Condoleezza Rice claims she yelled at George W. Bush and told him not to return to White House after 9/11 attacks, then hung up on the president
Getting tapped by Captain James T. Kirk for a mission must have been an honor on the USS Enterprise, even for the young actors who played neophytes back in the late sixties. That is, unless you were wearing a red shirt, since that probably meant — at best — you might get to scream ‘nooo!’ while dying. For the most part, non-essentials wore red shirts on Star Trek.
Although many conspiracy theories — some based on facts, some based on faulty reporting, others based on fantasy and/or science fiction — have circulated since the September 11, 2001 attacks, no one has suggested that there were any Redshirts at the White House, but there was certainly a hierarchy when it came to seeking initial cover.
Former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, before her appointment to Secretary of State, “ordered George Bush not to return to Washington after the 9/11 attacks before hanging up the phone, the former national security adviser has revealed in a documentary interview,” Australia’s The Age reports.
Joe Sinclair continues,
In a heated exchange, Dr Rice had to argue with the US president, who was in Florida, telling him not to return to the White House because it was a potential terrorist target.
She told the British Channel 4 documentary: ”The president got on the phone and he said: ‘I’m coming back.’
”I said: ‘You cannot come back here. The United States of America is under attack, you have to go to safety. We don’t know what is going on here.’
”He said: ‘I’m coming back.’ I said: ‘You can’t.’
”I said to him in a raised voice, and I had never raised my voice to the president before, I said: ‘You cannot come back here.’ I hung up.
The Independent notes, “The comments by Ms Rice, which will be aired in Channel Four documentary 9/11: State of Emergency on Saturday, provide an intriguing insight into the circumstances surrounding President Bush’s immediate response to the 2001 terrorist attack, which at the time were mocked by his opponents.”
As Michael Moore famously documented in his film Fahrenheit 9/11, Mr Bush was informed of the first plane hitting the World Trade Centre when he was on his way to visit a Florida elementary school. Shortly afterwards, an aide told him that a second plane had hit the World Trade Centre, and that the US was “under attack”. His immediate response was to read a book called The Pet Goat to a group of schoolchildren for nearly seven minutes.
While the President was prevaricating, it now emerges that fear and chaos were developing in the bunker beneath the White House where Ms Rice had retreated with Vice President Dick Cheney and most of their staff.
“Communications systems were failing, forcing staff to use unsecured phone lines to organise their response to the disaster, she claims,” Guy Adams reports for the British paper.
Rice tells Channel Four: “There were so many people in the bunker that the oxygen levels started dropping, and the secret service came in and said ‘we’ve got to get some people out of here’. They literally went around telling people they weren’t essential and they had to leave.”
The Jerusalem Post adds, “Rice discussed the chaos and fear created by communications failures following the attacks. Bush gave an order commanding the air force to shoot down commercial airliners not responding to instructions. When flight United 93 crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers succeeded in wresting control of the plane from terrorists, Rice and her colleagues believed the air force may have shot it out of the sky.”
A clip of Condoleezza Rice can be viewed at this YouTube link.
A trailer for the Channel 4 broadcast follows: