A Scripps-Howards News service story tells us that the conspiracists are alive and well in America:
Many Americans still believe in conspiracies
By KEVIN CROWE and GUIDO H. STEMPEL III
Scripps Howard News Service
Nearly two-thirds of Americans think it is possible that some federal officials had specific warnings of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, but chose to ignore those warnings, according to a Scripps Howard News Service/Ohio University poll.
A national survey of 811 adult residents of the United States conducted by Scripps and Ohio University found that more than a third believe in a broad smorgasbord of conspiracy theories including the attacks, international plots to rig oil prices, the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the government's knowledge of intelligent life from other worlds.
The high percentage is a manifestation, some say, of an American public that increasingly distrusts the federal government.
Distrust, indeed. But the truth is out there!
Andy Soltis of the NY Post calmly makes a reasonable point:
'BLAME U.S. FOR 9/11' IDIOTS IN MAJORITY
'PLOTS' THICKEN IN SHOCKING POLL
The findings followed a 2006 poll by the same researchers, who found that 36 percent of Americans believe federal government officials "either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action" because they wanted "to go to war in the Middle East."
Anger at the federal government and skepticism in general by younger Americans is fueling the popularity of crackpot conspiracy theories.
ThinkProgress denounces conspiracy theories yet joins in on the other side:
As frequent readers of this site are well aware, ThinkProgress does not condone 9/11 conspiracy theories which allege the attacks were an inside job. But whether the Bush administration failed to heed warnings of a terrorist strike is not a conspiracy theory — it is a fact.
Here are some bits of information the NY Post may want to read up on:
1) Bush received intel briefing on Aug. 6, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US.” The briefing specifically warned to “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,” particularly targeted at New York.
3) An FBI agent in Phoenix sent a memo to FBI headquarters on July 10, 2001, which advised of the “possibility of a coordinated effort” by bin Laden to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation schools.
The alarming nature of the Scripps poll is not that 62 percent of Americans believe the government ignored warnings of 9/11; it’s that nearly 40 percent still aren’t aware of that fact.
Well, "ignored warnings of 9/11" is a bit ambiguous and understated - here is the specific Scripps-Howard question:
I'd like to ask about some conspiracy theories that are sometimes mentioned among Americans. Please tell me whether you think each of these are very likely, somewhat likely or unlikely. So when I say that oil companies are conspiring to keep gasoline prices high, is that very likely, somewhat likely or unlikely?
Very Likely ...................... 50
Somewhat Likely................... 31
Don't Know/Other .................. 5
How about that some people in the federal government had specific warnings of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, but chose to ignore those warnings. Is this very likely, somewhat likely or unlikely?
Very Likely....................... 32
Somewhat Likely................... 30
Don't Know/Other................... 8
With that intro it ought to be clear that Scripps Howard was not asking whether the Administration may have had warnings that something was amiss - the question used the phrase "conspiracy theories" and asked about "specific" warnings. Subsequent questions and answers are even wilder: 42% think it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that the Feds had advance warning of the JFK assassination; 37% think the Feds have proof of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and of flying saucers. That certainly jibes with the notion that Americans believe all sorts of odd things (but no questions about whether Elvis lives?).
As to the point about the Presidential Daily Brief from Aug 6 2001, honestly - would it strain ThinProgress to present a bit more context? Here is what the PDB said about hijackings:
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ---- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.
A reasonable reader, or even George Bush, would interpret that as a conventional hijack-for-hostages scenario, not the actual 9/11 plot.
ThinProgress does provide quite a punchline, courtesy of Atrios; maybe Soltis ought to berate his own editors.