Friday, August 1, 2014

10 things

Dark Plague Fi

just because you're famous doesn't mean you get good reviews  and most especially if you're right.  author me troll....

the hidden revolution of World War I

3rd link

 it  gobbles together several links into one  post,  the one I want is the third post,  on Syria.

the forgotten queen

WWI  after having  blogged World War II  DeLong is now   taking a cue at  World War I.

unless you have the documents....

 there is  no movement on political front,  says Barry  looking at the pre-Snowdon  leaks.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Center of the World

If there is any single lesson that examination of the state of archeology reveals it is that there is nothing that conventionality cannot fuck up. Let's take a fuck up that is on every text on the Fertile Crescent: calling the early Neolithic cultures "pre-pottery." In fact it is a shrift that keeps on shriving: one "pre-pottery" wasn't enough, there is now a "Pre-Pottery A," a "Pre-Pottery B," and a "Pre-Pottery C." What is wrong with this picture? First there was pottery in the world. So the culture isn't pre-pottery, it just doesn't have pottery. Do we say that there is a "pre-pottery paleolithic?" Of course not.

There's also no assurance that the culture would have ever developed pottery. There's no evidence that the period could be defined by repeated attempts to get to pottery, and failing, and that this defines the period. It is the same error as studying "proto-writing." It wasn't defined by this, it was its own technology, one which has not be eliminated by writing, instead the use of "icons" on the computer or road signs shows how pictograms are a technology, and there is no drive to turn them into writing: in computers the reverse has been true, writing has given way to GUI.

There's no reason to be respectful here of people who use rent to lane clog knowledge. The right to dig someplace and therefore name things, or mis-name, and then have other lane clogging academics attached to biblical archeology funding schemes – running around looking for the Garden of Eden, or proofs that this or that is really something mentioned in the bible – sanctify it, is the definition of ossification in outright prevention of knowledge.

The reality is that much of archeology is dominated by pottery people because for a long time pottery was about the most reliable chronology generator for human inhabitation. It was as natural for pottery droids to name something as "pre-pottery" as it would be for a dog to label a day into "pre-food" and "post-food." However, the dog doesn't run the world, and pottery people are now lane clogging archeology. It's what the present does: gets in the way of progress until there is disaster. And then it looks for some poor people to slaughter or torture. A top to bottom genocidal morality has infected archeology as much as any place. Do nothing, someone else will be killed when it goes wrong. And they will probably not be white. Probably.

So here were are, at the end of the Younger Dryas, and what climatology tells us is that the sea level is rising rapidly: 120m in the space of a few thousand years. The temperature is rising a great deal where there is ice, less where there is partial ice, and not much at all in places far from the epicenter and which were not ice bound to begin with. So Greenland gets 15C warmer, northern Europe 5C, and high elevations in Switzerland only 2C. The major shift is in weather patterns, and sea coasts. Remember, the water cycle is where it is at, while gas and temperature changes are the drivers, it is when the hydrologic cycle is affected that there is massive change.

And massive change it was: whole swathes of the North Sea, the Persian Gulf, and other areas, which were once above sea level, are flooded. Rain patterns change, rivers are shifted. Marshes form, forests turn to grasslands, grasslands turn to forests. Animals migrate.

How this alters humanity is not as easy as some would think.

The endogenous fallacy is that human history is largely internally driven, with one invention or change leading to others. In economics it is the "ergodic" assumption. This set of numbers leads to that set. Since scribes, scholars, and other people who codify are internally driven in this way, it is an appealing notion that one documented thing leads to another, based on an interior narrative. The scholar sits, the scholar studies, the scholar thinks, the scholar writes. It is easy to turn that cycle into a narrative of human history, and from there, to a thesis: the endogenous thesis that one thing leads to another based on a chain of stimulus and response. Other effects are outside, and only invoked when the endogenous chain seems to fail us.

In the case of the "agricultural revolution" or the "neo-lithic revolution" this idea was advanced by people living through the industrial revolution, which came in waves over the course of 400 years, and created "modernity" as a mindset and a concept. They projected back, and saw people like themselves: carving out a new way of life. The counter-narrative, pointing out that hunter-gatherers work less, are better fed, and often live longer than their subsistence agricultural counter parts, is also well established. More recently the opposite error is being made: an over-determination on the external. Richardson even wrote that before the Holocene agriculture was impossible, and afterwards, it was mandatory. The evidence does not support either conclusion.

Nature invented agriculture. Nearly 10,000 years ago, the previously unstable climate of the Younger Dryas - a brief sharp cold period - ended. But it did not simply become warmer, it became more stable. Years followed years of the same climate in the same place. From the artifacts and cave paintings, humans were ready for civilization, but they lived in a world where very few places could support a sustained habitation year-round. The Younger Dryas was an intense drop in Europe and the Middle East, as much as 15 C +/- 3C colder than today. It also ended abruptly, very, very, abruptly. Beginning in 1989, an increasing body of evidence pointed to a rapid shift from a cold unstable climate, to a warmer stable one

The first is that thought proves the existence of the thinker, and the thinker organizes knowledge, but must connect to reality, and that connection requires a larger being to explain it. Plato, Aristotle, the Gospel of St. John, Thomas Aquinas, DeCartes, Newton, Berkeley, Hegel, and Kant, are all, to one degree or another, of this school, as are most religions. Order proves self, and the existence of self and order proves the over-self. Every garden variety religionist is embedded in this view, and will get very angry if provoked, stomping their feet and re-asserting what is, in actually, a supposition. The differences are only how large a circular argument they need before they have forgotten where they came from. This does not, in itself, indict axiomic-ontology as a view, but, at least, it dispenses with many of the simple forms of it.

The second is that sensation proves self, rather than cognition, and that logic proves reality. Sophism too has many practioners, high and low: Pierce, Quinne, Derrida, Ayn Rand, Sir Francis Bacon, Heidegger are all sophists. The problems with sophism are many, first off, because it is almost always dishonest. The sophist almost always asserts either that sophism is universal, and inescapable, or in the other direction, that they are the first sophist in the history of the world. Ayn Rand and Heidegger both take this second gambit. If the axiomic-ontologist says that you must agree with what is obvious to him, because the vastness of the world overwhelms all understanding, the sophist argues that you can't understand anything, unless you agree with him or her.

Yes, I am dismissing both of these theories, over which billions of words have been spilt, simply because one can wake up today, go to a forum, start from the fundamental moves of either, and still have an argument. These arguments do not so much evolve, but, like a virus, mutate, to avoid whatever killed the last rendition of the virus by losing some essential feature. A longer book than this essay would be required, of course, to grind out every single blind alley, or to do so in enough cases as to make it overwhelmingly abundantly clear that the defects in both are inescapable, ineradicable, and endlessly duplicated.

The third road is to attempt to combine both, a project that has dragged many minds prone to madness into a downward spiral. The man who shot Representative Gabby Giffords was obsessed with the problem that if grammar came to have no fixed meaning, how could we know anything? The post-structuralists, sophists to a one, came to the answer that the game of language itself provided an authority. That is, it is true, if people can play it. These attempts too, fall short, because eventually one must assert that God is the language giver, or that language proves the existence of God. The old joke still applies: if God created man in his image, man is a gentleman, because he returned the favor.

The assertion of the language-game as the ultimate arbiter of truth, that is, if we can organize it, then it is all the truth we have, dates to early Wittgenstein, who then spends the second half of his career refuting it, and instead arguing that the narrow conception of the language-game is the root of confusion. This is derived from a similar logic to Gödel's influential incompleteness theorum, in that that which is expressible must be expressible in a finite number of rules, but any finite number of rules that is rich enough to describe what we experience must also be able to express that something is inexpressible, which is a logical contradiction.

The maze of epistemology that these two schools create means that many people dispense with the question. The hell with it, I don't understand understanding.

But until the 17th century, this was considered a stupid, low, idea. That things are the way they have seemed to be.

Going back before the Younger Dryas, was the Paleo-lithic. Between 65KaBP (Kilo-annum Before Present) and 20KaBP these waves spread outwards and filled Europe, Asia, and Australia. One of the important points to remember is that glacial periods create land bridges for people to follow, so that there are two kinds of demic (full people) expansions. The first is the movement during good times when excess population or seeming empty land in a direction prompts people to hunt and move outwards. The only settlements of these people we know about, underline know about, are in caves. But then, that is because caves make it easy to find things.

In many parts of the world, including India, the matri-lineages go back to these paleo-lithic expansions, including the obvious Australian aborigines.

to look at Neil Gaiman, by Hayley Campbell  a interview,  of sorts,  with the artwork of Neil Gaiman

a very short story

Vital Rays

University of Wessex, Ishtar Long Count 998.11.
In this the 753 AC, the dating since the time of the coming of Christ’s people to Ishtar, one would have thought that a professor of a prestigious college would be more solemn. There was a war with the Latin Republic, portents of coming troubles, and a bitter three cornered political struggle between Atheists, Raptarians and Millenarians in almost every aspect of life - political economy, art, morality and culture.

Not so for Aeneas Egidius, or Angus Giles as he would, in defiance of tradition, call himself to his lecture classes.Today as was often the case, he began his lecture with an act of legerdemain – making coins seem to disappear and then fall out of someone’s hair or pocket. The class laughed, and then he went on to the subject of his lecture, namely, the Opticks – the study of light. He would darken the room and allow a slit of light to pass through a triangle of glass and spread the colours of the spectrum on the far wall. He noted that this was explained by His brightest student, Stephanus Sextus, or as he called himself Steven Sextant, for he loved to use the new fashioned  instrument, asked about the two slit experiment, and the possibility of light waves. Aeneas, who believed in the corpuscular theory of light, replied that theory provided nothing to “wave”, and therefore the explanation was that the bodies which made up light were not bodies as we thought of them, but could act together separately, as a “shadow” could act with the hand. He then handed out small bits of screen wire and showed people “diffraction” by tilting the wire as they looked at the sun’s That was all the time there was in the hour, and he sent them off with a joke about two men arguing over which side of a had, to match it off a clean shaven face which only made him seem even more like an ivory ball, of the kind which one plays 

Afterwards he was summoned to the office of the Caput – or head – of his department, the caput was an example of the corpuscular theory of success, for he was quite corpulent. Behind his desk he seemed positively inflated into his clothes, and "Table" with.

The Caput greeted him insincerely, and then asked “Why do you waste time with humor and tricks in your class?”

“It helps put students in a more receptive frame of mind.”

The Caput scowled, but got to his real topic.

“There is a demonstration tomorrow morning that I wish you to attend, I want to know what you think of it. It is of Xpianus and his apparatus to prove vital rays, that life is carried on invisible rays the way your own experiments have show that there are invisible rays that are, as you called them, 'more energetic' than Violet light.”

“Biology is hardly my specialty. And you know that I am skeptical of Xpianus’ claims. Very skeptical.”

“Still holding to that corpuscular doctrine of decay? When you come to admit that vitality is energy, and must be carried along in rays and waves, like the water which it is mostly made of.”
“When I see proof of it which cannot easily be shown to be better understood through other means. When I see, to use a phrase that is becoming currency, ‘Deep Truth’ of it.”

The Caput smiled, “You will get your chance. Tomorrow morning.”

That morning he decided to play a small trick, he shaved off his beard, and went, not in the dark voluminous robes of a professor, but in the more modern dress of trousers and a shirt. He wore no sign of rank, and did not carry with him much of anything. He went wearing an old Phrygian cap, as a farmer might use. The clothes were not, however, of a common workman, since the shirt was of fine silk, and the trousers of the best linen, while the boots were of good black leather. He looked, for all the world, like a benefactor of the University. Which was true, he had enough money from his commercial lens grinding business to be able to donate more too the University than he drew as salary from it.

The lecture hall was packed and the lecturer, also a well padded individual, busied himself at the apparatus which seemed both complex and yet, well made. The only part that was easily recognizable was a camera apparatus at the end. The faint smell of developing chemicals and a small black cloth draped booth confirmed that he intended to develop plates taken.

Obviously to take pictures. He hurried himself up, and introduced himself. “I am Farmer Giles of Ham, and I am so glad to meet you.” He positively beamed as he said it. At first the reaction to meeting his hand was slow, but the cold cross around the neck of “Farmer Giles”, coupled with the benefactor’s pin, convinced Xpianus that this was both a friend, and someone who could fund. Xpianus gave back an oily smile and said “Any benefactor of the University…”

“Yes, and I am so glad, I hear you might even be joining us. The Caput Physicum is so excited about your work.”

Xpianus gave a smile of false modesty, and said “Well perhaps, to add intellectual diversity to the department.”

“You must show me how the apparatus works.”

Xpianus did a rapid patter about how the light would enter, and be passed through a vial of “infected water” and then passed through a prism made out of wood, quickly opening the inside of the chamber and showing him the placement of the apparatus and the subtle tilting that would occur to show the rays in different patterns – for it had to be organic to spectrate the vital rays – and then fall on special film which would make the rays visible on the picture.

Angus pretended to ignorance, and Xpianus explained that film could see invisible rays if it was treated properly. Egg was used to fix the images on plates, and he found that it was “sensitive” to the vital rays. But the time was drawing near, and he took his place in front.

The lecture was a screaming success, Xpianus ran the apparatus twice drawing off two plates, which his assistant began to develop. He then lectured on the vital rays, and hinted that they proved God’s benevolence and implied that Atheists were trying to stop the truth from getting out. He closed with a plea for intellectual diversity and the chance to teach the controversies that raged.

Then, the denouement, the plates were shown, and clearly there were two patterns on the plates, just, said Xpianus, as theory predicted.

The Caput came in halfway through, and was positively beaming. It took him some time to see Aeneas, as he insisted on calling Angus, and when he did he called out. “So Egidius, are you impressed now?”
Angus stood up, turned to face the lecture hall. He surveyed the faces.

“I am indeed very impressed, as a fellow practioner, with this experiment.” He then shifted his stance slightly, “Particularly since his apparatus worked without this.”

At which point he tossed into the crowd the wooden prism, leaving Xpianus to open the apparatus to find one of glass which had been painted to look like wood.

up or down?

"A bubble is easy to discern despite the Fed’s rhetoric that it cannot be discerned. What’s hard is pinpointing the moment it tops out. But that’s precisely what everyone wants to know in order to cash out before it implodes. "

New beginning? 

"While these fears are surfacing today, the anemic economic conditions that prevail at present and from which these concerns spring may be the result of structural changes in the U.S. economy over the past 40 years."


Intermission in a search for pleasantries
Lightly resting like Haiku writ in lucid kanji
On the verses of unfocused fragile ecstasies -
Viewed from to close a distance, too soon a day.
Even divided distance of the hours sharpens the reverie.
Yesterday and today converse at every tempo
Odes adagio, epodes presto, but whispered within
Under all, above, betwixt, between, an affect marked: “senza measura”.


In dreams I laid awake in slumber
too many times thinking how right is
and wishing that many times I could chatter
and dreaming what dreams may come to me thus

but instead I reach the plane that I am on,
busy in the brain, while the cool ice cold air blows
is not quite go to sleep nor stay awake upon
this coil that I feel trapped as if by crows.

They coil above my eyes as if to say
that everything else is an illusion,
and only they are real, vibrant
with hours stretched beyond any confusion.

Only then I know what is to and ought to be
on mystery to those that are truly free.  

The Wizard of Oz

Goldman on Hemingway

Russell Down for the Month


Louis Spohr (1784-1859)   is one of those   composers which is not quite good enough to be great,  but is much much better than  the rest.

Matt Stoller on a grand unified theory of money laundering.

since 1970, terrorism as a group of points...

toys and games: a master class

The act of rambling on...

Sonnet  someone attached to something is also working...  you should take a look at it and then get to work on your own....

