The Bush administration may have had advanced notice of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but failed to stop them in order to profit from the destruction, a Democratic congresswoman alleges.
"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? … What do they have to hide?" asked Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, according to The Washington Post.
A spokeswoman at KPFA94.1 FM in Berkely, Calif., confirmed that McKinney had spoken on air from their studios on March 26. The staff was scrambling to answer reporters' phone calls and to get the audio from that session up on their Web site Friday.
A White House spokesman dismissed the allegations, calling them "ludicrous, baseless views."
In the interview, McKinney asserted that the Bush administration was serving the interests of the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment firm that employs several high-ranking former government officials from both parties and counts former President George H.W. Bush as an adviser.
Carlyle Spokesman Chris Ullman balked at McKinney's radio interview, telling The Washington Post, "Did she say these things while standing on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"
Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller said at first he thought to write off the comments as "loony," but then decided they were "dangerous and irresponsible." He also reminded Bush to consider the source.
"I hope President Bush will remember that this is the same congresswoman who during each of his State of the Union addresses - arrives early to get a coveted aisle seat, then leans way over as Bush walks down the aisle, hoping he will give her a kiss for all to see on national TV," Miller said in a statement.
A spokeswoman at the radio station who asked not to be named said she believed that the newspaper had read too much into the congresswoman's comments.
"She was calling for a full investigation into the terrorist attacks. She wasn't trying to implicate the president in any plot," she said.
On Friday, McKinney clarified her remarks, but repeated her assertions that certain corporations were benefiting from its ties to the White House.
"I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case," she said "(W)hat is undeniable is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of Sept. 11. The Carlyle Group, DynCorp, and Halliburton certainly stand out as companies close to this administration."
Also in the radio conversation, McKinney took several swipes at the president, accusing him of stealing the 2000 election, and calling his administration "questionable."