Memo Not Specific Enough, Bush Says
President Describes Bin Laden Threat as 'Obvious' Before 9/11
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 12, 2004; Page A01
President Bush said yesterday that a memo he received a month before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks did not contain enough specific threat information to prevent the hijackings and "said nothing about an attack on America."
In his most extensive public remarks about a briefing he received Aug. 6, 2001, titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," Bush also said that he "was satisfied that some of the matters were being looked into" by the FBI and the CIA that summer and that they would have reported any "actionable intelligence" to him.
"I am satisfied that I never saw any intelligence that indicated there was going to be an attack on America -- at a time and a place, an attack," Bush told reporters after Easter services in Fort Hood, Tex. "Of course we knew that America was hated by Osama bin Laden. That was obvious. The question was, who was going to attack us, when and where and with what?"
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."
Head Spook Sputters
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 15, 2004
WASHINGTON -If only Osama had faxed an X-marks-the-spot map to the Crawford ranch showing the Pentagon, the Capitol, the twin towers and the word "BOOM!" scrawled in Arabic.
That might have sparked sluggish imaginations. Or maybe not.
Only a couple of weeks after the endlessly vacationing President Bush got his Aug. 6, 2001, briefing with the shivery headline "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," the C.I.A. chief, George Tenet, and other top agency officials received a briefing about the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui after his suspicious behavior in a Minnesota flight school. And that had another shivery headline: "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly."
"The news had no evident effect" on prompting the C.I.A. to warn anyone, according to the drily rendered report of the 9/11 commission's staff, which faults the agency for management miasma and Al Qaeda myopia, citing a failure to make a "comprehensive estimate of the enemy."
Asked by the commission member Timothy Roemer about whether he had shared this amazing news at a Sept. 4 meeting with Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Clarke — the meeting on Al Qaeda that Mr. Clarke had been urgently begging for since January — Mr. Tenet said no. Asked if he had ever mentioned it to Mr. Bush in August, during a month of "high chatter and huge warnings," Mr. Tenet said no.
The Man Whose Hair Was Allegedly on Fire told the commissioners that he had not talked to the president at all in August. Mr. Bush was in Texas, and he was in Washington. Or he was on vacation, and the president was in Texas. Quel high alert.
Al Qaeda Unchecked for Years, Panel Says
Tenet Concedes CIA Made Mistakes
By Walter Pincus and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 15, 2004; Page A01
U.S. intelligence services failed to recognize the emergence of the al Qaeda terrorist network until more than a decade after it was founded in 1988, playing down a tide of reports that documented the danger posed by the group, according to findings released yesterday by the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The CIA's Counterterrorist Center never developed a plan to deal with the possibility that terrorists might use airplanes as weapons despite growing evidence during the 1990s that terrorist groups had attempted or were planning such plots, the commission's staff also found.
CIA Director George J. Tenet acknowledged yesterday that he did not brief President Bush, FBI leaders or Cabinet members after he was informed in late August 2001 of the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, who would later be charged as a conspirator in the terror attacks. The briefing for Tenet was titled "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly."