I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week — but I’m still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.
It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome — and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It’s embarrassing because it’s clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush’s defence, there’s much to be learned fromMy Pet Goat).
I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others — and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.
And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at Newsnight, a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked “SECRET,” “eyes only” and “1-99I WF”, which is code for “national security document”. The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before11 September 2001. Calls to the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI insiders authenticated this bombshell of a devastating intelligence failure.