"[L]ast year, when we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years — across two administrations. That’s why my first call once American forces were safely out of harm’s way was to President Bush. Because protecting our country is neither the work of one person, nor the task of one period of time, it’s an ongoing obligation that we all share." Obama, May 31, 2012
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
[According to] Section 8 ("The System Was Blinking Red") [PDF] of the 9/11 Commission Report. "There were more than 40 intelligence articles in the PDBs from January 20 to September 10, 2001, that related to Bin Ladin...Other reports' titles warned, 'Bin Ladin Attacks May be Imminent' and 'Bin Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats.'"
Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.
An interesting bit of revisionism floating around blog-o-land is that if Gore had been elected he would have continued Clinton era policy towards OBL and 9/11 would not have happened.
The most amazing thing about this whole topic is the sheer number of people who have said 'Bush kept us safe' with a straight face.
I can't think of an example anywhere in history where leaders of the nominal winners of a conflict were held to war crimes tribunals.
Robert McNamara: LeMay said if we lost the war that we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he's right. He... and I'd say I... were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?
The tell for me, way back when, was when the Bush Administration changed its story from 'there was no warning' to 'there was no specific warning'
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