Monday, August 29, 2005

Did the Bush administration cripple counterterrorsim when it gave new top terrorism advisor the boot in 2001?

Ms. Francis Fragos Townsend was appointed Homeland Security Advisor by George W. Bush on May 28th, 2004.

But earlier in Bush's term:
When Bush came into office, senior Justice officials were told by incoming Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's team that Townsend was one of those slated to go. They also mentioned complaints about her by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, at the time head of the secret-wiretap court. "It was clear she was not a favored person by folks who were about to take over running the department," said a Reno adviser who spoke with them. "It had to have been a political thing: 'Anybody who could be this close to Reno, we don't want.' "

From: An Outsider's Quick Rise To Bush Terror Adviser

Now from a report in October 2001 we learned that Dear Judge Royce C. Lamberth was the judge who haranged AG John Ascroft about the many wire taps being used in counterterrorism early in that summer, leading Ashcroft to cancel all wiretaps until further notice. As a consequence Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop could not be debriefed (apparently that is considered a type of wire tap) until after 9/11 when it was indeed too late to stop the attack (and only then because all holds were taken off after the tragedy).

If Ms. Townsend was annoying and standing up to Judge Lamberth while in the Clinton administration, then she must have been doing a lot of things right.

Instead of ditching her just because she was close to Janet Reno, they should have made her AG, apparently. She certainly seems to have the guts to be firm in the face of Royce Lamberth!


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