NYT: President Bush Ignored CIA Warnings Before August 6th PDB

9/11 WTC

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) with the headline: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The PDB (partially declassified in 2004 as a result of the 9/11 Commission investigation) predicted an al-Qaeda attack on New York’s World Trade Center. Bush stayed on vacation in Texas, going fishing the next day.

In yesterday’s New York Times, Kurt Eichenwald reports on the contents of prior PDBs that the Bush administration kept secret (emphasis added):

While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent.” …

…And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have “dramatic consequences,” including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.”

…Throughout that summer, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had the government been on high alert. Indeed, even as the Aug. 6 brief was being prepared, Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi believed to have been assigned a role in the 9/11 attacks, was stopped at an airport in Orlando, Fla., by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas on Aug. 4. Two weeks later, another co-conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, was arrested on immigration charges in Minnesota after arousing suspicions at a flight school. But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react.

The Bush administration was the worst in our history. And their irresponsible behavior prior to the 9/11 attacks was just one of their string of catastrophic failures.

UPDATE: Speaking to CBS “This Morning” Eichenwald explained that the neocons in the Bush administration ignored repeated warnings about al-Qaeda because they were already fixated on Iraq.

“The worst of them, the neoconservatives at the Pentagon, as the CIA was coming in and saying al Qaeda is going to attack, said, ‘Oh, this is just a false flag operation. Bin Laden’s just trying to take our eye off of the real threat, Iraq.’ And so there are presidential daily briefs that are literally saying, ‘No, they’re wrong. This isn’t fake. It’s real.’”

“In the aftermath, the White House and others said, ‘Well, they didn’t tell us enough.’ No. They told them everything they needed to know to go on a full alert, and the White House didn’t do it.”

UPDATE: Romney Adviser Calls Foreign Policy A ‘Distraction’. Uh-oh.

While it seems clear that the so-called “Cheney-ites” are running things behind the scenes, Romney has avoided much public discussion of foreign policy. Even his own advisers and supporters have no idea what Romney’s foreign policy is.

UPDATE: Cheney bashes Obama for not paying attention to intelligence briefings. Not true of course, it’s another example of GOP projection.

UPDATE: Chris Matthews: Republicans would have blamed Obama for 9/11

  1. #1 by brewski on September 11, 2012 - 3:36 pm

    Richard,
    You are being Moore-esque. You get a lot right, but then you lose credibility by saying things which are verifiably untrue:

    “The PDB (partially declassified in 2004 as a result of the 9/11 Commission investigation) predicted an al-Qaeda attack on New York’s World Trade Center.”

    Nowhere in the PDB does it predict an attack on the WTC. That statement is yours alone and not support by Eichenwald or anyone else.

    Yes, there was a lot of intelligence that an attack was coming. Yes the WH didn’t do anything about it.

    But No, there was no intelligence that it would be at the WTC, or Pentagon, or the Flight 93 target. And No, there was no intelligence that their weapon was going to be airliners hijacked and turned into flying bombs. So knowing that there is going to be an attack is not something you can do much about if you don’t know what. when, where and how.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on September 11, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    Read the August 6, 2001 PDB. First paragraph on page 1, and the first paragraph on page 2. It also helps to know that in 1995 Ramzi Yousef himself hinted that al-Qaeda wasn’t finished with the WTC.

    As Yousef is flying over New York City on his way to a prison cell, an FBI agent asks him, “You see the Trade Centers down there, they’re still standing, aren’t they?” Yousef responds, “They wouldn’t be if I had enough money and enough explosives.”

    Despite Condi Rice’s statement that no one could have anticipated the use of hijacked commercial aircraft to attack buildings, in fact the people who knew about terrorist group tactics were expecting it. Islamic terrorists already tried in 1994 with Air France Flight 8969, which was hijacked as part of a plot to destroy the Eiffel Tower.

    Intelligence professionals will tell you that advance information is never complete. If Bush administration officials were waiting for a report that said “what. when, where and how,” then they were amateurs. We didn’t get that report until the 9/11 Commission, three years after the fact.

  3. #3 by cav on September 11, 2012 - 5:33 pm

    Mistakes were made. Lies were told.

    PNAC had needs. Successes were catastrophic.

    Saddam slighted Poppy. Attorney Generals won’t be flying commercial.

  4. #4 by brewski on September 11, 2012 - 6:18 pm

    I did, and it doesn’t say what you are saying.

  5. #5 by Larry Bergan on September 11, 2012 - 6:48 pm

    cav hit the nail.

    This is just another boring, “mistakes were made” story that will last one day.

    A Democratic administration would have stopped whoever attacked us on 911 because they would have heeded the warnings from Richard Clark – remember him?

    Nobody with the power to put an end to this nonsense wants to do anything about it because they know they’ll be dragged through the streets of the media and lose their job.

