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Kiriakou writes: "Like most Americans, I remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard that a Boeing 757 had hit the World Trade Center. I also remember many of my actions the rest of that day and the next several days. I was a counterterrorism officer at the CIA in 2001. The attacks set off a series of events that changed the course of my life. They also irreversibly changed our country."

John Kiriakou. (photo: The Washington Post)
John Kiriakou. (photo: The Washington Post)

The Constitution Was a Victim of September 11th Too

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

11 September 17


oday is the 16th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Arlington, Virginia, and central Pennsylvania. The attacks were so traumatic for me that, in my mind, they happened practically yesterday. Like most Americans, I remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard that a Boeing 757 had hit the World Trade Center. I also remember many of my actions the rest of that day and the next several days. I was a counterterrorism officer at the CIA in 2001. The attacks set off a series of events that changed the course of my life. They also irreversibly changed our country.

On the morning of September 11, I was working (quaintly, now) on European communist terrorism issues. I was supposed to go to the White House that morning with the director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) for a meeting with Condoleezza Rice, then National Security Advisor, to discuss an “information release” problem. Even after all these years, I’m not allowed to get into the details.

I walked over to the director’s office to tell him our car was ready to take us to the White House. But when I got there, I saw that his secretary’s television was showing one tower of the World Trade Center on fire. She said a plane had hit it. I naively told her that a plane had once hit the Empire State Building. But that was in a driving rainstorm in the 1930s. The weather was crystal clear on September 11. How could the pilot not see that he was flying into the World Trade Center? A second later another plane flew into the second tower.

In CTC, we knew that we would face a massive al-Qaeda attack. But we didn’t know when or where. And because the CIA was not cooperating with the FBI, neither organization had access to the other’s databases, and there was very little information sharing. It was the greatest intelligence failure in American history.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is how our government used the tragedy of that day to whittle away at many of the ideals that Americans have fought and died for, without so much as a whimper from most of us.

I don’t mind the security lines at airports. I don’t mind the concrete barriers around government buildings. But I do mind warrantless wiretapping. I do mind secret prisons, extraordinary renditions, and a torture program. And I especially mind the fact that the United States has transitioned to a permanent wartime economy.

The saddest part about the past 16 years is how both major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, have fallen into line. Neoconservative and neoliberal political leadership is now the norm. Since September 11, neither party has seen a war that it didn’t want to jump into with both feet. And it’s all in the name of “national security.” But any observer with half a brain can tell you several things about war and national security.

Saddam Hussein was no threat to us. Even if he had had weapons of mass destruction, he had no delivery systems. He was no threat. And he was the only thing protecting much of the region from the danger of Iranian expansionism. Muammar al-Qaddhafi was no threat to us. But we supported his violent overthrow with no end game. Remember Hillary Clinton saying, “We came, we saw, he died”? Libya has since descended into anarchy. We’re facing the same situation in Syria. Bashar al-Assad is not a nice guy. But he’s no threat to us. So where do we come off supporting “regime change”? For what reason? All regime change will do is to open the whole country to terrorism and to create an even worse refugee crisis than the one the country faces now. Besides, “regime change” is a violation of international law. Syria never attacked us. So our attacks on Syria are patently illegal. And again there’s no end game.

I don’t even have it in me to talk about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, North Korea, or any of the other countries where we’ve felt compelled to intervene because it’s our sovereign “right.” But I will shout out about the illegality of it all.

I am not an isolationist. I’m an internationalist. I believe in a robust foreign policy. I believe in diplomacy. I believe in free trade, foreign aid, and international development. But I don’t believe in wantonly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. I also don’t believe that our government should ever be permitted to tell our men and women in the armed forces that they should die for no apparent reason.

I’ve written in the past about my utter lack of respect for Congress. The oversight committees don’t oversee anything. And indeed, the intelligence and armed services committees are no more than cheerleaders for the CIA and the Pentagon. Over the long term, Congress’s actions have been worse than cheerleading. Congress hasn’t declared war on any country since December 8, 1941. There were Congressional “authorizations” to commit troops in Korea, Vietnam, and during the Gulf War. But what about all of the other undeclared wars or “conflicts” (or “police actions”) where Americans have died and are dying? How is that legal? How is it constitutional? It’s not. It’s illegal.

I don’t have the space here to talk about the Patriot Act. But I do still have enough space to talk about what we can do to bring our government to heel. We can take to the streets. We can protest. It worked during the Vietnam War. It worked for civil rights. It can work again. And it’s up to all of us.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+15 # bubbiesue 2017-09-11 09:33
+13 # Citizen7 2017-09-11 10:35
I'm curious what he means by "we knew that we would face a massive al-Qaeda attack" and how he understands the way those buildings came down, but perhaps there are some things John Kiriakou is not going to talk about. Everything else he says here makes good sense, however.
+4 # Glen 2017-09-11 14:40
Same here, Citizen7, concerning "we knew that we would face a massive al-Qaeda attack". Hell, the U.S. financed that group and knew exactly where bin Laden was training. If fear of that group was uppermost in every mind, why not go get them?

