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Lawmakers respond to McKinney comments

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 04/22/2002 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

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Some observers call it the wackiest conspiracy theory floated since someone suggested the United States never really landed on the moon. That person, however, was not a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In a March 25 interview with KPFA, a public radio station in Berkeley, Calif., Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia suggested President Bush withheld prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks so that his friends could profit from the war he knew would follow.

Said McKinney: “We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on Sept. 11. … What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of Sept. 11? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? … What do they have to hide?”

McKinney added that “persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America’s new war.” In particular, she cited the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment firm that employs a number of high-ranking former government officials and includes the senior President Bush as an adviser.

“What is undeniable is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of Sept. 11,” McKinney charged. “America’s credibility, both with the world and with her own people, rests upon securing credible answers to these questions.”

McKinney declined to speak to reporters, even as Democratic leaders in Congress disavowed her comments. Republican leaders demanded an apology, but McKinney only exacerbated the situation with this written statement:

“I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case.”

Human Events Assistant Editor David Freddoso asked some of McKinney’s Democratic colleagues if they agreed with her conspiracy theory – and whether they endorsed her renomination as a Democratic candidate for the House. For good measure, he asked some Republicans, too.


Do you agree with your colleague, Cynthia McKinney, that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could make money in a war?

Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.: It’s just so ludicrous. It’s the sort of thing you don’t even want to dignify with a response.


Do you agree with Cynthia McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.: I’m curious as to whether it will reveal what Congresswoman McKinney has stated. I’m interested. I’m interested in an investigation.


Do you agree with Congresswoman McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. Eva Clayton, D-N.C.: I don’t have any comment on that whatsoever.

So you …

Clayton: I’ve had about five or six of you reporters trying to get me engaged in the argument. And let that be her discussion, your discussion, and whoever else wants to discuss it.

Would you endorse Miss McKinney for renomination as a Democratic candidate for Congress?

Clayton: She has a right to be – of course she has a right to run, regardless of what she says, whether I endorse her or not. Whether I agree with what she says, a lot of people have a right to run. They have a right to run – I want to say it real loud – regardless of what their extreme views are. That’s one of the things about our First Amendment rights.

But would you sanction her, given her remarks?

Clayton: I’m not going to take part in that phony kind of survey. You should be ashamed of yourself. They ought to sanction you as a press.


Do you agree with Cynthia McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.: I don’t know what you’re talking about, to tell you the truth.

It was a remark on a Berkeley radio station …

(Rep. Clayton walked up and interrupted.)

Clayton: Who do you represent, anyway?

Human Events.

(Both congresswomen walked away, shaking their heads and gesturing for the reporter to leave them alone.)


Do you agree with Rep. McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif.: I have no idea. I have not even heard the statement that she made, and so I can’t say anything because I don’t know. I don’t know what she said, and whatever she said, I’m not aware of that either. So I’m sorry, I can’t make that statement.

Do you think that such an allegation as I described – that President Bush knew Sept. 11 was going to happen and let it happen so that he could fight a war so that friends of his could profit – if someone were to suggest that, would you consider that irresponsible?

Millender-McDonald: I can’t make any statements on that and certainly don’t want to bring judgment on any of it. But I think that if you look at the president’s face, perhaps that told the story. He was as shocked as any of us.

If a member of the House were to make a statement like that, would you endorse his renomination to run again for Congress?

Millender-McDonald: I really don’t know. I’m going to have to research this, because this is my first time hearing about whatever statement she made. I didn’t know she’d made a statement. And so I have to go back and research this. She is certainly my friend. I’m the chair of the Women’s Caucus. What we’re trying to do is bring more women into this House, not usher them away, and so I would have to check that.


Do you agree with Cynthia McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. Major Owen, D-N.Y.: That’s ridiculous.

So you disagree?

Owen: I disagree vehemently.

Do you think it’s irresponsible for her to make that kind of statement?

Owen: Yes, I do.

Would you endorse her for renomination as a Democratic candidate for Congress?

Owen: No comment.


Do you agree with Cynthia McKinney that an investigation may reveal that President Bush withheld prior knowledge of Sept. 11 so that he or his friends could profit from a war?

Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn.: You know, I think that’s the most irresponsible thing that I’ve heard a member of Congress suggest in many, many years. Absolutely irresponsible.


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