The FBI put New York City on high alert yesterday, warning authorities to be ready for a so-called terrorist attack against landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The warning followed a flurry of similarly vague announcements by top administration officials, from the FBI’s Robert Mueller to War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The frenzy of so-called terrorist alerts comes as the White House battles mounting criticism over its failure to act last summer on information that al Qaeda was planning an attack inside the US. Until last week, Bush and his aides claimed intelligence experts had not advised them that domestic targets were considered at risk. They now admit that the CIA warned the President of possible hijackings while he was vacationing at his Texas ranch last August.
Also last week, the FBI acknowledged that an agent in Phoenix, Arizona had written a memo last summer warning that members of al Qaeda might be training at American flight schools. His memo was ignored. Sources said yesterday that FBI chief Robert Mueller did not learn about the memo until several days after September 11. Nor did Attorney General John Ashcroft. As for Bush, senior officials said neither Ashcroft nor Mueller briefed the President until recently.
Meanwhile, as speculation mounts over what the White House did and did know, one of the primary questions of September 11th remains unasked: why would someone commit such a heinous crime against the United States? It’s a question that many in this country are afraid to ask, but that British journalist Robert Fisk did. In response, he received hate mail.
Well, are going to turn now to part 2 of a speech we played yesterday by journalist Robert Fisk. It’s called: "Ask Who Did It, But Don’t Ask Why."
- Robert Fisk, reporter with the Independent of London.