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Terror Threats, Month Long Vacations, and Consequences
January 20, 2004
By David Soriano

I have been doing a little reading of some books I received for Christmas. Fortunately Santa is a independent-minded fellow so his selections were pretty right on. I am currently about midway through David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush. Corn, you may know, is the Washington editor for The Nation and a Fox News Channel commentator. He also has written for The Washington Post, NY Times, The New Republic, Slate, and Salon, among others.

I think we have all heard or read about various intelligence reports G.W. Bush and his administration may or may not have received prior to 9/11. Corn espouses on this topic in his book and it called into question President Bush and his administration's actions in the weeks leading up to 9/11.

According to his book a congressional intelligence committee released a preliminary report from their 9/11 inquiry in September of 2002. Corn quotes from the report:

While this method (using airplanes as weapons) of attack had clearly been discussed in terrorist circles there was apparently little, if any, effort by Intelligence Community analysts to produce any strategic assessment of terrorists using aircraft as weapons.

Corn then quotes another portion of the preliminary report, taken from page 23:

A brief prepared for senior government officials at the beginning of July 2001 contained the following language: "Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL (Usama bin Laden) will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning".

Corn then writes "But who were the 'senior government officials' who had received this warning? And what had they done in response? The report did not say".

Corn answers his question, claiming that the Bush administration "wanted to block the public from finding out. Prior to the report's release," Corn writes, "CIA Director George Tenet instructed the congressional intelligence committees not to reveal whether the warning had been presented to Bush".

Corn again quotes directly from the committee's report:

According to the [director of central intelligence], the President's knowledge of intelligence information relevant to this Inquiry remains classified even when the substance of that intelligence information has been declassified.

"That is," Corn summarizes, "the administration was willing to declassify intelligence reports for the committees, but it insisted on keeping classified whether this material had (or had not) been shared with Bush or anyone else at the White House".

"This was an absurd stance," Corn writes, continuing;

"the administration was saying that it was okay to tell the public about top-secret information gathered before 9/11. But it was arguing that national security would be endangered if the world were told those reports had been brought to the attention of Bush and his aides".

Corn logically concludes that:

"The reason for this maneuver appeared obvious: to avoid further debate on what Bush did or did not know prior to 9/11 - and how he reacted to what he was told. What headlines might have ensued has a congressional report revealed Bush was told two months before 9/11 that a 'spectacular' attack was weeks away?"

So, according to the congressional intelligence committee, in a July, 2001 briefing "senior government officials" were made aware, in blatant terms, that a terrorist attack is expected in "coming weeks" and that "mass casualties" were the objective. As Corn writes, it is hard to imagine that President Bush would not have been made aware of this briefing and thus considered one of the "senior government officials" mentioned in the report. Even if the intelligence briefing had been buried on, lets say, Condaleeza Rice's desk, wouldn't the administration jump at the opportunity to have a scapegoat instead of letting speculation make its way to door of the Oval Office?

If Bush was in fact oblivious to the briefing Tenet could have told the congressional intelligence committee just that. This would have at least disqualified the President as someone being "in the loop" while still refraining from pointing fingers or laying blame. Refusing to discount Bush's knowledge of the briefing goes miles in convincing me, and I'm sure others, that he did in fact know about it.

In summary, lets establish a simple time line of events as they occurred leading up to 9/11:

  1. In July of 2001 "senior government officials", which may or may not have included President Bush, were warned of "a significant terrorist the coming weeks ...designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests".
  2. The next month, in August of 2001, President Bush takes a month long vacation on his ranch in Crawford, TX.
  3. On September 11, 2001 hijacked airliners crash into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania.

The sequence of events are easy to follow and the facts are indisputable. There are no dots to connect or wild assumptions that need to be made in order to draw a conclusion. The President was allowed to - or decided himself to - be on vacation when a terrorist attack of significant consequence was likely to occur on the united States.

Is it not so plainly obvious? Are there reasons the mainstream media has not presented this story in plain, simple terms to the American people? Maybe they are waiting for the release of the final report by the independent 9/11 commission before reporting on what seems obvious at the moment.

Will the summary of the commission headed by former New Jersey Republican Governor Thomas Kean account for these events? He had recently hinted that names of people to be held accountable will be revealed in the report, but since making those statements he has, as President Bush is fond of saying, "crawfished" a bit.

Apparently, the commission wants to hear testimony from both Presidents G.W. Bush and Clinton. There have also been reports that the administration is trying to push back the release of the report until after the November presidential election. We can only hope that if this occurs the mainstream press will choose not put off their own questions about this issue until then.

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