August 6, 2001 PDB - Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US
April 10, 2004 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US - The Presidential Daily Briefing

Kevin Drum
: Aside from that, what really struck me was that the whole thing was so short — considerably shorter than your average op-ed column, in fact — and written at about a high school level. This is an intelligence briefing prepared at the request of the president of the United States and he was apparently satisfied with it? Eleven paragraphs of pabulum considerably less authoritative than an average article in Foreign Affairs ? Sheesh.

posted by y2karl (128 comments total)

 
PDB with Fact Sheet from Agonist
posted by y2karl at 5:35 PM on April 10, 2004


I was surprised as well by the length of it. I guess there wasn't much for intelligence and maybe George Tenet doesn't have a lot of time in his day to write a memo to brief the head of his country on these types of things.

I always wondered... since Bush doesn't read newspapers, he trusts Condi Rice to give him all the daily information. And I got to thinking, if he doesn't actually pick up a newspaper, does he then have Rice do different voices for the comic strips. Then PJ says, "Not Me", and there's a ghost behind him that has 'not me' written on it.
posted by graventy at 5:47 PM on April 10, 2004


It would be quite interesting to see a PDB from 1998 or 1999, say,
to see what the length, depth, detail and the level of reading comprehension required would be in comparison to this one.
posted by y2karl at 5:57 PM on April 10, 2004


Even this baby-food version has enough to scare the pants off anyone with a lick of sense and make them start watching the skies:

FBI information since that time indicates 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.

But obviously his mind was elsewhere. ("When do we get to the comics? I love the way Condi does the voices...")
posted by languagehat at 5:58 PM on April 10, 2004


This is a 'brief' afterall, it doesn't surprise me that it's so abbreviated. Presumably there's a huge amount of depth behind this that is available to the cabinet if they ask.
posted by Nelson at 5:59 PM on April 10, 2004


...and Dubya's PDB always includes the daily "Garfield" (omitted not for National Security, but Copyright Protection).

on preview, what hatman said

...a huge amount of depth behind this that is available to the cabinet if they ask.
And maybe someday they will...
posted by wendell at 6:02 PM on April 10, 2004


and the 70 FBI investigations alone should have been enough to set something in motion...one would have hoped, anyway.
posted by amberglow at 6:05 PM on April 10, 2004


This is a 'brief' afterall, it doesn't surprise me that it's so abbreviated. Presumably there's a huge amount of depth behind this that is available to the cabinet if they ask.

To paraphrase Jon Stewart, how much more than "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" do you need to perk your interest?
posted by Cyrano at 6:07 PM on April 10, 2004


Even this baby-food version has enough to scare the pants off anyone with a lick of sense and make them start watching the skies ... But obviously his mind was elsewhere.

August 6, 2001: Bush gets briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."

August 7, 2001: Bush begins month long vacation in Crawford, TX.

posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:20 PM on April 10, 2004


Possibility of hijacking is mentioned , but "not corroborated". Which remembered me that for some reason the planes hitting the towers weren't intercepted, but as far as I remember they were far away from their planned course ; and that is a very serious problem that should have triggered a lot of alarm bells even without terrorist alert schemes ongoing.

What were the FAA and military rules for out-of-planned-course events in 2001 ?

I still wonder if the warplanes were ever scrambled to see wtf was going on with that planes (and that's an apolitical issue, as it involves both reps and dems past admins)
posted by elpapacito at 6:28 PM on April 10, 2004


I still can't figure this out. Given Bush's actions on 9/11, it seemed obvious that they had some idea this was going to happen and were watching and waiting for it so they could capitalize on it. But the fact that Condi was going to give that speech on 9/11 that was going to pooh-pooh the domestic terrorism threat in favor of missile defense seems a pretty solid indication that they had no idea this was going to happen anywhere near 9/11. AND YET... the text of this PDB would SEEM to make ANY rational person say hmm... maybe we should do something to alert the FAA and all to increase security, or at least make some announcement that we've increased security, so as to make them less likely to carry through ... I just don't know, is what I'm sayin.
posted by soyjoy at 6:36 PM on April 10, 2004


What part of "Steady Leadership in Times of Change" don't you "know" soyjoy? It's obviously been steady since day one.
posted by crasspastor at 6:47 PM on April 10, 2004


Bush Warned of Possible Al Qaeda Attacks Before 9/11

As one former administration official who has read the PDB said last week, "The agency doesn't write a headline like that if it doesn't want to get attention." In this case, the former official said, "the CIA did not believe Bush policymakers were taking the threat to the U.S. seriously."

Schneider: Memo 'could be seriously damaging'

LIN: Bill, you heard the body of the top secret memo that was just released by the White House. How damaging could this be?

SCHNEIDER:I think it could be seriously damaging. What this says is, the White House knew what bin Laden was capable of planning, where he intended to do it, which was New York or Washington, D.C., how he was going to do it. There was only one thing missing, which was exactly when he was going to do it, which turns out to be September 11.

Critics and members of the commission will say, the White House should have been far more aggressive to prevent, what sounds from this memo, like an imminent strike, obviously years in the planning, but a real danger to the United States, particularly in New York and Washington. And they will, I think, make it a cause for very severe criticism.

LIN: Does the [memo] support [former chief counterterrorism aide] Richard Clarke's criticism of President Bush that he and his administration were not taking al Qaeda seriously?

SCHNEIDER: I think it sounds exactly like Richard Clarke. I think Richard Clarke's testimony sounds almost exactly like what is in this presidential briefing. He was repeating what the president had been told on August 6. And he was urging the president to take these threats very seriously.

posted by y2karl at 6:59 PM on April 10, 2004


Does anyone else think it was intentional that this was declassified on a Saturday evening on a holiday weekend when less people are paying attention to the news.
posted by Quinn at 7:22 PM on April 10, 2004


If the level of intelligence about WMD was enough to go to war in Iraq, then what level of intelligence was needed to actually worry about Al-Queda?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:28 PM on April 10, 2004


Wow.

After reading that, it proves what I've suspected all along.
The President of the US is, well, let's be honest. He's a moron. He must be, I mean that statement could be understood by your average high school student. And that's the sort of statement that gets prepared for the "leader of the free world"?

I wonder what gets prepared for him with regard to the situation in Iraq at the moment.

Honestly, if he gets elected in November, well, let's just say it won't say much for the people who voted for him.

And no I'm not trolling. I'm just speaking my mind, and I'm pretty certain that I'm not the only one thinking in the same light.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:31 PM on April 10, 2004


An afterthought. I know someone who lost her sister in the towers. To think that maybe Bush could have saved her, not to mention the other thousands in there that day, or at least made an attempt to.

Instead he went on vacation for a month to his ranch. For a MONTH?!!. What sort of a head of state does that? Holiday, sure, but a month? When he's been warned of grave threats to the country he leads? Jesus.

I've said before, but it bears repeating. This man needs to be removed from the Whitehouse. Perhaps even before November (ie, he should be impeached). He's not fit for office.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:37 PM on April 10, 2004


In slight defense of the August vacation. The entire Washington D.C. government goes on vacation for the month of August. I'm not defending the guy, I can't stand him, I'm just saying.
posted by graventy at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2004


August 6, 2001: Bush gets briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."

August 7, 2001: Bush begins month long vacation in Crawford, TX.


To be fair, the sky is about to fall in every PDB. By August, he'd already seen memos about unemployed Russian scientists selling Soviet warheads, Taiwan prepared to fight China to mutual death, and enough Israel/Palestinian stuff to make your head spin. Remember, we had a serious diplomatic confrontation with China early in GWB's term. Though defused, it could hardly be ignored.

Any one of those things could have materialized into crisis at the drop of the hat. That Al Qaeda would become our enemy and not Russia, China, or South America was more or less a crapshoot.

This doesn't excuse the intelligence agencies from their massive fuckup, nor does it excuse anything that Bush did or didn't do on his way to bumbling through the most inept and corrupt presidential administration since the 1880s. But if we focus on the August 6 memo, we lose the forest for the trees. We should not concern ourselves with what that memo actually said, but rather what it should have said.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2004


The entire Washington D.C. government goes on vacation for the month of August

That's not an excuse for the leader of a country to do so, particularly given the threats he'd been informed of.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2004


We should not concern ourselves with what that memo actually said, but rather what it should have said.

True, but why wasn't Bush pushing for more information? Why wasn't he probing for further details and methods of preventing and defending against an attack instead of going to Texas on vacation?

If he was chairman on the board of a company who took a vacation despite being warned of threats that would result in severe damage to said company, he'd lose his job on grounds of negligence and incompetence.

And if Bill Clinton can get impeached for fooling around with an intern (which didn't cost anyone their lives), then your president should very defintely be impeached for this.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2004


Any one of those things could have materialized into crisis at the drop of the hat. That Al Qaeda would become our enemy and not Russia, China, or South America was more or less a crapshoot.


Well actually, al Qaeda and bin Laden decalred war on us in the 90's, and as I recall the declaration of war on the US resolution got voted down in South America's parliament.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:56 PM on April 10, 2004


That Al Qaeda would become our enemy and not Russia, China, or South America was more or less a crapshoot.

Osama bin Laden more or less declared war on the United States and all Americans in 1998. He was already our sworn enemy. I taught an introductory-level public policy course for undergraduates in the spring of 2002, and selected a text for it before Sept. 11. The text included a chapter on terrorism, and began with a statement from this declaration. There was plenty of talk about bin Laden and Al Queda long before Sept. 11. There was no crapshoot involved here.
posted by raysmj at 7:59 PM on April 10, 2004


Bob Kerry: Fighting the Wrong War
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on April 10, 2004


Apparently they had to wrap GWB's Presidential Daily Briefings like news headlines from Fox News. Good ol boy that he is...it's about all the information that noggin can interpret at one time.
posted by SweetIceT at 8:02 PM on April 10, 2004


Nevertheless, FBI information since [1998] indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks ...

I will express no opinion on whether or not your president is a moron, but even assuming he's not, I don't see why some of you seem to think that this memo should have triggered immediate policy changes or any urgent actions by the president. It seems like the rational response would be "Okay, you've identified a potential threat. Do your job and track it down; make it a priority. Let me know if you need anything. Get back to me when you've got something more specific than 'patterns of suspicious activity.'"

There's nothing in there to indicate that the threat is immanent. From that info, it could come any time in the next few years. There's nothing that describes the method of attack that actually happened. It points out Washington and NYC as targets, but that's pretty obvious.

The efficacy of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies might well have been inadequate for all I know, but there's no evidence for that in this brief. What was the president supposed to do, invade Afghanistan?
posted by sfenders at 8:07 PM on April 10, 2004


True, but why wasn't Bush pushing for more information?

Because he had (1) full, blind, trust in his advisors, (2) no disagreement among them, and (3) no capacity for independent thought. And the person that came up with this system - Rove, or whoever - is a freaking genius. Here's why.

There are two basic styles of executive decisionmaking. In one, advisors bring theories, policy analysis, and expertise to the table in raw chunks. The executive, in collaboration with the experts, forges a policy based on his own intuition and his advisors' recommendations. The final product is thus the responsibility of everyone involved - from the lowly staffer who did the research up to the President of the United States whose policy instincts permeate the document that he ultimately signs off on.

In the other, advisors bring two prepackaged policy alternatives and allows the executive to pick one. While the President chooses based on his policy preference, and the decision is ultimately his, he is choosing closed-source policy. He doesn't know - nor does he want to know - how the sausage is being made. When the public figures out that he has made the wrong choice, the responsibility is not his, for he has not knowingly ignored facts, but rather decided with incomplete information. This is a crucial distinction because the wrong choice becomes "not his fault." 100% of the blame is apportioned between the lowly staffer and the cabinet-level official who can easily be replaced if necessary.

Impeachment will be extremely difficult. Harder even than Clinton, and that's saying a lot.

On preview: I should have said "problem" rather than "enemy." But the point remains that given the faulty intelligence at the time, it was just as likely to the administration that a nation-state would attack, as bin Laden. There's plenty of blame to go around, and lots of it is well-pointed at GWB. But I'm hesitant to immediately discount Condi Rice's testimony that the August 6 memo was basically inactionable given the lack of specifics on when, where, and how. That the top 100 officials at the CIA on 9/11 aren't collecting unemployment right now is just as big a scandal as anything else.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:10 PM on April 10, 2004


What was the president supposed to do, invade Afghanistan?

Well, for one thing, he might have asked whether the USAF was in a position to scramble from their bases in response to an attack on US soil. If I recall correctly, there two fighters ready to scramble to protect the entire eastern coast of the US that day. I think 5 more aircraft were on a training excercise.