There is a great deal of research concerning the attack on New York and the Pentagon and it all leads to an internal agenda, which is avoided by journalists, including Kiriakou. The attack, yes, cleared out all need for paperwork for attacks on various countries, and has kept the U.S. in the mode of propaganda to escalate controls over citizens.
+8 # chapdrum 2017-09-11 11:20
Does Mr. Kiriakou believe the 9/11 Commission Report?
+17 # Art947 2017-09-11 11:26
The United States is on a pathway to its inevitable demise. The mechanisms of our federal government don't work. As Mr. Kiriakou noted, if they do work, then it is to the detriment of the founding principles of this nation. Kiriakou focused on war in his summary. The USA Patriot Act was a compilation of all the anti-democratic ideas that the police-state supporters had tried to enact for years and had previously failed to accomplish. With the new fascist leadership in Washington, we further destruction of American ideals as militarized local police are promoted, the surveillance state is enhanced, voting rights are diminished, and white-supremaci sts gain power.

Good luck, America, you will need it!
+1 # desertprogressive 2017-09-11 16:19
The first 30 minutes will explain it.

JFK to 911 Everything is a Rich Man's Trick
+10 # CurtW 2017-09-11 12:58
Right on, John. Thanks.
+9 # 2017-09-11 13:10
It is refreshing to hear from someone who has been on the front lines.

Your writing is intelligent and right on target.

We desperately need you to write more. I think people tend to listen to those who have been in the trenches.
Thank you
+8 # jwb110 2017-09-11 13:57
Truer words were never spoken.
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-09-11 14:16
All my life I worked to bring down "the American Empire". I marched, I protested, I picketed, I boycotted. All to no avail. It turns out that all I had to do was vote for Trump.
Gotta keep the War Machine well fed so it can continue to buy politicians who support war.
+3 # Glen 2017-09-11 14:45
The days of the Vietnam war are long gone. Policing has changed right along with the government and laws against protests. Citizens are not going to influence the power of the U.S. government and military.

Kiriakou SHOULD discuss the Patriot Act.
+1 # DudeistPriest 2017-09-12 12:26
That's right on. The forces of Homeland Insecurity are not going to permit demonstrations and protests. With the technological advances every protester will be identified through facial recognition, license plate readers, etc. Surveillance drones will be used to control protests. Organizations will be infiltrated, leaders arrested and organized resistance destroyed. They haven't built this well armed police state for nothing.
+1 # Glen 2017-09-12 14:41
You bet. There are laws in the works to ban protests and demonstrations. As I have said, folks have no idea what it means to see a tank rumbling down the street, and local police now have numerous military type tanks and worse.
+6 # Jim at Dr.Democracy on Facebook 2017-09-11 15:52
Right on,John! It's well past time to roll back the deconstruction of our Constitution and we must somehow roll back this Constant War Doctrine. Constant War does not keep us safe. It breeds enemies. The military industrial complex (MIC) spends far too much of our precious resources on things that do us little or no good. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned regarding the MIC: "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
+3 # 2017-09-11 15:57
Indeed the constitution was the primary victim of 9/11, but let's be clear--there's not a single part of the official 9/11 Commission report or NIST report that stands up to basic scrutiny. Not one. The bizarre spectacle of seemingly intelligent people, as well as all mainstream media, just marching along in docile compliance with the official story is disgraceful and shameful.
+5 # DudeistPriest 2017-09-11 19:05
I still believe this was an "Operation Northwoods" action, and that the destruction of The Constitution was part of the plan along with war in the middle east.
+8 # Thomas Lawrence 2017-09-11 19:17
Let's not forget about The Shock Doctrine, which uses decimation as a means to privatize or otherwise bring capitalist interests to bear as profit-making enterprise in the aftermath of disaster..
Also, PNAC wanted a "Pearl Harbor-like event" to ensue to make it possible to exploit the $20b that Halliburton among others reaped from the devastation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
War is FOR profit,
+1 # cicciuzzu 2017-09-13 14:59
Gen. LeMay said to me "If one can take the profit out of war there would be no more wars."
+4 # ReconFire 2017-09-11 21:35
I find it interesting that Mr. Kiriakou worked in counter-terrori sm for the CIA, yet can't come to terms with the fact that elements within our own govt. attacked us on 9/11.
With all the facts available to anyone who wants to know, if you still believe the "official Story", you must be 2 points below rock life.
Sorry for being snotty, but I'm tired of this. 16 yrs. later and most people of America still have their head in the sand. Stories like this, from people like Mr. Kiriakou, perpetuate this, and they need to be called out on it.
-2 # ericlipps 2017-09-14 18:44
No, you're not "sorry for being snotty." I've followed your posts, and too many of them have been plain-and-simpl e digital sniping.

As for those "facts," paranoia's always popular on the fringe--which is why it's the fringe. If you've got actual proof that 9/11 was a government plot, cough it up. If all you've got are innuendo and suspicion, give it up.
+1 # PCPrincess 2017-09-15 10:16
The 'fringe' is just another one of those words used in societal propaganda. How often has the large 'MOB' been correct? I also would like to know how one can confuse scientific research and facts about engineering, chemistry, and other sciences for 'innuendo and suspicion'?

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