Remember how the Bush League cherry-picked intelligence reports to make it seem there was ironclad proof of WMDs in Iraq? It seems they're at it again....
The White House late Wednesday released a copy of a dental evaluation Bush had at Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery on Jan. 6, 1973, which Bush's spokesman said documented that the president had served in Alabama as required.
The White House obtained the dental record, along with other medical records it did not release, from the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver, spokesman Scott McClellan said.
The inch-tall stack of medical documents has been the subject of debate within the White House, where staff members have pored over the records while wrestling with how much to release to the public — and which contents inside the file would clear up lingering questions.
Citing federal case law, the department said in a brief that "there is no federal common law" protecting physician-patient privilege. In light of "modern medical practice" and the growth of third-party insurers, it said, "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."
In that case, all I can say about the President's records is "Bring 'em on!" For that matter, why not release all of the President's military records, as John McCain did in 2000 to disprove a Bush campaign smear?
But forget what Bush may be hiding about the performance of his military duties in the seventies. What is he hiding about the performance of his Presidential duties from 2001 to the present?
In a chilling article published by the New York Observer, Gail Sheehy writes that 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow screens the evidence and witnesses that are seen by the commissioners. Incredibly, the commission was unaware of the story of Amy Sweeney. The flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 has been publicly honored by the state of Massachusetts and the FBI for her bravery; her in-flight phone call not only alerted American Airlines that a hijacking was in progress, it enabled them to identify three of the hijackers.
"Amy, this is Michael Woodward." The American Airlines flight service manager had been friends with Sweeney for a decade, so he didn’t have to waste any time verifying that this wasn’t a hoax. "Michael, this plane has been hijacked," Ms. Sweeney repeated. Calmly, she gave him the seat locations of three of the hijackers: 9D, 9G and 10B. She said they were all of Middle Eastern descent, and one spoke English very well.
Mr. Woodward ordered a colleague to punch up those seat locations on the computer. At least 20 minutes before the plane crashed, the airline had the names, addresses, phone numbers and credit cards of three of the five hijackers. They knew that 9G was Abdulaziz al-Omari, 10B was Satam al-Suqami, and 9D was Mohamed Atta—the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorists.
"The nightmare began before the first plane crashed," said Mike Sweeney, "because once my wife gave the seat numbers of the hijackers and Michael Woodward pulled up the passenger information, Mohamed Atta’s name was out there. They had to know what they were up against."
The commission did not learn about this in their January hearing on aviation security because Zelikow--a former Bush advisor--screened it from them, apparently along with a lot of other information about what the authorities knew and when they knew it.
What her husband wants to know is this: "When and how was this information about the hijackers used? Were Amy’s last moments put to the best use to protect and save others?"
"We know what she said from notes, and the government has them," said Mary Schiavo, the formidable former Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, whose nickname among aviation officials was "Scary Mary." Ms. Schiavo sat in on the commission’s hearing on aviation security on 9/11 and was disgusted by what it left out. "In any other situation, it would be unthinkable to withhold investigative material from an independent commission," she told this writer. "There are usually grave consequences. But the commission is clearly not talking to everybody or not telling us everything."
The article also reveals that authorities heard one of the hijackers "clearly threatening" the pilot, who was surreptitiously keying his microphone.. They also heard the hijackers saying "We have more planes. We have other planes."
Sheehy presents quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that United Flight 93, the plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field, may have been shot down by F-16s, not wrestled to the ground by a passenger uprising as has been reported.
Melody Homer, the wife of Flight 93’s first officer, was at home in Marlton, N.J., the morning of Sept. 11 with their 10-month-old child. Within minutes of seeing the second plane turn into a fireball, Ms. Homer called the Flight Operations Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which keeps track of all New York–based pilots. She was told that her husband’s flight was fine.
"Whether or not my husband’s plane was shot down," the widowed Mrs. Homer said, "the most angering part is reading about how the President handled this."
Mr. Bush was notified 14 minutes after the first attack, at 9 a.m., when he arrived at an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla. He went into a private room and spoke by phone with his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and glanced at a TV in the room. Mrs. Homer’s soft voice curdles when she describes his reaction: "I can’t get over what Bush said when he was called about the first plane hitting the tower: ‘That’s some bad pilot.’ Why did people on the street assume right away it was a terrorist hijacking, but our President didn’t know? Why did it take so long to ground all civilian aircraft? In the time between when my husband’s plane took off [at 8:41 a.m.] and when the second plane hit in New York [9:02 a.m.], they could have turned back to airfield."
Melody LeRoy later learned from a member of the Air Force who worked with her husband that "a couple of weeks before the incident, they were all sitting around and talking about the intelligence that was filtering through the military that something big was going to happen. For all of this to get ignored," she said as she swallowed a sob, "it’s difficult to excuse that."
What is Bush's response to all of this? Stonewalling. He initially resisted any inquiry into the tragedy but the administration's own. According to Tom Daschle, Bush and Cheney repeatedly urged him in 2002 not to investigate the attack at all. After finally bowing to pressure and appointing the 9/11 commission to follow up on the Congressional inquiry he had tried to subvert, he has fought to keep information from them at every turn--refusing, for example, to give them access to the infamous Presidential Daily Briefs showing that, yes, they could have anticipated the use of airliners as missiles (in fact, the CIA anticipated exactly that).
The President, in bowing to public pressure again and appointing a commission to investigate the purported intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war, said he wants the "big picture." As Sheehy points out, the Congressional investigation has already given him the big picture on the pre-9/11 failures--900 pages' worth.
But as we know, the President doesn't read.
Nor, when it comes to information about his own failure to carry out his duties, does he want anyone else reading either.