Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bush cabal given advance warning of 9/11 attack

Secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was the national security advisor before the 9/11 attack. Regarding being notified in a meeting with George Tenet (then director of central intelligence) of an impending al Q'aeda attack on an American target two months before 9/11/2001, Rice had this to say: "What I'm quite certain of is that it was not a meeting in which I was told that there was an impending attack and I refused to respond." It's interesting that she could be so certain about "the supposed meeting" of which she claimed to have no recollection.

It turns out that Tenet and his counterterrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so concerned about an impending al Q'aeda attack that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Rice. Could it be that the meeting just slipped Rice's memory because the risk was understated? According to an intelligence official who helped prepare the briefing and PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the meeting, it was a "10 on a scale of 1 to 10" that "connected the dots" in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al Q'aeda was poised to strike again.

The national security advisor clearly had a problem discriminating the importance of an inconsequential report from a report with a title such as, oh, I don't know ... "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." However, she was not the only one notified of the impending attack. It turns out that defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former attorney general John Ashcroft received the same CIA briefing. After the fact, Tenet also told the 9/11 Commission about the meeting, although for some strange reason it was not reported in The 9/11 Commission Report.

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