Evening News Round-up: Informants, Conspiracies, and 500 Rumbles

Good Evening!

Yesterday, I started to read Kurt Eichenwald’s latest book, 500 Days Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars. I got up to page 137 before I called it a night and went to bed. It is heartbreaking to read about all the lost opportunities to intervene and possibly stop the attack, but the Bush administration just did not pay attention, or blatantly and cockishly refused to even hear the warnings from CSC…Counterterrorist Center.

Since I am only in the first part of the book, I will link to a review from the New York Times Book Review: ‘500 Days,’ by Kurt Eichenwald

Doug Mills/Associated Press

President Jacques Chirac of France and President George W. Bush, November 2001.

This book is misleadingly titled. “500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars” seeks to provide a global account of the period after 9/11, leaping from a prison cell in Syria to the nightclub bombing in Bali, but it’s best and most informative when depicting how the Bush administration, and especially its lawyers, suffered a protracted nervous breakdown during that time. In that respect, it is an ambitious undertaking and a valuable resource.

[…]

With each piece of evidence, it becomes clearer that in late 2001 and in 2002, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had begun panicking. Mistaking rumors and lies fabricated by victims of torture as actionable information and elbowing aside skeptics, they gave rein to their fears that the worst was yet to come — and their hysteria spread to and infected parts of the national security ­establishment.

Give that review a quick read. I will give you two quotes from the book, that so far has struck me as very telling.

In discussing John Ashcroft and his “priorities,” of which terrorism was not even part of, Eichenwald writes about Tom Picard, the acting director of the FBI and Dale Watson, head FBI in charge of counterterrorism:

Despite Ashcroft’s apparent indifference, Pickard tried to hammer home the magnitude of the terrorist threat almost every time they met. But at this latest briefing, Pickard told Watson, the attorney general had gone off the rails.

“I was telling him about the high level of chatter and how it suggested something big was about to happen,” Picard told Watson. “And then he interrupted me and said, ‘I don’t want to hear about that anymore.”

This was two months prior to the attacks. And, one of many warnings about bin Laden and his big plans within the last 12 months…since Bush became the Republican nominee and received his first intelligence briefing.

The other quote is shortly after the attacks, when one of Ashcroft’s top aides  is caught reading a book in his office:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam. Omigod. That is not a good sign.

Again, I am only at the beginning but wow…and that is just a couple of examples from the Department of Justice. We are not even mentioning Cheney and his crew.

I just finished reading Eichenwald’s earlier book, The Informant, and if you are up for some real unbelievably f’d up cooperating witnesses, involved in price fixing and embezzlement, then please read the book. (The movie with Matt Damon does not really touch the surface…)

Here are a couple of reviews for the book:

BOOKS OF THE TIMES; A Crime Story of the White-Collar Kind – New York Times

Fox in the Henhouse – New York Times

And a two-hour interview with Eichenwald: Booknotes :: Watch The Informant Part One and Booknotes :: Watch The Informant Part Two.

Anyway, I also sat through the entire Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart Debate. It was awesome…if you have not seen it, you need to.

Bill O’Reilly, Jon Stewart Debate In ‘Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium’

Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly: The Rumble : The New Yorker

Just one more link for you tonight, this is sad…Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman split after 30 years

Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlmanare breaking up.

A spokesman for DeVito says the couple is separating after 30 years of marriage. Publicist Stan Rosenfield offered no other details.

DeVito and Perlman married in 1982 and have three adult children. The couple worked together on TV’s “Taxi” from 1978 to 1982.

Together, the couple established the production company Jersey Films, which counts “Pulp Fiction,” ”Erin Brockovich” and “Out of Sight” among its credits.

Danny DeVito-Rhea Perlman split catches Hollywood off guard

‘Stunned,” “shocked,” “totally surprised” and “so sorry to hear it” — just a few of the comments veteran Hollywood insiders were using Monday as news broke Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman had separated after 30 years of marriage.

“For Hollywood — hell, for anywhere in America — breaking up after 30 years is practically unheard of,” said one of the biggest producers in the entertainment business, who has worked with both DeVito and Perlman. “I am devastated to hear about this. They are both good friends and will remain so. I’m just sorry they apparently were unable to overcome whatever issues they had.”A second Tinseltown source who recently worked with DeVito speculated the couple’s work has kept them apart, “as often is the case out here.” Beyond confirming the split, DeVito’s spokesman,

I’ve read rumors of a possible connection to DiVito’s alcoholism, but I guess we will find out later on…

This is an open thread.