What Should Have Been 2001

Date: August 7th, 2001
Location: Oval Office, The White House,
Washington DC.
President: The National Security Advisor called this meeting after receiving an PDB that is entitled...
National Security Advisor: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US"...
President: Alright. So I am taking over the agenda here. I've got two questions, who is this binLaden guy, and why isn't his ass hanging over my mantlepiece?
NSA: Well sir maybe we should have our counter-terrorism czar brief you on him.
President: Why haven't I been briefed already?
DCI: Let me answer that. Sir, until today, the scope of his activities in the US wasn't obvious.
President: Well they sure as shit look obvious now. Who's our guy on bin Laden?
DCI: I think that is why the PDB was drafted sir, they want you to appoint someone who can coallate all the intelligence. Right now, because of the law, and bureaucratic custom, CIA and FBI don't coordinate.
President: Well is that so. Learn something new every day. Fine. Another Washington Square dance get's under way. Where's FBI on this?
Acting FBI: Sorry sir, I am not entirely up to pace, I've only been on this for a month, but apperantly the previous national security team said "you are going to spend more of your time on this guy than anything else."
President: Is that so NSA.
NSA: I'm not sure...
President: Well then you as sure as hell better get sure.
NSA: Sorry, Mr. President.
President: So let me get this straight, he works foreign and domestic, he wants to hit us here, and we have 70 different investigations, and no on is in charge of him.
DCI: That's right. Mr. President.
President: Get our counter-terrorism guy in here. Why isn't here.
NSA: He was demoted from cabinet rank Mr. President. Part of streamlining the meetings. Sir.
President: Sounds like streamlining a jet by cutting off a wing. Get that boy in here.
(Enter Counter-Terrorism Director)
CTD: You asked for me Mr. President?
President: I don't want you to think you are in any trouble, yet. But I have a PDB of yesterday that makes it look as if you aren't doing your job. Can you explain this little piece of Mrs. Lally's third grade English to me?
CTD: We tried to cut it down as far as we could sir, I've been trying to get a chance to brief you, before August vacation. Mr. President.
President: Well it looks like I am taking my vacation right here until I get some answers. Now first: who is this bin Laden guy? And why haven't we bombed the living fuck out of him? (Waves his hand at NSA) I know calm down. I just get antsy when someone thinks he can pull a Tojo and bomb us while we sleep. Let me rephrase that: who is in charge of this guy, stopping his attacks and going after him?
CTC: There was a plan drafted to go after him.
President: I want it on NSA's desk tomorrow.
CTC: It's been there, sir.
(Shoots a glance at NSA)
NSA: We had some questions about effectiveness.
President: And does it have enough to stop this... what is it... hijackings?
CTC: There has been some concern about this. That's why the heightened security last month at Genoa.
President: Seems like we could use some of that hieghtened security shit right here. Looks like to me we need to go on alert.
Commerce: Sir, do you think that is wise, we are probably in recession and that could disrupt business confidence.
(President looks at Commerce)
President: Do you know why we let people like Gordon run their tin soap box deby around in circles and lose all that money? I'll tell you why, because it is part of the US logisitical system for fighting major wars. If I want to I can sign an order and mobilize those jets to move people and supplies to any conflict, any where in the world. Just so long as I can get Congress to agree first. Those jets are military assets. You don't think a 7 Four 7 can carry a space shuttle on its back by coincidence do you? We built that bird to be the tank of the air, and damn it, I am not going to have any two bit thug who should be making his living giving valve jobs to camels taking one away from me. Not for five minutes. Do you know what a hostage drama in Kennedy National would do to us in the mid terms?
Political Advisor: It might help, the people might rally around.
President: (Pats his friend on the shoulder) Yeah probably, the polls do the damnedest things sometimes. Let's not be in a position to find out. Now, back to job one. CTC As of this moment you are in charge of coallating all of the information on this "bin Laden determined to strike at the US." Because as of now the US is determined to strike at bin Laden. Why haven't we had this guy playing hide the salami with a cruise missile? And why isn't the US on alert?
DCI: There is a standing order, but we have some technology problems. Sir.
CTC: Mr. President if you will look at the plan, you'll see we need funding released so that...
President: Done. Never let it be said that a Texan doesn't know how to spend money. DCI, get it out of one of your black bags.
(DCI nods.)
President: So what about these 70 investigations? Why aren't they wrapped up in a neat package with a summary?
CTC: We need authorization to share intelligence. We could put FBI and CIA on Intellnet, and use that as an ad hoc intelligence committee.
President: Fine. That's fine. Now what about the hijackings? Do we have anything on airline security?
DCI: There is the Gore Commission Report.
President: The what?
DCI: While Albert Gore was Vice-President he chaired a commission on airline security.
President: Damn it, best Vice-President in US history. What's in it? I want a summary by this afternoon, complete with some bullet points. And get me one of them gungho types who knows about storming planes held by hijackers. I want to have an alert going out until we've got this cleared up. As far as I know from the campaign, the security system on the airlines is run by a bunch of rent-a-cops.
CTC: It would take too long to federalize them.
President: That's all in next year's budget. What I want to know is what we can do to get us from here to there when we can throw Gordon and the rest a big fat billion to start fixing these problems.
(Transportation puffing in.)
SoT: It will take more than that,  a billion isn't what it used to be.
President: I know, that's why down in Texas we've gone to his and hers billions. SoT, whose your airline security guy?
SoT: We have someone.
President: Good, he or she is promoted. I want his or her presence here by this afternoon, with that summary. Because we are going to have a short talk. I am going to talk, and he or she is going to say "Yes Mr. President" alot.
(SoT pops out blackberry, plugs in some buttons.)
President: What's that?
SoT: Email from anywhere.
President: I want everyone here to have one of those, by Monday. And I want a list that will fire off alerts to everyone on this. So. Let me get this back on track. We got a threat - so Transportation is now going to get us someone to get the alerts. Who has people to put on planes?
SoT: Not us. That's Justice.
President: Jesus Christ, lost in the Pentagon - who wired this town? An Italian Sports Car designer? OK get me Top Cop in here. SoT - I want you and TC to get together and have a plan where we can go on alerts. How bad is it?
DCI: There is a lot of chatter about attacks.
President: Chatter? What's that supposed to me?
DCI: Unsubstantiated but possibly credible warnings from here and abroad. It's in the PDB - "spectacular".
President: So let me sort this out. We need someone to go bomb this boy. We need someone to find out what he is doing. And we need to lock the barn door before the horse is in the next god damn county. Does that cover what's in the PDB?
CTC: Yes. Mr. President.
President: Fine TC, you and Mr. Gizmo here are going to go around closing the shutters before the storm hits. CTC, you are back in the cabinet, and since you've been confirmed before, I will tell the boys on the hill that they can wait on questioning you for a while. First thing I want out of you, FBI and DCI is the name of someone who can put all of this together for me so we can make some good decisions. NSA? Don't think I am letting you off. You should have had a list of recomendations when we started this meeting. Don't get caught with... Well I won't go there. It's your job to make me look smart, and I haven't looked to smart this morning. Damn it, what if someone had leaked this and I had a question in a press conference?
NSA: We've been busy on the big picture.
President: Protecting this country and getting me re-elected are the big picture. In that god damned order. Have your staff people get on how to get this guy.
NSA: We aren't supposed to use missiles to shoot at people, only at equipment.
President: I'm not shooting at him. I want to blast his god damned helmet. I don't want excuses, and I don't except excuses. I want to get an ashtray with a small pile of powder in it. Who can we get to come up with a plan?
NSA: The previous administration had me briefed by Wesley Clark on this...
President: Clark huh? Was he the guy who bombed Kosovo back out of the stone age? Get him on the line. Perfect for the job, mad bomber of Belgrade. Is he one of ours?
(Quizzical looks)
President: Is he a Re-pub-li-can?
(Political Advisor nods)
PA: He was raising money for us. Had something he wanted to talk to you about.
President: Heh. Well he'd better talk fast.
(Secretary hands President a phone.)
President: yes, I want Retired General (puts phone to chest) what does he like to be called? Wesley? That's no go. (takes phone back up)Wes Clark.
President: It's just the President of The United States. Yes, those, the ones that look like some kid threw up on a map of North America. Now get me Wes Clark.
President: Hi, Wes. How are you? I wanted to thank you for all the fundraising you did? Can you come out to Washington? I heard you had some face time you wanted with me. Well, its August and the country breathes easier because Congress isn't in session.
(Hands phone to Secretary)
I love doing that. I can hear the salute all the way on the other side of the phone.
CTC: Let me summarize. We have myself, DCI and FBI getting an intelligence summary, Transportation and the AG coming up with a plan to protect airlines and check buildings - it is in the PDB, he likes to bomb buildings and he has people checking out Federal Buildings in New York City. And we have NSA getting Retired General Clark to come up with a plan to expedite plans to take the conflict to the enemy.
President: Type that up and put it in an executive order. As of now Mr. Clarke, bin Laden is your job. And either his ass, or yours, is going to be right - (points) - there. Do you got that?
(President hits a button)
Get me the Counsel to the President, I want a memo on how to navigate this minefield. And a legislative aide, I want to get on a bill to put this whole three ring circus under one tent.
NSA: If I may... there is a proposal from Senator Lieberman to create Homeland Security.
President: Homeland Security. Why not god damn National Security? (Smiles) Now that is a good idea. We got any recently defeated governors lying around looking for work? I want someone to do the desk wrangling on this for me. Get me someone.
President: Well, I'm not paying you by the hour. Get on it!
President: NSA, you stay.
(Everyone but NSA and the president's private secretary heads out).
President: I didn't mean to hurt your feelings back there.
NSA: I....
President: See that man up there. He beat the USSR, pulled us out of the Great Recession, and told the Arabs they were going to sell us gas for the price of bottled water. I have to live up to that legacy. And I am not going to fall down on the job 198 days in. That bastard Roosevelt saved a country in 100 days, and I'm not about to lose it in 200. This is the big leagues. I'm counting on you to get those careerist crackheads on track and on this. Make sure the airlines are locked down, make sure we pick up whoever is doing terrorist tourism, and makes sure that those 70 investigations are one investigation by the end of the week. You have that? You're my closer. The bases are loaded, and we can't afford even one hit. I didn't mean to be rough on you back there, but these guys can't think I am playing favorites.
(NSA swallows and nods, and heads out)
(Leans back in an empty office)
President: And people tell me this town can't work.

