April 14, 2004

Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings, Reports Preceded August 2001 Memo

Here is CONTEXT and CONTINUITY for the 8/6/01 PDB...from the 9/11 Commission and the Washington Post...that's how the system is supposed to work...Unfortunately, there is still a disturbing disconnect to the air waves. The Bush cabal is still controlling the horizontal and the vertical through the complicity and spinelessness of the network news organizations...It's the Media, Stupid...The LNS fears for the fate of the 9/11 Commission, it is becoming increasingly clear that they are trying to do the right thing, and it is increasingly clear that the Bush cabal is out to derail their attempt at national decency and integrity. Yesterday, they baited a trap for the Commission, that's why it let Ashcroft go without excoriating him on his obvious failures pre-9/11...Keep your eyes on the prize...There are two...Look for the 9/11 Commission's final report in July. Don't worry, even if the Bush cabal attempts to hold up its release until after the November election (i.e. for "vetting"), it will get leaked...Look forward to the election itself, it is nothing less than a referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the incredible shrinking _resident to continue to occupy the office to which he was not elected in 2000.

Dana Priest, Washington Post: By the time a CIA
briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001,
President's Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin
Determined To Strike in US," the president had seen a
stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions.
So had Vice President Cheney and Bush's top national
security team, according to newly declassified
information released yesterday by the commission
investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Busg (again!)


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9642-2004Apr13.html

washingtonpost.com
Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings, Reports Preceded August 2001 Memo

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 14, 2004; Page A01


By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug.
6, 2001, President's Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin
Determined To Strike in US," the president had seen a
stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions.
So had Vice President Cheney and Bush's top national
security team, according to newly declassified
information released yesterday by the commission
investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence
community headlined some of those reports "Bin Laden
planning multiple operations," "Bin Laden network's
plans advancing" and "Bin Laden threats are real."

The intelligence included reports of a hostage plot
against Americans. It noted that operatives might
choose to hijack an aircraft or storm a U.S. embassy.
Without knowing when, where or how the terrorists
would strike, the CIA "consistently described the
upcoming attacks as occurring on a catastrophic level,
indicating that they would cause the world to be in
turmoil," according to one of two staff reports
released by the panel yesterday.

"Reports similar to these were made available to
President Bush in the morning meetings with [Director
of Central Intelligence George J.] Tenet," the
commission staff said.

The information offers the most detailed account to
date of the warnings the intelligence community gave
top Bush administration officials, and it provides the
context in which a CIA briefer put together a memo on
Osama bin Laden's activities in the Aug. 6 brief for
Bush.

The government moved on several fronts to counter the
threats. The CIA launched "disruption operations" in
20 countries. Tenet met or phoned 20 foreign
intelligence officials. Units of the 5th Fleet were
redeployed. Embassies went on alert. Cheney called
Crown Prince Adbullah of Saudi Arabia to ask for help.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice asked the
CIA to brief Attorney General John D. Ashcroft about
an "imminent" terrorist attack whose location was
unknown.

"The system was blinking red," Tenet told the
commission in private testimony, the panel's report
noted.

In this context, Bush "had occasionally asked his
briefers whether any of the threats pointed to the
United States," the report said. Or, as one U.S.
senior official more intimately involved in the summer
reporting paraphrased the president's question to the
CIA: "This guy going to strike here?"

A partial answer was contained in the very first
sentence of the Aug. 6 President's Daily Brief:
"Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports
indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct
terrorist attacks in the US."

The document ended with two paragraphs of
circumstantial evidence that al Qaeda operatives might
already be in the United States preparing "for
hijackings or other types of attacks" and said that
the FBI and the CIA were investigating a call to the
U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates in May
"saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in
the US planning attacks with explosives."

The commission also released new details showing how
the CIA and FBI failures to track the movements of two
hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, and
share information foiled what now appears to have been
the best chance to disrupt the terrorist attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The CIA knew Almihdhar had attended a meeting in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2000 where, officials
later learned, he had helped plan the October 2000
bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Aden, Yemen.
After the meeting, Almihdhar and others went to
Bangkok, but the CIA station in Malaysia did not
inform the CIA station in Bangkok in a timely manner.

Only two months later, in March, did the CIA learn
that Almihdhar had left Bangkok with a visa to the
United States.

In January 2001, two surveillance photographs from the
Kuala Lumpur meeting were shown to an informant who
was helping both the CIA and the FBI. He helped them
understand that Almihdhar was at the meeting with a
man identified as "Khallad" -- who by then was known
to have planned the Cole bombing. But "we found no
effort by the CIA to renew the long-abandoned search
for [Almihdhar] or his traveling companions," the
staff report noted.

Also, contrary to the previous testimony of Tenet, the
CIA did not tell the FBI about this discovery until
late August 2001, according to the report.

Almihdhar had left the United States in June 2000 but
had plans to return.

"It is possible that if, in January 2001, agencies had
resumed their search for him" or had placed him on a
terrorist watch list, "they might have found him"
before he applied for a new visa in June 2001, the
report said. "Or they might have been alerted to him
when he returned to the United States the following
month. We cannot know."

In mid-May 2001, during the height of threat
reporting, a CIA official went back through the
Almihdhar files and discovered that he had a U.S. visa
and that Alhazmi had come to Los Angeles on Jan. 15,
2000. The official concluded "something bad was
definitely up," the staff report said, but he did not
alert his FBI counterparts. "He was focused on
Malaysia."

But the report said he did ask an FBI analyst detailed
to the CIA to review the Kuala Lumpur material again
-- "in her free time." She began on July 24, 2001, and
learned from the Immigration and Naturalization
Service that the two might be in the country. She
drafted a cable asking that Almihdhar and Alhazmi be
put on a terrorist watch list. The FBI analyst,
meanwhile, "took responsibility for the search effort
inside the United States."

The analyst thought Almihdhar was in New York and
informed the FBI's New York field office. But she
labeled her first e-mail to the office "routine,"
which gave the FBI 30 days to respond.

"No one apparently felt they needed to inform higher
levels of management in either the FBI or CIA about
the case," the commission staff said.

The search was assigned to an FBI agent who had never
before handled a counterterrorism lead.

"Many witnesses have suggested that even if
[Almihdhar] had been found, there was nothing the
agents could have done except follow him onto the
planes," the report said. "We believe this is
incorrect.

"Both [Alhazmi] and [Almihdhar] could have been held
for immigration violations, or as material witnesses
in the Cole bombing case," the commission report said.
Interrogations "also may have yielded evidence of
connections to other participants in the 9/11 plot. In
any case, the opportunity did not arise."

2004 The Washington Post Company


Posted by richard at April 14, 2004 02:10 PM