Wednesday 22 August 2007

Donald Rumsfeld's Eerie 9/11 Premonition

During a recent Congressional hearing on the "friendly fire" death of football star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan in 2004, Representative John Mica (R-Fla) gave new details about an 8 o'clock breakfast meeting held at the Pentagon the morning of 9/11 by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Mica told the hearing, which was attended by Rumsfeld:

I think on my dying day, I'll remember September 11th, when I was with Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon for breakfast that morning. He invited me and half-a-dozen members [of Congress], I think, over to the Pentagon. And the subject of the conversation Donald Rumsfeld was interested in was: the military had been downsized during the '90s since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And what we were going to do about [the] situation is we had another--the word you [i.e. Rumsfeld] used was "incident," I remember, in the conversation, sitting in the room right off of his office for coffee that morning. And he was trying to make certain that we were prepared for something that we might not expect. [1]

Mica, who in September 2001 was the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation [2], has previously commented: "Little did we know that within a few minutes of the end of our conversation and actually at the end of our breakfast, that our world would change and that incident that we talked about would be happening." [3]

Mica's remarkable account is similar to Rumsfeld's own recollection of the breakfast meeting on 9/11. He told CNN's Larry King: "I had said ... that sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve months there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people again how important it is to have a strong healthy defense department that contributes to--that underpins peace and stability in our world." Soon afterwards: "[S]omeone walked in and handed [me] a note that said that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center." [4]

Furthermore, this breakfast meeting is curious not just because of Rumsfeld's eerie premonition, but also because numerous key individuals attended it. Then-Secretary of the Army Thomas White, who was at this meeting, has said the "chairmen of the four oversight committees" were there. And, describing the meeting to PBS, he said: "Don Rumsfeld had a breakfast, and virtually every one of the senior officials of the Department of Defense--service chiefs, secretary, deputy, everybody, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And as that breakfast was breaking up, the first plane had hit the World Trade tower." [5]

How very curious! Right before the 9/11 attacks began, the secretary of defense just happened to be meeting with "virtually every one of the senior officials of the Department of Defense." Perhaps it could have been fortuitous that all these military leaders were together at this time, ready to leap into action and coordinate a response to the unfolding emergency. But this did not happen. As White has said, after the meeting ended: "We all went on with the day's business." (For example, White continued on to give a pre-planned talk at the nearby Army Navy Country Club.) [6]

A strange day, indeed.

[1] House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Subject: The Tillman Fratricide: What the Leadership of the Defense Department Knew. 110th Cong., 1st sess., August 1, 2007.
[2] "Congressman John L. Mica: Official Biography." U.S. House of Representatives.
[3] "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Remarks at Pentagon's Riverfront Entrance." U.S. Department of Defense, September 10, 2004.
[4] "Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Larry King, CNN." Larry King Live, CNN, December 6, 2001.
[5] "Interview: Thomas White." Frontline, PBS, August 12, 2004; "Rumsfeld's War." Frontline, PBS, October 26, 2004.
[6] "Interview: Thomas White." Frontline, PBS, August 12, 2004.

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