San Francisco Chronicle
Two weeks after Attorney General Michael Mukasey tearfully told a San Francisco audience the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could have been prevented if the government had been able to wiretap a phone call from Afghanistan, the Justice Department is still trying to explain what he meant, and a congressional leader is demanding answers.
Among the questions posed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., to Mukasey is whether any such phone call actually occurred and, if so, why the government wasn't able to use its legal and technological powers to monitor it.
The attorney general, speaking to the Commonwealth Club on March 27, defended President Bush's program of wiretapping calls between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists without court authorization and said no warrant should be needed to eavesdrop on a phone call from Iraq to the United States.
Rewrite or expose?
Dylan Avery has a theory that he says casts doubts on Mark Bingham's actions on Sept. 11, 2001. According to Avery, the San Francisco public relations executive never called his mom on a cell phone from the cabin of Flight 93, and never told her that "some of us here are going to try to do something." Instead, says Avery, someone using a voice synthesizer -- possibly a government official -- called Alice Hoglan on the morning that Flight 93 -- and Bingham -- became part of Sept. 11 lore.
"The cell phone calls were fake -- no ifs, ands or buts," Avery says in "Loose Change," a film he wrote and directed that's one of the most-watched movies on the Internet, with 10 million viewers in the past year. "Until the government can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that al Qaeda was behind Sept. 11, the American people have every reason to believe otherwise."