Ten Days After: Day Three

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Bush Administration, September 11

Previous posts in this series:

Ten Days After: Introduction
Ten Days After: Day One
Ten Days After: Day Two

By September 13, 2001, the nation’s news media were reporting that the terrorist attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden. David Johnston and James Risen wrote for The New York Times:

The hijackers who commandeered commercial jets that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were followers of Osama bin Laden, the Islamic militant who has been blamed for some of the bloodiest attacks against Americans, federal authorities said today.

The authorities said they had also identified accomplices in several cities who had helped plan and execute Tuesday’s attacks. Officials said they knew who these people were and important biographical details about many of them but declined to provide their names or nationalities.

Accomplices?

Acting swiftly today, investigators obtained warrants and searched businesses and homes in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida. They made no arrests but interrogated several people, compiling an outline of the terror group’s structure. They prepared biographies of each identified member of the hijack teams and began tracing the recent movements of the men.”

Here’s an interesting tidbit:

Separately, officials said a group of about five men were now under investigation in Union City, suspected of assisting the hijackers. In addition, the officials said the men had apparently set up cameras near the Hudson River and fixed them on the World Trade Center. They photographed the attacks and were said to have congratulated each other afterward, officials said.

Subsequent news stories about the five men, or maybe three men, were arrested while driving a white Chevy van on Route 3 in East Rutherford. The arrests were based on based tips from witnesses who saw them “cheering” and “jumping up and down” in Liberty State Park. In the van were box cutters and maps of New York City with “certain places” highlighted.

The men would eventually be identified as Israeli nationals who worked for a moving company.

According to Human Rights Watch:

On the morning of September 13, 2001, Issa Qandeel, a Palestinian Muslim and an Arab, was leaving the Idriss Mosque in Seattle, Washington when he smelled gas near his jeep and saw a man, subsequently identified as Patrick Cunningham, come out from behind his jeep. Cunningham was carrying a can of gasoline and a gun. When Qandeel asked Cunningham what he was doing behind the jeep, Cunningham walked away.

When Qandeel tried to stop him, Cunningham shot at Qandeel three times, although his gun did not discharge any bullets. Cunningham then started running away and Qandeel chased him. Cunningham shot at Qandeel again and this time a bullet did discharge, although it missed Qandeel. Cunningham was apprehended when he crashed his car trying to get away. Police later discovered that Cunningham planned to burn cars in the mosque driveway because of anger at the September 11 attacks. Federal authorities prosecuted Cunningham for attacking Qandeel and attempting to deface a house of worship. He pled guilty on May 9, 2002 and was scheduled to be sentenced on October 18, 2002. He faces a minimum of five years of incarceration.

On September 13, 2001, Raymond Isais Jr. allegedly assaulted Kulwinder Singh, a turbaned Sikh taxi worker, in SeaTac, Washington. After getting into the back seat of Singh’s taxi, Isais told Singh, “You have no right to attack our country!” He then started choking Singh. After both men then got out of the taxi, Isais started punching Singh, pulled out tufts of his beard and knocked off his turban. Isais called Singh a terrorist during the assault. Local police were able to apprehend Isais Jr. the same day using a description provided by Singh. He was charged with a hate crime by local country prosecutors.

Thursday, September 13, the President declared that the following day would be a “national day of prayer and remembrance.” In a phone call with Mayor Guiliani and New York Governor Pataki, Bush said,

THE PRESIDENT: … You’ve extended me a kind invitation to come to New York City. I accept; I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon, after the prayer service at the National Cathedral. I look forward to joining with both of you in thanking the police and fire, the construction trade workers, the restaurant owners, the volunteers — all of whom have really made a huge display for the world to see of the compassion of America, and the bravery of America and the strength of America.

Every world leader I’ve talked to in recent days has been impressed by what they have seen about our nation, and the fabric of our nation. And I want to thank everybody when I come; so thank you for your hospitality.

GOVERNOR PATAKI: Well, Mr. President, thank you for coming to New York. I’m sure it’s going to be a great inspiration to all of us and, particularly, those thousands of men and women still downtown trying to help us with the rescue efforts.

I also want to thank you for all the help we’ve gotten from the federal government, it’s been tremendous; and for your words.

I have no idea what “help” New York had received from the federal government at this point. I remember reading that a Navy hospital ship anchored in the Hudson about this time, but it was New York City firemen and policemen combing the rubble for survivors. At this point all Bush had offered were promises.

