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Newly-released records show CIA in-house feud over inability to prevent 9/11 attacks

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Top CIA officials fought bitterly in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks over whether U.S. intelligence agencies could have done more to stop the deadliest terrorist strikes in American history, documents released on Friday show.

The once-secret documents include a more complete version of a 2005 report by the spy agency’s inspector general, which found that the CIA did not have a comprehensive strategy or marshal adequate resources to combat al Qaeda before hijacked planes hit New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11.

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A redacted summary of that report was first made public in 2007.

But the documents released by the CIA on Friday also reflect the arguments of former CIA Director George Tenet and his lieutenants that U.S. intelligence was intently focused on al Qaeda and leader Osama bin Laden.

At stake in the years-long dispute are the legacies of former top CIA officials and the agency itself.

None of the documents focus directly on how President George W. Bush and his White House dealt with the al Qaeda threat after taking office in January 2001. Some former officials, including Bush counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, have said Bush did not initially make al Qaeda a priority.

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In a heated June 2005 letter to then CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, Tenet rejected Helgerson’s critical draft report.

“Your report challenges my professionalism, diligence and skill in leading the men and women of U.S. intelligence in countering terrorism,” Tenet told Helgerson.

“I did everything I could to inform, warn and motivate action to prevent harm,” he wrote. “Your report does not fairly or accurately portray my actions, or the heroic work of the men and women of the Intelligence Community.”

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After the bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in October 2000, Tenet said, he warned President Bill Clinton “to expect from five to fifteen attacks against United States’ interests.”

Tenet has previously said that he developed a plan to go after al Qaeda in 1999, and worked to increase U.S. intelligence funding, slashed during the 1990s.

“I said when the executive summary was made public eight years ago that the IG’s report was flat wrong,” Tenet said on Friday. “Nothing in the additional material just released changes that judgment in the slightest.”

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The documents, which former CIA officials pressed the agency to release, include a July 2005 memo from 17 top officers of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center disputing Helgerson’s report.

Helgerson was not immediately available for comment.

The documents can be found here.

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(Reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by Bernard Orr)


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Black woman confronts racist tow truck driver over slurs: ‘I bet you this goes viral’

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A Massachusetts tow truck driver was caught on camera last weekend hurling racist abuse at a black man.

The woman, identified online as Nene Judge'mayo, shared video of the incident Sept. 14 with a driver from Robert Towing in Brighton.

"Because of your f*cking n*gger husband," says the driver, whom she identified as Jeff, as he walked toward his truck.

The woman confronts the driver about the racial slur, and the driver confirms that's what he said and then pulls out his own phone to record the incident.

"Look me up -- my last video of a white man went viral, of the motorcycle girl that hit the news," she tells the driver. "I bet you this goes viral, too."

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Christian conservatives are giving Americans an ‘allergic reaction’ to religion: researchers

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The number of Americans identifying as atheists is increasing -- and recent social science research suggests that the Christian Right is playing a key role in making that happen.

As reported by Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, new research has found that distaste for Trump-loving Christian conservatism has not just turned some Americans off from individual churches but from religion altogether.

"As recently as the early 1990s, less than 10 percent of Americans lacked a formal religious affiliation, and liberals weren’t all that much likelier to be nonreligious than the public overall," FiveThirtyEight notes. "Today, however, nearly one in four Americans are religiously unaffiliated. That includes almost 40 percent of liberals — up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the 2018 General Social Survey."

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White man says he was fired for reporting racist activity at Philadelphia gas company: ‘We have recordings’

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On Tuesday, KYW News Radio reported that a Joseph Dean, a former employee of Philadelphia Gas Works is filing suit in federal court, alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting racist behavior from his coworkers.

Dean, who is white, reported subordinates for repeatedly using the N-word and other slurs to refer to black employees. According to his lawsuit, he first reported the offensive conduct to a white union representative, and then to a black supervisor when no follow-up was made. The supervisor alerted human resources, who terminated the offender.

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