The truth behind what George bush knew before 9/11. See it in my new York times piece published in Tuesday’s paper: nyti.ms/ROW7uh
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 11, 2012
A new New York Times op-ed by Kurt Eichenwald includes previously unpublished details about what the George Bush Administration was told about threats to America leading up to 9/11. Couched within his opinion piece, here’s what Eichenwald revealed:
1. “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” is Just Part of the Story
The infamous Aug. 6, 2001, daily briefing, released by the Bush Administration in 2004, indeed did not warn of an imminent strike on the U.S. The administration was off the hook. However …
2. The Unreleased Briefings, Which Came BEFORE, Are the Real Story
Several daily briefings prior to Aug. 6 dealt specifically with Al Qaeda planning attacks on the U.S. Those briefs were not released to the public. (The Aug. 6 brief was a broad analysis of Al Qaeda’s motives that was requested by Bush after multiple prior briefings.)
3. Eichenwald Has Seen Them, and They’re Damning
Eichenwald says he has viewed “excerpts” of the still-nonpublic briefings. Reviewing the excerpts along with “other recently declassified records,” he has formed a disturbing new picture of the warnings presented to the administration and its failure to heed them. Eichenwald says his research brings him 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.
4. The C.I.A.’s Warnings Were Clear in May
According to Eichenwald, by May 1 the C.I.A. warned of a terrorist group “presently in the United States” planning an attack. On June 22 it briefed the president that an attack could be “imminent.”
5. Bush’s Guys Were Focused on Saddam
Eichenwald’s sources tell him Pentagon power players thought the C.I.A. was duped by bin Laden, drawing attention from the true threat, Saddam Hussein. For this reason they poo-pooed the C.I.A.’s analysis and its warnings.
6. The C.I.A. Jumped Up & Down & Waived Its Arms
The C.I.A. became insistent and more specific. The June 29 brief included these words: “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden” — specifically countering the Saddam smokescreen argument.
7. The C.I.A. Warned AGAIN, with Intel from Osama’s Own Aides
The June 29 brief cited Osama bin Laden’s aides warning of a coming attack in an interview with a Middle Eastern reporter. It also said his operatives “expected the planned near-term attacks to have ‘dramatic consequences,’ including major casualties,” Eichenwald writes. Again, on July 1, a brief said the attack “will occur soon.”
8. The C.I.A. Didn’t Want Blood on Its Hands
One official at the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center wanted the staff to ask for a transfer “so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place,” Eichenwald writes.
9. A Extremist Leader in Chechnya Gave Another Sign
On July 9, Al Qaeda-linked extremist Ibn Al-Khattab “told his followers that there would soon be very big news.” The White House had the info shortly after. On July 24, the C.I.A. told Bush the attack may be postponed but was still coming. Then Bush ordered the Aug. 6 brief.
10. Lack of High Alert Led to More Signs Being Missed
Eichenwald opines that, had the administration taken seriously the C.I.A.’s insistence that an attack was imminent, we would have been on high alert and would have seen these additional, obvious signs: On Aug. 4, a customs agent stopped now-suspected Saudi 9/11 conspirator Mohamed al-Kahtani in Orlando, who arrived from Dubai with a one-way ticket. Later in August, conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was busted in Minnesota after an instructor at the International Flight Academy tipped off the FBI that something was amiss. Should these have been been glaring red flags in light of the C.I.A.’s warnings?