Lying for the homeland

Almost worse than refusing to see what is in front of your eyes is to insist on seeing what does not exist, and to act as if it really does exist, inventing tests that confirm your imagined reality. In the closing years of the last century, the omniscient American intelligence organizations refused to see what was for some of their agents frightening evidence: that Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were planning large-scale terrorist attacks in the United States. The story was told better and in more detail than anyone by Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower, an exciting example of research of great depth and narrative force. Neither the heads of the CIA or the FBI, and even less President George W. Bush, paid the slightest attention to the increasingly serious indications of an imminent attack that occurred in the summer of 2001. But after having incurred in the stubborn denial of reality fell just as calamitously into the delirium of seeing what did not exist, and consequently causing a chain of disasters much worse than the fall of the Twin Towers. It is amazing that with the budgets and the limitless human and technological means available to American espionage organizations, one can go so far in ignorance of reality and in the almost unanimous acceptance of a string of lies.

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