By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004, 4:34pm PT  

The disastrous pre-9/11 work of the Bush Administraton continues to come to light via the work of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

A number of understandable blunders came to light today as Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno testified as well as several FBI Directors from both Clinton and Bush Administrations.

In addition to what's being covered today, there are a couple of notes from a Reuters report that seem to be flying a bit beneath the media radar:

· [A] commission staff statement focused on a Justice Department document that set out priorities for 2001 issued May 10 of that year. The top priorities were reducing gun violence and combating drug trafficking. It made no mention of counterterrorism.

· Then-acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard said he appealed to Ashcroft for more money for counterterrorism but on Sept 10, 2001, one day before the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people, Ashcroft rejected the appeal.

As I've stressed previously, both of the above issues, and others like them - by both Bush and Clinton administrations - are understandable in a pre-9/11 world.

The inexplicable fact remains, however, that the Bush Administration's adament allergy towards taking any accountability or even admit any shortcomings in that world is what's making the entire matter the media focus it's become. As usual, these guys are doing themselves in.

We'll see if Bush's rare Press Conference, in about an hour, will signal a new approach and include any humility or a whiff of accountability. I'd be surprised if it did, but it would go an incredibly long way towards restoring this collapsing Administration in the eyes of the American electorate who seem to be abandoning them in droves.