I FEEL SORRY FOR DC TAXI CAB DRIVERS. If I am driven from where I live in Dupont Circle, near U Street, to the U.S. Capitol, I’ve stayed in one taxi cab zone, and the fare is just $5.00 during non-rush hour times. But lately, navigating through all of the new check points and closed streets around the Capitol, as well as near the IMF, World Bank, and Federal Reserve, has added more burdens for the driver with no increase in compensation. I just glanced at the Washington Post and found a story making exactly this point.
But here is the bigger story. . .perhaps. I received the following email from a trusted source, and while much of the note is speculative, it indicts the inaction about pre-9/11 intelligence even further:
“A little bird told me that the information on the Citibank Tower, the World Bank, etc. — the stuff that Ridge trumpeted on Sunday — also included info on the World Trade Center.
You might pause over that for a moment, because if that’s true — and who knows what to believe, other than nobody — then that suggests, at least potentially, that the same data that has the feds blocking off streets and searching taxicabs in August 2004 left them blissfully uninterested in protecting the WTC in 2001. I mean, if one pauses to reflect on what’s on the record — that at least some of the info predates 9-11 by a good long time — then it’s hard to imagine that al-Qaeda was doing “casing” of Manhattan, DC, and Newark office buildings prior to 9-11 while NOT doing similar case-work on the much more prominent WTC.
And who knows? Maybe the Pentagon, White House, and Congress, too. To be sure, few took the threat of terror sufficiently seriously pre-9-11, but of course, few of us got briefing memos on 8/6/01 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” But a few did.
So maybe we should stop worrying about reminding Americans to acquire duct tape and bottled water — and consider the question of what ELSE the Homeland Re-Election Department might be concealing for obviously damage-control purposes.”
If the recent intelligence about potential attacks on U.S. financial centers does predate 9/11, then should we feel good that we got away with several years of relatively smooth taxi cab rides to Capitol Hill? Or should we be dismayed that we should have had these inspection points and closed thoroughfares all along?
— Steve Clemons