  6. #6 by cav on September 11, 2012 - 7:05 pm

    “Who moved my cheeze…er, weapons of mass destruction?”

    /Donald Rumsfeld

  7. #7 by cav on September 11, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    I’m still not over Bush-v-Gore.

  8. #8 by Larry Bergan on September 11, 2012 - 8:27 pm

    The massive protest which made the traditional walk down Pennsylvania Avenue a step-on-the-gas-and-let’s-get-the-hell-out-of-here event for George W. Bush has never been shown on television.

    Screw this!

    I’m tired of this phony little prick and his myriad of enablers getting away with murder.

    I’m with Tutu:

    …in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

  9. #9 by brewski on September 11, 2012 - 9:09 pm

    “A Democratic administration would have stopped whoever attacked us on 911″

    Tell me you are joking. Remember this?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2002/01/osama200201

  10. #10 by cav on September 11, 2012 - 10:12 pm

    Let’s see…Hmm, 1996…Isn’t that about the time Monica didn’t have sexual relations with ‘that man’?

  11. #11 by Larry Bergan on September 11, 2012 - 10:44 pm

    Is that the story Sean Hannity just can’t let go of, like the aluminum tubes, balloon trucks, Curveball, Colin Powells little vial of white powder, aspirin factories, or children flying kites in Iraq with ulterior motives.

    Why do we argue with each other about this crap. Can’t you see what people like Newt Gringrich and Frank Luntz have done to us.

    Democrats never held meetings about how to change American discourse into a cesspool of lies, but your guys do.

    I normally can’t listen to anyone from The American Enterprise Institute, but they have one guy who has a lot of integrity. Listen to this From this morning’s Radio West show.

    Emphasis mine in the following introduction to the show:

    Tuesday, Doug talks to Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of the left-leaning Brookings Institution. Mann and Ornstein have been studying Congress for some 40 years and say they’ve never seen it this dysfunctional. In their latest book, they make no bones about their central thesis: the Republicans are the problem. Mann and Ornstein are in Utah and join us to explain how gridlock has become the status quo and why they say the problem will likely get worse after the November elections.

  12. #12 by cav on September 11, 2012 - 11:55 pm

    Also too, the ‘corn-holers’ have offered to form the intellectual vanguard of our new marches on Cairo, Benghazi, and, of course Tehran.

    Who wrote the Nazis?

  13. #13 by B Maher on September 12, 2012 - 12:18 am

    Geez,I can’t believe you guy are for real. I found your site thinking it was a feel good blog for Utah and stuff. That is about as far from it as your blogs are from reality. What a bunch of morons! But sorry if I offended any of you, it’s just I can’t believe any of you are that _______ stupid. I hope I never meet any of you in real life. You are the poster children for why abortion should not only be legal but mandatory, and in your case enacted retroactively.

  14. #14 by cav on September 12, 2012 - 7:39 am

    How stupid is that B Maher?

    Stupid enough to think Bush, Cheney, Condi or Rummy actually gave a shit.

    Oh, that’s right, the Ken Lay funeral arrangements needed a higher level of attention. At least they were able to pull THAT one off without looking quite the fool.

    You were there for that, of course.

    Yes, and hurray uTah… the ‘Behave State’.

  15. #15 by Richard Warnick on September 12, 2012 - 8:49 am

    Stay classy, Glenn (B Maher).

  16. #16 by cav on September 12, 2012 - 1:04 pm

    Excuse me for a bit, I have to go whip up a little government brand anthrax… For desert… You can just say, “compliments of some foreign offender”. But not Israel.

    Also too, if you quit repeating the lie, sooner or later people will quit believing in it. Simple. Really.

  17. #17 by anon on September 13, 2012 - 9:36 am

    Wow. Progressives are getting this desperate. Trotting out bush.

    This is a good place to gauge how screwed Democrats know they are. Trying to put a good face on it is admirable, but in light of our current foreign policy literally blowing up in our faces..I’d be worried too. It is obama’s deal, and foreign policy is really the only uninterrupted power a president commands.

    Mission accomplished 2…the startling sequel, starring brackobama.

  18. #18 by Richard Warnick on September 13, 2012 - 9:49 am

    I think this is relevant because Willard (“Mitt”) Romney is repeating Bush’s mistakes. Neither Romney nor his running mate Paul Ryan has much of an understanding of foreign policy.

    The Romney-Ryan campaign is relying on people like John Bolton and Dan Senor, irresponsible neocons who are trying to instigate a “clash of civilizations” vs. Islam, a new Cold War, or both.

    This week’s events are still playing out, but it’s clear that having rational people in charge of U.S. foreign policy is a lot better what Romney is offering. What could be more insane than suggesting President Obama is in league with Arab terrorists? We’ll look back on this as the moment when Willard lost the election.

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