Keith Olbermann Blames 9/11 On George W. Bush

Keith Olbermann Friday blamed 9/11 on former President George W. Bush.

"3,000 people died on September 11th, 2001 because George Bush did not prioritize," the "Countdown" host disgracefully told his small number of viewers.

"Perhaps no one says it because it is such a painful, awful truth to confront, 3,000 people dead because Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and others simply had other agendas than fighting terrorism."

Olbermann then brought on the equally disgraceful Lawrence O'Donnell - who earlier in the day was cut off by Joe Scarborough due to his atrocious behavior on "Morning Joe" - to assist him in making his disgusting point (video embedded below the fold with transcript):

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: It is unclear why at a time when even a former White House aide feels free to say that the current U.S. president is inviting a terror attack. It is still considered taboo to say the following: 3,000 people died on September 11th, 2001 because George Bush did not prioritize. Perhaps no one says it because it is such a painful, awful truth to confront, 3,000 people dead because Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and others simply had other agendas than fighting terrorism.

So much so that when a CIA agent specifically told Mr. Bush on August 6th that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was working to attack the U.S. inside our borders, possibly using airlines, Mr. Bush replied, "All right, you`ve covered your ass now," and did nothing about it the 37 days following until it was too late."

On MSNBC today, a former Bush and Rumsfeld`s speechwriter did a rewrite, saying L.A. would have had its own 9/11 if not for torture, and that on 9/11, the Bush White House did not know who had done it because it had not been torturing terrorists beforehand.


THIESSEN: You`ve got to think back to the period after 9/11. We didn`t even know who hit us. This program is why we did not have another 9/11 after the attack and it`s just vital.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL: Well, you`re lying about the west coast thing. That`s been covered very clearly. But you actually -- you as a former speechwriter in the White House, you took an oath of office when you took that job, that you might or might not remember. You actually publish a book that says that the president of the United States, on its title, the president is inviting the next attack.

Isn`t it true that the president you worked for --

THIESSEN: Lawrence, Lawrence, it`s the morning.

O`DONNELL: -- invited the first attack --

THIESSEN: Lawrence, that`s ridiculous.

O`DONNELL: -- by having no idea what was going on with al-Qaeda? You just admitted --

THIESSEN: All right. Please.

O`DONNELL: -- that when you were hit on 9/11, you just said, we didn`t know who hit us.

THIESSEN: Here`s the record, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: You said we didn`t know who hit us.


O`DONNELL: You were told who was going to hit you before we were hit on 9/11. And your administration invited the first attack for which you should live in shame.

THIESSEN: Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence --


OLBERMANN: As remarkable as it is that Mr. Thiessen considers it a defense that Mr. Bush did not know who hit us in the period after 9/11, he is lying. Thanks to traditional intelligence gathering, which Mr. Bush ignored -- Mr. Bush knew who hit us very early after 9/11, in fact, he knew on 9/11.

At 3:00 in the afternoon, CIA Director George Tenet told Mr. Bush it was virtually certain that Osama bin Laden were responsible. Bin Laden`s location at that time believed to have been near Kandahar, and could also have been determined by Mr. Bush on 9/11 if he had read the "Boston Globe" that day.

Any lingering doubts about how partisanship skews Mr. Thiessen`s view of national security, here`s an article he wrote this week for "Foreign Policy," "Barack Obama is killing too many terrorists by his use of drone missions." Imagine the reaction of a Democratic White House veteran had asked whether Mr. Bush was quote, "killing too many bad guys"?

In the hopes that he can finish the thought this time without being cut-off, we`ll be joined by Lawrence O`Donnell, whom among other things former chief of staff to the Senate Finance Committee and was here earlier in the program, if I remember correctly.

The last part first, since it has nothing to do with your earlier appearance. George Bush`s speechwriter wants the president to stop killing terrorists or so many terrorists?

O`DONNELL: It takes your breath away, that his theory is, if we could somehow capture them, we haven`t invented the drone yet that captures them, we invented the drone that kills them very effectively.


O`DONNELL: If some will capture them and torture them and talk to them, we`d be much better off than just actually killing them. And, by the way, the ones that we are not killing, we are putting on the run with those drones, they are -- that puts them out of the zone where they can be doing planning. They have to spend a great deal of their day thinking about how they`re going to survive.

And this guy thinks, no, we should take the pressure off them and somehow have them walking to our arms so we can interrogate them.

OLBERMANN: Mr. Thiessen also claimed that torture, which, of course, he will not recognize by that word, saved Los Angeles from its own 9/11. Is this that Liberty Tower, Library Tower, Liberia Tower crap again? Is that what he`s talking about? Is this something else they`ve made up?

O`DONNELL: It`s a very wearisome story that they refused to put away. It has been debunked time and time again. Timothy Noah on Slate, every time it comes up, he very patiently lays it out again as he did today, that the arrest of the ring leader of this so-called plot occurred the year before the waterboarding occurred of Sheikh Mohammed, and which they now claimed we got the information to stop the plot that had already been stopped.

And the FBI has said this is ludicrous, that it did not happen. The FBI doesn`t believe the so-called plot even could have been carried out. Remember, the plot was, they were going to hijack planes and fly them into buildings after 9/11. Which by the time al-Qaeda got to its fourth plane in this country, the passengers were not going to allow them to do on 9/11.

The FBI has always thought that this was not a serious threat and whatever it was, was stopped a year before the torture that produced the evidence according to this guy.

OLBERMANN: Big picture here. We did not know who hit us and he says they would have known that if they used torture, but didn`t care enough about al-Qaeda to prioritize it. There wasn`t going to be anybody in custody. There wasn`t. There was no interrogations, no torture, even if we made that legal.

And my assumption is -- is that if they had Osama bin Laden, sometime early in 2001, all they would have asked him about was Iraq.

O`DONNELL: And the most important thing about that point, we knew exactly who hit us. He`s a speechwriter. I spoke to a member of the National Security Council staff today who was in the Situation Room on 9/11 while the planes were still in the air, while some of those planes were still in the air, they knew. The National Security Council staff knew this is al Qaeda. He was very dismissive of speechwriters as most serious people with jobs in government are, and said, this guy was never allowed in the Situation Room, wouldn`t have been allowed in the Situation Room that day.

So, of course, he didn`t know, but they knew and, as you pointed, the president was indeed warned specifically of this kind of plot before it happened.

OLBERMANN: Last thing, the first point that I started this segment with. Why is it OK in polite company to say Mr. Obama is inviting attack, but you still can`t say that Mr. Bush not only invited attack but he sent the night watchman home?

O`DONNELL: Keith, it`s unconscionable to me. You know, I mentioned his oath of office to him because I took an oath of office to work in the Senate. It changes your relationship to the institution and to the government. And there are things after that, the places you don`t go. You don`t go to the spot that says this sitting president of the United States is trying to get this country attacked. You don`t go where Dick Cheney went --


O`DONNELL: -- in the 2004 campaign, saying John Kerry would allow an attack. You don`t go to those places. And it is just unconscionable to see someone do it after taking an oath of office to serve this country.

OLBERMANN: Lawrence O`Donnell, thank you for pointing that out to the gentleman. We appreciate your doing so.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.

I hope the folks at General Electric and NBC are proud of their employees.

MSNBC Countdown Lawrence O'Donnell Marc Thiessen
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