Given the resources of the USAF, that is pathetic.
posted by tomcosgrave at 8:11 PM on April 10, 2004


Rove, or whoever - is a freaking genius

I'm sure those who were killed on 9/11 would agree with you. Not to mention their families.
posted by tomcosgrave at 8:13 PM on April 10, 2004


Tom, I'm on your side here.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:15 PM on April 10, 2004


graventy:

Then PJ says, "Not Me", and there's a ghost behind him that has 'not me' written on it.

i would have sent you an infamous q-gram in appreciation of your guffaw-instigating comment but i'll be fucked if i have to "read the story and think about it" just to send a friggin email!!!!!!
posted by quonsar at 8:16 PM on April 10, 2004


There was no crapshoot involved here.

And yet Condoleeza Rice (and others) seem to think that the administration was helpless to do something because no pre-9/11 memo said--in big, bold, blood-red letters--"TERRORISTS WILL HIJACK PLANES AND CRASH THEM INTO BUILDINGS ON SUCH-AND-SUCH DATE AND TIME." If nothing else, this memo throws a spotlight onto how the President--and Condoleeza Rice, for that matter--utterly failed when it came to leadership and doing their job. I'm not quick to call this memo a "smoking gun" and say that the President should absolutely have known something was going to happen; when you study history as a discipline you realize how hindsight can be dangerously misleading. But to borrow the President's own phrase, this memo pointed out a pretty damn big fly he should have tried to swat.

I'm not blaming the President or Condoleeza Rice for not preventing 9/11, but stop trying to act as though there was nothing you could have done.
posted by arco at 8:21 PM on April 10, 2004


Although I'm sure that al-Qaeda was just one of many threats at the time, it seems unforgivable to knowingly allow al-qaeda sleeper cells to exist in America. The fact that the FBI already had tabs on many of the hijackers means that Condoleeza Rice should have been bashing heads together between the bureaucracies and putting it together at the highest level. That she classifies some documentation as "historical" or "tactical" seems to me like the words of a phD advisor taking off points for messing up the formatting of footnotes. It's all evidence, and she could have done further analysis by following up on the leads or investigating the dates and times and locations of the "chatter". Apparently she expected perfectly formatted TPS forms so that she could forward them on to the president. She sounds like a paper-pusher of the highest order.
posted by rks404 at 8:25 PM on April 10, 2004


What was the president supposed to do, invade Afghanistan?
All anyone--someone somewhere--had to do was make sure that all the airlines, and local governments all over the country knew about these 70 FBI investigations and especially the names of the people being investigated, and why. That's it. That's all that needed to be done. It's not hard. Not hard at all. No invasions necessary. No big actions needed. A few phone calls and faxes and visits maybe.

Bush is ultimately responsible along with his staff--he and Condi and everyone knew all this and didn't lift a finger to do anything or alert anyone (except Ashcroft).
posted by amberglow at 8:31 PM on April 10, 2004


So is this the PDB that was supposed to prove that Condi committed perjury, or was there another one?
posted by Krrrlson at 8:36 PM on April 10, 2004


Here's another thought about the August 6 PDB. As I mentioned in the previous post, Condi Rice said the PDB "did not raise the possibility that terrorists might use airplanes as missiles," which is technically true. But take a look at the following two items:

BBC, July 18, 2001, reporting on preparations for the G8 summit in Genoa: "The huge force of officers and equipment which has been assembled to deal with unrest has been spurred on by a warning that supporters of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden might attempt an air attack on some of the world leaders present."

Presidential Daily Brief, August 6, 2001: "FBI information since [1998] indicates 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."

Even giving them every benefit of the doubt, don't you think they could have connected these dots beforehand? They were afraid of an al-Qaeda air attack in Genoa and an al-Qaeda airplane hijacking in America. Doesn't it make sense to put the two together and wonder if Osama might also be contemplating air attacks in America?

Just something to think about. It makes me wonder what kind of questions Bush asked when the PDB was presented to him and what kind of actions he authorized. Maybe the commission will ask about that when he and Dick meet with them.


Kevin Drum
posted by y2karl at 8:46 PM on April 10, 2004


Exit Strategy: Fire Them All

Ben-Veniste questioned her about the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) of Aug. 6, 2001, and in her nervous answer she blurted out the classified title: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." Ben-Veniste knew that, but could not say it because he and other commissioners had been allowed to see parts of the memo on condition that they not reveal its title or contents. Rice, in effect, declassified that title on her own. Many reasonable people will interpret the lack of follow-up -- she lamely said follow-up was not part of her job -- as stupidity and incompetence.

But that is now the hallmark of this administration: stupidity and ignorant incompetence -- in gathering, interpreting and following up pre-9/11 intelligence, and in going to war in Iraq.


Shorter Condi Rice: The buck went that a-way!
posted by y2karl at 8:55 PM on April 10, 2004


Reading the memo, it's hard for me to say that this is something that causes an immediate sense of "something awful is going to happen in a month". There's a lot of things Bush can be criticized for; coming to a definite conclusion on what seems to be rather iffy information isn't one of them.

Let's face facts - no one expected 9/11 but the people who were planning it. We don't need scapegoats; we need the people who did this.

It's time to wrap up the investigation of this and look at some things that Bush has certainly screwed up on - Iraq, for instance ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:04 PM on April 10, 2004


pyramid, how do we know that the PDBs of today aren't saying the same thing, but about subways? Or that there aren't other threats and warnings right now being included in them? How can we trust them with our safety? How can we trust that they'll take the actions necessary to prevent attacks?
posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on April 10, 2004


make sure that all the airlines, and local governments all over the country knew about these 70 FBI investigations and especially the names of the people being investigated, and why.

Well, the FAA was alerted to the threat. Giving thousands of people around the country a list of names seems to make it pretty likely that the bad guys would get hold of it. And you might have noticed that the recent strategy of detaining and interrogating hundreds of random people at airports when their names happen to partially match someone on a list does have its drawbacks. It's not an easy thing to implement effectively, and the first attempt doesn't look so good. Besides that, nobody knew if the attack would come from the air. I don't think they would have had the resources to follow the thousands of suspects around for 24 hours a day.

If you want to imagine what the kind of thing you suggest would look like in practice, you're talking about Total Information Awareness.
posted by sfenders at 9:09 PM on April 10, 2004


Does anyone else here have a problem with the pre-election media circus that the 9/11 commission has become? The purpose of the commission is to determine how such a gargantuan screw-up has occurred, and how to make sure it never happens again, not to unseat Bush as president. Don't get me wrong -- if the investigation shows that this is all the fault of Bush and Co, then he deserves to pay the price. Right now, however, it feels like the commission is about Bush and not about 9/11.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:13 PM on April 10, 2004


Quonsar,

Check me again. I'd be honored to have a q-gram.

I guess my problem with the whole thing is, if they took memo seriously, they would've done something serious about it. The problem is that they didn't seem to react to the memo more than just to read it and think about it over grits in the morning.

On the Y2K problems, the whole conspiracy to attack was found out by a border guard finding one of the terrorists. Wouldn't nabbing a terrorist at a flight school in Minnesota by the FBI have been the 9/11 equivalent of this. And to have to implement harsher inspections on what people can bring aboard is easy, all you have to do is make the metal detectors more sensitive and force the airlines to staff more people for a period of time until it was deemed the threat had passed. That is, of course, you believed there to be an.... "imminent threat" in the first place.
posted by graventy at 9:16 PM on April 10, 2004


how do we know that the PDBs of today aren't saying the same thing, but about subways?

October 'surprise', anyone? Suitcase nuke, perhaps? Martial law, postponement of election? Nothing these people might do would surprise me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on April 10, 2004


So do you also subscribe to the idea that Secret Bush Agents planned and orchestrated 9/11 (add "helped by Mossad Operatives" here if you want)?

Whether or not Bush did enough to prevent 9/11 is one thing, but we're into conspiracy theories now?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:27 PM on April 10, 2004


To be fair, the sky is about to fall in every PDB. By August, he'd already seen memos about unemployed Russian scientists selling Soviet warheads, Taiwan prepared to fight China to mutual death, and enough Israel/Palestinian stuff to make your head spin.

Okay, I'm in Canada cramming for finals right now, so I hope I haven't missed anything, but do you have any cites for these claims? Is there anywhere I can find these "chicken little" PDB's other than this post?

And I'm noticing a number of posters mentioning that following up on these kind of "immanent threat" PDBs may be much more difficult than we're making it out to be... However, if these documents are just to be reviewed every morning, and nothing is expected to be done afterwards, what's the point? Are we to expect that the President's supposed to look at these like lottery numbers--"Doesn't look like our numbers are up today, no need to change the way we do things around here?" Or do we really expect a full mobilization against Al-Queda? Something in between?
posted by Old Man Wilson at 9:28 PM on April 10, 2004


all you have to do is make the metal detectors more sensitive and force the airlines to staff more people for a period of time until it was deemed the threat had passed.

Oh please. For one thing, if they could pull it off with the "weapons" they had, they could have done it with anything. A broken bottle, a cane, a piece of metal from a laptop computer, a mean glare, whatever.

And restrictions like this, once added, are never lifted. The threat is never past.

Whose fault are terrorist attacks? The bloody terrorists, that's who.
posted by sfenders at 9:30 PM on April 10, 2004


OK, to review, by Aug. 6, 2001, the Bush administration had the following puzzle pieces:

Who: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda
What: Explosive attacks within U.S.
How: Hijacking airliners
Where: Probably New York and/or D.C.
When:


... and there's the rub. Nobody could do much without knowing when the attack was going to happen. And nobody close to the Bush administration had that information...

or did they?
posted by soyjoy at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2004


After Preview: Yes, that lottery analogy is brutal...
posted by Old Man Wilson at 9:33 PM on April 10, 2004


Right now, however, it feels like the commission is about Bush and not about 9/11.

If terrorism really was a priority in the first months of the Bush administration, as they have repeatedly claimed--if the Administration had really been doing its job--the commission would be less about Bush right now and more about the FBI and CIA. Again, I'm not blaming Bush, Inc., for the attacks, and I'm not saying that they "should have known"--nobody could have known the magnitude, timing, and so on, except for those who planned it--but it is utter nonsense for Condi, et al, to claim that the attacks "could not have been stopped."
posted by arco at 9:48 PM on April 10, 2004


So do you also subscribe to the idea that Secret Bush Agents planned and orchestrated 9/11 (add "helped by Mossad Operatives" here if you want)?

I don't know if you were speaking to me or not, but of course I don't. The implication is insulting. Until there is actual evidence of malfeasance, corruption, ineptitude (or wholesale conspiracy) it's foolish to 'subscribe' to theories, whether far-fetched or near-.

But : given the evidence that is on the public record over the last 3 years or so, the volume and import of which is only growing despite their history of intensely secretive wagon-circling, I do believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and many others in the Bushite gang ought to be strung up and beaten.

I will settle for deposed, disgraced and imprisoned, however.

To repeat, though : my fear is that another terrorist attack on American soil sometime in the next 6 months, committed by some of the thousands of new Al Qaeda recruits the Bush administration has managed to create, for which they will have 'no specific warning,' may derail the democratic process completely. You know they'd capitalize on it to achieve their own ends first and foremost in exactly the same flesh-crawlingly shameless way they did 9/11.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:50 PM on April 10, 2004


Right now, however, it feels like the commission is about Bush and not about 9/11.

Given that the Bush campaign has made Bush's leadership during the 9/11 crisis the centerpiece of their re-election effort, it is inevitable that any investigation into these events will have political repercussions.

What concerns me is that Bush partisans, unhappy with the facts emerging from the investigation, will seek to discredit the commission (whose membership was vetted by the administration, remember) and continue to interfere its attempts to get at the truth.
posted by SPrintF at 9:57 PM on April 10, 2004


one reason i love metafilter is that i get to read ordinary people talking about current events intelligently.

usually that is the case.

thank you for not letting me down today.

not only is this discussion interesting and thought-provoking, but funny, and chock full of relevant links.

yes, world, our president is an idiot.

but dont blame us, we voted for gore.
posted by tsarfan at 9:59 PM on April 10, 2004


Don't get me wrong -- if the investigation shows that this is all the fault of Bush and Co, then he deserves to pay the price. Right now, however, it feels like the commission is about Bush and not about 9/11.

Well, let's consider its history...

11/28/2002 Kissinger trots back into news on Turkey Day eve

Why should the selection of Henry Kissinger to head a new blue-ribbon commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks provoke cynicism? The former secretary of State and Nobel Prize winner is not exactly an apostle of openness in government. Kissinger's name is synonymous with the Secret War in Cambodia and, as Richard Nixon's national security adviser, he authorized wiretaps on his own staff.

