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Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US

The briefing

Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US was the title of the President's Daily Brief prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and given to U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday, August 6, 2001. The brief warned, 36 days before the September 11 attacks, of terrorism threats from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, including "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for a hijacking" of US aircraft.[1]

Contents

President's Daily BriefEdit

The President's Daily Brief (PDB) is a brief of important classified information on national security collected by various U.S. intelligence agencies given to the president and a select group of senior officials. On August 6, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency delivered a President's Daily Brief to President Bush, who was vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.[2][3]

President Bush's response of "All right. You've covered your ass." has been erroneously linked to this PDB. This response, however, came from a separate PDB linked to Bin Laden from several months earlier. During 2001, CIA analysts produced several reports warning of imminent attacks by Bin Laden and al Qa'ida. Senior officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and staff from Donald Rumsfeld's office at the Department of Defense, questioned whether these reports might not be deception on the part of al Qa'ida, purposely designed to needlessly expend resources in response. After reevaluating the legitimate risks of these recent reports, CIA analysts produced a report titled "UBL [Usama Bin Laden] Threats Are Real". It was after this report that the president gave that now-infamous response.[4]

ReleaseEdit

The existence of the memo was kept secret, as with all PDBs, until it was leaked in 2002.[2] CBS Evening News reported on the document on May 15.[1][5]

The PDB was declassified and approved for release to the 9/11 Commission on April 10, 2004, and reported in the 9/11 Commission Report on July 22, 2004.[6] According to the National Security Archive, President Bush was the first sitting president to release a PDB to the public.[1]

AnalysisEdit

In response to accusations that the Administration failed to act on the contents of the briefing, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and General Richard Myers emphasized that the CIA's PDB did not warn the President of a specific new threat but "contained historical information based on old reporting".[7]

President Bush later claimed that if he had "had any inkling whatsoever that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country."[8] The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted a training exercise in the two years prior to September 11, 2001, in which it simulated a civilian airliner being hijacked and used as a missile to crash into buildings in the United States, including the World Trade Center.[9][10] In October 2000, the U.S. Department of Defense had conducted exercises rehearsing a plane crashing into the Pentagon.[11] The National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise for September 11, 2001 simulating the crash of a jet into one of its own buildings in northern Virginia.[12]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Blanton, Thomas S. (April 12, 2004). "The President's Daily Brief". National Security Archive. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ a b Thompson, Paul (2004). The Terror Timeline. HarperCollins. p. 100. ISBN 0-06-078338-9.
  3. ^ "Condoleezza Rice asserts 'Bin Laden Determined To Attack' wasn't a warning. sickhorses.com" on YouTube
  4. ^ Michael Morell, "The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism - from al Qa'ida to ISIS" (New York: Hatchette Book Group, 2015), p. 41
  5. ^ "911 Foreknowledge - Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." on YouTube
  6. ^ National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004). "The System was Blinking Red". The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (PDF). U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 0-16-072304-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Myers, Richard (2009). Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security. Simon and Schuster. p. 186. ISBN 1-4165-6031-9. See: Felix, Antonia (2005). Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story. Newmarket Press. pp. 228–229. ISBN 1-55704-675-1. According to Felix, at the 9/11 Commission, "Condi stressed that the administration did not anticipate any strikes within the country, but was focused on terrorist activities in other parts of the world. Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste brought the subject back to the memo, however, to point out that its very title pointed to a domestic attack."

    BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6 P.D.B. warned against possible attacks in this country? [...]
    RICE: You said did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

  8. ^ New York Times, 14 Apr. 2004, "Transcript of Bush's Remarks on Iraq: 'We Will Finish the Work of the Fallen'"
  9. ^ USA Today, 18 Apr. 2004, "NORAD Had Drills of Jets as Weapons"
  10. ^ CNN, 19 Apr. 2004, "NORAD Exercise Had Jet Crashing into Building"
  11. ^ United Press International, The Washington Times, 22 Apr. 2002, "DOD Rehearsed Plane Hitting Pentagon," archived at: https://web.archive.org/web/20050211062128/http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040422-090447-8354r.htm
  12. ^ Associated Press, Boston, "Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building"