You are right, our nation is united as never before and we will triumph over this evil with your leadership and your inspiration. And I also have to congratulate the Mayor for the tremendous effort he has made.

Mr. President, you would be proud of the leadership and the cooperation we’ve seen here. The city has taken the lead. Your people have been enormously supportive and we’re very grateful.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thanks, George, and Rudy; thank you all. I know you’ve put in a request, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to expedite any payments of benefits for those fallen public safety officers to their families, any benefits to their families. And the Attorney General, as I understand it, will be making a formal announcement of your request today.

I told Allbaugh, anything — anything it takes to help New York. I have been in touch with the Congress, they are expediting a supplemental. We’ve worked in great cooperation with members of the Congress in both political parties. So just keep in touch — I know you will. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked, and I really appreciate the fact that you all are in charge and I know the citizens of New York and the tri-state area, people of New Jersey and Connecticut are appreciative, as well.

MAYOR GIULIANI: Mr. President, the uniformed officers, the police, the fire, the emergency services officers, their families will really appreciate this. We’re going to sustain a tremendous loss of our bravest and our best people. And the relief that you’re now making available to the families is going to mean a lot to them. They’re going to be able to think about the fact that their children are going to be taken care of, that they’re going to be able to go to college, that they’re going to be able to carry on.

So I can’t express to you how appreciative we are of your acting so swiftly. And, also, on that terrible day when our city was being attacked, you were in immediate communication with us, Mr. President, and helped to secure the city. And the work you’ve done for us, we all eternally appreciate. You’ve been a terrific leader and we’re taking direction from you, and we’re following your example. You’ve done a terrific job, Mr. President.

But he hadn’t done anything.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Sep 13, 2006 @6:19 pm

    “Terrific job” = “heckuva job.” And we all know the quality standard for that.

    You know, as this Ten Days After project progresses, it reminds me of re-examinations of the events immediately following JFK’s assassination. Don’t worry, I’m not about to advocate any particular JFK conspiracy theory, but that process raised endless questions about who really dunit.

    What’s weird is, 9/11 is the inverse. It was obvious whodunit, the previous administration warned us they were gonna do it. Intelligence confirmed, swiftly and concretely, that it was Mr. Bin Laden in the Conservatory with the blunt implement of Religious Fanaticism. Too bad the plain and simple facts didn’t fit the Bush Administration’s needs (1. Get Saddam; 2. Make Halliburton rich; 3. Pump up American religious fanaticism). Five years later, the most befuddled conspiracy theorists of 9/11 are the Bushies.

  2. maha  •  Sep 13, 2006 @6:25 pm

    joan — right; I think after five years what the terrorists did is a lot less interesting — and less mysterious — than what we (meaning the U.S.) did.

  3. Jonathan Versen("Hugo Zoom")  •  Sep 13, 2006 @8:56 pm

    but he hadn’t done anything

    one would like to think Giuliani was praising him for that, as that is when junior causes the least harm. Alas, this was probably not his meaning.

  4. No More Mr. Nice Guy!  •  Sep 13, 2006 @11:06 pm

    There’s a lot more here (http://www.sundayherald.com/37707) about those Israeli “movers”. They were almost certainly Mossad agents, and the moving company was a front. Judge for yourself.

  5. gandhi  •  Sep 13, 2006 @11:31 pm

    I was in Hawaii on 9/11 and like many others, I was confused by Bush’s lack of action.

    I had lived in London for many years, at a time when IRA bombs were exploding at Tube Stations every other month. I spent a year working in Madrid, where Basque separatist ETA terrorists targeted innocent civilians on a regular basis.

    I couldn’t help comparing Bush’s response with Margaret Thatcher’s. When the IRA blew up a toilet she had just used in a Brighton Beach hotel, she immediately called a press conference and went straight into makeup. A few minutes later she calmly appeared on national TV, telling everybody to “Carry on as usual”.

    In the end, isn’t that the only way to defeat terrorism: by refusing to be terrified?

    In retrospect – and even at the time – it seems as if Bush & Co actually WANTED the USA to be terrified. That only adds to suspiscions of a US involvement (or at least a blind eye) in the WTC attacks…

    We live in dark and dishonest times, folks.

