Continuity of Government Measures WERE Implemented on 9/11 . . . Were They EVER Revoked?
"At 9:59, an Air Force lieutenant colonel working in the White House Military Office joined the conference and stated he had just talked to Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. The White House requested (1) the implementation of continuity of government measures, (2) fighter escorts for Air Force One, and (3) a fighter combat air patrol over Washington, D.C."Likewise, page 326 of the Report states:
"The secretary of defense directed the nation's armed forces to Defense Condition 3, an increased state of military readiness. For the first time in history, all nonemergency civilian aircraft in the United States were grounded, stranding tens of thousands of passengers across the country. Contingency plans for the continuity of government and the evacuation of leaders had been implemented."See also footnotes cited therein and this webpage.
You might assume that the COG measures ceased soon after 9/11. However, CNN reports that -- 6 months later --
Because Bush has decided to leave the operation in place, agencies including the White House and top civilian Cabinet departments have rotated personnel involved, and are discussing ways to staff such a contingency operation under the assumption it will be in place indefinitely, this official said.Similarly, the Washington Post stated in March 2002 that "the shadow government has evolved into an indefinite precaution." The same article goes on to state:
"... assessment of terrorist risks persuaded the White House to remake the program as a permanent feature of 'the new reality, based on what the threat looks like,' a senior decisionmaker said."Implementation of COG Was Kept Hidden from Congress
As a CBS article makes clear, virtually none of the Congressional leadership knew that the COG had been implemented or was still in existence as of March 2002:
Key congressional leaders say they didn’t know President Bush had established a “shadow government,” moving dozens of senior civilian managers to secret underground locations outside Washington to ensure that the federal government could survive a devastating terrorist attack on the nation's capital, The Washington Post says in its Saturday editions.Similarly, the above-cited CNN article states :
Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) told the Post he had not been informed by the White House about the role, location or even the existence of the shadow government that the administration began to deploy the morning of the Sept. 11 hijackings.
An aide to House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said he was also unaware of the administration's move.
Among Congress's GOP leadership, aides to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.), second in line to succeed the president if he became incapacitated, and to Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (Miss.) said they were not sure whether they knew.
Aides to Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) said he had not been told. As Senate president pro tempore, he is in line to become president after the House speaker.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said Friday he can't say much about the plan.
"We have not been informed at all about the role of the shadow government or its whereabouts or what particular responsibilities they have and when they would kick in, but we look forward to work with the administration to get additional information on that."
Indeed, a few months ago - in summer 2007 - Congressman Peter DeFazio, on the Homeland Security Committee (and so with proper security access to be briefed on COG issues), inquired about continuity of government plans, and was refused access. Indeed, DeFazio told Congress that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the plans by the White House (video; or here is the transcript). DeFazio concluded: "Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.
How They Might Have Maintained COG to the Present
But could the White House have maintained COG operations to the present day? One hint may be contained in the above-cited CNN article:
Concerns that al Qaeda could have gained access to a crude nuclear device "were a major factor" in the president's decision, the official said. "The threat of some form of catastrophic event is the trigger," this official said.
This same official went on to say that the U.S. had no confirmation -- "and no solid evidence" -- that al Qaeda had such a nuclear device and also acknowledged that the "consensus" among top U.S. officials was that the prospect was "quite low."
Still, the officials said Bush and other top White House officials including Cheney were adamant that the government take precautions designed to make sure government functions ranging from civil defense to transportation and agricultural production could be managed in the event Washington was the target of a major strike.
It is well-documented that the administration has been crying wolf about looming terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda ever since 9/11. By claiming that Washington is the target of a major strike, the Neocons may have been able to maintain the COG and the "shadow government" continuously ever since 9/11.
While I have no direct evidence that the COG is still in effect, the fact that key players have said that the measures would be permanent, the continuous exaggeration by the administration of major terrorist threats, and the circumstantial evidence that the COG measures are still in effect all argue for their continued existence.
If they are still in effect, it could help explain why things have been so dysfunctional in the United States recently. Indeed, COG measures can thoroughly destroy the Constitutional form of American government.