Third Party & Independents Archives

The Memo

There is no smoking gun in the President’s Daily Briefing from Aug. 6, 2001 and one doesn’t get the sense September 11th could have been prevented. Here is a summary, but read the whole thing:

Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and “bring the fighting to America”…Al-Qa’ida members — including some who are US citizens — have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks…
A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks...The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.

Instead there is just a chill and a sense that maybe this should have raised more alarms. But, a reasonable person has to consider what the President's Daily Briefing looked like on other days -- what attacks, threats, vague hints and gathered intelligence never came to fruition. What bits of intel were in the Aug. 5 PDB? Aug. 7? How significant of a departure is the Aug. 6 briefing from what kinds of normal dangers the country faces -- except that this danger ended up happening and we are Election Year Quarterbacking.

Posted by Ry Rivard at April 11, 2004 1:18 AM