- - -

Time: August 8th, 2001 0730
Location: Situation Room, The White House
Washington DC.
Chief, Counter-Terrorism: Good morning, good morning, good morning. I hope everyone likes the coffee because we are going to be drinking alot of it. Please take a look at the memo we are handing to the President this morning at 10 AM. If anyone has any corrections speak now, or forever hold your piece.
FBI: Excuse me...
CTC: You're (glances down at notes), the new Special Agent in charge of the bin Laden investigation.
FBI: Since this morning. All I have is a list of investigations and agents. They haven't even given me the list of memos to go through yet.
CTC: You'll find that I am extremely forgiving about people getting up to speed. I give them a generous 24 hours of leniency on it.
FBI: To be frank, there are some field/office issues here. And it is going to take some time to sort them out.
CTC: I'll let you explain that to the President. But we have a meeting to get going here. Everyone got the memo yesterday.
Assistant Attorney General for Counter-Terrorism: Counting 11:58 as yesterday.
CTC: What was that?
AAGCT: I've replied with 15 points from the Attorney General.
CTC: I read it this morning sent back my thoughts, I trust you have an updated memo with you?
AAGCT(quickly checking notes): The Attorney General wants to have review on this before it is sent to the Executive, sir.
CTC: He'll have 30 minutes to peruse it at his leisure before the 10AM. There's only one train out of this station every day, and I intend to be on this one.
AAGCT: The Attorney General feels that his office would be the best to coordinate this operation from.
CTC: I'll let you tell that to the President.
AAGCT: I'm only acting under orders.
CTC: So am I. My orders are to get 70 investigations into one file folder so that NSA can get the picture without having to turn a page and risk a paper cut.
AAGCT: That's an extremely negative characterization of NSA sir.
CTC: Be that as it may, NSA has made it very clear that nothing that isn't signature ready gets looked at.
AAGCT: Understood.
(Chubby man chugs in)
CTC: And speaking of the National Security Advisor, here is the Counter-Terrorism expert from over there. Glad you could join us.
NSC: Sorry, traffic was brutal this morning.
CTC: Try sleeping at the office - it helps conserve gasoline too.
NSC: Do we have something that's ready for NSA actionability?
CTC: Slowdown a bit. We've got a memo here from the Counsel to the President with an approach I would like everyone to look at. On page 14 of my short memo that was drafted this morning.
(Flipping of pages and mouse clicks)
You will find the suggestion that we make this a single federal investigation under an independent counsel.
FBI: FBI feels that it should be taking the investigatory lead.
CTC: Which would be all well and good, but as I note on pate 19, since much of the important evidence is from the Cole bombing and the Embassy bombings - which are not FBI led - we need to have a single clearing house outside of anyone's jurisdiction for this.
FBI: The director registers his strong reservations on this.
CTC: I'll talk to him later. We also have an analyst from CIA, here this morning, who is going to talk about the problems in coordinating. I will turn the floor over to him.
CIA: As you may know there are long standing problems in communicating between the CIA and FBI. Some of them are cultural, and others are based on legal impediments. DCI has asked legal counsel over there to present options on getting both CIA and FBI onto Intellnet, and to find a means for the two organizations to share information, prior to statutory revisions that would make formal information sharing possible.
AAGCT: As you probably know we have a bill bottled up in committee that...
CTC: It's already in the memo as a legislative action item.
CIA: May I go on?
CTC: Yes but be brief.
CIA: The gist of the plan is that we empanel a Federal Grand Jury, and allow a judge to sift through the information. According to US v Nixon, there is very little that can't be sub peonased to be reviewed in camera.
AAGCT: And the grand jury would be a license to print warrants.
CTC: Correct. That's point one. Point two I will give over to Transportation Department's security guy, who has been kind enough to draft something on the Federal Marshall program being reactivated.
Transportation Security Chief: My four point plan is this: we tighten the carry regulations for air craft to include all blades and pointed objects, we move some federal marshals currently on internal drug interdiction to being sky marshals, and we rattle the cage of the baggage screeners and handlers by doing an "Immigration Check". This in addition to moving the FAA to highest state of alert.
CTC: Which means what?
TSC: Primarily it would mean that we would have jets always scrambled to respond to a highjacking, it would mean that we would activate the no fly list, and it would mean that passenger craft would travel with the "seat belts on" all the time. We are working on drafting some language that would say that there is a heightened state of security alert and to report all suspicious behavior.
CTC: Sounds like lifting a crate with wet noodles. Can we do any better?
TSC: This is the best I can do without some sort of higher authorization. But I will point out that there is precedent for search warrants to cover limited times and places.
CTC: Generally those are drug cases.
AAGCT: We could get a sealed indictment accusing bin Laden of being a drug kingpin.
CTC: Which would mean.
AAGCT: Under the 1999 Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the President can designate an individual as a "suspected Drug Smuggler", the Treasury can freeze his assets, and all US firms and citizens are forbidden from doing business.
CTC: I've got no evidence that bin Laden smuggles drugs, quite the contrary.
AAGCT: (Shrugs) Let him sue in court.
CTC: Have you had a chance to look at my suggestion that we launch a RICO investigation?
AAGCT: Yes, that is what made me think getting him Fonked.
FBI: I have to concur, we should use the drug laws and RICO to get at this guy and his organization.
CTC: Can you get us enough to get a sealed indictment.
FBI: I think there was enough meat in the file to make a few ham sandwiches, yes. But I still need some help cutting through some infighting at FBI. I know I should not be saying this, but the department is right now riven with an infight between the criminal and domestic counter-terrorism sections. It is getting difficult to shake the tree and get the information required.
CTC: I'm aware of the problems, I think we are going to have to raise this at the Principals meeting. We haven't had one on terrorism, and I think we can co-opt the meeting of the 9th. I want everyone here to have their points in by this evening so I can draft an agenda.
AAGCT: So you are going to take the suggestion we Fonk him as part of the run up.
CTC: You realize that would move this from your desk over to Narcotics enforcement at Justice.
AAGCT: In a manner of speaking, they would be responsible for finding all of bin Laden's US money contacts and freezing them.
CTC: Leaving you free to (peers over glasses to check fine print) begin the prosecution under the RICO statute.
AAGCT: My office would do that yes.
CTC: And with that addition you feel that Justice would sign off.
AAGCT: I believe the Attorney General would.
CTC: FBI, are you comfortable feeding Justice what then need here?
FBI: Subject to getting some help moving things, yes.
CTC: And what's the problem.
FBI: As mentioned, infighting here at the office, and a field/office pissing contest over a series of memos that were sent in over the last month and are currently sitting in some special agent in charge's slush pile.
CTC: Do you have a name?
FBI: I'm not sure I should...
CTC: Do you have a name?
FBI: Yes sir.
CTC: Good. I'm going to pay this, I assume it is a he, gentleman a visit later on.
FBI: That's going to ruffle some feathers sir.
CTC: Then a few more people are going to learn not to pet my fur the wrong way. The President said this was going to be one investigation, and that's what is going to happen. Or haven't you realized what this is all about.
CIA: I assumed that...
CTC: It's about one thing. We had CIA draft the PDB to get the President's attention. He escalated it. Our job now is to get his attention again and get it escalated again. Because until the President cares about it, nobody cares about it.
FBI: That's pretty cynical.
AAGCT: No, it is about right. Everybody manages up, and hopes that down takes care of itself.
CTC: Exactly. Now I'd like to call everyone's attention to the series of bullet points on page 24, where we recommend that some response to the Cole be undertaken.
CIA: Does State know about this?
CTC: State's been informed that we are considering options on securing compliance from the present government of Afghanistan on this matter.
CIA: Begging your pardon, but the Cole was in Yemen, and bin Laden is a Saudi.
FBI: And Saudi Arabia isn't cooperative on this.
CIA: Still, don't you think we should go shake the bin Laden family tree a bit? A few of them are here in the US.
CTC: I will see what I can do. Back to the bullet points...
- - -
Time: 8 August 2001 0925AM
Location: Small room near the Oval Office, The White House
Washington DC.
DCI (Flipping through memo): It's too much.
CTC: I chopped it down as much as I could.
DCI: It's too much. NSA will never sign off on it.
CTC: You have a better suggestion?
DCI: CIA is willing to take this one on.
CTC: You know the President won't authorize that.
DCI: But this plan is all over. Treasury knows, there is a prosecutor, FBI knows, Justice knows.
CTC: What do you suggest?
DCI: The problem here is that it is being treated as Domestic Law Enforcement.
CTC: And you are saying that we should move this to being a National Security matter?
DCI: It already is. We can put this under response to the Cole bombing, and then we don't have to reveal anything to anyone.
CTC: You know I think you are usually right. But I think that only the direct attacks on bin Laden are National Security Related. Look everyone and his cousin wants to own this. We've got to give everyone a piece of turkey.
DCI: That's fine, but who gets to carve?
CTC: I think you know that that belongs to the man at the head of the table.
DCI: He likes to serve it up, but he wants other people to handle the cutlery.
CTC: NSA will sit on it like a hen on an egg. How long did the 25 January memo sit?
DCI: Defense can't it is against the rules. FBI won't, because they all want to cowboy. Justice is busy acting like this is a Miami Vice episode. You know the lay of the land.
CTC: I think we can hold it together once the process is going. Give everyone a stake in the outcome, and everyone will go after their piece hard. Keeping it high profile will mean that everyone will play in the same sandbox.
DCI: I'm not sure on the approach. You are sticking your neck way out.
CTC: Not the first time.
DCI: And you have the 360 degree stitches to prove it. Now let's get to the 10 AM.
- - -
Time: 8 August 2001 10:37
Location: Oval Office, The White House
Washington DC.
President: Which brings us to the Terrorism Item.
CTC: If I may?
President: You've got the ball.
CTC: As you may know bin Laden is a renegade Saudi who fought the Soviets during the occupation of Afghanistan, he's connected with the wealthy bin Laden oil family, but has become a leader in the world of Islamic extremism.
President: So let me get this straight, we are having problems with a church going, mosque going anyway, gun toting, commie hating fundamentalist whose family is in the oyl bidness? Why, that sounds like half my contributors.
CTC: He's got his own private army.
President: So did my good friend H Ross Pea-rot. What does he want?
CTC: He says he wants the US out of holy Saudi Arabia.
President: As soon as the oil is out of there, we will be too. So let me get this straight, he's in Afghanistan, and the government won't just hand him over?
CTC: Yes, Mr. President.
President: Didn't we just give them a bunch of money?
State: Yes Mr. President, to encourage their drug interdiction efforts.
President:  Say again?
State: So that they would not grow poppies.
President: And they still won't play ball? I knew paying people not to plant was a stupid idea. Who thought of it first anyway? Oh that's right, a Democrat. Look, you get to these people and tell them that we want this boy in our hands.
DoD: It's not quite that simple, Mr. President. He has training camps. We are going to need to go in there and rectify the regime.
President: You mean replace.
DoD: Yes Sir.
President: I thought we didn't do nation building.
DoD: Well Mr. President, that is the context that we are operating in.
President: You people are talking offense. Where I come from there are two sports, football and spring football. And the first thing you talk about is defense. That's your job title isn't it? Secretary of Defense? How are we going to make sure these people can't hit us again?
DoD: We could engage some strikes on their territory as retaliation for the Cole bombing.
President: Now that is beginning to sound like more fun. Sow a little chaos and confusion.
NSA: Begging your pardon, sir, but you said during the campaign that you weren't going to waste a million dollar missile on a camel in a tent.
President: You have a better idea?
NSA: No sir, I just...
President: First thing you learn in Washington. Make sure you have the bullet points before you shoot your mouth off. I still haven't see this famous January 25th Memo from your office.
NSA: The review will be completed this afternoon. We have concerns as to this putting us off of our schedule for the larger context shift.
President: I'm only interested in throwing Mr. Bin Laden off of his schedule. Now get to work on that package of options for me.
NSA: Yes Mr. President.
President: So what do you have for crimping Mr. Bin Laden's style?
CTC: Justice had the novel suggestion of invoking the Drug Kingpin Designation.
President: Is this boy a drug dealer? I mean, he has to be smoking something if the thinks he can attack the US and get away with it.
State: Unfortunately there isn't an equivalent designation for individuals for terrorism. But the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism at State has suggested we threaten to add Afghanistan tothe list that was last updated on April 30th. We could get some leverage with that.
President: Once we have our selves in place here. I don't want bin Laden going off half-cocked if he thinks we are on to him. Now about hijackings.
CTC: We have an Transportation-Justice plan to beef up security on airlines. It requires authorization from DoD, since it involves keeping jets scrambled and use of Civil Air Defense resources. We are suggesting we tell the public that we are hardening the Air Defense Intercept Zone as an exercise, we could also reduce the intercept and escort time to 25 minutes.
President: Fine, fine, now what about this immigration check?
CTC: We want to do some sweeps of the air security system, and that allows us to do personnel checks and interviews without needing warrants.
President: And you are going to target people from Arab countries?
CTC: At first, though it could be expanded. Afterall, we have home grown terrorism problems too.
President: And this will piss off all those liberal groups, won't it?
CTC: Probably Mr. President.
President: I like it already.
Now, about this Grand Jury Investigation...
CTC: It's a work around Mr. President. We really need to get FBI and CIA on Intellnet, but this will allow us to review and disseminate information in the mean time. The long term memo will be drafted later. This was just the immediate plan.
President: And you think this is going to do it? I don't want to hear about this again until I read the headline "Gallup Poll says Americans feel safe from attack". Do you hear me?
CTC: Then we need authorization to require direct reports from FBI to my office.
President: You been having problems? Some one need to be reminded who they work for.
CTC: There is a general feeling that some of the memos are bottled up in red tape.
President: Bureaucracy again. Alright, have that drafted and sent through. About your attack plan, is NSA reviewing that?
NSA: Yes Mr. President. I'm just worried that you are looking for a silver bullet.
President: I'm looking to lay down a few hundred rounds of lead down range. Or haven't you noticed that I'm telling everyone to get on this?
NSA: I will certainly do my part, Mr. President.
President: Good. Glad to hear we are all on the same team here. I see the Principals meeting coming up is on terrorism. I trust you will all be good little boys and girls? This looks like a good plan, really, I'm proud of how much work you have all put in on it. But my belief is that someone has to be responsible, the buck stops here (thumps on his desk). CTC, I want you to make sure this is all coordinated domestically. NSA, it will be your job to coordinate the military options should we need them, and State - I want you to see if we can get those Afghanis to see reason. That's all on this. And DCI? I want to talk with you early tomorrow on something.
Now back to the North Korea situation.

