Thursday, May 16, 2002

I'm a little underwhelmed by the pre-9/11 hijacking hints scandal. The media is putting on its finest Bob Woodward outfit and screaming what-did-he-know-and-when-did-he-know-it about President Bush. I am no Bush fan, but Condi Rice is right--"hijacking" means two different things before and after the actual attacks. Hindsight bias kicks in now, and says we should have seen it coming, but this was one of the most un-see-coming-able events in world history. Besides, had the White House sounded air raid sirens after its CIA briefing, they would have been scolded by the still-numb public for being alarmist and by the airline industry by being bad for business. I'm not saying the FBI and CIA--or the White House, for that matter--should get A's on this one; but federal agencies being sluggish is less than page one news.

Howard Kurtz, in his Media Notes, points out that it has taken quite a while for people to get mad at the government for being, if not asleep, at least drowsy at the wheel before September. The political correctness of terrorism's aftermath squelched a lot of criticism, probably unhealthily so.

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