Monday, June 28, 2004

Can Isikoff Be Believed

Unger tells us "no." How can reporters continue to get away with this crap? An excerpt from Unger's unedited letter to Newsweek:

It would be one thing if Isikoff had simply made an honest error; but clearly that is not the case. When Isikoff called me for his article, I specifically told him that the evacuation process involved brief interviews of the bin Ladens which fell far short of the kind of intense criminal investigation that should have gotten underway after the murder of nearly 3,000 people. The worst crime in American history had just taken place two days earlier, and the FBI did not even bother to check the terror watch lists! Isikoff omitted all that. Instead, he attributes claims to me that are simply not in the movie.

Isikoff also wrongly asserts that the Saudi "flights didn't begin until September 14--after airspace reopened." In fact, as I report in House of Bush, House of Saud, the first flight took place on September 13, when restrictions on private planes were still in place. I even gave Isikoff the names of two men who were on that flight-- Dan Grossi and Manuel Perez-- and told him how to get in touch with them. According to the St. Petersburg Times(see below), the September 13 flight from Tampa, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky, has finally been corroborated by authorities at Tampa International Airport--even though the White House, the FBI and the FBI repeatedly denied that any such flights took place. Commercial planes began flying again that day, but private aviation was still prohibited-- and three planes that violated it were forced down by American military aircraft. I explained this to Isikoff, and wrote about it in my book. But Newsweek's response below ignores the fact that these restrictions were still operative. If the evacuation of the Saudis was entirely legitimate, as Newsweek contends, why would the Saudis bother to seek special authorization for it from a crisis-stricken White House-- an undisputed fact that has been corroborated by the Saudis and Richard Clarke? The central undeniable fact is that in the aftermath of this great crime, material witnesses were authorized by the White House to leave the country. But Isikoff left that out--and much more. In dismissing the Bush-Saudi ties, he even omits the fact that more than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts went from the House of Saud to companies in which the Bushes and Cheney have been key figures-- all of which is itemized in my book.