It started this morning, the 11th anniversary of the terror attack on the U.S., when, rather than following the general media trend of constant content-free wallowing in oh-so-solemn misery over the memory of those attacks, the New York Times actually decided to use the occasion for some serious journalism on the subject, and ran an op-ed by former Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald.
It’s been a matter of public record for more than 8 years that then-”President” Bush was given a warning about a coming terrorist attack in a briefing by the CIA on 6 Aug., 2001. The content of that briefing was reflected in its title, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.” It included information that a group of bin Laden operatives were in the U.S., that there may be preparation for a plane hijacking, that there had been surveillance of buildings in New York. Bush’s response was to take a long vacation, and, 36 days later, the terrorists struck. Eichenwald’s piece in today’s Times, “The Deafness Before the Storm,” outlines how that 6 Aug. briefing was only one of many early warnings the Bush administration ignored. The intelligence community had, in fact, spent 3 months before that briefing repeatedly and vehemently warning the “President” about an impending strike, all to no avail.
The Newsbusters immediately recognized the explosive potential of the piece. Their response began early today, with an uber-short piece by Mark Finkelstein. His spin:
For the New York Times, what better way to observe the 11th anniversary of 9-11 than by exploiting it for political purposes and seeking to blame George W. Bush?
Of Eichenwald’s information, Finkelstein says
Its gruel is thin when it comes to actually assembling a case of any real Bush-administration negligence. And that is the best evidence that Eichenwald and the Times were not motivated by any sincere desire to review the historical record with the goal of preventing future lapses. Rather, this is cheap political exploitation and finger-pointing at its basest.
And that’s pretty much it. Finkelstein suggests its a slim case, then makes no case for it being so, or for it being inaccurate in any particular. He simply attributes to it “low partisan purposes,” without offering the first shred of evidence for this, and leaves it at that.