Biden’s order to declassify FBI files relating to the 9/11 attacks is a public relations stunt that will reveal little and satisfy no one
Given that this is the 20th anniversary of 9/11, many investigators have reexamined this tragic event in hopes of learning important lessons or shedding new light on what actually happened.
A few have specifically wondered why—despite amassing a wealth of information about the whereabouts of the plotters and what they might be up to—the FBI, CIA and NSA did not use that information to stop the plotters before they hijacked three commercial airlines and flew them into the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and an empty field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.
Some conjecture that it was just incompetence on the part of those agencies. Others hint darkly at the possibility that the agencies were actually complicit in either planning 9/11 or deciding to look the other way, since it seems that they actually protected the Al Qaeda plotters from exposure and arrest.
So what’s so funny? Not the 9/11 attack, or the many attempts to find out what really happened. That is serious, and well worth investigating. (One of the best investigations has just been published by CovertAction Magazine.)
What I find so funny is—President Biden’s recent announcement that he will declassify the 9/11 files of the FBI (and perhaps the CIA and NSA) that have been locked away for over two decades. What I find even funnier is—the phony display of excitement that Biden’s announcement has inspired, not only in corporate media but on the left as well, as if they really expect to find, in those declassified documents, evidence of either incompetence or complicity on the part of those intelligence agencies.
The fact is that Biden’s announcement is just one more attempt to play the American public for suckers.
I mean, does the government—do the media—really expect anyone with a functioning memory to believe that classified documents that could embarrass the FBI or CIA or NSA over their handling of 9/11 still exist? Does anyone really believe that such documents would not have been destroyed long ago, or destroyed in a hurry, right now, if they hadn’t already been destroyed long ago? Does anyone think that Joe Biden would even have made his declassification order public before giving a discreet heads-up to the FBI, CIA and NSA so they could take the necessary steps to make any embarrassing documents disappear?
It is as if everyone has forgotten sweet Rose Mary Woods and her—”Oops, sorry, my bad”—18-1/2 minute erasure of the White House tapes that allowed her beloved boss, Richard Nixon, to depart the White House lawn in a government helicopter instead of a Justice Department paddy wagon.
Or forgotten how Oliver North’s loyal secretary, Fawn Hall, smuggled out huge volumes of incriminating Iran-Contra documents in her bra and panties (discreetly referred to as “skirt and boots” by most of mainstream media), which she then shredded to save Oliver North from federal prison for illegally selling arms to Iran and diverting the proceeds to CIA-trained Nicaraguan terrorists. Those documents would have also embarrassed and implicated then-President Ronald Reagan and his Vice President, George H. W. Walker Bush (who self-servingly pardoned everyone involved, when he became President, so they would not implicate him).
More recently, we might profitably recall Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel’s astonishingly brazen destruction of 92 CIA video torture tapes that were supposed to be part of a Congressional investigation into the CIA’s illegal torture program. I call the destruction “brazen” because she did it despite written federal court orders demanding the preservation of the CIA’s records, despite objections of members of Congress, despite specific orders by Director of National Intelligence, the CIA Director, two White House counsels, and senior Department of Justice officials.
I’m guessing that makes Haspel the record holder for giving the finger to more federal judges, Senators, and senior government officials at one time than any government employee in history—and not suffering a whit for it. In fact, Donald Trump rewarded her diligent destructiveness by promoting her to CIA Director.
The history is clear. Anyone who orders or implements the destruction of embarrassing government documents knows that allowing them to become public could mean the end of a career (or the beginning of a long jail term), whereas making those documents disappear carries no penalty at all, but often considerable rewards.
So let us accept Joe Biden’s declassification order for what it is—an empty publicity gesture designed to win approval from civil libertarians and advocates of governmental transparency, while at the same time reassuring the intelligence agencies—as he has reassured other centers of establishment power—that “nothing would fundamentally change.”
However, since there is already considerable public evidence that the FBI, CIA and NSA either bungled—or, more chillingly, abetted—the handling of the 9/11 attacks, the agencies will have to deal with that, or explain it away. And they can be expected to do so in the time-honored way that criminal governments, corporations and, in this case, intelligence agencies usually do it.
They will plant, or allow to be discovered, evidence that implicates “a few bad apples,” whom they will piously disown and throw under the bus. This public cleansing of a few low-level and completely dispensable functionaries will close the case, ensuring that no stain or implication of incompetence or treachery adheres to agency leadership or to the intelligence community as a whole, which, we will be assured, has now been repurified and is consequently as eminently honorable and trustworthy as it has always presented itself as being, even though, as the record shows, it has never been anything other than dishonorable and untrustworthy for all of its existence.
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About the Author
Steve Brown is a member of the Editorial Board of CovertAction Magazine.
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There is nothing like having complete confidence in The agencies that our governments realize on!
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The last 22 articles in Covert Action Magazine were all written by men. Why are there so few women writers in Covert Action Magazine?
This is an interesting question, but many women who might be inclined to write are busy writing about the erasure of women’s hard-won, sex-based rights. On Spinster a woman just posted terrific stuff about Bill Gates’s evil vision for the world.
Dam, you are so right. When I first heard the claim of opening up the archives, I just mentally rolled my eyes. Thanks for your article, Im glad I am not nuts.