VIDEO – Interview with Kurt Eichenwald, author of 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars. Eichenwald wrote an op-ed in the New York Times (9/10/2012) describing the repeated warning signs of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda that were ignored by the Bush Administration.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, Condoleeza Rice testified to the 9/11 Commission about the now infamous “presidential daily brief” titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US“, received just weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.
But while that briefing was actually only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, it was written in response to repeated warnings of a terrorist attack in many other briefings. According to Eichenwald’s op-ed in the New York Times, the first presidential briefing to warn that a group that was in the United States and planning an attack came as early as May 2001. Then, on June 22, the brief reported that Al Qaeda strikes may be “imminent”. More briefings followed including one on July 1 that stated the terrorist operation had been delayed but “will occur soon”.
The intelligence briefings on Al Qaeda kept coming and were continually ignored by Bush. It got to the point where, in a C.I.A. meeting on July 9, 2001, one official suggested that the staff working on the case should request a transfer so that somebody else would take the blame when the attack took place.
On July 24, President Bush was notified that the operation was being prepared, but it had been delayed. Even after all of the intelligence briefings pointing to an “imminent” terror attack by Al Qaeda, President Bush did not believe it was enough evidence and instead asked for an update on the history of the Islamic terrorist group. That request is what led to the now well-known August 6 presidential daily brief.
The neocons in the Bush Administration were busy planning their invasion of Iraq (yes, before 9/11). According to Eichenwald’s sources inside the Administration, the neoconservatives in power told the White House that Bin Laden was just pretending to be planning an attack to distract them from Saddam Hussein.
In the month leading up to the attack, the terrorist cell left a few clues. One was stopped at the Orlando airport by a suspicious customs agent and sent back overseas. Two weeks later in Minnesota, Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested on immigration charges after his suspicious behavior at a flight school.
What if the Bush Administration had been focused on investigating the findings of the C.I.A. Counterterorism Center rather than planning their long-awaited invasion of Iraq?