Monday, December 19, 2005
Maybe Cheney Should Blame Ashcroft
Vice President Richard Cheney said the September 11 attacks on the United States could have been averted, if the government had the power to monitor electronic communications inside the country.
'It's the kind of capability if we'd had before 9/11 might have led us to be able to prevent 9/11,' Cheney said in an interview with ABC's 'Nightline' program.
But Cheney reminded that two of the Sept 11 terrorists were in San Diego, California before the attacks and communicating with Al-Qaeda sources outside the United States.
'We didn't know it,' he said. 'The 9/11 Commission talks about it. If we'd had this capability, then we might well have been able to stop it.'
9/11 Commission as reported in The New York Times on April 13, 2004:
Commission officials said that there was irony in the panel's finding that before Sept. 11, Mr. Ashcroft may have been too timid about seeking electronic surveillance of terror suspects. They said their investigation suggested that until the attacks, Mr. Ashcroft had resisted signing emergency warrants that would have allowed eavesdropping in terrorism investigations, apparently because he had only a rudimentary knowledge of how the warrant process worked.