  6. Donna in WI  •  Sep 13, 2006 @11:41 pm

    FEMA was already in NY on Sept 10, so the feds probably were helping already. One of the building blocks for some conspiracy theories about federal govt involvement, not everyone buys that FEMA was coincidentally in NY for some other reason, training or something.

    He could also be refering to federal law enforcement. I don’t doubt that the FBI at the very least was involved and trying to coordinate with NYPD from the start.

  7. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @6:16 am

    FEMA was already in NY on Sept 10

    What do you mean, it was IN New York on September 10? At this point in the story, FEMA hasn’t popped up in any news stories I’ve found about what was happening in lower Manhattan. I have a limited time to research so I might have missed something, of course.

    I found a White House page that describes federal assistance offered to New York and Washington — in Washington’s case, it was federal building and territory, anyway — but it doesn’t say when these things happened — the document is dated October 2001 — and mostly just discusses appropriation of money.

    I don’t doubt that the FBI at the very least was involved and trying to coordinate with NYPD from the start.

    I DO doubt that. What would they have tried to coordinate?

  8. doran  •  Sep 14, 2006 @7:47 am

    Maha, what do you make of the Israeli nationalists who worked for a moving company? Was that story followed up?

    At sometime after 9-11, a deputy sheriff near Cloud Croft, New Mexico, stopped a truck for a traffic violation. The driver and occupants gave conflicting stories about what they were doing and where they were going. They said, in part, that they were moving furniture from someplace to someplace else. They did not have valid drivers’ licenses, but they did have Israeli passports. The deputy eventually turned them over to Immigration, and never heard anything more about it.

    This is puzzling, if not sinister. Are Israeli agents just crawling around all over this Country?

  9. Donna in WI  •  Sep 14, 2006 @12:13 pm

    maha, Giuliani testified before the 9/11 commission that FEMA was in NY on the 10th for something called operation TRIPOD, which was a biological attack drill. They had been set up on pier 92 and Giuliani moved command center operations there since FEMA had already been set up there.
    http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hearing11/9-11Commission_Hearing_2004-05-19.pdf
    Check page 23, the 4th paragraph down.

    I’m assuming the FBI, also probably the FAA and NTSB were called in immediately to investigate and would have been working closely with the NYPD. Especially since we are talking day 3 here, are you saying that the federal government either wasn’t investigating right away, or that they don’t work with local and state law enforcement?

  10. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @12:58 pm

    Giuliani testified before the 9/11 commission that FEMA was in NY on the 10th for something called operation TRIPOD, which was a biological attack drill.

    That’s fine, but that’s unrelated to a FEMA response to September 11. All of the news stories I have found about housing assistance or other rescue, recovery, or relief help from FEMA are dated later than September 13. FEMA doesn’t seem to have done much in response to 9/11 for at least a couple of weeks.

    As far as Giuliani “command center” is concerned, again, the more you know about post-attack rescue/recovery, the more you realize that Giuliani was kind of superfluous. The police and fire departments set up their own (separate) command centers to direct rescue and recovery in the Pile. They weren’t taking direction from Giuliani.

    I’m assuming the FBI, also probably the FAA and NTSB were called in immediately to investigate and would have been working closely with the NYPD.

    On Day 3 the NYPD was preoccupied with digging its people out of the pile, and on Day 3 I’m not aware that any federal help had been sent to assist them with that.

    I don’t doubt the FAA, the FBI, and other federal agencies were doing their usual jobs to investigate the crashes, but these are things that happen automatically without the President’s involvement. I’m looking at what President Bush himself had done that was worthy of praise.

    Especially since we are talking day 3 here, are you saying that the federal government either wasn’t investigating right away, or that they don’t work with local and state law enforcement?

    I’m saying I don’t consider investigation to be part of any sort of relief, rescue, or recovery effort for New York City.

  11. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @1:02 pm

    Maha, what do you make of the Israeli nationalists who worked for a moving company? Was that story followed up?

    Not by anybody I trust to be objective.

    Are Israeli agents just crawling around all over this Country?

    I don’t know, and unless you’ve got evidence that Israel was behind or had foreknowledge of 9/11, it’s not relevant.