- - -
Time: 9 August 2001 0041
Location: FBI Office
New York, New York
Special Agent (On Phone): Yes, I've forwarded you everything. It's been held up here for weeks. The two memos you have to have are the Pheonix Memo and the memo by Crowley. Those are the lines that will connect the dots for you.
Special Agent: I don't know, we forwarded them to Washington DC sometime ago.
Special Agent: I hope this helps, the bulletin putting us all on alert came down earlier today. Now go show those Washington DC types how the bureau does things.
Time: 9 August 2001 0947
Location: Oval Office, The White House
Washington DC
Attorney General: You asked for me to come early, Mr. President?
President: Come in, Come in, sit down. I'd offer you a cigar, but by act of Congress, there isn't any smoking in Federal Office buildings, including this one. Yes, I wanted to talk to you about your recent strategic memo.
Attorney General: We are all very proud of it.
President: So's a two year old over his first shit, but that doesn't mean it should be bronzed and put on a pedestal.
We just had a meeting, and we are about to have a meeting, which says that this Osama bin Laden fellow is a problem. And this document you have hear doesn't make anything about him a priority.
Attorney General: This is based on my assessment as of May...
President: And I am talking about August, correct me if I am wrong, but last I checked, August comes after May. Isn't that so?
AG: Yes Mr. President.
President: And correct me if I am wrong, but based on long standing practice, and accumulated wisdom, great nations such are required to follow Lombardi's golden rule?
AG: I'm not familiar with that one.
President: "Do unto others, before they do unto you." Now let's get this wood chopped so we can move on to more important things. Why isn't bin Laden in this plan?
AG: I didn't think of it as my problem at the time, Mr. President.
President: Well then that makes it my problem, doesn't it. (Taps the Desk) Because the buck stops here doesn't it?
AG: Yes Mr. President. But the priorities... the budget...
President: Have changed, are you clear on that? And I want your budget request to reflect that. No more pinching pennies on national security - we can take it out of some Urban Development program.
AG: Yes, Mr. President.
President: Good, so I am making it your problem, TC. And I want you to flush this thing (waves document at AG) where it belongs. Because if it stays on my desk I am going to have it sprinkled around the rose garden. Are we clear on this?
AG: Is there anything else Mr. President?
President: That's what the 1030 is for, Mr. Attorney General. And I want some fresh thinking ready by then. And one of your bullet points is going to be enforcing the rule of law here in the United States against organizations which seek to overthrow it. You got me?
AG: Some of our constituencies...
President: Are a bunch of damn flakes that run around on the weekends with assault rifles. What of it? Who else are they going to vote for? You leave winning elections to me, it's my job and I am better at it.
AG: Yes, sir.
President: And one more thing.
AG: Yes Mr. President?
President: Next time you put your butt in an airline seat, it had better be a commercial one, or Air Force One. We are about to spend a lot of money to bail out an airline in your home state, and I don't want the voters thinking that their hard work isn't good enough for you. You got that?
AG: Yes, Mr. President.
Time: 9 August 2001 1147
Location: Oval Office, The White House
Washington DC.
Counter Terrorism Chief: There's just one more issue Mr. President.
President: Good, keep it short, I distinctly remember wanting this off of my plate.
CTC: There is some indication that one of the problems that has been hindering the investigation into the activities of Al Qaeda is orthological in nature.
President: Spelling is for the birds. What's the problem.
CTC: This morning FBI turned over to me a memo written by the Pheonix station that warns that followers of "Usama bin Laden" are trying to train to fly jet aircraft.
President: "U"-sama bin Laden? (Turns to AG)
TC, What's going on here? Yesterday it was O-sama bin Laden, today it is U-sama bin Laden. What's it going to be tomorrow, E-sama bin Laden? I-sama bin Laden? A-sama bin Laden, but they are cheaper by the dozen?
AG: There have been some inconsistencies.
President: Gimme an O, Gimme a U, Gimme an I. What is this a football cheer? Let me order up some of these fine phonics text books that we are going to require in the next education bill for your people TC.
AG: We believe that the issue can be resolved.
President: So are those 70 investigations just the "O"'s or do we have some "U"'s as well? Are there more memos listing him as "U"?
DCI: I can answer that. CIA found all investigations under all varient spellings, but there are some memos we can't get access to.
President: And why not?
DCI: Domestic intelligence reasons.
President: What do I have to do, get some fancy pants trial laywer to sue the government? Seems like those run amuck ambulance chasers can get more out of us than I can. I want all of the memos coordinated, and I want them all in one place, and I want a crack team on it, and by the 11th, when I hope to be enjoying the Texas sun, I want to have a report listing a short, one sentence summary of each one.
AG: I'm not sure I have the resources for that.
President: FBI, is that true?
FBI: We haven't allocated resources, pending direction, to domestic counter-terrorism.
President: Well you've got a direction. Now I want to see you march in it.
AG: Yes Mr. President.
President: Is there anything else? Or can I finally get out to some civilized location properly stacked with cigars?
Time: 9 August 2001 1521
Location: CIA, Langley Virginia.
DCI: (On phone): That's right, we finally have a summary of two memos that have been deep sixed in the FBI New York Bureau.
DCI: One is the "Pheonix Memorandum" whose title and summary was included in the 1030 this morning. I finally have the contents.
DCI: No, you weren't there, but you should start sending one of your people. Is there any chance we can get him put on the SDN list?
DCI: So there is no problem with getting the OFAC to push that through quickly?
DCI: We have an investigation that connects funds to a conspiracy.
DCI: That's correct, it does state that a follower of bin Laden is here in the US.
DCI: I have in front of me a copy of the Presidential Order which Fonked bin Laden. Which means you are free to go ahead and freeze any and all assets.
DCI:  I realize you are being kept out of the loop, that's why I called.
DCI: No standard law enforcement won't shake the tree fast enough. We need to smash one of his toes and listen for the yelp.
DCI: That's why I go to the Treasury Department, it's where the money is.
DCI: And, since there is the possibility of Presidential Security, you can assign some Secret Service details to this. We can also allege that there is counterfeiting.
DCI: No I don't yet, but there are enough Middle East based counterfeiting rings that I am sure we could find ourselves a link. These people pay cash for everything, which means they are either printing it, or smuggling it in. Either way.
DCI: I'm not going through FBI because the acting director has a severe case of rectal-cranial inversion, and the AG is busy on his annual smut hunt.
DCI: No, I am not going to violate any domestic intelligence rulings. I can give you the numbers and you can pull them yourself.
DCI: I'm aware of the fact that this should be coordinated through the National Security Council, but the National Security Advisor has repeatedly said that until it is signature ready, it won't be moved to the President's desk.
DCI: I'm aware of the fact that the Advisor has another agenda, and doesn't want this to distract from it. And, frankly, I would be more than happy to avoid the fight myself - but this is a collision course. There are too many people getting in the way of this.
DCI: Another example? Why wasn't there a general investigation into bin Laden before? Why haven't his relatives been questioned? Where's the action?
DCI: I am saying exactly that. FBI needs to be instructed to tiger this guy, but you and I both know that won't happen. There isn't enough here. But there is enough to save the cost of 69 folders and put this in one file.
DCI: Glad you could take the time out from cutting taxes to do this.
What's that?
DCI: I see, yes, putting the beast on a starvation diet looks a lot different when you are the beast.  Thanks Paul, I really appreciate your help on this.
Time: 9 August 2001 1521
Location: Department of the Treasury
Washington DC.
Secretary of the Treasury(on Phone): Tell me DCI, is this anyway to run a railroad? Are you sure you have at least two memos?
SoT: Which ones are these?
SoT: Was this the morning 1030? I seem not to have been invited to this particular meeting. I wasn't there.
SoT: As soon as there is some legal cover we can have him and his organizations put on the Specially Designated Nationals list. And that bank you listed is already on it - the Al-Rashid Trust in Pakistan.
SoT: Absolutely not an issue, so long as we have a justification.
SoT: And there is a US point of presence?
SoT: Well then, if he has been listed as a drug kingpin, it is practically mandatory. I wonder why I am being kept out of the loop?
SoT: Is there someone at Justice who thinks he will make his career breaking this case? Why aren't you working through them?
SoT: Standard Law Enforcement won't cut the mustard here. You have to follow the money.
SoT: Any other tools we can use here?
SoT: And do you have anything that would suggest this?
SoT: I still think you should be sending these requests to FBI, and have them forward them to me through the AG.
SoT: I am worried you will be violating Domestic operations rules on giving me the memos.
SoT: I'm also uncomfortable with this not being coordinated through the National Security Council. That is where, in my understanding, this should be. But the, that would run into the Advisor's other agenda.
SoT: Too many? Do you have an example on that?
SoT: So you are saying there isn't enough urgency on this?
SoT: As the man looking after the budget, I am deeply grateful.
SoT: Starvtion.
SoT: I said Starvation diets look a lot different from the inside of the belt.
SoT: You know I'm concerned about this. Later.
SoT(pushes intercom): Send in my private secretary, I have some orders I want issued.
(To Himself): I know this may be disloyal, but the price of loyalty just got a bit too high in this town for this country to afford it.