Rather than dwelling on Kissinger's controversial conduct three decades ago, it might be more useful to review the Bush administration's resistance to an independent 9/11 inquiry. Back in May, the White House learned the hard way that even the smallest detail about what the president knew when could produce a media firestorm. At issue was the belated revelation that a month before the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush was warned in his daily CIA briefing that al-Qaeda might try to hijack a passenger jet.

It was a scrap of intelligence information, sufficiently vague that no one could rightly claim that the terrorist assaults could have been prevented. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice made the obvious point back in May: "I don't think anyone could have predicted these people would take a plane and slam it into the World Trade Center." But the short-lived furor underscored the political risks that might accompany a free-wheeling investigation.


07/18/2003 - September 11 commission complains of “intimidation” and stonewalling

The federal commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington charged July 8 that its work was being hampered by the reluctance of federal agencies to hand over documents or provide witnesses for unimpeded interview by commission staff.

A statement issued by the Republican chairman and Democratic vice chairman of the commission, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former congressman Lee Hamilton, singled out the Pentagon for criticism for withholding information relating to NORAD, the joint US-Canadian air defense command, which failed to mobilize jet fighters in time to intercept any of the four airliners that were hijacked on the day of the attacks.


The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States was established last fall, more than a year after the destruction of the World Trade Center, after ferocious opposition by the Bush administration. The White House backed down only in the face of protests by the families of September 11 victims, which threatened to embarrass the administration in the weeks before the November 2002 congressional elections.

Bush initially appointed former secretary of state Henry Kissinger as the commission’s chairman, in a transparent attempt to insure that the investigation would protect both the Republican administration and the national security apparatus. Kissinger stepped down within two weeks, however, after refusing to make public his business connections and activities in the Middle East.


A list of administration's opposition and obstruction of the 9/11 Commission could run to several screens of links.

It has always been about this document--which is why the administration has fought the creation of the commission and then the commission itself tooth and nail, refusing to produce documents, producing documents selectively, fighting the commission every step of the way.

And always it comes back to this briefing, whose existence and subject was mentioned, as noted above, over two years ago. And now it is out, after all that struggle.
posted by y2karl at 10:02 PM on April 10, 2004


Who: any number of the known suspected Al Qaeda operatives, or others we don't know about, or some other known terrorist organization, or someone else.
What: Violent attacks designed to terrorize people.
How: Hijacking airliners, suicide bombers, explosives in public places, sabotage of major infrastructure, chemical or biological agents, stolen radioactive material, or something else.
Where: Somewhere in the U.S.
When: Within ten years or so.

There is no way to stop this, unless you somehow get the crazy people of the world to stop trying to attack America. I mean, Israel has had a long time to try and stop the terrorists, and they can't do it. What is it about Americans that makes them think their country can be impervious to every threat?
posted by sfenders at 10:10 PM on April 10, 2004


The whole world was warning us as well at the same time as this PDB, tho, stating that it was imminent. Why didn't the adminstration do anything?
posted by amberglow at 10:13 PM on April 10, 2004


From 01/06/2004: What’s Bush Hiding From 9/11 Commission?

Earlier this month, Thomas Kean—the former New Jersey governor who has chaired the commission since Mr. Kissinger recused himself—explained why the commission needs more time. As the genial Republican told The New York Times, he is only permitted to read the most important classified documents concerning 9/11 in a little closet known as a "sensitive compartmented information facility" (or SCIF). He cannot photocopy the documents, and if he takes notes about them, he must leave the notes in the SCIF when he leaves.

Other recent statements by Mr. Kean, which he subsequently modified, suggest that the White House has ample reason to worry about what the commission’s report will say. In December, he told CBS News that he believes the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented—and that incompetent officials were at fault for the failure to uncover and frustrate the plot.

Perhaps inadvertently, Mr. Kean provided a clue to the answers in his Times interview. Asked whether he thinks the disaster "did not have to happen," he replied, "Yes, there is a good chance that 9/11 could have been prevented by any number of people along the way. Everybody pretty well agrees our intelligence agencies were not set up to deal with domestic terrorism …. They were not ready for an internal attack." Then, asked whether "anyone in the Bush administration [had] any idea that an attack was being planned," he replied: "That is why we are looking at the internal papers. I can’t talk about what’s classified. [The] President’s daily briefings are classified. If I told you what was in them, I would go to jail."

posted by y2karl at 10:16 PM on April 10, 2004


So do you also subscribe to the idea that Secret Bush Agents planned and orchestrated 9/11 (add "helped by Mossad Operatives" here if you want)?

I don't know if you were speaking to me or not, but of course I don't. The implication is insulting.


And you seem to forget how often this so-called criticism of ideas is laced with personal attacks.
posted by y2karl at 10:23 PM on April 10, 2004


I must say, y2karl, you really did your homework on this post. By my count you posted 10 good links to aid the topic. I'm impressed.
posted by graventy at 10:44 PM on April 10, 2004


amberglow, the PDB seems pretty meaningless compared to that stuff.

BND told both US and Israeli intelligence agencies in June that Middle East terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons ... unnamed German intelligence sources said that the information came through Echelon

All those warnings would explain why the FAA was alerted. Yeah, they should have done more. They can never do enough to stop all the possible attacks, but it maybe they could have caught this one but for stupid beaurocratic obstacles.

I'm surprised echelon could catch something like this. You'd think a supposedly sophisticated and well-funded global terrorist organization would be disciplined enough not to communicate stuff like that in the clear. You can be sure they will be eventually if they aren't eliminated.

A big hello to whoever at the NSA is reading.
posted by sfenders at 10:44 PM on April 10, 2004


yup...and Kean says in the NYT that "People got into this country with improper travel documents. People were placed on watch lists but nobody communicated that to airports..." which makes me wonder what the FAA was doing with their lists if not telling airports.
posted by amberglow at 10:51 PM on April 10, 2004


not only is this discussion interesting and thought-provoking, but funny, and chock full of relevant links.

yes, world, our president is an idiot.

but dont blame us, we voted for gore.


You say that, and then you spew cliched, rhetorical crap like that?

Who is this "we" you speak of? And I'm guessing not one of the 49.9 percent who voted for bush is on metafilter, huh?
posted by justgary at 10:51 PM on April 10, 2004


Look, I'm not fan of Bush. I'd love to see him get the boot. This memo/briefing doesn't read like a warning to me though, and if I were the President, I wouldn't see this as something requiring my immediate attention.

It reads as a status report. Basically, here's what we know so far. We're continuing to investigate.

I read that and I think OK - that's what the FBI is working on, next. It's pretty easy in hindsight to say well it should have been obvious that he should have done something. Still, I don't expect Bush to run out and investigate this himself Scooby Do style. He has people for that, and this briefing says the people were working on it.
posted by willnot at 10:53 PM on April 10, 2004


Whose fault are terrorist attacks? The bloody terrorists, that's who.

You should write slogans for the Bush administration. With that kind of narrow view of cause and effect you're a shoe-in for a P.R. job.

Pop quiz: who funded the terrorists in the 80's?
posted by The God Complex at 10:55 PM on April 10, 2004


October 'surprise', anyone? Suitcase nuke, perhaps? Martial law, postponement of election? Nothing these people might do would surprise me.

I don't know if you were speaking to me or not, but of course I don't. The implication is insulting.


Forgive me if I misinterpreted you, stavros, but the comment above seems like you're suggesting that the current administration would deliberately allow or even orchestrate a terrorist attack to hold on to power. If my presumption is correct, my response should not be insulting. But again, my apologies if I'm wrong, though I hope you see how I might have been mistaken.


y2karl -- nice to see you, o fan of selective posting and misrepresentation of my comments, and vanishing mysteriously when called on it.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:03 PM on April 10, 2004


Yeah, I was possibly unclear, Krrrlson. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that the Bushies would orchestrate such a turn of events, but I would not be surprised if they capitalized on them with no real remorse, were they to happen.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:06 PM on April 10, 2004


Yeah, I was possibly unclear, Krrrlson. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that the Bushies would orchestrate such a turn of events, but I would not be surprised if they capitalized on them with no real remorse, were they to happen.

Considering this has already happened, I think you're in the clear.
posted by The God Complex at 11:08 PM on April 10, 2004


Sorry for the misunderstanding, then. I agree that the administration would capitalize on a disaster as they did on 9/11, but I do entertain the potentially naive view that they wouldn't turn it into a fascist power grab. My hope is that America's not quite there yet.

P.S. Politicians have remorse? News to me.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:10 PM on April 10, 2004


Sorry for the misunderstanding, then. I agree that the administration would capitalize on a disaster as they did on 9/11, but I do entertain the potentially naive view that they wouldn't turn it into a fascist power grab. My hope is that America's not quite there yet.

Considering the first Patriot Act, can you imagine what they'd do with another large-scale attack?
posted by The God Complex at 11:14 PM on April 10, 2004


y2karl -- nice to see you

And nice to see you, insult boy. I am so, like, withered by your belabored belittling.
posted by y2karl at 11:14 PM on April 10, 2004


Considering the first Patriot Act, can you imagine what they'd do with another large-scale attack?

If another large-scale attack takes place, I'll be shitting my pants just as everyone else in the US should be, for it will mean one of two things: either the attack *was* deliberately allowed to give someone a lot of power, or (much more likely, in my opinion) that the US government is truly unable to protect its citizens. Both possibilities would be disastrous.


Insult Boy... I think I'm someone's superhero sidekick. But whose?
posted by Krrrlson at 11:21 PM on April 10, 2004


On its own I don't think it's a big deal. But when you combine it with the administration's rush to war with Iraq, when more important things hadn't been dealt with yet (Al Qaeda globally, and 'locally' in Afghanistan, the Israel/Palestine conflict, homeland security with issues such as underfunding of port security and other seeming lapses), it is troubling. There seems to be a distinct pattern of not putting fighting terrorism, either militarily, diplomatically, or defensively, first in line.
posted by cell divide at 11:23 PM on April 10, 2004


I don't think it would necessarily mean either of those things, Krrlson. The sad fact is that it will never be possible 100% to stop a terror attack. Obviously it is one of the main functions of government to protect its citizens, but the scariest thing about terrorism is that no government can be expected to protect its citizens all the time, and no government ever has been.
posted by cell divide at 11:26 PM on April 10, 2004


Or it might mean that they should look at the root causes of anti-Americanism, as opposed to believing that killing everyone will solve things.
posted by The God Complex at 11:29 PM on April 10, 2004


"...you're suggesting that the current administration would deliberately allow or even orchestrate a terrorist attack to hold on to power."

Damn straight. I wouldn't doubt it for a moment. The Bush administration is the lyingest pack of weasels this country has ever had to suffer through, and the sooner they're ridden out of office on a rail the better.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:32 PM on April 10, 2004


But when you combine it with the administration's rush to war with Iraq, when more important things hadn't been dealt with yet (Al Qaeda globally, and 'locally' in Afghanistan, the Israel/Palestine conflict, homeland security with issues such as underfunding of port security and other seeming lapses), it is troubling.

On a related topic, here's What the 9/11 commission won't ask - The inside story of how Condoleezza Rice destroyed the Middle East peace process.

Rice had crumbled in the face of internal political opposition from the neoconservative armada. "In the end, the neoconservatives in the Pentagon and the vice president's office, plus Karl Rove's political shop, prevailed," Leverett told me. The American Jewish lobby was less a factor than the religious right of Christian Zionists, an electoral bloc in Bush's base, represented internally by Rove. Rove emerges not simply as a fixer or tactician, but as a foreign policy decision-maker aligned with the neocons by means of this connection.

Undeterred, Leverett turned to work on what became known as "the road map." On July 31, Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher met with Rice to urge support for the road map. "Condi says, no, all you get is a speech, no plan," said Leverett. The next day King Abdullah came to see the president, bringing his foreign minister with him to the Oval Office. First, Abdullah made the argument for the road map and then asked Muasher to repeat what he had told Rice. "Condi had told the president nothing of her conversation," said Leverett, who was present. Bush instantly remarked to him about Abdullah's proposal: "Good idea, let's see what we can do on that." Leverett says, "That was the origin of the road map."

By November, the road map was ready to be publicly released. But Sharon opposed it, claiming that proposing it would amount to interference in the upcoming Israeli election. Leverett argued to Rice: "We had promised to put it out to everyone. If we pull it now we reverse a commitment and would be intervening in Israeli politics in another way. That argument was not appreciated by Condi. So they didn't put out the road map." It was only under pressure from Prime Minister Tony Blair, as a precondition to his alliance on the eve of the Iraq invasion, that Bush at last announced the road map on March 14, 2003.

