Franklin Miller was a senior aide to Condoleezza Rice on 9/11.
He's perhaps best known in 9/11 terms for disputing some content of Richard Clarke's book "Against All Enemies". This may arguably have simply been a defensive response to Clarke's attacks on the Bush administration, however it's still worth reading what he had to say:
Colleague of Ex-Official Disputes Part of Account
By DAVID E. SANGER
A senior national security official who worked alongside Richard A. Clarke on Sept. 11, 2001, is disputing central elements of Mr. Clarke's account of events in the White House Situation Room that day, declaring that it is a much better screenplay than reality was.
The official, Franklin C. Miller, who acknowledges that he was often a bureaucratic rival of Mr. Clarke, said in an interview on Monday that almost none of the conversations that Mr. Clarke, who was the counterterrorism chief, recounts in the first chapter of his book, Against All Enemies, match Mr. Miller's recollection of events.
Last week, when Mr. Clarke leveled accusations that President Bush and his staff largely ignored terrorism before Sept. 11, the White House responded by calling into question some of Mr. Clarke's descriptions of conversations.
In the book, Mr. Clarke describes himself as the nation's crisis manager that day, though he acknowledges periodically turning over his seat in the Situation Room, in the basement of the West Wing, to Mr. Miller.
He did a hell of a job that day, Mr. Miller said of Mr. Clarke in an interview on Monday that was suggested by the White House. We all did. But then he disputed many of the most dramatic moments recalled by Mr. Clarke, from conversations with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to the question of whether another aide in the room was yelling out warnings that a plane could hit the White House in minutes. Efforts to reach Mr. Clarke on Monday through his publisher were unsuccessful.
Mr. Miller and other White House officials said they were not accusing Mr. Clarke of fabricating events. Events were moving so quickly, they said, and memories have since blurred, that it is little surprise that accounts differ. But Mr. Miller, a senior aide to Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, suggested that Mr. Clarke's version, while it would make a great movie, was more melodramatic than the events he recalled.
In Mr. Clarke's account, in a chapter called Evacuate the White House, he heads into the Situation Room at the first word of attack and begins issuing orders to close embassies and put military bases on a higher level of alert -- not the kind of operational details usually handled by the National Security Council staff. He describes how Mr. Miller came into the room, squeezed Mr. Clarke's bicep, and said, Guess I'm working for you today. What can I do?
I wouldn't say that, Mr. Miller said Monday. I might say, 'How can I help.'
Mr. Miller disputes Mr. Clarke's recollection that the Secret Service asked for fighter escorts to protect Air Force One after it lifted off from Sarasota, Fla., where President Bush was visiting an elementary school. A young aide in the Situation Room made that suggestion to Mr. Miller, he said, who recalls telling the aide he had seen too many movies. A moment later, reconsidering, Mr. Miller asked Ms. Rice whether to call up fighter support, and she told him to go ahead, he recalled.
Mr. Clarke's book says Mr. Miller urged Mr. Rumsfeld to take a helicopter out of the Pentagon, part of which was still burning, and that Mr. Rumsfeld responded, I am too goddamn old to go to an alternate site.
But Mr. Miller said he never talked to Mr. Rumsfeld that day.
Similarly, Mr. Clarke recounts how a career official in the Situation Room called out, Secret Service reports a hostile aircraft 10 minutes out, left the room, then returned minutes later to report, Hostile aircraft eight minutes out. Presumably that was the same aircraft that led to the panicked evacuation of the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that day. The evacuation turned out to be based on a false alarm.
Neither Mr. Miller nor Sean McCormack, the spokesman of the National Security Council, who was in the Situation Room that morning, say they recall hearing the aide warn that a plane could be only minutes away. They say the aide himself reports that he made no such announcement, but he declined to be interviewed.
Mr. Miller also provided a different account of why the officials working in the Situation Room stayed while the rest of the White House was being evacuated.
In Mr. Clarke's telling, he gathered the staff around and told them to leave for their own safety, particularly those with young children. They declined, and according to Mr. Clarke, Mr. Miller then grabbed a legal pad and said, 'All right. If you're staying, sign your name here,' so that a list could be e-mailed out of the building. The purpose, he recalled Mr. Miller saying, was so the rescue teams will know how many bodies to look for.
Mr. Miller said he made no such statement. According to Mr. Miller's account, there was no question that the staff members were staying -- they were told to keep the Situation Room running by the deputy national security adviser, Stephen Hadley. That paragraph was a complete fiction, Mr. Miller said. His recollection is that after Mr. Hadley issued his instructions to keep the Situation Room operating, Mr. Clarke went over to Mr. Miller and said, You realize what we signed onto 10 minutes ago? Mr. Miller said that this is a very different spin on events.
Mr. Miller agreed that a list of those in the Situation Room was compiled and e-mailed out of the White House complex, but it was done discreetly, he insisted, so as not to cause a panic.While the book describes the Situation Room as sparsely populated, Mr. Miller and Mr. McCormack ticked off the names of at least a dozen people who came in to work the phones and help figure out the location of suspect aircraft.
New York Times