This subject I've posted on previously. Here's a new book that chronicles the summer leading up to 9-11-01 and the 9-11 Commission's investigation: The Commission - The Uncensored History Of The 9/11 Investigation by Philip Shenon
This excellent summary of excerpts published here recap of the events leading up to 9-11. Worth a read! From the book:
Even reporters in Washington who covered intelligence issues acknowledged they were largely ignorant that summer that the CIA and other parts of the Government were warning of an almost certain terrorist attack. The warnings were going straight to President Bush each morning in his briefings by the CIA director, George Tenet, and in the presidential daily briefings. It would later be revealed by the 9/11 commission into the September 11 attacks that more than 40 presidential briefings presented to Bush from January 2001 through to September 10, 2001, included references to bin Laden.
Emails from the National Security Council's counter-terrorism director, Richard Clarke, showed that he had bombarded Rice with messages about terrorist threats. He was trying to get her to focus on the intelligence she should have been reading each morning in the presidential and senior briefings
- "Bin Ladin Planning Multiple Operations" (April 20)
- "Bin Ladin Public Profile May Presage Attack" (May 3)
- "Terrorist Groups Said Co-operating on US Hostage Plot" (May 23)
- "Bin Ladin's Networks' Plans Advancing" (May 26)
- "Bin Ladin Threats Are Real" (June 30)
- "Bin Ladin Attacks May Be Imminent" (June 23)
- "Bin Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats" (June 25)
- "Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile Attacks" (June 30),
- "Planning for Bin Ladin Attacks Continues, Despite Delays" (July 2)
There is no record to show that Rice made any special effort to discuss terrorist threats with Bush. The record suggested, instead, that it was not a matter of special interest to either of them that summer.
David Kay, the veteran American weapons inspector sent to Iraq by the Bush Administration in 2003 to search for weapons of mass destruction, passed word to the commission that he believed Rice was the "worst national security adviser" in the history of the job.
Then came the famous Aug 6, 01 briefing - "bin Laden determined to strike in US." This is how it was handled by Rice in a press conference:
It would later become clear to many of the commission's members and its staff that she had tried to mislead the White House press corps about the contents of the briefing.
She acknowledged that Bush had received a briefing about possible al-Qaeda hijackings, but she claimed that the brief offered "historical information" and "was not a warning - there was no specific time, place, or method".
She failed to mention, as would later be clear, that the briefing focused entirely on the possibility that al-Qaeda intended to strike within the United States; it cited relatively recent FBI reports of possible terrorist surveillance of government buildings in New York.
Asked if September 11 didn't represent an intelligence failure by the Administration, Rice replied almost testily: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Centre, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon - that they would try to use an airplane as a missile."
Rice's news conference came eight months after the attacks. Yet she was suggesting that in all that time, no one had bothered to tell her that there were indeed several reports prepared within the CIA, the aviation administration, and elsewhere in the Government about the threat of planes as missiles. Had no one told her in all those months that the Department of Defense had conducted drills for the possibility of a plane-as-missile attack on the Pentagon? Had she forgotten that when she and Bush attended the G8 summit in Italy in July 2001, the airspace was closed because of the threat of an aerial suicide attack by al-Qaeda?
And then there is this:
[911 Commissioner] Bass told colleagues that he gasped when he found a memo written by Clarke to Rice on September 4, 2001, exactly a week before the attacks, in which Clarke seemed to predict what was just about to happen. It was a memo that seemed to spill out all of Clarke's frustration about how slowly the Bush White House had responded to the cascade of terrorist threats that summer. The note was terrifying in its prescience.
Read this story, know the truth - After 40 specific dire warnings about a bin Laden attack, Bush chose to go on vacation... for a month. And then tried to revise history by misleading the 9-11 Commission.
"Are we serious about dealing with the al-Qaeda threat? Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group] has not succeeded in stopping al-Qaeda attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead..." -- National Security Council's counter-terrorism director, Richard Clarke, Sept 4, 2001