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October 06, 2006

The Bush Administration Blows Off 9/11 Warning

During his 'hair on fire' period in the summer of 2001, CIA Chief George Tenet briefed Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft about imminent threats posed by the bin Laden terrorist network.  Rice gave him the brush-off; we don't yet know how Rumsfield responded; and John Ashcroft promptly started flying only on chartered jets.  Someone at least took the threats seriously.

We heard last week about the briefing that Tenet and Cofer Black gave to Rice on July 10th from Bob Woodward's new book, "State of Denial".  This is the meeting she claims to have forgotten, the one that did not make it into the 9/11 Commission report.  An article in the McClatchy Newspapers by Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel and John Walcott highlighted that briefing and notes a later one on July 17th that she asked them to give to Rumsfeld and Ashcroft.  The rest of the media has not much picked up on those meetings.  Here are some details from the article: 

One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a "10 on a scale of 1 to 10" that "connected the dots" in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again.

<snip>

In the briefing, Tenet warned in very strong terms that intelligence from a variety of sources indicated that bin Laden's terrorist network was planning an attack on a U.S. target in the near future, said one of the officials.

"The briefing was intended to `connect the dots' contained in other intelligence reports and paint a very clear picture of the threat posed by bin Laden," said the official, who described the tone of the report as "scary."

The lack of response on the part of the administration, to these briefings that the CIA and others had been trying to call attention to, reportedly gave rise to the now famous Aug. 6, 2001 Daily Briefing to Bush entitled, "Bin Laden Likely to Strike in U.S". 

There are some interesting loose ends to tie up here.  First, Condi Rice's top deputy at the State Department, Philip Zelikow, was formerly the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission.  Tenet testified to Zelikow and to commissioner Richard Ben-Venista in early 2004 about the meeting but it never made it into the final report.  Secondly, Tenet is writing a book that is due out next spring.  That should be interesting and may lead to an all-out fight between the Bush Administration insiders and the CIA. 

Stay tuned.  Much as the Foley scandal and the Congressional Republican leadership cover-ups have been grabbing national attention, the real story of this administration's failures is only beginning to be understood. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 6, 2006 at 09:25 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink

Comments

This is the more important news story, by far. Sadly, folks like Ed Schultz want to direct attention away from this story, because it will lead right into the place they don't want to go, namely, impeachment. These leaders of ours will be impeached if enough citizens find out what really happened on 9/11.

Posted by: Tahoma Activist | Oct 7, 2006 2:55:27 AM

I agree. However, I also agree with the leaders like Pelosi (see neighboring post) and Howard Dean who don't ever mention Impeachment as being part of the Agenda. No point in making the election about it.

And, it may remain off the table even after the election. We might get more if we can hold that open over Bush and do the other things we need to do without threatening him so much personally that we create more heat than light.

Posted by: Lynn | Oct 7, 2006 7:21:13 AM

Agreed, Lynn. While impeachment is exactly what the criminals deserve, pushing it before - or after - the election is like giving away the plot before your mom has had a chance to read the book.

The key to winning is to continually emphasize ineptness, total disregard for regular folks, and the culture of corruption as it relates to everything the GOP touches: budgets, tax policy, education, social security, Katrina, homeland security, intelligence, preventing more terrorism, Iraq, legalized torture, spying on our own citizens, addiction to oil, shameless labor practices, and hyposricy from within their own ranks.

If we win back the House, John Conyers and Henry Waxman will begin conducting investigations into judicial matters, and matters of war profiteering. The public unraveling of this administration's evils will make Bush's head spin, and Cheney may just suffer that final heart attack. We won't even need impeachment hearings.

Posted by: shoephone | Oct 7, 2006 10:45:12 PM

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