Time: 10 August 2001 0937 EDT
Location: Attorney General's office DOJ,
Washington DC.
AG: (Picks up phone.) (Puts it back down again) No I will tell him in writing. (Hits intercom) Prepare for some dictation.
(Clears Throat)
Private Memorandum
Top Secret
To: Acting Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
I am very displeased with your decision to put the FBI on heightened alert without first notifying this office. The cost of this alert will run the Department of Justice some fifty thousand dollars daily, in pursuit of a phantom menance. One that should assume lower priority than drug interdiction, gun enforcement, and suppression of eco-terrorism currently threatening law abiding businessmen, particularly in the Northwest.
The costs of this alert will damage lives - as we will have to divert resources from evidence gathering and prosecutions which could be better spent preventing the next Columbine High School incident, or cracking down on obscenity on the internet - both of which strike more closely at the fabric of our society.
Therefore, I am issuing you an order to suspend the alert pending full review by this office. Further, I expect you to, until further notice, deny any request not through this office, for additional resources to be put on counter-terrorism.
Finally, you are not to forward any material information, memoranda or synopsis of same until such time as it has been reviewed by my office for compliance with the security standards which have been promulgated for the protection of investigations through the Department of Justice.
And finally, you are requested to brief this office, in advance, of all materials which will be presented at any presidential meetings in future.
(Stops Tape Machine)
Send that off immediately, and have the Acting Director come to my office this afternoon whenever there is a slot available.
Time: 10 August 2001 1125 CDT
Location: The "Ranch", Presidential Retreat
President: That concludes my prepared remarks, which I'm sure you will take down. But now time to hear what's on your minds.
(Chorous of "Mr. Presidents")
President: You there, the fine looking young lady, well all the ladies here are fine looking, the one in the white dress. I don't believe I've called on you yet in my term of office.
Flustered Reporter: No Mr. President. I would like to ask a question about what your priorities are when congress reconvenes in September.
President: Of course the first priority is always national security, so I am hoping that the supplemental budget appropriation for Defense and Security will be moved quickly. After that, of course we are watching this economic slowdown we inherited closely. I shouldn't complain about my predecessor, I am sure he was doing everyone he could, I mean everything he could.
But it is clear that things just got too loose - in business, in the White House and in Washington DC. So we sending the congress some legislation that will make sure we run a tighter operation, including better budget accounting. I think if people understood how much money Washington DC pours down holes in the ground, they'll be happy to have that extra tax burden off their back. The legislation is the "Best Government Act" and I feel confident that it will move quickly as well.
Next - let's let someone from the heartland get a word in edgewise - I remember you from Iowa.
Reporter: That's right, the DesMoines Register. We met on the campaign trail...
President: I love the campaign trail. What's on your mind?
DMR: Mr. President what do you feel are the national security threats? I've been getting conflicting statements from National Security and from DoD on this. Specifically in the briefing of...
Mr. President: Now stop right there. In my administration everyone plays their position. There's no "conflicting statements", there's just everyone handling their blocking assignments. But if you want the big picture, you come to me.
The big picture is this. We've got over a billion people in the free world, and we've got another 2 billion that want to join soon. The big threat are all the people who are benefiting by keeping those 2 billion people from enjoying the fruits of a free market, and free government. It's my job as the leader of that free world, to move the ball down the field on this, without getting called for any unsportsman-like conduct. I'm going to be travelling to Europe shortly, and see if I can get the leaders their to agree that we have to have a good, strong, and effective policy on this.
WaPo: Mr. President, I wanted you to be more specific and comment on Iraq versus other security...
President: We got Saddam in a can, and now it is time to squeeze him to live up to two promises. First, prove he's disarmed, and second, stop stealing food out of the mouths of his own people so he can squirrel it away. I'm very angry about both of these things, and I intended to have something done about it. But Iraq isn't a security threat in the same way North Korea and other rogue states are. Because of this, we are sending legislation to Congress that will accelerate the buying and closing down of nuclear facilities which produce that so called "Weapons Grade" plutonium, and isolating states that, contrary to the world's best interests, are pursuing atomic weapons. It's my opinion that ridding the world of loose atomic weapons is national security job one. Hope that answers your questions.
Next. Alright, I suppose the Washington Post deserves a question this time.
Middle Aged Reporter from Washington Post: There have been some questions about domestic security and what your priorities are for the Department of Justice. Rumor has it that you held back a proposed strategic document from the Attorney General. Since this is usually just a fleshing out of the objectives outlined in the spring, what would cause a change in a short time.
President: (Mouths) Son of a..
(Clears throat)
When you first get into this office, you think you can do everything. Then you get to listen for a while, and you realize that you while the quarterback is in the Oval Office, he's got to have other people to block for him, and that you get yardage by giving the ball to someone else. After looking over the first priorities draft, and consulting with the outgoing FBI director and others, I decided the document needed a bit more work.
WaPo: So there is no truth to the rumor that you referred to it with a scatological term?
President: Son, as people who know me will attest, clean language is sometimes not my strong point, I refer to lots of things with words you won't find in the bible. But that's just me.
Next? I guess we need to keep the television fed. You, over there, from ABC, how's Monday Night Football going to be this year.
ABC: I'm over in the news division, the upper classes don't speak to us lowly reporters. Mr. President, I wanted to know your reaction to the Stem Cell Research Question.
President: I'll approve what my experts say. There are matters that are more suited to the President's time.
Next? Alright, I know you've been waiting a month to ask me so go ahead.
Newsweek: Mr. President, we've had reports from inside the beltway that you've said that Vermont was to be "cut off" from the upcoming transportation omnibus bill, because of his defection to the Democrats. Is this the case?
President: First, he didn't become a Democrat, he became an independent. Second, I would never say any such thing about a Senator for following his conscience. I will, however, say that Vermont seems to have a fair amount of road per inhabitant, and that, if the bill seems to be somewhat light on appropriations, and they want to fix it, they should attract more business by lowering their tax rates. You know how pork is the sacred animal in Washington DC, but if projects were removed it was strictly because a careful assessment showed that they were not economically feasible.
Next? You there, where are you from?
(Thin Chinese Reporter stands up)
CCTV: I am from CCTV 5, People's Republic of China. I wanted to ask you, Mr. President, on how the collision in the Sea of China has changed US stance towards China, and whether the US will continue to support renegade provisional activities by supplying them with arms.
President: Well now, leave it to the sweetest flowers to hide the bee with the biggest sting. (Pauses) What I can tell you is that the United States is, and always has been, committed to a One China policy, as your government in Beijing is. However, as we are heading to that final status, there have to be assurances of everyone's security and peaceful co-existence. I can't discuss sensitive diplomatic matters here specifically, but I will say that the US and China have made great strides in improving understanding since the unfortunate incident involving a US craft and a PRC fighter earlier on. Everyone is committed to insuring that such misunderstandings don't happen again.
But as I believe you know, everything of this nature takes time.
Next? (Looks down at notes) From Denver Post is that right?
DP: Yes Mr. President. I am sure that these big matters are important, but I wanted to ask about the direction your energy policy is taking. There has been a lot of criticism from environmental groups about the extent that new drilling is the centerpiece of your energy policy, and not conservation.
President: We are pursuing research for better cars aggressively - you can see that from our request to triple the research into fuel cells and other New Energy sources. But until then, I'd rather take the heat from a few environmentalists, than the tens of millions of Americans who are trying to enjoy their vacation by driving and seeing more of this great nation of ours. So until you can put wind power into a car and drive it, more drilling is just a necessity.
DP: There have been some who think that it is because your are an oil man yourself.
President: It's true I've made a good deal of money helping people get where they are going, but I will tell you this, right now there is a chain around our neck from foreign oil, and if I am about one thing, it is about cutting the two chains around the average American's neck: to many taxes, and foreign oil dependence. There's a lot more oil than people realize, and a great deal of unconventional natural gas. We need both of them while we are creating a new transportation economy to go with the new information economy.
One more... Alright, Ha'aretz' turn.
H: I'd like to ask what your direction on Middle East Negotiations is, especially with respect to the break down in talks between Prime Minister Sharon and Yassir Arafat over the "barrier" that Israel plans to build. There is also accusations of the US turning intelligence over to Mossad which is later used in offensive moves that have resulted in civilian deaths.
President: My foreign policy team is working on this right now. We are committed to Israel and her security, and we will continue to warn her, as our friends warn us, of impending security threats. As for how it is being handled there, I am fully in support of Israel's right to self-defense - you'll have to ask Sharon about how he uses the material we give him.
But I want to clarify the US position. The Middle East is a big place and there needs to be peace and growing freedom there, and any state which thinks it can slow that down by funding terrorism or insurgencies, and blocking free peoples from coming to terms with each other - well, the US takes a dim view of that, and if necessary, I think we can get the security council and NATO to take a dim view of it as well. That's all I'm going to say on that for now.
That's all, you'll get your real press conference later on.

