suggesting, innocently, that Bush stay in the classroom.
The question is why Bush accepted this suggestion, rather than insisting that he be allowed to do his job, which would have required him to be in the loop ASAP.
I still think that Bush’s non-reaction is extremely suspicious.
For more about this matter, see also my earlier post about “Stand down” evidence on the “Emperor’s Clothes” site, including FAA web pages, November 3, 2007.