More On The Pre-9/11 “Safe House” Call

Ken AshfordRight Wing and Inept Media, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Dan Gilmour of the Center for Citizen Media takes journalists to task:

A truly extraordinary example of journalistic malfeasance is playing out right now. Attorney General Michael Mukasey told a San Francisco audience last week that the Bush administration was aware in the days before the 9/11 attacks that an Al Qaeda official was making calls from a “safe house in Afghanistan” to U.S. but that our government failed to act on that.

Mukasey said the U.S. lacked the legal authority, a flat falsehood as legal commentators have pointed out.

As pointed out here yesterday, if Mukasey’s account is true, it is apparently news to even the 9/11 Commission, and begs the question: if the U.S. knew about a call from an AQ person from a safe house in Afghanistan, why didn’t they follow up (as they legally could have done at the time)?  (On the other hand, if Mukasey’s account is untrue, that raises other issues — namely the fact that he was lying in order to get a bill passed).

Gilmour points out that only the San Francisco Journal has raised the issue, but they haven’t followed up or asked the questions.  He continues:

It’s vastly vastly worse journalism that virtually the entire media establishment has failed to pick up on a story of real significance. Why are journalists not hounding the Justice Department, White House and Congress for answers? (The failure of Congress to ask obvious questions is nothing new for that weak-kneed crowd, sadly. And it’s scary that the presidential candidates don’t care, either.)

Who’s asking, besides MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann? Bloggers, for the most part. Oh, right, blogging is just a trivial activity, unworthy of journalistic recognition.

This kind of thing is why traditional journalism is forfeiting its soul.

Greenwald meanwhile reports that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has sent a letter to Mukasey "asking all the right questions". So that’s good.

UPDATE:  Here’s the letter (pdf)