Cheney Lied... Or Maybe He Didn't
Here's a classic example of why you have to read the source documents. Raw Story and 9-11 Truth News both run with misleading headlines:
Declassified document contradicts Cheney’s claim of Iraqi connection to 9/11
Dick Cheney Lied About Iraq Connection To 9/11 Attacks
A document declassified this week by the National Security Archive reveals that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) delivered a briefing to the Bush administration which directly contradicts former Vice President Dick Cheney’s claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta visited an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague.
The document (PDF), dated Dec. 1, 2001 and delivered to the White House on the 8th, claims that Atta “did not travel to the Czech Republic on 31 May 2000,” and adds that “the individual who attempted to enter the Czech Republic on 31 May 2000… was not the Atta who attacked the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.”
Despite this briefing, just days later on Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney told the late Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, that the meeting in Prague had been “pretty well confirmed.”
What are they both leaving out of their accounts that appears in the source document (PDF)?
That Atta did in fact travel to Prague on June 2, 2000, two days after he did not travel there. Unfortunately, the document in question, prepared by the CIA, is heavily redacted and thus I cannot tell if this completely rules out the possibility of Atta meeting with the Iraqi intelligence agent or not. It is apparent that at some point in time, quite possibly after Cheney's interview with Tim Russert, the administration decided that the meeting had not taken place. It is not apparent that was the case in December of 2001.
Update: And here's another example of why you have to read carefully:
Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.(Italics added for emphasis).
The material contains much new information about the hunt before and after 9/11 for bin Laden, the development of the drone campaign in AfPak, and al-Qaida’s relationship with America’s ally, Pakistan. Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him.
Still, the drone program began in September 2000. One drone swiftly twice observed an individual “most likely to have been Bin Laden.” But since the CIA only had permission to use the drones for intelligence gathering, it had no way to act on its findings.
So they had him in his crosshairs shortly after September 2000? But was Bush the president then? No, of course not, Bill Clinton was the president. The writer gets around this problem by implying that they could have had bin Laden in its crosshairs again later, and taken him out, if only Bush had funded it. But... if you read the article carefully, it becomes apparent that the funding issue predated the Bush administration as well:
“Budget concerns … CT [counterterrorism] supplemental still at NSC-OMB [National Security Council – Office of Management and Budget] level,” an April 2000 document reads. “Need forward movement on supplemental soonest due to expected early recess due to conventions, campaigning and elections.” In addition, the Air Force told the CIA that if it lost a drone, the CIA would have to pay for it, which made the agency more reluctant to use the technology.
April 2000. Not under Bush's watch.