NBC's Curry Prompts Ventura to Claim Bush Admin Knew About 9/11

NBC's Ann Curry invited former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura to promote his new book of conspiracy theories, on Tuesday's Today show, and pressed the former professional wrestler to throw out the loony charge that the Bush administration had foreknowledge of 9/11. On to promote his book American Conspiracies, Ventura charged that the CIA was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and when prompted by Curry accused the Bush administration of allowing the 9/11 attacks to happen. [audio available here]

ANN CURRY: And you say what the, the, the constant in all of these assassinations, virtually all of them, is this, is starting with Kennedy, is the CIA.

JESSE VENTURA: They, they come up.

CURRY: What are you implying, why are you, what are you implying with that?

VENTURA: I'm not implying anything. That's the documents. That's where it leads you. The common denominator is always the Central Intelligence Agency to a great many of these. And, and it's not me making it up, you know. I didn't make this book up. I offer opinions at the beginning of chapters and at the end of chapters, but everything in it is all documented off of government documents, other articles, interviews that people have given and everything of that.

CURRY: The biggest bombshell of the book is your writing that, that quote, "I am convinced that some people inside our government" -- about 9/11 -- "knew that the attack was going to happen and allowed it to come to pass because it furthered their political agenda?" Who are you talking about, whose political agenda?

VENTURA: Whoever was in charge at that time. They knew about Osama Bin Laden...

CURRY: Are you saying the Bush administration?

VENTURA: Yep. Yep.

Incidentally Ventura received a less skeptical and friendlier treatment than Karl Rove did from Curry's colleague Matt Lauer in the half-hour just before his segment. The following is a complete transcript of the interview as it was aired on the March 9 Today show:

ANN CURRY: Jesse Ventura rose to fame and earned the nickname "The Body" as a professional wrestler and he became the governor when he successfully ran for governor of Minnesota in 1998. Well now Jesse Ventura is a best-selling author. His new book is called American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells us," an explosive look at what he believes are cover-ups by the U.S. government. Governor Ventura, good morning.

JESSE VENTURA: Good morning.

CURRY: That is some title!

VENTURA: Well, you know, I can't take credit for that, you know. The publishers do get a little leeway when you write a book, and so I'm not responsible for the title. In fact, the title scared my wife.

CURRY: Oh, well.

VENTURA: She said, "You're gonna put your name on this?"And I said, I'm afraid so. You know, but they came up with the title, but everything inside the book is mine-

CURRY: Okay.

VENTURA: -and Dick Russell, my co-writer. I want to give Dick credit because Dick did the yeoman's work on all the investigating and, and you know digging in to get all the knowledge. And then of course, when you do a book like this, it's really like throwing a jigsaw puzzle on the floor and you have to do it piece by piece, put it together until you develop, and will you ever get the whole picture? No, but you'll get enough of the picture to understand what it's about.

CURRY: You're talking about what you say are alternative theories-

VENTURA: Yep.

CURRY: to what everybody is studying in school, what they're learning from the history books. In fact, you go on to write about some things that people really basically don't believe are debatable. For example, you talk about John Wilkes Booth, which is debatable, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, men who were responsible for the deaths of four presidents. And you basically say that these men are part of what you call the "Lone Nut Theory," which you don't buy into. Why not?

VENTURA: No. I mean, to me, you're telling me, I grew up in the sixties, and all of these guys were killed by lone nuts who never spoke to anyone, never planned anything.

CURRY: Why don't you believe that?

VENTURA: And yet, they were failures, supposedly, at everything else in life, but hugely successful when it came to assassinating someone. And let me make this - this is not stuff I make up. Everything in this book is documented. If you look, there will be a little number after every paragraph. You can go right to the book. So, this is not my imagination running wild. This is based upon facts, many of them government documents.

CURRY: The biggest government cover-up in your lifetime you say, is the assassination of JFK, and you go so far as to outright say that there was a second gunman. And so, you're making a conclusion that the Warren Commission did not.

VENTURA: Absolutely.

CURRY: How do you do that?

VENTURA: Well, the 1978 House select committee came out and said it was a probable conspiracy, so now you have two government agencies that contradict each other, and yet, no one investigates it. And the key to this are the three bullets. It's not the magic bullet, it's not the head shot. It's the one that missed, because that had to be a near miss. And if you go to where it hit on the ground and injured Mr. Teague, it's 22 feet wide or 22 feet high and 33 feet wide from the target area.

CURRY: And you say what the, the, the constant in all of these assassinations, virtually all of them, is this, is starting with Kennedy, is the CIA.

VENTURA: They, they come up.

CURRY: What are you implying, why are you, what are you implying with that?

VENTURA: I'm not implying anything. That's the documents. That's where it leads you. The common denominator is always the Central Intelligence Agency to a great many of these. And, and it's not me making it up, you know. I didn't make this book up. I offer opinions at the beginning of chapters and at the end of chapters, but everything in it is all documented off of government documents, other articles, interviews that people have given and everything of that.

CURRY: The biggest bombshell of the book is your writing that, that quote, "I am convinced that some people inside our government" -- about 9/11 -- "knew that the attack was going to happen and allowed it to come to pass because it furthered their political agenda?" Who are you talking about, whose political agenda?

VENTURA: Whoever was in charge at that time. They knew about Osama Bin Laden...

CURRY: Are you saying the Bush administration?

VENTURA: Yep. Yep.

CURRY: The Bush administration had a political agenda in allowing the 9/11 attacks to occur?

VENTURA: Well, it's not so, you know, look back in history. This isn't the first time. The Gulf of Ton-, well see, let me say this, the government has no credibility with me anymore. They lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. That didn't happen. That put, killed 58,000 of us in Vietnam, probably a million Vietnamese and was the catalyst of whole Vietnam War. I was teaching at Harvard in 2004 when McNamara came through and admitted the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.

CURRY: Is it fair to say that your book does not conclusively, offer conclusive evidence that these histories are incorrect?

VENTURA: I think it does. I think it offers a great deal of evidence. Now, as I said, it's like-

CURRY: Conclusive evidence?

VENTURA: It's like a jigsaw puzzle. You're not, years have gone by. You're not gonna fill in every hole of the jigsaw puzzle, but you're gonna to get enough pieces to where you get a picture.

CURRY: And so, what is your goal then in questioning all of these histories?

VENTURA: My goal is this -- I believe 100 years from now, I want people to be able to read that not all of us bought the stories. That there was other people who felt the government did not tell the truth, and I want that to be out there 100 years from now so that people understand that this was not a slam dunk on any of these conspiracies.

CURRY: On that note, we have to leave it because we're out of time.

VENTURA: Sure.

CURRY: Jesse Ventura, thank you so much.

VENTURA: My pleasure.

CURRY: Great to meet you. And the book is called American Conspiracies.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.