COMMENTARY LOS ANGELES TIMES
Donald Rumsfeld, one of the chief opponents of investing real power over purse and personnel in a new national intelligence chief, told the 9/11 commission that an intelligence czar would do the nation "a great disservice." It is fair to ask what kind of service Rumsfeld provided on the day the nation was under catastrophic attack.
"Two planes hitting the twin towers did not rise to the level of Rumsfeld's leaving his office and going to the War Room? How can that be?" asked Mindy Kleinberg, one of the widows known as the Jersey Girls, whose efforts helped create and guide the 9/11 commission. The fact that the final report failed to offer an explanation is one of the infuriating holes in an otherwise praiseworthy accounting.
Rumsfeld was missing in action that morning "out of the loop" by his own admission. The lead military officer that day, Brig. Gen. Montague Winfield, told the commission that the Pentagon's command center had been essentially leaderless: "For 30 minutes we couldn't find" Rumsfeld.