In June, after the war had begun, Bush attended two summits on the road map, in Aqaba, Jordan, and Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, where he uttered words of commitment. He turned the project over to Rice, who never presented him with a plan to achieve it. "He said that Condi would ride herd on this process. She never even saddled up," said Leverett. Six months earlier, Rice had appointed neoconservative Elliott Abrams as her Middle East coordinator on the NSC, and he threw up obstacles to prevent the road map from going forward. Bush, for his part, never followed up on his own rhetoric and was utterly absent from the policymaking.

So Leverett decided he must quit. "When they wouldn't put the road map out in 2002 and brought in someone like Abrams, that meant they weren't going to be serious. I didn't want to stick around for a charade. I say this as someone who voted for Bush in 2000 and was genuinely committed to see him succeed."

posted by y2karl at 11:36 PM on April 10, 2004


Keep in mind that this PDB didn't appear in a vacuum. By Rice's own testimony in the days leading up to Sept. 11 she was getting intelligence chatter like the following:

"Unbelievable news in coming weeks"
"Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar"
"There will be attacks in the near future"

Maybe it's just me, but if I heard "very, very, very, very big uproar" and "attacks in near future" in combination with the PDB, it just might get my attention.
posted by JackFlash at 11:44 PM on April 10, 2004


cell divide -- you're correct of course, but... The problem is that the US cannot afford to repeatedly suffer attacks of the magnitude and horror of 9/11. At 3000 lives lost at a time, how long will the country manage to remain free and prosperous? Another 9/11 will drastically improve the odds for a third 9/11... and then what?

TGC -- Are you under the impression that changes in foreign policy will immediately terminate the threat of terrorist attacks? There are things to be done for the long term, and there are things that need doing now.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:45 PM on April 10, 2004


I'm under the impression that invading a country on an unrelated issue, killing thousands of innocent people, and doing it all with a smirking arrogance is going to fuel the terrorist cycle more than it's going to quell it.
posted by The God Complex at 11:51 PM on April 10, 2004


TGC -- You are correct, but it doesn't change the validity of what I'm saying.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:53 PM on April 10, 2004


Rice testimony opens new 9/11 debate

This large argument will be settled in part by the details. There is, for example, a clear discrepancy between Rice's claim that the FBI's field offices were pressed to investigate an impending threat from al Qaeda and the insistence by FBI officials that they received no such guidance. Such conflicts over the facts keep debates going -- and news stories alive.

The political stakes for the commission were made clear when Mitch McConnell took the Senate floor to express his fear that "the commission has become a political casualty of the electoral hunting season." Liberal interest groups, he said, had "exploited this commission for political gain."

The Kentucky Republican is a tough, shrewd partisan and his attack signaled GOP fears: The very questions that the Bush administration did not want asked about its stewardship on the terror issue before Sept. 11 are now plainly before the public.

The degree to which Republicans are worried over what the commission will conclude can be measured with some precision. The more Republicans pick up McConnell's line of attack, the more certain you can be that the administration has something to worry about.

posted by y2karl at 11:53 PM on April 10, 2004


Who is this "we [who voted for Gore]" you speak of?

More Americans than voted for Bush.

More Floridians than voted for Bush.
posted by oaf at 11:54 PM on April 10, 2004


(also refusing to publicly take much or any blame for creating many of these terrorists in a misguided effort to fight the evil communist certainly doesn't let the american government make out like bandits, either)
posted by The God Complex at 11:54 PM on April 10, 2004


Then it depends on what your impression of what needs to be done "now" is and what should have been done before 9/11. Let's not forget that the WTC lobby was also bombed some ten years ago in another terrorist attack. Given the history of intelligence and a prior attack, I don't think it's beyond reason to suggest that Bush and his cronies should be booted from office (even without considering all the lies, mistruths, and the erosion of rights that has taken place over the last three years and change).
posted by The God Complex at 11:59 PM on April 10, 2004


Was the evil communist fought under the current administration? Was the WTC lobby (or was it basement?) bombed under Bush? Hell, let's blame the Europeans for barging into the New World, or the apes for evolving into humans. Besides, how often do you hear nations accept blame for their transgressions? Not often enough, that's for sure. International politics have never been characterized by honesty, on anyone's part.

I agree that 9/11 was an unforgiveable failure, but I fail to understand the lumping of *all* the blame on Bush.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:06 AM on April 11, 2004


Whether he should be booted from office for what he *did* do (or failed to do) is another question. It's not beyond reason to suggest it given enough information, but we -- the public -- don't have enough information, and perhaps never will.

Another question that comes to mind is whether Kerry can do better. I don't have the answer to that either.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:10 AM on April 11, 2004


"Another question that comes to mind is whether Kerry can do better. I don't have the answer to that either."

If he doesn't do better we get rid of him in four years and elect someone else, until we get someone who can do bettter.

Ain't it lovely?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:12 AM on April 11, 2004


More Americans than voted for Bush.

More Floridians than voted for Bush.


Yeah, you keep preaching that. There's a couple of threads about just that topic. Check around 3 years ago. And before we go there, yes I know, the war was all about the oil.

I want to know what happened as much as anyone here. Correcting what went wrong and stopping future terrorist plots couldn't be more important.

But this whole "we didn't vote for him" doesn't solve anything, nor does picking sides, nor does trotting out bumper sticker slogans.
posted by justgary at 12:13 AM on April 11, 2004


Inquiry Into Attack on the Cole in 2000 Missed 9/11 Clues

The American investigators probing the October 2000 terrorist attack against the Navy destroyer Cole came tantalizingly close to detecting the Sept. 11 plot, F.B.I. and C.I.A. officials now say. But the government missed the significance of a series of clues because some investigators believed that the evidence fit narrowly into their case against the ship bombers and, others say, they did not have access to all the information.

The lost opportunity, described by the officials for the first time in interviews this week, involved two of the eventual Sept. 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi, who fell under suspicion by the C.I.A. early in 2000 but were not put on a watch list of foreigners barred from entering the United States until August 2001, after they were already here.

A reconstruction of events shows that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency failed to recognize the significance of the two men and to act in concert to intercept them because of internal miscommunications and legal restrictions on the sharing of C.I.A. intelligence information with criminal investigators at the F.B.I. Problems developed even though F.B.I. agents and C.I.A. officers were assigned to each other's operational and analytical units.

posted by y2karl at 12:19 AM on April 11, 2004


Was the evil communist fought under the current administration?

Basically, yes. What do you think most of the neocons were doing in the 80's?

Was the WTC lobby (or was it basement?) bombed under Bush?

The first one was, what, a month after Clinton took office (I'm pretty sure), so in some ways it was under the first Bush (basically that means it was under the same administration). That's moot though, because it wasn't my point. My point was that given the fact that the WTC had been a target before, and given the fact that they had intelligence to indicate both that terrorists were scouting buildings in New York (hello, WTC?!), one can only assume that not saying something in order to increase security at airlines is in my estimation something that is unforgivable.

Couple this with the roll back on civil rights and the attempt to thwart gay rights and you have a president who may very well be one of the worst (if not the worst) ever "elected" to the top office in America.
posted by The God Complex at 12:38 AM on April 11, 2004


I'd also like to give kudos to y2karl for his tireless work digging up interesting and relevant links and excerpts, even well after the thread has been posted.
posted by The God Complex at 12:41 AM on April 11, 2004


You are correct about certain members of the current administration, but a blanket statement about all of it?

And Bush received the Aug. 6 PDB about a month before 9/11... does that make him blameless or does it make Clinton guilty in the first bombing?

Also, I thought we were talking about 9/11 here, rather than determining whether or not Bush is the devil. You seem to ignore my agreement that 9/11 is an unforgiveable lapse of the administration. You also keep trying to lump *all* of the blame on the current administration, something I disagree with.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:08 AM on April 11, 2004


Does anyone else here have a problem with the pre-election media circus that the 9/11 commission has become? The purpose of the commission is to determine how such a gargantuan screw-up has occurred, and how to make sure it never happens again, not to unseat Bush as president.

I was responding to that, because unseating Bush as president is exactly what this should accomplish, on top of decreasing the risk of it ever happening again (see previous comment about root causes).
posted by The God Complex at 1:20 AM on April 11, 2004


Depends What You Mean by ‘Mistake’: Condi Plays Some Old Word Games With Sept. 11 Commission”

WORD GAMES.

That's pretty much all that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice had to offer in her long-awaited testimony to the Sept. 11 Commission yesterday.

For example, a Jan. 25, 2001 memo presented by counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke soon after the Bush administration took office - and which, Clarke charges, was ignored for months - wasn't really a plan, Rice testified under questioning. It was instead a set of ideas. Oh.

An Aug. 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing wasn't a warning. No, said Rice, it was historical information based on old reporting.

Even though its title was "Bin Laden Determined to Attack United States," a title that remained classified until yesterday, and even though it included reports of what the FBI called activities "consistent with preparations for hijacking," that wasn't a warning.

"The PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked," Rice argued. "It says bin Laden would like to attack..."

The frightening truth is that the unwillingness of the current administration to answer questions about the past bodes ill for a safer future. If our leaders don't learn how they failed before, how are they to prevent future catastrophes?

posted by y2karl at 1:21 AM on April 11, 2004


Whether not these same failures and power grabs occurred during the Clinton, Bush Sr. or even Reagan regimes, they ARE historical information. We cannot impeach any of them. Bush doesn't deserve impeachment you say? If this is NOT the type of situation that calls for an indictment of that nature what is? He will have his day in court to defend himself, just like Clinton did. The key is to make sure that trend ends, and it ends, right here and right now! How do you do that you say? Why its easy, you make an example out of the one perpetrating it currently. You let any future candidates know that you are now paying attention and looking for signs of these kinds of shenanigans or outright failures by letting them know right here and right now what will happen to them if they do! Hold no quarter.
posted by SweetIceT at 2:21 AM on April 11, 2004


August 6, 2001 lies in a different era. Basically, marshalling hordes of Feds to weed out those wascally terrorist monsters would've been a total overreaction in that era, given that the United States had never suffered such a spectacularly catastrophic attack.

What's done is done. Blaming Bush isn't going to bring back the WTC or the 2,500+ people murdered that day. Clinton would've done no better. By the time Bush got the report, the attack was already in its final stages of execution. The report contains...words we can twist to make ourselves believe we could've done something in that last gasp of a faded gold rush. All it warranted was increased security at airports and a deeper focus on the threat, neither of which would've likely stopped these murderers.

It's easy to believe that we could've prevented this. But unless there's something else out there that points to an imminent hijack threat on domestic flights, this document will not hang Bush. Really, there's just so much else to make him and his administration look like the the duplicitous scoundrels that they are.

The moment of recriminations is here. I wonder why it took so long. I don't approve of it; my family and I sat around the TV in mid-September 2001 cynically wondering when all the useless 20/20 hindsight would be brought to bear against an obviously hapless administration. Yeah, they're calculating. But they didn't have a clue then, and they certainly don't now. Vote accordingly.
posted by attackthetaxi at 4:36 AM on April 11, 2004


The administration has been fighting an investigation into how September 11th happened from the start. Dick Cheney went to the Hill and suggested a joint commission, instead of congressional committees because he'd been through Iran-Contra, which had been investigated by a joint commission and knew how ineffective and inconclusive a joint committee's investigation would be.

The administration has stonewalled and slow walked on every possible piece of evidence and testimony since, capitulating each time the political price of stonewalling and slow walking became higher than the stone wall or the slow walk,

The brilliant Condoleeza Rice filibustered her answers and droned on and on--in court or before a real congressional committee, she could have been cited for contempt for the way she ate the clock on her limited testimonial time. Her testimony was not about getting to the bottom of things but getting to the bottom of the hour.

Without the 9/11 widows and widowers, these little stonewalls and slow walks would have triumphed and Bush and head of government Cheney could have wrapped themselves in the same flag that covered the corpses of their loved ones. Never forget this administration has done everything within in its power to prevent the facts from coming out.

Blaming Bush isn't going to bring back the WTC or the 2,500+ people murdered that day. Clinton would've done no better.

The federal commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington charged July 8 [2003] that its work was being hampered by the reluctance of federal agencies to hand over documents or provide witnesses for unimpeded interview by commission staff.

A statement issued by the Republican chairman and Democratic vice chairman of the commission, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former congressman Lee Hamilton, singled out the Pentagon for criticism for withholding information relating to NORAD, the joint US-Canadian air defense command, which failed to mobilize jet fighters in time to intercept any of the four airliners that were hijacked on the day of the attacks.


Ah, but as to coming to the truth on how all this came to pass, consider, compare and contrast--between Clinton and Bush, Gore and Cheney, for example--who has fought it bitterly every slow walking, stone-walling begrudged step by begrudged step of the way ?

