The debate over a planned Islamic community center several blocks from New York City's World Trade Center site is a "distraction," according to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).
Instead, the debate should shift in focus to an examination of the administration which "let it happen."
'It,' of course, being the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The remark was made during a Friday appearance on MSNBC's The Ed Show with former liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we are going to talk about 9/11, why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we talk about how not so much the people who died on 9/11 were disgraced by the possibility of an Islamic athletic center several blocks away; how about the fact that they were disgraced by a president who let it happen?" he asked. "Who went on vacation for the entire month of August after he was warned in writing that Osama bin Laden was actually finding targets in NYC and learning how to take these planes and do terrible things with them? The thing itself said Ã¢â‚¬ËœhijackingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and they did nothing about it."
He called talk of the Islamic community center mere "distraction" from real issues facing Americans.
In its report on the devastating attacks, the 9/11 Commission wrote:
[President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so. We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. ...Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. Domestic agencies did not know what to do, and no one gave them direction. The borders were not hardened. Transportation systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted against a domestic threat. State and local law enforcement were not marshaled to augment the FBIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efforts. The public was not warned.
In 2008, Philip Shenon, who covered the 9/11 Commission proceedings for the New York Times, published a book called, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, in which he revealed the uncomfortably close ties between the commission's executive director, Philip Zelikow, and Bush advisers Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice.
The following year it was revealed that the commission's crucial chapters, detailing the planning and execution of the attacks, was sourced namely on information obtained through torture.
9/11 Commission members Thomas Kean and Lee H. Hamilton wrote that although US President George W. Bush had ordered all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the probe, Ã¢â‚¬Å“recent revelations that the CIA destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Those who knew about those videotapes Ã¢â‚¬â€ and did not tell us about them Ã¢â‚¬â€ obstructed our investigation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
They continued: Ã¢â‚¬Å“There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the CIA Ã¢â‚¬â€ or the White House Ã¢â‚¬â€ of the commissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kean and Hamilton wrote.
Just four days ago, two tapes that were supposedly destroyed, depicting the interrogations of a Sept. 11 suspect, were discovered under a desk at the CIA. Dozens of other tapes that captured the waterboarding and torture of other prisoners were allegedly destroyed.
In a 2006 telephone survey of 1200 individuals, just 47% agreed that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the 9/11 attacks were thoroughly investigated and that any speculation about US government involvement is nonsense.Ã¢â‚¬Â Almost as many, 45%, indicated they were more likely to agree Ã¢â‚¬Å“that so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain that Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success.Ã¢â‚¬Â
This video is from MSNBC's The Ed Show, as snipped by Mediaite.
With additional reporting by RAW STORY.