One of the strangest things the media do is to bury huge revelations deep in the bowels of a
larger story. A perfect example occurs in "10 Days in September," an epic eight-day series that
ran in the Washington Post. In part six, Bob Woodward and Dan Balz are recounting the Bush
Administration's activities on September 17, 2001, six days after the 9/11 attacks. Bush and
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice have headed to the Pentagon to be briefed on action
against Afghanistan by a two-star general from the Special Operation Command:
Rice and Frank Miller, the senior NSC staffer for defense, went with the president to the
Pentagon. Before the briefing, Miller reviewed the classified slide presentation prepared
for Bush and got a big surprise.
One slide about special operations in Afghanistan said: Thinking Outside the Box —
Poisoning Food Supply. Miller was shocked and showed it to Rice. The United States
doesn't know how to do this, Miller reminded her, and we're not allowed. It would
effectively be a chemical or biological attack — clearly banned by treaties that the United
States had signed, including the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
Nice took the slide to Rumsfeld. "This slide is not going to be shown to the president of the
United States," she said.
Rumsfeld agreed. "You're right," he said.
Pentagon officials said later that their own internal review had caught the offending slide
and that it never would have been shown to the president or to Rumsfeld.