Maddow More Rational Than Letterman Who Argues WikiLeaks Could Have Saved Us from Bush’s 9/11 Malfeasance

Searching for an upside to the WikiLeaks release of secret documents, Late Show host David Letterman on Wednesday night pointed to how such disclosures could have possibly prevented the 9/11 attacks since former President George Bush had disregarded “for months and months and months” the warning “that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were interested in hijacking planes and flying them into buildings,” but not even Rachel Maddow, his far-left guest from MSNBC, bought his spin. Letterman contended:

There is the viewpoint if WikiLeaks had been in business prior to the attack of 9/11 and we knew that George Bush had looked at a document suggesting that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were interested in hijacking planes and flying them into buildings – which largely went disregarded for months and months and months until long after the attack. If we had known that, via something like WikiLeaks, we perhaps could have acted a little more alertly.

In fact, the Presidential Daily Brief to which Letterman referred, the one titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,” was presented to Bush on August 6, barely five weeks before 9/11, not “months and months and months” in advance.

Maddow failed to take the bait to ridicule Bush and responded: “Yeah, but a lot of the stuff that was most compelling, in terms of the warnings about 9/11, was open-source stuff that anybody could have put together anyway....It's not that there isn't that there's not enough information. It's that there's not enough information that makes sense and it's hard to tell what information is worth acting on and which is just noise.”

From the December 15 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS:

DAVID LETTERMAN: But there is the viewpoint, if WikiLeaks had been in business prior to the attack of 9/11 and we knew that George Bush had looked at a document suggesting that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were interested in hijacking planes and flying them into buildings – which largely went disregarded for months and months and months until long after the attack. If we had known that, via something like WikiLeaks, we perhaps could have acted a little more alertly.

RACHEL MADDOW: If we had been sort of freelance intelligence agents knowing this stuff?

LETTERMAN: Yes.

MADDOW: Yeah, but a lot of the stuff that was most compelling, in terms of the warnings about 9/11, was open-source stuff that anybody could have put together anyway. It's not that there’s, it’s what I mean about this being a complicated world. It’s not that there isn't that there's not enough information. It's that there's not enough information that makes sense and it's hard to tell what information is worth acting on and which is just noise. I do think that we need sort of intelligence professionals and diplomatic professionals and we need some secrecy, but there's too much that's secret and the system is very unsafe.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center