  12. Donna in WI  •  Sep 14, 2006 @1:31 pm

    maha, I think because you are adamantly against the conspiracy theories you don’t pick up on the bits of fact that are mixed in with the speculation. I mentioned before that my husband is a conspiracy theorist supporter, so I hear all kinds of things and check up on it to see what is based in fact and what is conjecture. Anyway, about FEMA, they definitely were there by day three. They requested 16 search and rescue teams from across the country and had 2 there by the afternoon/evening of 9/11. One guy named Kenney from Boston was interviewed by Dan Rather on CBS News on the 13th and he said he had been there since the evening of the 10th and started working the next morning. It was later learned that he misspoke and meant he was there on the evening of the 11th and started working on the 12th. But his statement fueled many of the conspiracy theories, especially since FEMA denied they were there before 9/11. Well this individual wasn’t there before the 9/11 attacks, but other FEMA employees were and were setting up operations for TriPOD. Kenney did arrive that night with his search and rescue crew from Mass.

    Also, since Pataki doesn’t mention what kind of help he means, I thought he was including any help, even criminal investigation, not only the rescue and recovery efforts. Heck, he could even mean simple moral support? Speeches at the federal level for blood drives and donations to charities? Prayer? Who knows what he means.

  13. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @1:59 pm

    Anyway, about FEMA, they definitely were there by day three. They requested 16 search and rescue teams from across the country and had 2 there by the afternoon/evening of 9/11.

    I guess that’s something. I’ve been going through FEMA news releases online. FEMA says that on 9/11 it sent 8 S&R teams to New York and 4 to the Pentagon. They also made some noise about providing medical personnel, but New York had a surplus of medical personnel. Other than that, the press releases for the next few days are all rhetoric, no specifics.

    FEMA didn’t announce disaster housing assistance or begin to put together staff to assist infrastructure repair until October.

  14. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @2:00 pm

    Who knows what he means.

    He means whatever Karl Rove wanted him to mean.

  15. Doran Williams  •  Sep 14, 2006 @3:55 pm

    Maha, of course it is “relevant” that Israeli agents/spys might be operating in this country, thick as fleas on a yard dog. Even if Israel had nothing to do with 9-11, other than watching it happen like the rest of the world’s spys. Israel has spied on us, has corrupted our own government employees, and damn near sank our of our ships. I’ve sent you by email an article which cites some of the local reports of Israeli “movers” in other parts of this country. Have you any indication that those articles are bogus? Which ones do you think may be contrived? Let me know and I’ll try to do some additional research.

  16. maha  •  Sep 14, 2006 @5:56 pm

    Maha, of course it is “relevant” that Israeli agents/spys might be operating in this country, thick as fleas on a yard dog.

    Not to September 11, it isn’t. Off topic, off topic, off topic.

  17. doran  •  Sep 14, 2006 @11:02 pm

    No need to get shrill and repetative; I heard you the first time. It is off topic only if you’ve made up your mind, on the basis of objective evidence, that the Mossad had nothing at all to do with the crime. I’m not convinced that such a conclusion is reasonable, given Mossad’s and Israel’s history of thugishness, spying on America, and trying to sink one of our military vessels. NO, I haven’t any evidence that Israel was involved; I’m saying only that it is a viable, or should be a viable, subject for further investigation. Over a long period of time, no doubt.

    You seem to have the same kind of response to the suggestion of Israeli involvement that Bush supporters have to the suggestion that he lied this country into war. They just do not want to believe it. It conflicts with their preconceptions about Bush, their myths about Bush, and they cannot bear up under the facts. So they just dismiss the idea out of hand. I think this phenomenon is known as cognitive dissonance. Unfortunately, progressives and liberals demonstrate the some kind of dysfunction when it comes to Israel. They will not even entertain the theory or hypothesis that Israel can do wrong. Off topic. Off topic. Off topic.

    I’m listening to a new Willy Nelson song on KUT right this moment. “Hell no, they won’t lie to me. Not on my own damn TV. So how much is a liar’s word worth.” Same thing you are doing, IMHO.

  18. maha  •  Sep 15, 2006 @6:28 am

    It is off topic only if you’ve made up your mind, on the basis of objective evidence, that the Mossad had nothing at all to do with the crime.

    Given the hysteria surrounding 9/11 and the widespread rumors that “the Jews” had advance knowledge, in the absence of evidence I assume theories of Massad involvement are more hysteria.

    Unfortunately, progressives and liberals demonstrate the some kind of dysfunction when it comes to Israel. They will not even entertain the theory or hypothesis that Israel can do wrong. Off topic. Off topic. Off topic.

    That’s absolute crap, doran, especially after all the posts I wrote slamming Israel for the assault on Lebanon.

    You’re banned, son. Bye.



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