Attack? What Attack?


Last week, Howard Dean raised the question whether Bush had foreknowledge of a 9-11 attack. “The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far—which is nothing more than a theory, it can’t be proved—is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis,” Dean said. Asked Sunday about this statement, Dean replied, “I can’t imagine the president of the United States doing that”—but then said Bush should “give the information” to the 9-11 Commission. When asked why he raised the theory in the first place, Dean said, “Because there are people who believe that. We don’t know what happened in 9-11.”

At the same time, Phil Berg, a former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania on behalf of Ellen Mariani, widow of Louis Neil Mariani, who was aboard Flight 175 when it hit the south tower on 9-11. Berg said the suit was being brought by Ellen Mariani as part of an effort “to get to the truth of what happened.” The attorney filed a 62-page complaint charging that “President Bush and officials including, but not limited to, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, and Tenet,” had “adequate foreknowledge” of 9-11, yet failed to warn the country or attempt to prevent it and have been covering up the truth of that day ever since. The suit claims that means they therefore “abetted the murder of plaintiff’s husband,” so he is suing the Bushies, under the RICO Act, for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and wrongful death. The suit documents detailed forewarnings from foreign governments and FBI agents, what it calls the unprecedented delinquency of our air defense, and the inexplicable half-hour dawdle by Bush himself at an elementary school after hearing the nation was under deadly attack. Berg’s suit also notes the administration’s incessant invocation of national security and executive privilege to withhold documents and accuses the government of obstructing the investigation.

Ellen Mariani dropped her previous attorneys to go with Berg, who has a reputation as a political activist in Pennsylvania. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Florida election case, he wrote to the court demanding disbarment of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, claiming they “must accept the consequences of their partisan action.” Berg demanded that the three “voluntarily turn in their licenses in their respective states or we will ask that disciplinary action be undertaken, including disbarment as well as summary suspension in their respective states for violating the Rules of Court and not ‘recusing’ themselves in the case of Bush v. Gore.”

Additional reporting: Ashley Glacel

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