Thursday, April 15, 2004


One thing that struck me about the Bush administration officials' testimony was their incredible passivity. In amongst the bureaucratic arse-covering was an underlying attitude of "So what? It's somebody else's problem". Condi Rice even whined that there wasn't an agency that pulls together intelligence information from the FBI, CIA, NSA, NRO, DIA and all the other agencies that gather intelligence. There is one. It's the Office of the National Security Adviser. Her office.

Bush: "Al Queda in the US? The FBI is on it."

Ashcroft: "Terrorism isn't a priority. The FBI has plenty of resources"

Rice: "No definite information. Come back when you have names, addresses, and dates."

Moeller: “Wha ... did somebody say something?

Now, this is interesting. Bush is famous as a “big picture”, hands off leader. One of the “kiss and tell” books from a former cabinet member (O'Neill?) described cabinet meetings with Bush. Basically, they were real-life Dilbert cartoons, as Bush displayed no interest in matters being discussed and threw questions back at the questioners. This is alpha-male business stuff -- from the “how to intimidate underlings” class at Harvard Business School.

Now, to make this work, those underlings have to be real go-getters that will take the initiative, find out things on their own, and do the right thing. They do all the work and the Boss looks smart and gets the credit. Unfortunately, these are not traits that we associate with the Bush administration, outside of Rumsfeld and Cheney.

It's sure not what we're seeing from the testimony on the 9/11 commission.

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