9/11/2001: The Bravery on Flight 93

Leslie Griffith, long time reporter and anchor at KTVU, Channel 2 in Oakland, and multiple award winner for her work, finally is able to tell of the week leading to the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, her own personal grief and yet, ability to break a major story about Mark Bingham and his fellow passengers on Flight 93.  It’s a long piece, and at first unrelated to the events of that day, but you won’t be wondering why you are reading it at all.  Guaranteed.

 Alice [Hoagland] and her family proceeded to talk. They said Mark had called early that morning from Flight 93. Alice said she was surprised by her son’s first words, “Mom, this is Mark Bingham.” She said she knew immediately something bad was happening. Why introduce yourself by your full name to your own mother?

Alice is a physically beautiful woman…tall, graceful, muscular, no-nonsense. She exhibited a great deal of balance in this un-contextualized chaos. “He spoke to his Aunt Kathy first,” Alice nodded toward her sister-in-law. Mark told his Aunt that he loved them. He said, “No matter what happens, I love you.”

According to the family, Mark added, “I’m on a flight from Newark to San Francisco, and there are three guys on-board who have taken over the plane. They say they have a bomb.” Mark saw only three hijackers. The U. S. government would later say there were four. Alice took over and told us it sounded as if some other passenger was talking to her son…interrupting their brief moments together. Mark asked his mother this question before they were disconnected, “You believe me, right?”

9/11/2001: The Incompetence of the President

Kurt Eichenwald has an opinion piece in the New York Times which centers on the famous August 6, 2011 Presidential Briefing, warning of an imminent attack on the U.S.  by Al Queda, which President George W Bush and his team did not take seriously.  That briefing, and only that briefing, was released to the public after pressure from the 9/11 Commission.  It turns out that the evidence from the unreleased briefings, is even more damning of George W Bush, Condoleeza Rice and others on his National Security Team, than the already scandalous August 6 report.  Eichenwald says:

 I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

You’ll want to read the whole piece, and then his book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars.