Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CIA warned Rice, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld of probable al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. before 9/11

On July 10, 2001, CIA Director George Tenet and CIA counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black gave a briefing to Condoleezza Rice warning that al Qaeda was preparing for an imminent attack on the U.S. In Bob Woodward's new book, State of Fear, he writes that they felt like they got "the brush-off" from Rice.

But she asked that the same briefing be given to John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld, and they received it on July 17, 2001, as confirmed by Rice's spokesman Sean McCormack.

These briefings were not reported in the 9/11 Commission Report, and 9/11 Commission counsel Peter Rundlet has accused the White House of hiding the July 10th briefing from the Commission. But George Tenet specifically told the 9/11 Commission about these briefings, yet they didn't include it in the Report:
Former CIA Director George Tenet gave the independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission the same briefing on Jan. 28, 2004, but the commission made no mention of the warning in its 428-page final report. According to three former senior intelligence officials, Tenet testified to commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste and to Philip Zelikow, the panel's executive director and the principal author of its report, who's now Rice's top adviser.
Ashcroft has claimed that he didn't receive a briefing from Tenet, saying through a spokesman that he does not recall a July 17, 2001 briefing. A Pentagon spokesman had "no information" about whether Rumsfeld received such a briefing.

On August 6, 2001, the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefing was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."

Rice said this to the 9/11 Commission:
"Well, Mr. Chairman, I took an oath of office on the day that I took this job to protect and defend. And like most government officials, I take it very seriously. And so, as you might imagine, I've asked myself a thousand times what more we could have done. I know that, had we thought that there was an attack coming in Washington or New York, we would have moved heaven and earth to try and stop it. And I know that there was no single thing that might have prevented that attack."
Some of the above is covered in this piece by William Rivers Pitt, but it mistakenly says that the 9/11 Commission was not informed of the Tenet/Rice briefing. The question is not only why Rice, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld didn't take action in response to these briefings from the CIA, and not only why Rice didn't report it to the 9/11 Commission, but why the 9/11 Commission didn't put it in their report.

UPDATE (October 7, 2006): Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial airlines and started flying only on private planes shortly after July 17, 2001, as reported by CBS News on July 26, 2001. This was allegedly due to an FBI "threat assessment" which had advised him to only fly by private plane for the rest of his term of office.

No comments: