I hate to say it, but this blame game deal does have a player that ought to get blamed. And we ought to do something about it before another 9/11 happens.
It's the FBI, stupid.
It's not the field agents, like the Ken Williams-type people out there in Phoenix who work hard and develop good information. The problem is evidently in D.C., at FBI headquarters.
That Williams memo warning about suspicious Middle Eastern men training at U.S. flight schools got jammed up and never reached the people who might have had the sense to act on it.
Same with the Zacarias Moussoui deal. He was in custody in Minnesota, but an FBI lawyer ruled that agents had no right to bust into his computer.
If the Phoenix memo had been linked to the Minnesota case, somebody might have connected the two.
A quote in Time magazine from a former Clinton administration official says it all:
"The FBI has a long pattern of not sharing information with others. Now it's not even sharing the information with itself."
So this kept the White House counterterrorism security group from knowing — the very people who would have lit up the National Security Council like a Christmas tree. It also kept the CIA from knowing, the very people who were asked to brief the president.
The brand new director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, sat on the Phoenix memo like he was hatching an egg... hoping no one would ask.
Well, it hatched. Now it's a big bird flying around scoring direct hits on people with its messy droppings.
The Democrats want an investigation. They're right. There should be an investigation, but probably not the one they want. They'd like to see Bush investigated. If it goes that way, then Clinton's going to get investigated for all of the things he and his administration ignored for eight years.
Instead, why not figure out how to fix this broken FBI once and for all? Hasn't this been going on for a few years now? Why is this agency so resistant to a cure? It seems to give successive presidents fits, and now it should end.
Maybe it's an exorcism…
Drive out Hoover's ghost? Couldn't hurt.
That's My Word.
What do you think? We'd like to hear from you, so send us your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of your emails will be featured on the air or on our site.
• Looking for some previous My Word columns? Click here!