Who, as evidenced by the gift of their time and their willingness to interviewed in depth, and by the documents they would release, has cooperated more with the 9/11 Commission ?

Which administration, by their behavior towards this investigation, is more palpably and cravenly frightened...

--nay, terrorized by the 20/20 insight of history's judgement ?

Now, there is an easy answer....
posted by y2karl at 6:14 AM on April 11, 2004


Clinton would've done no better.

Maybe, but did the Bush administration lie to America about it's handling of this?
posted by NortonDC at 6:15 AM on April 11, 2004


Brief Raises Credibility Questions

In the next few days, the political sparring over the memo will probably proceed on two levels. One set of questions will revolve around whether Rice tried to mislead the commission and the public in her description of the document.

She is already engaged in a semantic tangle with critics of her repeated claim that Clarke never presented her with a plan for combating Al Qaeda. In her testimony last week, Rice acknowledged receiving a memo from him soon after taking office, but characterized it not as a plan but rather a "set of ideas."

On the second track, Bush probably faces a renewed set of questions about his response to the memo.


U.S. was warned
posted by y2karl at 6:31 AM on April 11, 2004


"If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader?

Roosevelt received no such memo, of course, but President George W. Bush got a blunt warning five weeks before 9/11 and he did little or nothing. He even presided over a stand- down in preparations, concentrating on other concerns."
a former bush senior staffer (not some partisan hack) says it as well as anyone here has. ( via tpm )
posted by specialk420 at 6:58 AM on April 11, 2004


And from that link:

According to White House speechwriter turned memoirist David Frum, that summer Bush "did something I had never seen him do: he brooded." Yet the issue wasn't terror; it seems it was stem cell research. On Aug. 9, Bush gave his first primetime policy speech to the nation - on the topic of embryos. After that, according to Frum, Bush launched a "mini-political campaign" that took him out on the stump.

And we all know what happened the following month.

What we don't know is the precise sequence of events that led to the government's Pearl Harbor-like cluelessness on 9/11. But there's at least a chance now, as documents are revealed and as officials testify under oath, that we'll find out. In the meantime, here's a prediction, based on what we know already: Bush won't dare show more 9/11 images in his campaign ads.

posted by y2karl at 7:14 AM on April 11, 2004


DO YOU PEOPLE REALLY EXPECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. TO KNOW WHEN A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE GETTING ON A PLANE WITH BOXCUTTERS?

GIVE IT UP; THE FEDERAL GOVT CANNOT PROTECT YOU FROM SUICIDE BOMBERS.

I personally would not want to live in a society so restricted that it could tell what every single person might do.
posted by dand at 7:35 AM on April 11, 2004


U.S. Terrorism Policy Spawns Steady Staff Exodus

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

Former counterterrorism officials said at least half a dozen have left the White House Office for Combating Terrorism or related agencies in frustration in the 2 1/2 years since the attacks.

Some also left because they felt President Bush had sidelined his counterterrorism experts and paid almost exclusive heed to the vice president, the defense secretary and other Cabinet members in planning the "war on terror," former counterterrorism officials said.

"I'm kind of hoping for regime change," one official who quit told Reuters.


9/11 widows react to Rice's testimony

MATTHEWS: I want to talk to you about the people who may have dropped the ball.

VAN AUKEN: Well, my first reaction is there’s another part to Condoleezza Rice’s statements, which was that they were focused on traditional hijackings. And they did nothing to thwart a traditional hijacking on that day either.

So when a plane misses its mark in the sky – you have a very crowded Northeast corridor – you can’t have errant planes running around there. Nobody sent up a fighter jet to go see what was happening, not to shoot the plane down, but to intercept it. So I don’t understand, if they were focused on traditional hijackings and even had that as a warning inside the PDB, why they were so slow to respond.

KLEINBERG: Right. And the other thing that strikes me is that they’re talking about the FBI and the CIA not speaking to each other. Historically, that has been the case. What I don’t understand is that, considering that we knew that there was this threat, OK, why they didn’t have them in a meeting?

You know, Richard Clarke said that during the millennium plot, they had all of the principals involved in a meeting together to make sure that they could overcome that stone wall. Why couldn’t we do that? And why did they poo-poo it and they say no big deal and we didn’t need the meeting? How did they know that? Maybe if the FBI, the CIA, and the attorney general and everybody was in one room and they were talking about all of the issues – and where the threat was coming from-- they would have been able to pull at these threads.


Never Having to Say 'Sorry'

One could argue there is stiff competition for the most-incredible-comment-from-the-mouth-of-Condoleezza-Rice award, but the winner may be her assertion that she can think of nothing more that the Bush administration could have done to prevent the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Click here for print version

Normal people simply don’t say such things. When something goes wrong on their watch, most people think of what they could have done better and the honest ones admit that in hindsight they missed some opportunities. With an event as momentous as a coordinated enemy assault on three prominent U.S. landmarks and the deaths of 3,000 people, it is hard to imagine that the national security coordinator can’t think of anything she, her boss or his administration could have done better in the preceding eight months.

But Condoleezza Rice seems to have adopted George W. Bush’s lifetime attitude of never having to say “Sorry.”

“I would like very much to know what more could have been done given that it was an urgent problem,” Rice told Ed Bradley of CBS News’s “60 Minutes” in a March 28 broadcast. “I don’t know, Ed, how, after coming into office, inheriting policies that had been in place for at least three of the eight years of the Clinton administration, we could have done more than to continue those polices while we developed more robust policies.”

posted by y2karl at 7:41 AM on April 11, 2004


DO YOU PEOPLE REALLY EXPECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. TO KNOW WHEN A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE GETTING ON A PLANE WITH BOXCUTTERS?

Luckily, this has absolutely nothing to do with national security, and everything to with fomenting conspiracy theories about the administration. If the president had acted before the attacks, these same people would be screaming "Attica!!" "Dumbya!!", or "Fascist police state!!" or whatever else. How about: "Lie after lie after lie after lie..." (great article by Jonah Goldberg).

They were (and still are) whining about the Patriot Act, and all because the only socialist presidential hopeful they've got is a crashing disappointment.
posted by hama7 at 7:54 AM on April 11, 2004


Bush Gave No Sign of Worry In August 2001

President Bush was in an expansive mood on Aug. 7, 2001, when he ran into reporters while playing golf at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Tex.

The day before, the president had received an intelligence briefing -- the contents of which were declassified by the White House Saturday night -- warning "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." But Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday.

"No mulligans, except on the first tee," he said to laughter. "That's just to loosen up. You see, most people get to hit practice balls, but as you know, I'm walking out here, I'm fixing to go hit. Tight back, older guy -- I hit the speed limit on July 6th."

posted by y2karl at 8:02 AM on April 11, 2004


Confuse the News

In other words, the damage is already done, and the White House knows it. So the best that can be accomplished by a strategy of confusion is to encourage people to cynically assume both sides are partisan liars. But while that may be better for the administration than the public accepting the truth – that Bush didn't take the al Qaeda threat seriously enough before 9/11, is lying about it now, got distracted from the war on terror by his obsession with Iraq, and now won't admit it – the net effect is still a negative for the President.

...As one White House adviser told the Times recently, "If we're going to have a discussion about W.M.D. and intelligence failures and Osama bin Laden, that's not an election George W. Bush wins."


So true.
posted by y2karl at 8:45 AM on April 11, 2004


In his first comments since Saturday's release of the presidential daily brief, Bush said the document contained "nothing about an attack on America."

What about the part where it says "...bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington..."

or

"...bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative's access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike."

or

"FBI information... indicates 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."

or

"...a group or bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives."?

Nah, nothing about an attack on America in the memo at all.
posted by wsg at 10:42 AM on April 11, 2004


aaaaaand hama7 starts talking nonsense about socialism and doesn't really respond to any points, opting instead to spew baseless conjecture about what everyone would have done.

This thread is officially complete when people who can't defend Bush's actions instead attack the people making the arguments.

Fallacy check go!
posted by The God Complex at 11:05 AM on April 11, 2004


Fallacy check go!

It's just like a dirty homoleftist to be obsessed with the size of hama7's fallacy.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:21 AM on April 11, 2004


They were (and still are) whining about the Patriot Act, and all because the only socialist presidential hopeful they've got is a crashing disappointment.

oh, please. the reason why we, being all democrats ever, are against the patriot act is because we hate freedom. and the patriot act gives people more freedom.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:29 PM on April 11, 2004


Yeah, you keep preaching that.

I will, until it's proven not to be true. Here's a hint: that day will not come. The more-Americans part is not indispute, and the more-Floridians thing was never allowed to be determined, because Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris decided that enough democracy had occurred, and put a stop to counting of votes.

DO YOU PEOPLE REALLY EXPECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. TO KNOW WHEN A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE GETTING ON A PLANE WITH BOXCUTTERS?

GIVE IT UP; THE FEDERAL GOVT CANNOT PROTECT YOU FROM SUICIDE BOMBERS.


NO, I DON'T EXPECT THE PRESIDENT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHEN PEOPLE ARE GETTING ON A PLANE WITH BOX CUTTERS, BUT I WOULD EXPECT THE GOVT, AT THE VERY LEAST, TO STEP UP VIGILANCE AT AVIATION FACILITIES DUE TO THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO THE POSSIBILITY OF AL-QAEDA HIJACKING AN AIRPLANE IN THE MONTHS FOLLOWING AUGUST 2001.

the only socialist presidential hopeful they've got is a crashing disappointment

I agree; Nader is a disappointment. However, Nader never had a chance anyway.
posted by oaf at 12:59 PM on April 11, 2004


what oaf said. No one is stating (unlike Rice) that a "silver bullet" was needed--there were practical things that should have been done to help protect us, and they weren't done.
posted by amberglow at 1:15 PM on April 11, 2004


Just to be clear, where I disagree with the apparent majority here is:

I would expect the govt to step up vigilance at aviation facilities due to their knowledge [of] the possibility of Al-Qaeda hijacking an airplane.

There's always the possibility of attempted hijackings at any time. Many have occurred in the past. The procedures for dealing with them were relatively well established. It wasn't clear that there was a need to improve them. And they *did* "step up" the security in the obvious way by alerting the FAA.

Now, if they did have knowledge that the attackers intended to hijack aircraft and then crash them - a novel kind of attack - then I'd agree that something should have been done to plan for that possibility.
posted by sfenders at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2004


then maybe the FAA dropped the ball, by not alerting airports, as Kean said.
posted by amberglow at 3:07 PM on April 11, 2004


sfenders - Actually, the concept of planes as weapons as weapons was from novel.

Islamic terrorist attacks in the US prior to 9-11, and "Airplanes as weapons" - a recent history

1993 FIRST ATTACK ON WTC

1993 Draft on Suicide Plane Attack angainst Pentagon, White House circulated through Pentagon, Justice Dept., and FEMA

"An expert panel commissioned by the Pentagon [Cetron Report] in 1993 discussed how an airplane could be used to bomb national landmarks. “It was considered radical thinking, a little too scary for the times,” said retired Air Force Col. Doug Menarchik, who organized the $150,000 study for the Defense Department’s Office of Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. “After I left, it met a quiet death.” The decision not to publish detailed scenarios was made partly out of a fear that it could give terrorists ideas, participants said. A draft was circulated through the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but senior agency officials ultimately decided against a public release." (Source: Washington Post, October 2, 2001, “Before Attack, U.S. Expected Different Hit, Chemical, Germ Agents Focus of Preparations,” by Jo Warrick and Joe Stephens)

--------SEE Cetron Report Brief (PLanes as weapons folder)

April, 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express flight engineer boarded a DC-10 and invaded the cockpit, intending to crash the plane into a FEDEX building in Memphis.

1994 August
Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honour" hits the shelves. Plot: a conspiracy to crash a remote controlled plane into the Capitol building to bring down the US gov.

"Clancy's latest novel traces the financial, political, military, and personal machinations that drive America into the next major global war.... a shocker climax so plausible you'll wonder why it hasn't yet happened" -- Entertainment Weekly

September 1994
a pilot crashed a single engine Cessna on the White House lawn, just short of the president's bedroom.

December 1994
Algerian Islamic terrorists hijacked an Air France flight in Algiers and had it loaded with fuel with the intention of crashing into the Eiffel Tower. French commandos stormed the plane, kiling the terrorists.