- - -

Time: 11 August 2001 0603

Location: Home of the Chief of Counter Terrorism,
Reston, Virginia

(Phone Rings)

(CTC Asleep, wakes and grabs the phone)

CTC: Good morning.

DCI:(Voice over phone): I hope I didn't wake you.

CTC: I slept in, I should be getting going soon.

DCI: I'm going to be going on leave starting tomorrow, I wanted to update you on some of what is going on.

CTC: Go ahead.

DCI: First, the President still doesn't think we've reached a code red situation, but he is upset at Attorney General's attempt to maneuver around him.
Treasury is with us, but I can tell that the National Security Advisor is going to fight this, DoD will as well.

CTC: Who is politically reliable?

DCI: State is staying out of this. Transportation is with us, I know that doesn't mean much, but remember he has the coast guard and can call on civil air defense as long as we aren't at war. Who do you have?

CTC: Acting FBI can't find his way around a keyboard. Strangely enough the chief of drug enforcement is interested in the drugs angle. I know we had bin Laden put on the list because without real proof, but he thinks there may be something. I also think we can get several people at sub-cabinet level to form a tiger team and exert some leadership from below on this.

DCI: I am going to work my European contacts on this, a report came in to the station chief in Madrid that the Spanish Interior Ministry has a terrorist investigation into Moroccan groups that are tied to bin Laden's network.

