Will bin Laden force Condoleezza Rice to retire?

The Sept.11 terrorist attacks have been in focus of absolutely the entire world for the past week. Everybody wonders how this could have happened? However, this time, the question is being addressed to the White House. Reports of George Bush being warned of bin Laden’s plans to hijack airplanes beforehand aroused many questions. First of all, Americans do not understand why the president and other top officials have been holding back this information for eight months. Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and other top officials insist the warnings received before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks did not at all suggest that the attack would be directed against the WTO towers and the Pentagon.

However, this explanation was not sufficient for many people. Newspapers report that FBI agents warned their headquarters that many Middle Eastern men were training at U.S. flight schools, but the FBI did not investigate these people’s connections with terrorist organizations. By doing nothing, the FBI called into question their effectiveness and ability to prevent terrorist acts.

At the same time, Democrats are already trying to pursue their own ends in the scandal. Congress is going to consider the competence of the government. Democrats in Congress demand that classified documents sent to George Bush shortly before the Sept.11 tragedy be presented by the White House for further examination. These are, first of all, the Aug. 6 CIA memo that mentioned the hijackings and ,second, an FBI memo that warned that many men of Middle Eastern origin were training at US flight schools, for example in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a result, many observers believe that President Bush is very likely to be in for an impeachment. This pessimistic scenario may develop if the Congressmen prove that the president was inactive and ignored the memos he had received.

In fact, it can be believed that it was difficult for George Bush to forecast the consequences of all reports on more terrorist acts to be committed by bin Laden. Indeed, analysts of special services were responsible for this kind of work, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as well. If it is proved that the US authorities were informed of the Sept.11 terrorist acts and failed to prevent the attacks, it will mean the adviser failed to live up to her duties. Indeed, it is really very difficult for a president, especially in a state like the USA, to carefully consider the details of all the reports and analytical information he receives, even if the reports concern national security.

Currently, the White House is concentrating on drawing attention away from the scandal to new threats of coming terrorist attacks by bin Laden. Vice-president Richard Cheney said that the USA was “practically certain” of becoming a target of a new terrorist act. He thinks that the question is only when the action is to be committed. Condoleezza Rice made a similar statement. She said that terrorists were planning explosions of apartment houses. However, the US authorities, as before, have no information about exact dates and places. It is interesting that the vice-president admitted that the US government was not efficient with the coordination of information on possible terrorist acts. However, it is not clear so far if some conclusions have been drawn after the scandal, and if some are drawn, what is to be the effect.

The scandal provokes a rather unfavorable conclusion. The Sept.11 tragedy occurred mostly because of bureaucratic mess, interdepartmental rivalry, and incompetence of security services. The USA should learn its lesson and avoid such tragedies in the future. Moreover, this concerns not only the USA but other countries as well.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/20/41382.html

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