Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
The truth about 9/11 and the war in Iraq, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." In just a few moments, we'll talk with the two men in charge of the commission, but here are the report highlights:
• Presidents Clinton and Bush were not guilty of anything but failing to perceive the extent of the Al Qaeda (search ) threat.
• The CIA didn't have good enough intelligence on the ground.
• And the FBI big shots didn't listen to their field agents.
Saddam did have a relationship with Bin Laden, but did not assist him in the 9/11 attack. Those are the headlines. And the committee recommends a new terror czar, approved by the Senate and reporting directly to the president, and much more intense high tech surveillance of U.S. ports of entry and terror suspects.
Now ideologues on both sides will spin the report. But "Talking points" believes it should be left alone.
Very simply, the commission did an excellent job. Page 66 of the 567-page report caught my eye. And it says, "In July , an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden...Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and bin Laden — or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq. But to date, we have seen no evidence that these or earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship, nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with Al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."
So put yourself in President Bush's position. According to the Senate investigation, Lord Butler's British investigation and Vladimir Putin, the intelligence assessments on Iraqi WMDs all said Saddam had them. That, of course, turned to be faulty, at least for now.
But Bush and Blair were told the WMDs were inside Iraq. They were also being told that Saddam had a relationship with bin Laden. Do the math. Would you, as president, let that scenario play out while the U.N. dithered around?
What if Saddam Hussein did have anthrax, gave it to Al Qaeda, and a month later San Francisco was attacked? What if President Bush had ignored the intel and a disaster took place? Well, you know the answer. Mr. Bush would have been driven from office and gone down in history as a villain.
Any fair-minded person knows that the president had to act. The remaining legitimate questions concerned the timing and the planning of the Iraq action.
So there you have it — truth is always a good thing.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
A new Internet poll on AOL asked Americans if the media's biased. Ninety-one percent said yes. Forty-nine percent believe the media is basically liberal. Seventeen percent say it's biased to the right. And the rest just don't like anything about it.
But here's the real interesting part...The AOL poll then asked, "Do you think FOX News is fair and balanced?" Fifty-two percent said yes. And remember, AOL owns CNN. And while we're on the subject of polls, our new billoreilly.com poll question is very simple. Who's worse: Moore or Franken? Thousands of you have already voted. We'll give you the results on Monday. And on this one, they can't be ridiculous.
[So check out] billoreilly.com — I've got a brand new column on there as well.
—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org