Best Defense

More information about Pres. Bush, the CIA, and the Great Post-9/11 Panic

More evidence seeps out of how the Bush Administration led and even fanned a national panic after 9/11. Turns out, according to a very interesting article in the Sunday New York Times, that one of the people who claimed he had developed software to uncover terrorist threats likely was peddling hogwash. "For eight years, government ...

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More evidence seeps out of how the Bush Administration led and even fanned a national panic after 9/11. Turns out, according to a very interesting article in the Sunday New York Times, that one of the people who claimed he had developed software to uncover terrorist threats likely was peddling hogwash.

"For eight years, government officials turned to Dennis Montgomery, a California computer programmer, for eye-popping technology that he said could catch terrorists," write the intrepid Eric Lichtblau and James Risen. "Now, federal officials want nothing to do with him and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his dealings with Washington stay secret."

The U.S. government even acted on the things he told them, and the guy apparently made a bundle of our tax dollars-he and his homeys made $20 million off scaring the Bush Administration. His former lawyer now contends he is a "con man," the article says. But don’t think you’re gonna get a rebate-the guy is in bankruptcy and about to go on trial for allegedly trying to pass $1.8 million in bad checks in Las Vegas casinos. The casinos, they don’t like that sort of thing.  

In this case, it appears to be French intelligence that concluded that the Americans were being played: "Mon cher monsieur Tenet, we are thinking very much what you have — how do I say? — un boule des cambres, another ball of curves." That is, in both cases, liars appear to have prospered by selling to the Bush Administration scary tales that they knew it wanted to hear.

The CIA apparently has never conducted an inquiry into how it got fooled by this guy. Maybe we should hire some of them casino guys to work at the CIA.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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