Thursday, June 01, 2006

wrong question

Think Progress asks “Could The New York Times have prevented 9/11?” and links to Greg Sargent’s piece at American Prospect about Judy Miller and her editor, Steven Engleberg’s decision to sit on a lead about a possible al Qaeda attack inside the United States that Ms. Run Amok received from a high-ranking counter-terrorism source months before 9/11/01. Apparently, neither Miller nor Engleberg told then Times’ Managing Editor Bill Keller about the lead (Keller recently confirmed this).

The story is developing rather slowly, maybe because Miller has managed to marginalize herself so severely in the half-decade since all of this went down, but, if Judy had been tipped-off by a government CT expert before the 9/11 attacks, the question isn’t really about whether the NYT should have gone to press with an uncorroborated leak.

Instead, here are the questions I find myself asking:

  • If a high-ranking counter-terrorism expert spoke with Judy Miller before 9/11 about imminent al Qaeda attacks within the United States, then doesn’t that mean that at least someone, somewhere within the Federal Government, and, it then stands to reason, within the Bush Administration, had information that could have been used to disrupt or prevent the attacks?


  • Did this high-ranking CT source feel the need to leak this information because he or she was getting no response or action from the Bush White House?


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