From (the NEW American 11/05/2001)
"The December 1994 hijacking of an Air France flight from Algiers was carried out by four members of the "Phalange of the Signers in Blood," a subsidiary of Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group. The terrorists seized control of the plane and demanded that it fly to Marseilles, where it was to be refueled for a trip to Paris. The hijackers also demanded that the Airbus A300 — a plane of comparable size to the Boeing 767s that were used to attack the World Trade Center — be loaded with 27 tons of fuel, which was three times what was necessary for the short trip.....After debriefing released hostages and working with other sources, French authorities determined that the terrorists intended either to explode the plane over Paris or ram it into the Eiffel Tower. Corroborating evidence, in the form of 20 sticks of dynamite, was found by French troops who stormed the plane and killed the hijackers."

1995
BOJINKA PLOT UNCOVERED
Phillipines police tortured an Islamic terrorist (with Al Qaeda affiliations) into confessing of a plot to simultaneously bomb 11 US airliners and crash a plane loaded with explosives into CIA headquarters. The WTC, the White House and the Pentagon were also mentioned as possible targets. This plan was called "Bojinka". The alleged mastermind of the first WTC bombing in 1993, Ramzi Yousseff, architect of the first attack on the WTC, boasted of this plot to the two FBI agents who extradited him from the Phillipines to the US for trial. ("Border network of terror, Bin Laden followers reach across globe", Washington Post, 9/23/2001).

TIME, 1995
SAM NUNN'S "LURID" PLANE ATTACK FANTASY
"Nightmares are coming true," says Robert Kupperman, a terrorism expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. "I think we're in for deep trouble." .....Even very sober public officials are deeply concerned. Three weeks ago, Georgia's Senator Sam Nunn sketched a lurid fantasy: how terrorists might wreck the central government of the U.S. On the night of a State of the Union address, when all the top officials are in the Capitol, Nunn said, a handful of fanatics could crash a radio-controlled drone aircraft into the building, "engulfing it with chemical weapons and causing tremendous death and destruction." This scenario, said Nunn, "is not far-fetched," and the technology is all readily available."

Summer, 1996
ATLANTA OLYMPICS READY WITH AIR DEFENSE AGAINST TERRORISM
US officials, worried about the use of crop dusters and suicide flight during the Altanta Olympic games, deployed Black Hawk helicopters and US customs service jets to protect the Atlanta airspace and issued bans on specific Games-related airspace. FBI agents went to local airports to thwart hijacking of small planes. In fact, the International Olympic committee has considered plane crash scenarios in it's security planning since 1972 (LA Times, 11/17/2001)

1996 -
FBI BEGINS INVESTIGATION INTO AL QAEDA FLIGHT SCHOOL SCHEMES
"The FBI began investigating Arab students training at flight schools in 1996 - "Since 1996, the FBI had been developing evidence that intyernational terrorists were using US flight schools to learn to fly jumbo jets" (from Washington Post 9/23/2001, "FBI knew terrorists were using flight schools").

[research: VISA EXPRESS, '98-2002?]

1998 - The CIA ignores warnings from Case Officer Robert Baer that Saudi Arabia was harboring an al-Q’aeda cell led by two known terrorists. A more detailed list of known terrorists is offered to Saudi intelligence in August 2001 and refused. [Source: Financial Times 1/12/01; See No Evil by a book by Robert Baer (release date Feb. 2002).

1998 DRUDGE REPORT: TIME GOT THERE FIRST?
"Drudge Report": Time story predicts 9-11 in 1998
TIME story: " the Laden scare also is being felt domestically, intelligence sources tell TIME they have evidence that bin Laden may be planning his boldest move yet--a strike on Washington or possibly New York City in an eye-for-an-eyeretaliation. "We've hit his headquarters, now he hits ours," a State tells TIME."
http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/dsp/specialReports_pc_carden_detail.htm?reportID=%7B47FF8AF9-8C34-47CC-913A-3BDA4D25F91E%7D

June 1999
FEMA PICTURE W/WTC IN CROSSHAIRS
What was on FEMA's mind? [ http://www.rense.com/general21/wtc.htm ]
FEMA manual Shows WTC building in crosshairs

Sept 15, 1999
HART RUDMAN REPORT - "AMERICA WILL BE ATTACKED"
In a Sept. 15, 1999 report, the Hart-Rudman Commission concluded, "America will be attacked by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and Americans will lose their lives on American soil, possibly in large numbers."

September 1999
CIA SPONSORD REPORT: AL QAEDA MIGHT CRASH PLANES INTO PENTAGON
National Intelligence Council Report by the Federal Research Division, commissioned by the CIA, delivered Sept. 1999 concludes "Al Qaeda might hijack an airliner with the intention of crashing it into the Pentagon or another government building"

"Mr. Murad's plot ["Boijinka"] was noted in a 1999 federal report suggesting that Al Qaeda might hijack an airliner with the intention of crashing it into the Pentagon or another government building. The intelligence report, which was prepared for the National Intelligence Council, was widely shared within the government and has long been available to the public over the Internet."(NYT 5-18-2002)

[SOURCE-"Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism"]"Al Qaeda's expected retaliation for the U.S. cruise missile attack against al Qaeda's training facilities in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998, could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation's capital. Al Qaeda could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House. Ramzi Yousef had planned to do this against the CIA headquarters."

[BACKGROUND - "In response to a number of inquiries from the media concerning the report "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism," which was mounted on our website on December 14, 2001, the Federal Research Division (FRD) offers the following background:

• FRD is a full cost recovery service that performs directed research at the request of other agencies of the U.S. Government. FRD prepares studies, reports, and translations under interagency agreements for a wide variety of Federal agencies, which are listed elsewhere on this website (http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/FAQ_Clients.html).

• Work done for Federal agencies is the property of the requesting agency, and dissemination is controlled by them. In some cases, FRD is asked to disseminate the commissioned reports, many of which can been seen on this website under "Research Products" (http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/frd/).

• The study "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism," reported the findings of FRD's research of then -current literature written by experts on terrorism, inside and outside government, and was commissioned in June 1999 by the National Intelligence Council (http://www.cia.gov/nic/) and delivered in September 1999."]

[SOURCE?]"Nonetheless, the White House still found itself on the defensive once again today, this time over a 1999 report commissioned by a federal intelligence agency that eerily foreshadowed the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to Al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency or the White House," the report said.

The report, titled "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism," was prepared by the Library of Congress for the National Intelligence Council, an interagency group that oversees intelligence analysis throughout the government. The report, which has long been public, based its analysis largely on the fact that in 1995, a similar plot by a group of Islamic militants based in the Philippines who were linked to Al Qaeda was foiled."

Summer 2000,
SYDNEY OLYMPICS HAD AIR DEFENSE READY AGAINST AL QAEDA ATTACK
Atlanta - National Guard pplanes patrolled the air, FBI agents on ground at area airports.

SMH.com.AU sept 20, 2001 [ http://old.smh.com.au/news/0109/20/world/world20.html ]
"Jet crash on stadium was Olympics nightmare
By Jacquelin Magnay

A fully loaded, fuelled airliner crashing into the opening ceremony before a worldwide television audience at the Sydney Olympics was one of the greatest security fears for the Games, the Olympic Security Commander, former chief superintendent Paul McKinnon, says.

Mr McKinnon said that Osama bin Laden had been the number one threat.

The combined security forces had also prepared for marine hijackings or a hijacked plane smashing into the central business district.

Mr McKinnon said there was a constant aviation security overlay during the Games if a hijacked or wayward plane strayed into restricted airspace.

"We did not have the authority to shoot at it, but the plan was to run something in its path and we had a collection of aircraft in the sky at any time ready for that.

"We would have had six planes in the way that it would have had to try and get through."

The International Olympic Committee reaffirmed yesterday that the 2002 Winter Olympic Games would be held in Salt Lake City next February. Salt Lake City is spending $US200 million ($400 million) on security.

IOC officials said the scenario of a plane crash during the opening ceremony was uppermost in their security planning at every Olympics since terrorists struck in Munich in 1972.

"In our own assumptions for every Games, regardless of the tragedy of September 11, the scenario catastrophe has always been incorporated," the IOC director-general, Mr FranÇois Carrard, said."

June 8, 2000, Washington, DC,
Testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, III, Chairman, National Commission on Terrorism

"The threat of terrorism is changing dramatically. It is becoming more deadly and it is striking us here at home. Witness the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the thwarted attacks on New York's tunnels, and the 1995 plot to blow up 11 American airliners. If any one of these had been fully successful, thousands would have died. Crowds gathered to celebrate the Millennium were almost certainly the target for the explosives found in the back of a car at the U.S. border in December 1999. Overseas, more than 6,000 casualties were caused by just three anti-U.S. attacks, the bombings of a U.S. barracks in Saudi Arabia and of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
........If three attacks with conventional explosives injured or killed 6,000, imagine the consequences of an unconventional attack. What if a release of radioactive material made 10 miles of Chicago's waterfront uninhabitable for 50 years? What if a biological attack infected passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport with a contagious disease?"

1999-2000
NSA intercepts key evidence in '93 WTC terror attack trial but now "Bin Laden, associates elude spy agency's eavesdropping"
Encrypted calls may keep NSA off track
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baltimore Sun, sept 16, 2001, By Scott Shane

"It was an ordinary number, just a dozen digits: 873682505331. But it gave U.S. intelligence and law enforcement the key to the prosecution of four of Osama bin Laden's followers this year for their roles in the 1998 terrorist bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.

The number rang bin Laden's satellite telephone, a laptop-sized device that linked his hideout in the mountains of Afghanistan to a global network of followers - and to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, which intercepted the plotters' calls.

While not explicit enough to allow U.S. authorities to move in time to prevent the bombings, the intercepts helped track the terrorists and send them to prison.

Since the East Africa bombings, however, the NSA has had far less success in picking up bin Laden's communications, according to people knowledgeable about U.S. intelligence."


James Pavitt on CIA intel capabilities, knowledge of Al Qaeda pre sept 11

Jim Pavitt, CIA Deputy Director for Operations
Address to Duke University Law School Conference
April 11, 2002

http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/pavitt_04262002.html

"In a run-up to the millennium celebrations the CIA warned the President of the United States of serious terrorism conspiracies around the world.  We predicted, we told the President, that there would be between five and 15 serious attacks against on U.S. soil.  But we did much much more than warn.  With our allies and our partners around the world we launched immense efforts to counter those threats.  Hundreds of terrorists were arrested, multiple cells of terrorism were destroyed.  One terrorist cell planned to blow up a hotel, buses and holy cites in both Israel and Jordan.  It had also planned to use chemical weapons.
We knew then just as we know now that al Qaeda and those who would continue its mission of murder were nothing if they're not resilient.  Remember, the World Trade Center was attacked once before...... We had very, very good intelligence of the general structure and strategies of the al Qaeda terrorist organization.  We knew and we warned that al Qaeda was planning a major strike.  There need be no question about that...... If you hear somebody say, and I have, the CIA abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviets left and that we never paid any attention to that place until September 11th, I would implore you to ask those people how we were able to accomplish all we did since the Soviets departed.  How we knew who to approach on the ground, which operations, which warlord to support, what information to collect.  Quite simply, we were there well before the 11th of September."

Oct. 24-26 [ http://www.mdw.army.mil/news/Contingency_Planning.html]
Pentagon Plane Crash Test Simulation

Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 2000 — The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. An Arlington Fire Department chief dispatches his equipment to the affected areas.

Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the "plane crash" was a simulated one.

The Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to Oct. 24-26 in the Office of the Secretaries of Defense conference room."

January, 2001
The Bush Administration orders the FBI and intelligence agencies to "back off" investigations involving the bin Laden family, including two of Osama bin Laden’s relatives (Abdullah and Omar) who were living in Falls Church, VA – right next to CIA headquarters. This followed previous orders dating back to 1996, frustrating efforts to investigate the bin Laden family. [Source: BBC Newsnight, Correspondent Gregg Palast – Nov 7, 2001].

January 2001
AL QAEDA FLIGHT TRAINING SCHEMES REVEALED IN COURT TESTIMONY
"In 2001, during the New York City trial of four defendants charged with involvement in the 1998 bomings of the US emabssies in Kenya and Tanzania, it came to light that Bin Laden operatives had received pilot training in Texas and Oklahoma. One Bin Laden operative, Essam Al - Ridi, became an FBI informant in 1998 concewnring Bin Laden pilot traning schemes (available from court records)."


Feb 13, 2001 – UPI Terrorism Correspondent Richard Sale – while covering a trial of bin Laden’s Al Q’aeda followers - reports that the National Security Agency has broken bin Laden’s encrypted communications. Even if this indicates that bin Laden changed systems in February it does not mesh with the fact that the government insists that the attacks had been planned for years.

June 2001
SPECIFIC GERMAN WARNING TO US: "Middle Eastern terrorists are "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture." [Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 14, 2001.]

