Alternet.org, April 30, 2004
Reading the Tea Leaves
A satirical look at the myriad clues available to the government in advance
of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin
This month, officials from the former Clinton
Administrations testified before the independent
9/11 commission, indicating that members of the
incoming Bush team were duly warned as early
as December of 2000 about the growing threat
of Al Qaeda terrorism on U.S. soil. These
revelations capped off nearly two-and-a-half
years of unsettling disclosures about similarly
missed signals in the weeks and months leading
up to the attacks, including warnings by field
agents that Middle Eastern men were attending
flight schools; the suspicious movement of money by terrorists among American
bank accounts; and even an alert by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak—one week
prior to Sept. 11—that Osama bin Laden's terror network was in the late stages of
mounting an attack on an American target.
All of this raises the question: How many other clues -- significant or otherwise—
were overlooked during those late summer days of 2001?
"And your Double Jeopardy categories are: Potent Potables, Broadway Musicals,
Insects, The Bible, Starts With 'K,' Golf Legends, and Tangible Al Qaeda Threats
Currently Facing American Security."
"Turn-ons: Enrique Iglesias, hot fudge sundaes and long walks on the beach. Turn-
offs: traffic, busy signals, negative people, and the proliferation of terrorist recruits
within previously impenetrable security barriers."
"I have a bad feeling in my gut about Osama Bin Laden. Could someone please call
"Hot Styles for Hot Times: What Gwyneth Will Wear If The Warning Signs About
Increased Terrorist Activity in the United States Are True?"
"Not only does it make an elegant centerpiece for your dining room table, but it can
also be used as handy protective headgear in the likely event of a terrorist attack
by an Islamic fundamentalist organization."
"People are so busy being busy, they've let the colors fade from their lives. We
need to spend more time listening to our hearts, listening to our souls, and listening
to reconnaissance tapes secretly recorded by the CIA on the Pakistan-Afghanistan
"Listen, I'm serious here. I really think something bad might happen. Could
somebody—anybody—please call me back?
"He's the man with a plan /and he sits on top a llama / He's a snake in the sand
/and he calls himself Osama."
"Stay close to the bag. We don't want to risk the go-ahead run -- unless, of course,
Al Qaeda strikes as you take your lead. In that case, run home as fast as you can."
Derek Jeter, 9/3/01
"And, dude, if you get the 4100 model now, it comes with a DVD-ROM drive, twenty
gigs of storage space, a one-year warranty, and an emergency generator in the
event that, like, some terrorist dudes knock out all the power stations across the
"Hey, hon. I just hung up with Gary Hart, and he said nobody at the WH is returning
his calls. Do you know anybody he could talk to over there? Lord knows, they don't
return my calls, either.
(Click here to read online version.)