Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In a press conference today, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino about the administration’s ongoing efforts to find Osama bin Laden, calling him the “mastermind” of 9/11. Perino interrupted the reporter, claiming bin Laden was not the true “mastermind” of the attacks:
Q But Osama bin Laden is the one that — you keep talking about his lieutenants, and, yes, they are very important, but Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 —
PERINO: No, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, and he’s sitting in jail right now.
Perino seems to be attempting to justify the White House’s failure to catch bin Laden by suggesting he was not the “mastermind.” But in September 2006, former press secretary Tony Snow stated:
Osama bin Laden, mastermind of September 11th, the person that many people talk about and still have concerns about, calls this fight, the fight in Iraq, “the third world war.”
While Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to being the “architect” of 9/11, bin Laden was not inconsequential; he approved and executed the attacks. KSM in fact, brought the idea to bin Laden, who according to the 9/11 Commission, “wanted to hit the White House, Pentagon and U.S. Capitol,” not just the World Trade Center.
Perino suggested that it would take “superpowers” to catch bin Laden. “So there are human limitations to any — this is not the movies, we don’t have superpowers,” she said. It didn’t, however, take “superpowers” to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora in late 2001, where he escaped in part because of a lack of troops.