Bush Lie Lives On as Pro-Torture Spin Point

David Swanson has noted (Consortium News, 4/23/09) that, as “much of elite U.S. punditry is backing away from torture,” the Boston Globe‘s Jeff Jacoby is bucking that trend with an April 22 column in which “he both opposes torture under all circumstances and excuses it given the current circumstances.” Jacoby’s main justification for U.S. torture tactics are “the successes with which they have been credited”–such as “the foiling of Al-Qaeda’s planned ‘Second Wave’–a 9/11-like plot to crash a hijacked airliner into a Los Angeles skyscraper.” Swanson gives the lie to this zombie resurrected from the graveyard of Bush administration propaganda:

In his 2007 State of the Union address, Bush claimed: “We stopped an Al-Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast.”

However, an October 8, 2005, Los Angeles Times story, headlined “Scope of Plots Bush Says Were Foiled Is Questioned,” cited “several counter-terrorism officials” as saying that “the plot never progressed past the planning stages…. ‘To take that and make it into a disrupted plot is just ludicrous,’ said one senior FBI official…. At most it was a plan that was stopped in its initial stages and was not an operational plot that had been disrupted by authorities.”

On February 10, 2006, the L.A. Times quoted a “U.S. official familiar with the operational aspects of the war on terrorism,” who said that “the Library Tower plot was one of many Al-Qaeda operations that had not gone much past the conceptual stage. â┚¬Ã‚¦ The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying that those familiar with the plot feared political retaliation for providing a different characterization of the plan that that of the president.”

Swanson further writes what at this this late date should be common knowledge to all political columnists: “Bush and his supporters have claimed other similar successes that have all turned out to be fictional. Most are more off-base than this one.” See FAIR’s contemporaneous Media Advisory: “‘Terror Plot’ Reporting Lacks Skepticism: Networks Treat White House Allegations As Fact” (2/13/06)