Bush and Rice are lucky such questions are unanswerable. Their line has always been, there was nothing we could have done. Just days ago, Bush adviser Karen Hughes said, “I just don’t think, based on everything I know, and I was there, that there was anything that anyone in government could have done to have put together the pieces before the horror of that day.” The case of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdar proves her wrong. With this foul-up in mind, the congressional intelligence committees concluded, “The intelligence community failed to capitalize on both the individual and collective significance of available information . . . As a result, the community missed opportunities to disrupt the September 11 plot.”
The Bush crew refuses to acknowledge that mistakes were made. It’s as if al-Hazmi and al-Mihdar never existed. (If only.) September 11 family members — and citizens who care about truth, history and government accountability — can only hope the 9/11 commission exposes not only what went wrong but Bush’s less-than-urgent attitude toward the blunders that enabled bin Laden to succeed.