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Where's There's Flies, There's. . . 

And it's getting pretty deep

For those of you who didn't hear National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission last Thursday, allow me to offer a brief, Brave New Summary of the three-hour session:

Republican Panel Member: Dr. Rice, you have a difficult and complex job, as does our esteemed president. You both are doing an excellent job, by the way. Neither of you did anything wrong in regards to the 9/11 attacks, right?

Dr. Rice: Historical document, Swatting at flies, War Against Terror.

Democratic Panel Member: Condoleezza, you ignorant slut...

Dr. Rice: Blah blah, rambling filibuster, blah, Historical document, Swatting at flies, War Against Terror, blah ramble blah.

Despite the big piles lying around the floor at the end of the session, there were some interesting points to note in Rice's testimony. For instance, Rice claimed the administration didn't know of any specific al-Qaeda plans to attack US cities. But they did know that there were active al-Qaeda cells operating within our borders. We know they knew this from the title of a high-level August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." According to Rice's sworn testimony, the memo didn't warn of the 9/11 attacks specifically. It only talked "in a historical sense" about suspicious activity consistent with preparations for hijacking airplanes. The only thing the administration might've done, according to Rice, was harden cockpit doors (which it didn't do). Instead, the terrorist activity reports were forwarded to the FBI to "aggressively investigate the situation." Except that sources within the FBI have said Rice overstated the scope, thrust and intensity of the activities by the FBI.

Dr. Rice testified that President Bush had grown tired of "swatting at flies" in dealing with terrorists, thus the all-out War On Terror he is supposedly now waging. It seems, though, that if he was truly tired of reactively swatting at flies, he might have done better to surround himself with less of his and his aides' own bullshit.

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