Romney Foreign Policy Team Members Ignored CIA 9/11 Warnings During Bush Administration

Originally posted September 11, 2012. Re-posted in the context of foreign policy noise from the Romney campaign.

Vanity Fair contributing editor and former NY Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald writes in an op-ed piece in the September 11Times that the CIA warned Bush of an al Qaeda attack on US soil as early as May 1, 2001, and that the warning escalated to "imminent" by June 22. Despite the warnings,

... [N]eoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials ... protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

Today, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11/2001, it's worth noting that 17 of 24 Romney foreign policy advisers served in the Bush Cheney administration.

Election Fundamentals Still Suggest Close Election With Modest Tilt to Obama

The best antidote I've seen to handwringing among Obama supporters, and outright hysteria from buffoons like Chris Matthews is James Fallows's thoughtful analysis of the current state of the election campaign, and the first presidential debate of the season in context. Fallows notes:

  • The polls are indeed tightening, but many more of them show Obama ahead than behind.
  • We're about to have another debate. While Fallows doesn't know whether Joe Biden or Paul Ryan will "win" the battle of the VPs, he is 100% certain that Biden will put up a better fight than Obama did.
  • Then we'll have two more presidential debates. Unless Obama is in fact being paid by the Kochs to throw the election, these should go better for him. The reasons include:
    • Obama has seemed "on" in several post-debate speeches and rallies. This suggests that he still can do better.
    • Romney has now gotten Obama's attention, by humiliating him. This suggests that, as one of the world's most competitive people, he will want to do better.
    • The political media's iron law that "the story always changes" will give natural momentum to an "Obama comeback" theme.
    • The next debate's format, the town hall, is better terrain for Obama than for Romney. The topics and pattern of discussion are less predictable, and meet-and-greet average-person small talk is not a Romney strength.
    • The final debate is about foreign policy, where Obama knows the big picture and the fine points, and Romney knows neither.

Republicans Prove Voter Fraud Claims By Hiring Firm That May Have Committed Voter Fraud

The Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Romney campaign hired firms run by Arizona Republican operative Nathan Sproul, to "register voters" in seven swing states. Sproul has previously been associated with allegations of fraudulent practices and dirty tricks, including impersonating the liberal group America Votes, collecting signatures to put third-party candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot, firing employees who brought in Democratic voter registrations, and discarding Democratic voter registration forms in Oregon and Nevada. In 2004 senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy called for a justice department investigation of Sproul's organizations. In 2006 George Bush invited Sproul and his wife to the White House Christmas party.

Romney, Disqualified By Own Criterion, Now Running for GOP Commentator Approval

At the traditional time to release bad news, late in the day Friday, the Romney campaign released his 2011 tax returns. While apparently largely un-newsworthy, the returns were consistent with Romney's assertion that he regularly pays "at least 13% in taxes." In order to achieve that tax rate, however, Romney did not credit the full amount of charitable contributions he made. His campaign posted a statement from a trustee of Romney's finances:

The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.

Observers were quick to note that, by paying more taxes than legally required, Romney disqualified himself from being President, based on his own statement to ABC News in July:

I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president.

Obama Honors Libya Victims, Ryan Addresses Hate Group, Romney Likes Snooki

"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14 as the remains of four Americans killed in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya were repatriated. A military band played the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee." As reported by the Associated Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's voice broke as she spoke, and she appeared to be fighting tears as she listened to the President speak. ""They knew the danger, and they accepted it," Obama said. "They didn't simply embrace the American ideal. They lived it," he said.

At Convention Republicans Hide From Their Partisan Obstructionist Policies

The NY Times Editorial board highlights Romney's and Republican dishonesty in not acknowledging that "Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security — even if it meant holding the nation’s credit rating hostage to a narrow partisan agenda."


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