Newspaper: Echelon Gave Authorities Warning Of Attacks
ECHELON WARNED US OF ATTACKS
By Ned Stafford, Newsbytes
FRANKFURT, GERMANY,
13 Sep 2001, 1:16 PM CST
"U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies received warning signals at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture, according to a story in Germany's daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) [FAZ, sept. 14, 2001]. .....The FAZ, quoting unnamed German intelligence sources, said that the Echelon spy network was being used to collect information about the terrorist threats, and that U.K. intelligence services apparently also had advance warning. The FAZ, one of Germany's most respected dailies, said that even as far back as six months ago western and near-east press services were receiving information that such attacks were being planned. "

July 5, 2001



"...Meanwhile, intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. "It all came together in the third week in June," Clarke said. "The C.I.A.'s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks." On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies--the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.--and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack."
[ Lawrence Wright (June 1, 2002) New Yorker ]

On July 5 of last year, a month and a day before President Bush first heard that al Qaeda might plan a hijacking, the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room.

Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy


By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 17, 2002; Page A01

On July 5 of last year, a month and a day before President Bush first heard that al Qaeda might plan a hijacking, the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room.

"Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon," the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group, according to two of those present. The group included the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Coast Guard, FBI, Secret Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer nonvital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. For six weeks last summer, at home and overseas, the U.S. government was at its highest possible state of readiness -- and anxiety -- against imminent terrorist attack.

That intensity -- defensive in nature -- did not last. By the time Bush received his briefing at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, the government had begun to stand down from the alert. Offensive planning against al Qaeda remained in a mid-level interagency panel, which had spent half a year already in a policy review. The Deputies Committee, the second tier of national security officials, had not finished considering the emerging plan, and Bush's Cabinet-rank advisers were still a month away from their first meeting on terrorism. That took place Sept. 4, a week before hijacked planes were flown into the Pentagon and World Trade Center in synchronized attacks.

What Bush and his government did with the information they had in August became the subject of a political brawl on Capitol Hill yesterday, largely shorn of the context of those weeks before Sept. 11. A close look at the sequence of events, based on lengthy interviews early this year with participants and fresh accounts yesterday, appears to support the White House view that Bush lacked sufficient warning to stop the attack. But it also portrays a new administration that gave scant attention to an adversary whose lethal ambitions and savvy had been well understood for years.

Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet had been "nearly frantic" with concern since June 22, according to one frequent interlocutor, and a written intelligence summary for national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on June 28: "It is highly likely that a significant al Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks." By late summer, one senior political appointee said, Tenet had "repeated this so often that people got tired of hearing it."

July 11, 2001
G8 SUMMIT PRECAUTIONS AGAINST TERROR AIR ATTACK
"Wednesday July 11, 2001
The Guardian
"Italy has installed a missile defence system at Genoa's airport to deter airborne attacks during next week's G8 summit, fuelling hysteria about looming violence. ...A land-based battery of rockets with a range of nine miles and an altitude of 5,000 feet has been positioned in the latest security measure against perceived threats from terrorists and protesters. ...The millionaire terrorist, Osama bin Laden, has been linked to an alleged plot to assassinate the US president, George Bush......the CIA station chief in Italy warned the Italian secret services that al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group, might be planning a suicide attack on the summit. Italy took security precautions seriously and placed Spada surface-to-air missiles at strategic locations around Genoa in the event of a terrorist air attack." - by Gordon Frisch


July 2001
SEN INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE BRIEF - ATTACK LIKELY WITHIN 3 MONTHS
"Democratic leaders have reacted angrily that the Bush administration had not informed them of the hijacking threat. Friday, Fleischer pointed to comments Feinstein made July 1 on a television talk show as evidence that Democrats had been aware of the vague warnings.

``Senator Feinstein, in July of 2001, on CNN, on Wolf Blitzer's program, said, and I quote, `Intelligence staff have told me that there is a major probability of a terrorist incident within the next three months,' '' Fleischer said.

``Clearly, if Senator Feinstein, a Democrat on the intelligence committee, was aware of this, the question arises, what did the Democrats know and why weren't they talking to each other?''


mid July 2001
ASHCROFT QUITS FLYING COMMERCIAL AIRLINES, THREAT CITED
US Attorney General John Ashcroft had stopped flying on comercial aircraft "In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term. ..."There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it."http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml

Feinstein warns Cheney

[By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 17, 2002; Page A01]
`
`In fact, I was so concerned that I contacted Vice President Cheney's office that same month to urge that he restructure our counterterrorism and homeland defense programs to ensure better accountability and prevent important intelligence information from slipping through the cracks"....She and Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., had drafted legislation earlier in 2001 to create an Office of Homeland Security to address some of the problems. Feinstein tried to show a draft of the legislation to Cheney, who had been appointed by Bush in May 2001 to oversee development of a coordinated national effort to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats... ``Despite repeated requests by myself and staff, the White House did not address my request'' to review her proposals, Feinstein said. ``I believed last summer and continue to believe today that the system is seriously broken and needs to be fixed.''

CIA holds key Al Qaeda info & lets known Al Qaeda Almihdhar come and go w/special VISA, while Alhazmi hangs out under real name in LA

MSNBC, June 10 [http://www.msnbc.com/news/760647.asp?cp1=1]

"What happened next, some U.S. counterterrorism officials say, may be the most puzzling, and devastating, intelligence failure in the critical months before September 11. A few days after the Kuala Lumpur meeting, NEWSWEEK has learned, the CIA tracked one of the terrorists, Nawaf Alhazmi, as he flew from the meeting to Los Angeles. Agents discovered that another of the men, Khalid Almihdhar, had already obtained a multiple-entry visa that allowed him to enter and leave the United States as he pleased. (They later learned that he had in fact arrived in the United States on the same flight as Alhazmi.) ..........Yet astonishingly, the CIA did nothing with this information. Agency officials didn’t tell the INS, which could have turned them away at the border, nor did they notify the FBI, which could have covertly tracked them to find out their mission. Instead, during the year and nine months after the CIA identified them as terrorists, Alhazmi and Almihdhar lived openly in the United States, using their real names, obtaining driver’s licenses, opening bank accounts and enrolling in flight schools—until the morning of September 11, when they walked aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon."

August-sept 2001
CIA FEARED ATTACK, "details lacking"
By John Solomon
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001; 7:59 p.m. EDT
[  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20011003/aponline195928_000.htm ]

"WASHINGTON –– The U.S. government has gathered evidence that links some of the Sept. 11 hijackers to Osama bin Laden's network through phone intercepts, wire transfers and participation in Afghan training camps, officials said Wednesday.
Officials also said the CIA had developed general information a month before the attacks that heightened concerns that bin Laden and his followers were increasingly determined to strike on U.S. soil after several strikes overseas.
The information indicated bin Laden and his supporters "were trying to bring the fight to America" but details were lacking, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
"There was something specific in early August that said to us that he was determined in striking on U.S. soil," the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity. "But there was nothing about who, when, where or how."


BUSH BRIEFING, August 6, 2001
[By Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 18, 2002; Page A01 ]

"The top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush on Aug. 6 carried the headline, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," and was primarily focused on recounting al Qaeda's past efforts to attack and infiltrate the United States, senior administration officials said.

The document, known as the President's Daily Briefing, underscored that Osama bin Laden and his followers hoped to "bring the fight to America," in part as retaliation for U.S. missile strikes on al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998, according to knowledgeable sources.

Bush had specifically asked for an intelligence analysis of possible al Qaeda attacks within the United States, because most of the information presented to him over the summer about al Qaeda focused on threats against U.S. targets overseas, sources said. But one source said the White House was disappointed because the analysis lacked focus and did not present fresh intelligence. "

August 23, John O' Neill "They'll probably finish the job" (on the WTC)
[New Yorker O Neill piece]
"When O'Neill told ABC's Isham of his decision to work at the Trade Center, Isham had said jokingly, "At least they're not going to bomb it again." O'Neill had replied, "They'll probably try to finish the job." On the day he started at the Trade Center—August 23rd—the C.I.A. sent a cable to the F.B.I. saying that two suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were already in the country. The bureau tried to track them down, but the addresses they had given when they entered the country proved to be false, and the men were never located."

August 2001 Mossad Warns US of 200 Al Qaeda terrorists in US

[The Los Angeles Times, Sep 20, 2001; RICHARD A. SERRANO, JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG;
"AFTER THE ATTACK; THE INVESTIGATION; Officials Told of 'Major Assault' Plans; Inquiry: U.S. authorities were advised in August that as many as 200 terrorists were coming to U.S. as part of plot. "

Abstract:
"Attack warning--An article Thursday reported that in August, Israeli intelligence warned U.S. officials that terrorists were preparing a large-scale..."
posted by troutfishing at 6:03 PM on April 11, 2004


Planes as Weapons (continued)

U.S. HAD AGENTS INSIDE AL QAEDA, U.S. intelligence overheard al-Qaeda operatives discussing a major pending terrorist attack in the weeks prior to the sept. 11 attack [http://www.usatoday.com/news/attack/2002/06/03/cia-attacks.htm]

By John Diamond, USA TODAY

"WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence overheard al-Qaeda operatives discussing a major pending terrorist attack in the weeks prior to Sept. 11 and had agents inside the terror group, but the intercepts and field reports didn't specify where or when a strike might occur, according to U.S. officials."

NOVACK, SUN TIMES: FBI DIDN'T ACT ON INFO OR SHARE IT W/LOCAL POLICE

"The FBI had advance indications of plans to hijack U.S. airliners and use them as weapons, but neither acted on them nor distributed the intelligence to local police agencies," reported Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak on September 27th. "From the moment of the September 11th attacks, high-ranking federal officials insisted that the terrorists’ method of operation surprised them. Many stick to that story. Actually, elements of the hijacking plan were known to the FBI as early as 1995 and, if coupled with current information, might have uncovered the plot."

August 2001
RUSSIA, PUTIN WARNS US
In a Sept. 15th MS-NBC interview, Vladimir Putin revealed that he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the US "in the strongest possible terms" in August 2001. Previous Russian warnings to the CIA in summer 2001 detailed the method: 25 suicide pilots (Izveztia, 9/13/2002).

August (?) 2001 MOUSSOAUI (SP?!) ARRESTED IN BOSTON
FBI in Boston arrested an islamic militant, linked to Bin Laden, who had been taking flying lessons and possesed manuals on Boeing aircraft. (Source: Rueters, sept. 13)

August 2001 (?)
John Ashcroft, citing risk, stops flying on commercial planes

early August 2001
JORDAN, MOROCCO WARN US OF "THE BIG WEDDING" PLOT (9-11)
'Jordan, beyond a doubt, and Morocco, with some certainty, advised US and allied intelligence that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorists were preparing airborne terrorist operations in the continental United States...Sometime in the late summer of 2001, GID headquarters in Jordan intercepted a crucial Al Qaeda communication. This probably took place after the July 5 warning by a Phoenix, Ariz., FBI agent that Arab terrorists could be sending men to flight schools, and either before or shortly after Aug. 6, when President Bush received a CIA briefing about possible hijackings.The intercept's content was deemed so important that Jordanian King Abdallah's men relayed it to Washington, probably through the CIA station at the US Embassy in Amman. To be sure that the message got through, it was also passed to a German intelligence agent who was visiting Amman at the time.The message showed clearly that a major attack was planned inside the continental US. It said aircraft would be used. But neither hijacking nor, apparently, precise timing nor targets were named. The code name of the operation was mentioned: in Arabic, Al Ourush al-Kabir, "The Big Wedding"'...(Christian Science moniter from the May 23, 2002 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0523/p11s01-coop.html)

August-sept 2001

"NSA didn't share key pre-Sept. 11 information, sources say
By JONATHAN S. LANDAY
Knight Ridder Newspapers Jun. 06, 2002
WASHINGTON — A secretive U.S. eavesdropping agency monitored telephone conversations before Sept. 11 between the suspected commander of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and the alleged chief hijacker, but did not share the information with other intelligence agencies, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the conversations between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta were intercepted by the National Security Agency, or NSA, an intelligence agency that monitors and decodes foreign communications.

The NSA failed to share the intercepts with the CIA or other U.S. intelligence agencies, the officials told Knight Ridder. It also failed to promptly translate some intercepted Arabic language conversations, a senior intelligence official said.

The officials declined to disclose the nature of the discussions between Mohammed, a known leader of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network who is on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, and Atta, who piloted one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

Another intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was "simply not true" that the NSA monitored the conversations and failed to share the information with other intelligence agencies.

An NSA spokesperson said that as a rule "we neither confirm or deny actual or alleged intelligence operations." She declined to say more........"