CTC: We have got to get a briefing to the President.

DCI: I know, I know.

CTC: It's got to convince him that this is code red, and we need to do something to attempt a disruption of what ever it is that they are trying to do.

DCI: I wish we had a clearer sense.  Hijacking is possible, but I keep feeling that that is some sort of ruse, or dodge. Bin Laden likes truck bombs. A truck bomb across a Manhattan bridge - or a redux attempt at the World Trade Center would be a spectacular hit.

CTC: Reminds me FAA is with us on this as well. The bulletin that is going out now is very strongly worded.

DCI: Good. Keep me up to date, but I feel that the President so far isn't listening on the importance.

CTC: He's moved pretty far, it took what - four or five briefings to finally bull it up to cabinet level?

DCI: You know these things take time.

CTC: Yes. Good bye.

(Hangs up the phone and heads for the shower.)

Time: 11 August 2001 0614
Location: ------ Airlines Flight 39, National Airport
Arlington. Virginia

Captain's Voice over intercom: And today we have received a special bulletin, as you have no doubt heard, from the FAA putting the air traffic system on high alert. I know this is an inconvenience, and we all appreciate y'all bearing with us, but these additional steps are for everyone's safety.
First, there will be no moving around the cabin for the first 30 minutes of our flight.
Second, as you know, all sharp objects were moved to checked luggage, but be assured they will be returned after the flight.
Third, we ask that you report any suspicious behavior in the aircraft or airport to the uniformed security, or to an airline official.
That's all, and thank you for choosing ------ this morning, we know you have alternatives in air travel, and we are going to work hard to get you where you are going today.

Time: 11 August 2001 0730
Location: Meeting Room, Counter Terrorism Center,
Washington DC

CTC; Good morning everyone, in response to complaints I've made the executive decision to upgrade a key strategic resource for the duration of this project.
Staffer: Which is?

CTC: As you will notice we've gone to Caribou Creek Coffee, and ordered out for better pastry.

Counter-Terrorism, FBI: We appreciate it. Seriously. It's almost worth coming in on a Saturday for.

CTC: Never let it be said that we don't keep the troops in the field supplied. In that vein I would like to hit item one of today's agenda. TSC will you update us on this?
Transportation Security Chief: It's come to our attention that baggage screening, since it is a privately paid for function, is critically short of trained personnel. We are drafting a proposal which would allocate an emergency appropriation out of funds which were earmarked for upgrades to the baggage checking system for beefing up security with local police. The money would be made available to local jurisdictions through a reimbursement mechanism.

CTC: Thoughts?

Staffer: Won't be able to get approval for it, it is August, and the states aren't in session either. Allocation and reimbursement generally require legislative approval. The only way to get money in time would be to make some form of direct payment, and then hope it is used the right way.

CTC: Put that on the back burner then, as much as I like it.

TSC: Let me do a rework of the plan for tomorrow that will address this.

CTC: Next Item, air marshals.

TSC: I've got a draft plan which will pull US Marshall's, temporarily, from desk duty, rotate those to station duty, and move some of our front line people to being assigned to sensitive air craft.

CTC: Which are?

TSC: It's not in the report, but I want to focus on what terrorists call "cows" - 747's destined for non-US airports that have a high passenger count.

CTC: Put that in and we will put it through for NSA's signature. Next is the border's alert. Customs?
Customs Staffer: I have the alert drafted here, its going into effect as of midnight tomorrow.

CTC: This is going well, I guess switching to high test did do some good. Now for the big one.
Why is your boss at FBI being less than cooperative all of a sudden?

FBI-CT: I don't know what you mean.

CTC: I'll try to be diplomatic about this: it is my express understanding that the President ordered that all 70 open investigations into Osama bin Laden and his aliases be put into one investigation, and coordinated through this office.

FBI-CT: That isn't quite the understanding over at Justice, and there have been some snags in getting information gathered. The computer system is antiquated and we are having problems locating some of the memos. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be saying this, but the orders from the AG are that he clears everything before release.

CTC: So you are saying that the AG himself is holding this up.

FBI-CT: That's my understanding.

CTC: Let's get through the rest of this. Clearly I have to go bang a can later.

Staffer: Sir?

CTC: You don't think TC stands for Top Cop do you?

Staffer: I always thought it did.

CTC: It stands for Trash Can.

- - -

Time 11 August 2001 11:42
Location: Foggy Bottom, Department of State
Washington DC.

Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs: I'd like you to get me the Chief of Counter Terrorism.
Hello, CTC? This is Middle Eastern Affairs over at State.

CTC: I thought it was against Department regulations to work on a Saturday over there.

SMEA: I've heard that rumor too. Now if my charges would just start keeping the Sabbath holy it might actually happen. I've got something important here.

CTC: Go on.

SMEA: I don't know exactly how to put this, but I will.

CTC: You don't need to put in Foggish for me, I don't need to be coddled.

SMEA: Some concerns have come to my office, there is a sensitive nature. This is a secure line, right?

CTC: Yes it is. All my lines are secure. Even my home line.

SMEA: It's about some of the steps that your are recommending in your draft action plan.

CTC: I'm listening. I'm better at it than my reputation.

SMEA: This has to do with some sensitive persons.

CTC: Sensitive Persons? New Age diplomacy? Did I miss something? Did Gore win the election?

SMEA: Specifically the Saudis have made it know that they are unhappy as it stands with the fonking of bin Laden, and have sent a strongly worded diplomatic communiqué that interviews with the bin Laden family are off limits, and they want the Fonking removed immediately, as there are still business connections with bin Laden. They expressed "concern and outrage" that the process seems to have gone forward without appropriate review.

CTC: So they want us to lay off of him?

SMEA: That is the gist of their communiqué, yes.

CTC: Tell them to put their lips to a wellhead and suck.

SMEA: You know that isn't the way things work. State is firm that we have to be respectful of Saudi Arabia's internal domestic political problems.

CTC: I'm kicking this one upstairs to the President in the memo then.

SMEA: You know that would be, unwise. And, precipitous. We can surely work something out where you can be seen to be active on this without creating an incident.

CTC: Now how am I supposed to go after bin Laden without going after bin Laden?

SMEA: I am just saying that we have to have due regard for the sensitivity of his connections and the importance of his family in a strategic relationship.

CTC: In other words, the Saudi Oil Teat.

SMEA: I wouldn't put it in quite those terms...

CTC: That's why... No, let me start that over again. I've just been bogged down in infighting over here, and I shouldn't be taking it out on you. I know you have been as frustrated with the lack of Saudi cooperation over investigations as I have. Let me apologize.
My position is that we have to crack down on this guy's financial network. Now what problem do the Saudi's have with that.

SMEA: To speak with candor, you know the only thing more liquid than oil is money. I am sure they have their reasons to want to avoid exposing the nature of business relationships and partnerships. The Saudi government is hip deep in financing Wahabism and fundamentalist schools, and many of these teach the Koran by day and bombing by night. I am certain, in fact, I checked with Treasury, and they are certain, that many banks that are connected to bin Laden are also connected to Riyadh.

CTC: Saudi's financing him?

SMEA: No, but dipping into the same pool of dirty money, most certainly. And the SDN list that would be required to get bin Laden, would almost certainly get their efforts to.

CTC: It wouldn't make me cry to see some of the money flowing into the ISI in Pakistan cut off, or to other terrorist activities.

SMEA; But there are requirements to do that.

CTC: Be at my 730 on Monday, outline State's concerns. We are supposed to have an action plan draft by Tuesday for NSA.

SMEA: I'd really appreciate it if you could do something about the fonking immediately.

CTC: Call up Treasury, they are the ones with the authority to specially designate.

SMEA: I've heard you have signature authority on the designation of bin Laden as a Kingpin.

CTC: Perhaps.

SMEA: We don't feel there is evidence over here for that.

CTC: I have reliable reports from DCI that the Spanish have established a Moroccan drug connection to the financing of activities. We are tracing it down and will have a memo drafted which details what we know.

SMEA: So you aren't budging.

CTC: Not on this one, but I would be willing to have Treasury hold off on the draconian measures for the time being.

SMEA: Is that your best offer?

CTC: It's better than my best offer.

SMEA: Let me got to my boss and see what can be..

CTC: Have him call me if it isn't good enough.

SMEA: He's not available right now.

CTC: You just said you could go to him. If you can, I can. Not to be hard about this, but I'm not going to play tag. If State has a concern, let him come to me and we can work it out.

SMEA: That's not how things work here now. Everything is pushed down to lower levels.

CTC: My office has a take it to the top policy on all critical path issues.

SMEA: Let me see what I can do.

CTC: I appreciate that.