The Eleventh Day
It is a measure of the respect that I have for this book that I have revised my opinion on several issues based on the evidence provided by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.
The Pakistani ISI's connections to 9-11 definitely deserve more attention by the mainstream media. Don't get me wrong, I still have grave doubts about the claim of $100,000 supposedly wired to Mohamed Atta the day before the attacks, and The Eleventh Day completely ignores this nonsense. The authors make strong points about Pakistan's support for Al Qaeda and the Taliban without endorsing the more fanciful accounts.
The section dealing with Saudi support for the terrorists also seems worthy of deeper review, and I am willing to join in the call for the release of the complete 28-page section of the 9-11 Commission Report dealing with this subject. The book makes a strong case against Omar al-Bayoumi, the Saudi responsible for finding accommodations for the first two hijackers to arrive in the United States, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
The book also contained some surprises; I had not been aware that Osama Bin Laden had in fact visited the United States. The authors reveal that this was disclosed in a 2009 book by his wife. So whether you have a deep knowledge of the events of 9-11 or just a modest understanding of the events of that day, the book will certainly enlighten you on certain aspects.
The authors make little secret of their disdain for the 9-11 Truthers, and this section of the book will probably provide the most delight to our rational readers. Summers and Swan take a bat to such kooks as David Ray Griffin, Laura Knight Jadczyk and A.K. Dewdney. There is a reasonably accurate summary of the history of the movement, although oddly the authors ignore Eric Hufschmid's importance as the first American author and filmmaker of 9-11 Truth.
I do have a few reservations about the book. The authors repeat the canard that workers on the pile relied on the EPA's advisory that the air was safe to breathe in Lower Manhattan. I looked into this extensively and found numerous citations indicating that respirators were generally required on the pile, although the workers commonly refused them because of the discomfort and the inability to smoke cigarettes while wearing them. Here's an NPR interview from earlier this month with a journalist for the Atlantic Monthly, who talks about the respirators:
Cleanup workers themselves were rebellious. Almost no one wore respirators, Langewiesche says, except in the most extreme conditions.If anybody can be criticized about the workers not wearing respirators, it's OSHA.
"They didn't put them on, and I didn't either," he says. "And the reason was — it was sort of necessary in a weird way. It wasn't self-sacrificial. But there had to be this kind of reckless courage, even if it was nonsensical, that was part of the beauty."
According to an e-mail message to the regional director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mr. McKinney said at an Oct. 7, 2001, meeting that the city wanted the respirator rules enforced because “contractors ‘fear’ OSHA’s ability to issue penalties and that would cause compliance.”I am also concerned that the Able Danger claims and Richard Clarke's account are presented without any recognition of the problems associated with them. Able Danger was investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which found that the most sensational claim, that Mohamed Atta was identified as a terrorist by the system well before 9-11 and appeared on a chart as part of the "Brooklyn Cell" was unfounded.
As for Clarke, his self-serving account of his actions before and during the events of 9-11 is riddled with inconsistencies. To give just two examples, Clarke claimed that his teleconference on 9-11 included both Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Myers, but we know that in fact neither of those two men participated. In addition, I noted something about Clarke's appearance on 60 Minutes back in 2004. When Lesley Stahl asked him about his party affiliation, Clarke gave a very curious answer:
"Last time I had to declare my party loyalty, it was to vote in the Virginia primary for president of the United States in the year 2000. And I asked for a Republican ballot."I thought at the time that it was an odd circumlocution, so I did a little digging and discovered that Clarke could not have asked for a Democratic ballot in 2000, because the Democrats did not have a primary in Virginia in 2000: