Clarke's Book Disputes Whereabouts, Actions of Key White House Officials on 9/11

DU Thread: Mr. Rumsfeld and His Timeline

I'm a frequent poster at two message boards: the Smirking Chimp and the Democratic Underground. I post just about anything at the Chimp, but at the DU I stick mostly to the 9/11 Forum. There are some posters there that are still peddling the Flight 77 denial story, along with other fantasies about what happened that day. So we bat around their latest theories, and try our best to remain civil and polite to each other. It's good practice for debating rightwingers, I think.

But I've developed a lot of respect for a particular poster there - Paul Thompson. Paul's done an incredible job putting together a Complete 9/11 Timeline. It caters to the 9/11 CT crowd, but Paul's very clear about separating fact from speculation. He uses only mainstream news sources to document his information, and any speculation or theorizing is contained in italics, to set it off from the hardcore information. I consider the sheer bulk of collected information there one of the wonders of the Internet, and said as much when I recommended the site as a link at the Smirking Chimp.

As Paul was reading the recent Richard Clarke book, he realized that the information about the whereabouts and actions of many Bush Adminstration officials conflicted with the information we'd been given previously. Here's part of Paul's post from DU:

I've just started reading the Clarke book, and already I'm finding some remarkable things in the first chapter.

Basically, we're finding out that what many of the key officials say they were doing on 9/11 is a lie.

Dick Cheney:

In the Clarke book on page 2, he is about to be evacuated from his office to the White House basement as Clarke finishes talking to him. The timing isn't exact, but it appears to be about 9:05 to 9:10. Yet Cheney himself says he was evacuated after 9:30. Here's my timeline entry. Note that even Cheney's official photographer disputes his account:

(After 9:03 a.m.) Secret Service agents burst into Vice President Cheney's White House office. They carry him under his arms - nearly lifting him off the ground - and propel him down the steps into the White House basement and through a long tunnel toward an underground bunker. ("Just after 9:00," ABC, 9/14/02 (B), around 9:06 when Bush is being told of the second WTC hit, New York Times, 9/16/01 (B), same time Bush is being told, Telegraph, 12/16/01, shortly after Bush's speech at 9:30, CBS, 9/11/02, 9:32, Washington Post, 1/27/02) At about the same time, National Security Adviser Rice is told to go to the bunker as well. (ABC News, 9/11/02) Accounts of when this happens vary widely, from around 9:03 to 9:32. But since ABC News claims Cheney is in the bunker when he is told Flight 77 is 50 miles away from Washington, accounts of this taking place after 9:27 appear to be incorrect (see (9:27 a.m.)). The one eyewitness account, David Bohrer, a White House photographer, says it takes place just after 9:00. (ABC, 9/14/02 (B)) Why doesn't this happen to Bush at the same time? Are reports of this happening to Cheney later spin meant to make Bush remaining in public seem less strange?

Richard Myers, acting Joint Chief of Staff:

In the Clarke book, page 5, Myers is talking to Clarke and others at 9:28 for sure, and possibly earlier. Yet according to his own testimony in front of congress two days after 9/11, he says he didn't even know there was an emergency until after the Pentagon crash at about 9:38.

(After 8:48 a.m.) Air Force General Richard Myers, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sees the first WTC crash on television. Myers will be acting Chairman of the US military during the 9/11 crisis because Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Henry Shelton is flying in a plane across the Atlantic. He sees the TV in an outer office of Senator Max Cleland, but he says, "They thought it was a small plane or something like that," so he goes ahead and meets with Cleland. He says "nobody informed us" about the second WTC crash, and remains oblivious that there is an emergency, only leaving the meeting with Cleland right as the Pentagon explosion takes place at 9:38. (AFPS, 10/23/01, ABC News, 9/11/02) Yet, in testimony on September 13, 2001, he states, "after the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was at that point to start launching aircraft." (Myers Confirmation Testimony, 9/13/01) NORAD claims the first fighters are scrambled even before the first WTC hit. (NORAD, 9/18/01) Which of Myers' statements is the lie, or are both of them lies?

Note Myers even contradicted himself in that testimony. I assume Myers was under oath for his confirmation hearing. Can he be convicted of perjury for his lie then?

Donald Rumsfeld:

Minutes after the Pentagon is hit, and someone tells Clarke, "A plane just hit the Pentagon," Clarke replies, "I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn't get hit." A short time later, Rumsfeld says that smoke is getting into the Pentagon secure teleconferencing studio. Pages 7 and 8.

Yet Rumsfeld has always maintained that he went outside and helped load wounded into ambulances for the next hour! Timeline entry

(9:38 a.m.) Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is in the Pentagon meeting with Representative Cox (R), and is apparently completely oblivious of the approaching Flight 77. As he watches TV coverage of the WTC, he says, "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us." Supposedly, "moments later, the plane hit." (Telegraph, 12/16/01) Rumsfeld is apparently psychic, because two minutes before the first WTC crash and supposedly completely ignorant of the hijackings, he predicted a terrorist attack upon the US (see 8:44 a.m.). Rumsfeld's office is on the fourth floor of the Pentagon, relatively near the impact. He later says that just after the explosion, "I went downstairs and went outside. And around the corner and of course, there it was." He claims he immediately began helping the wounded: "There was a, a young woman bleeding, sitting on the ground, and I think she said to me, she didn't know who I was, she said, she could see people holding, drips going into people, IV of some kind, and she said, something to the effect, if people would, if someone could bring that person over, I could hold it." (ABC News, 9/11/02) He helps load the wounded into ambulances until 10:30 (see 10:30 a.m.). (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/12/01)

From Clarke's wording, it seems likely Rumsfeld was already teleconferencing BEFORE the Pentagon was hit.
The Clarke revelations are already bombshells for showing how lackadaisical the Bush Administration was about protecting us from attacks by al-Qaeda. Is this more fuel for the fire?