With smoke spreading into the cavernous room, [Gen. Richard Myers] ordered the officer in charge, Maj. Gen. W. Montague Winfield, to raise the military’s alert status to Defcon III, the highest state of readiness since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
That account is based on interviews with Gen. Winfield and a former White House official. In the months after Sept. 11, President Bush had a different public explanation about who put the military on high alert. The president said publicly at least twice that he gave the order.
….Just after 9 a.m., Mr. Bush took a seat in front of students, most of them from a poor neighborhood. He listened as teacher Sandra K. Daniels pointed to an easel, and the second-graders read aloud lists of words….In a CNBC television interview almost a year later, Mr. Card said that after he alerted Mr. Bush, “I pulled away from the president, and not that many seconds later, the president excused himself from the classroom, and we gathered in the holding room and talked about the situation.”
But uncut videotape of the classroom visit obtained from the local cable-TV station director who shot it, and interviews with the teacher and principal, show that Mr. Bush remained in the classroom not for mere seconds, but for at least seven additional minutes.
The proposition that things were chaotic that day, that information was flying back and forth, and that memories differ is something I’m OK with. I really don’t expect a Swiss watch kind of operation on a day like that.
What I do mind is the post hoc attempt at hagiography on the part of the Bush administration. I’m just really tired of these guys lying to us about everything. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s something big or something small, it just never ends.