Friday, February 23, 2007

History Review: Bush warned repeatedly & specifically about "spectacular" al Qaeda attack in '01 - then he went on vacation ... for a month

By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions. - 9/11 Commission, 4/12/04

So had Vice President Cheney and Bush's top national security team, according to declassified information released by the 9/11 Commission in April, '04.

After discussing this with a few wingnut bloggers, I have been inspired to do a history review.

Anti Terrorism Director Richard Clarke repeatedly asked for a meeting with Bush on the bin Laden threat but was denied.

The PDB Bush received a month before 9/11 was entitled "bin Laden determined to strike in US" mentioned specifically:
  • "a Bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks"
  • "Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft"
  • "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
  • "Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef"
The amazing thing is that Tenet warned Bush 40 times. Yes, count them - 40 times bin Laden was mention in Presidential Daily Brief's from March 23-Sept 10, 01. For example:
  • April 20, '01 briefing entitled: "Bin Ladin planning multiple operations."
  • May 16 - "Bin Ladin supporters were planning an attack in the United States using high explosives."
  • May 17 - "UBL: Operation Planned in U.S."
  • June 22 - "intelligence suggesting a possible al Qaeda suicide attack on a"
  • A terrorist threat advisory distributed in late June indicated a high probability of near-term "spectacular" terrorist attacks resulting in numerous casualties. Other reports' titles warned,"Bin Ladin Attacks May be Imminent" and "Bin Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats."
  • June 25 - Clarke warned Rice and Hadley that six separate intelligence reports showed al Qaeda personnel warning of a pending attack.
  • June 28 - Clarke wrote Rice that the pattern of al Qaeda activity indicating attack planning over the past six weeks "had reached a crescendo." "A series of new reports continue to convince me and analysts at State, CIA, DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], and NSA that a major terrorist attack or series of attacks is likely..."
  • July 5 - CIA briefed Attorney General Ashcroft on the al Qaeda threat, warning that a significant terrorist attack was imminent. Ashcroft was told that preparations for multiple attacks were in late stages or already complete and that little additional warning could be expected.
  • July 23, the lead item for Counterterrorism Security Group discussion was the al Qaeda threat,and it included mention of suspected terrorist travel to the United States. Tenet told Bush that "the system was blinking red." By late July, Tenet said, it could not "get any worse."
What did our commander in chief do after receiving these dire warnings for months? He went on vacation - for a month.

So... the next time you hear wingnuts blaming Clinton for 9/11, review a little history. It's amazing to recall that many chose to reelect Bush because he is supposedly "strong on terrorism" - read the above, and then tell me that.

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