Bush Ignored Early Warning Signs of Sept. 11 Attacks

Bush Ignored Early Warning Signs of Sept. 11 Attacks
President Bush as he is notified of the terrorist attacks at approximately 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001

An explosive new report accuses the Bush administration of failing to take action on multiple warnings that an attack on the United States soil was not only imminent, but that it would cause many casualties. And on Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden carried out his threats.

The new material is even more damning than the infamous “Bin Laden determined to strike within U.S.” briefing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified to Congress about. The New York Times reports:

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief —in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. 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.

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