August 30
EGYPT WARNS US
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek warns the US 12 days before 9-11 of impending attacks

Sept 6 Hart Warns Rice

"Five days before Sept. 11, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was warned that a terrorist attack inside the United States was imminent, a former U.S. senator who headed up a blue-ribbon commission on terrorism revealed late Tuesday.

"I've known the national security advisor, Professor Rice, for about 20 some years," former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart told WABC Radio's John Batchelor and Paul Alexander. "She was a supporter of mine in my first presidential campaign as a graduate student in Denver."

After giving a speech on the terrorist threat in Montreal on Sept. 5, Hart said he requested an urgent meeting with Dr. Rice in Washington.

"I said to her, 'You must move more quickly on homeland security. An attack is going to happen.'

"That was Sept. 6, 2001," Hart told WABC, without characterizing Dr. Rice's reaction.

Sept 7 State Dept Memo - Worldwide alert

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz said yesterday that he was "startled" by a little-noticed State Department memo that was issued a week ago and warned that Americans "may be the target of a terrorist threat."

The memo, issued just four days before the attacks on New York and Washington, identified the threat as coming from "extremist groups with links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization."

"I have not idea what intelligence lies behind the warning," Shultz said, ''but they put this out because they had some sort of intelligence."

Shultz, who served as secretary of state under President Reagan, said he received a copy of the Sept. 7 "worldwide warning" in his San Francisco office on the day before the fatal attacks. The memo addressed concerns for Americans overseas and made no mention of any possible attack on U.S. soil.

Reached last night, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said this was the first she had heard anything about the State Department warnings.

"Everyone should have been (alerted), but then you would have to ask whether they would have known what to look out for," Feinstein said.

"Of course," Feinstein said, "today is a different world, and I think a lot of things are going to change.

"Bin Laden's people had made statements three weeks ago carried in the Arab press in Great Britain that they were preparing to carry out unprecedented attacks in the U.S.," she said. "Whether that was the derivation of this (State Department ) bulletin, I don't know."

SEPT 9, 2001
BIN LADEN CALL TO MOTHER INTERCEPTED BY US - "IN TWO DAYS, YOU'RE GOING
TO HEAR BIG NEWS"
NEWSMAX, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2001 http://www.newsmax.com/showinsidecover.shtml?a=2001/10/2/04814

'Twin Towers terrorist Osama bin Laden phoned his mother two days before he dispatched 19 hijackers to slam four commercial jetliners into U.S. landmarks, warning her that "big news" was coming......"In two days you’re going to hear big news, and you're not going to hear from me for a while," he told Al-Kalifa bin Laden, one of the late Shiek Mohammed bin Laden's four wives, according to NBC News....Al-Kalifa is believed to have adopted Osama after his birth to a woman from Syria or Palestine who was rejected by the family....The call from bin Laden, 44, to his adoptive mother flies in the face of bin Laden family claims that they have "disowned" the notorious terrorist, with some family members claiming they revoked his citizenship in 1994.'

SEPT 10 - Top Pentagon Official cancel travel plans

SEPT 11 - "WEVE HIT THE TARGETS"
SEN HATCH ADMITS US WAS ABLE TO MONITER SOME BIN LADEN COMMUNICATIONS
The clearest suggestion of successful US monitoring of Al Qaeda communications—and the closest to the September 11 attacks—was the statement by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a conservative Republican with wide contacts in the national security establishment. He told the Associated Press on September 11 that the US government was monitoring bin Laden’s communications electronically and had overheard two bin Laden aides celebrating the successful terrorist attack. “They have an intercept of some information that included people associated with bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit,” he told AP. (Source: Associated Press, September 11, 2001, “World Trade Center collapses in terrorist attack,” by David Crary and Jerry Schwartz)

Hatch repeated this assertion in an interview with ABC News the same day, saying that both CIA and FBI officials had told him the same story. That his statement was true is demonstrated by the Bush administration reaction. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly denounced the report as an unauthorized release of classified information. The White House later cited this leak as grounds for withholding detailed information on US counterterrorist actions from Congress, although Bush was later compelled to resume the briefings of a handful of congressional leaders


MSNBC - post 9-11 US intelligence intercept: "We've hit the targets" http://www.msnbc.com/news/627963.asp?cp1=1
posted by troutfishing at 6:06 PM on April 11, 2004


And - not to beat a dead horse, but the "X-Files' " Chris Carter anticipated the WTC attacks, quite strikingly, in his short lived "Lone Gunman" series pilot :

"....To balance out the humor, Carter adds lots of X-Files-style intrigue, suspense and mayhem –- somehow managing to compress into the premiere episode a murderous assault on Byers’ father, plots by government goons and an out-of-control jet loaded with passengers heading toward New York’s World Trade Center."

[ Wired news, March 3, 2001 ]

This FEMA handbook cover, mentioned in my (very incomplete, if you can believe it! - Paul Thompson has the FULL version - 9-11 Complete Timeline ) chronology above, is rather striking :


posted by troutfishing at 6:19 PM on April 11, 2004


As the above picture illustrates, FEMA was clearly worried, as well, about attacks on the WTC by airplanes-as-weapons or by missiles.

OK, I'm done.
posted by troutfishing at 6:21 PM on April 11, 2004


("When do we get to the comics? I love the way Condi does the voices...")

I'd imagine he calls in Cheney to do Sluggo.
posted by jonmc at 6:32 PM on April 11, 2004


trout-
Is there a source other than Rense for that picture you posted? You know I love ya, man, but you also know that Jeff Rense is a freakin' nutjob.

And on a related note, how cosmically bizarre that we were hearing about all the 9/11-comission "revelations" two years ago on tinfoilhat.org.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:26 PM on April 11, 2004


When U.S. Aided Insurgents, Did It Breed Future Terrorists?

In the varied explanations for the 9/11 attacks and the rise in terrorism, two themes keep recurring. One is that Islamic culture itself is to blame, leading to a clash of civilizations, or, as more nuanced versions have it, a struggle between secular-minded and fundamentalist Muslims that has resulted in extremist violence against the West. The second is that terrorism is a feature of the post-cold-war landscape, belonging to an era in which international relations are no longer defined by the titanic confrontation between two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

But in the eyes of Mahmood Mamdani, a Uganda-born political scientist and cultural anthropologist at Columbia University, both those assumptions are wrong. Not only does he argue that terrorism does not necessarily have anything to do with Islamic culture; he also insists that the spread of terror as a tactic is largely an outgrowth of American cold war foreign policy. After Vietnam, he argues, the American government shifted from a strategy of direct intervention in the fight against global Communism to one of supporting new forms of low-level insurgency by private armed groups.

"In practice," Mr. Mamdani has written, "it translated into a United States decision to harness, or even to cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet." The real culprit of 9/11, in other words, is not Islam but rather non-state violence in general, during the final stages of the stand-off with the Soviet Union. Using third and fourth parties, the C.I.A. supported terrorist and proto-terrorist movements in Indochina, Latin America, Africa and, of course, Afghanistan, he argues in his new book, "Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror" (Pantheon).

"The real damage the C.I.A. did was not the providing of arms and money," he writes, " but the privatization of information about how to produce and spread violence — the formation of private militias — capable of creating terror." The best-known C.I.A.-trained terrorist, he notes dryly, is Osama bin Laden.


Good Muslim, Bad Muslim – An African Perspective

To understand the question of who bears responsibility for the present situation, it will help to contrast two situations, that after the Second World War and that after the Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood and addressed in two different contexts.

In spite of Pearl Harbor, World War Two was fought in Europe and Asia, not in the US. It was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war. The question of responsibility for postwar reconstruction did not just arise as a moral question; it arose as a political question. In Europe, its urgency was underlined by the changing political situation in Yugoslavia, Albania, and particularly, Greece. This is the context in which the US accepted responsibility for restoring conditions for decent life in noncommunist Europe. That initiative was called the Marshall Plan.

The Cold War was not fought in Europe, but in Southeast Asia, in Southern Africa, and in Central America. Should we, ordinary humanity, hold official America responsible for its actions during the Cold War? Should official America be held responsible for napalm bombing and spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam? Should it be held responsible for cultivating terrorist movements in Southern Africa and Central America?

Perhaps no other society paid a higher price for the defeat of the Soviet Union than did Afghanistan. Out of a population of roughly 15 million, a million died, another million and a half were maimed, and another five million became refugees. Afghanistan was a brutalized society even before the present war began.

After the Cold War and right up to September 10 of this year, the US and Britain compelled African countries to reconcile with terrorist movements. The demand was that governments must share power with terrorist organizations in the name of reconciliation – as in Mozambique, in Sierra Leone, and in Angola.

If terrorism was an official American Cold War brew, it was turned into a local Sierra Leonean or Angolan or Mozambican or Afghani brew after the Cold War. Whose responsibility is it? Like Afghanistan, are these countries hosting terrorism, or are they also hostage to terrorism? I think both.

posted by y2karl at 10:53 PM on April 11, 2004


trout,

That is the most impressive bringing together of relevant info I have witnessed thus far here in the blue. My hat is off to you.
posted by wsg at 12:18 AM on April 12, 2004


Nice, troutfishing.

Shame the naysayers will steadfastedly refuse to acknowledge its relevency. They're a strange sort of people, rejecting the truth in support of their delusions and lies.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 AM on April 12, 2004


wsg - thanks. It's been building up for a while, that list. But the mother load is Paul Thompson's Complete 9-11 Timeline

karl - That's a sorely needed perspective. Not original to Mamdani, I'm certain, but well articulated nonetheless.

So simple, really, this idea - from brutalized peoples comes......more brutality!

fff - Odd, isn't it.

Ignatious - That graphic was real, it seems. The rumor (not at all surprising, really) is that, after September 11, FEMA ordered the disturbing covers torn off all remaining copies in stock. I can't say I'd criticize the decision, exactly, but the image itself sure is spooky. According to the Memory Hole, which seems to have obtained a copy (there are probably a nuimber of them floating around, I'd guess), the graphic was on the cover of "Managing Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents: An Executive Level Program for Sheriffs." - "The manual was given to people who participated in the training program of the same name, which taught local law enforcement how to deal with terrorist attacks. Notice that the cover is imprinted with the seal of the US Justice Department (and the seal of the National Sheriffs' Association). In the bottom right corner, the date is a little hard to read; it says: "Version: June 2000." The full 250-page manual--with "law enforcement sensitive" at the bottom of each page--was given to me by someone who participated in the training in 2000. (The program is now sponsored by the Office of Homeland Security, according to this page at the National Sheriffs' Association.)"

There is at least one other surviving copy I heard mention of on the Net - owned by a Christian Millenarian cult group (or so they seemed to me) in Wisconsin.
posted by troutfishing at 1:12 PM on April 12, 2004


Bush to Answer Questions on Pre-9/11 Intelligence

As he further defended his administration's actions prior to Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush said Monday that he would answer questions surrounding the information in a pre-Sept. 11 intelligence memo in his first press conference of the year Tuesday night

Bush said Monday there was no warning in the intelligence memo that "something is about to happen in America" before the nation's worst terrorism attack.

"There was nothing in there that said, you know, 'There is an imminent attack,'" Bush told reporters. "That wasn't what the report said. The report was kind of a history of Osama's (bin Laden's) intentions." He also said U.S. intelligence services may be due for reforms.

posted by y2karl at 3:04 PM on April 12, 2004


Paul Thompson's Complete 9-11 Timeline

That's quite something. Massive incompetence all round, if even half that stuff is true.

"There was nothing in there that said, you know, 'There is an imminent attack,'" Bush told reporters.

I've still gotta agree with him on that. If this brief is representative of the worst of what he was being told, it's no wonder he wasn't too worried about it. Whoever wrote the thing was either incompetent, poorly-informed, or actually trying to hide the serious nature of the situation. It reads like the writer was trying to say "a potential threat exists, but nothing much has changed since 1998. We're working on some more recent intel, but you needn't worry about the details."

One thing I bet GWBush really is afraid of having to explain is his inexplicable actions on the day itself.
posted by sfenders at 4:09 PM on April 12, 2004


Interesting thing from a former CIA guy who used to write PDBs.

And what's all the stuff i'm hearing about missing pages? (I can't find a reputable link)
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on April 12, 2004


former CIA guy: There is also a high probability that the operations folks at CIA would have shared the information they had in hand about the presence of Al Qaeda operators in the United States.

That's strange... I'd have thought that was exactly what should have been shared in response to the President directly asking the CIA to describe what Al Queda were up to. Perhaps he didn't phrase the question properly in whatever language the CIA bureaucracy understands.
posted by sfenders at 8:37 PM on April 12, 2004


The 9/11 commission should ask who authorized the evacuation of Saudi nationals in the days following the attacks
posted by homunculus at 11:09 PM on April 12, 2004


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