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Investigating Condi's Claim About the Aug. 6 P.D.B.: 'Warning' or 'Historical Information'?
April 15, 2004
Satire by Marc Grobman

I regret to report my failure in attempting to resolve the controversy over the character of the August 6, 2001 P.D.B. (President's Daily Briefing) titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Back during 9/11 Commission hearings, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice insisted the P.D.B. "did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting."

Some people disagreed with Dr. Rice's characterization, which demonstrated the need for an objective investigation. So I followed the strategy President Bush employed to determine the facts behind the 9/11 attacks, and nominated three professionals of diverse backgrounds to an Independent Commission. To save time, I confirmed them without holding hearings.

I instructed my Independent Commission to contact law enforcement experts with localized versions of the Aug. 6 P.D.B. They were to ask the experts if they thought their messages constituted threats, or simply passed along historical information. My three commission members, and their assigned tasks were:

Red [surname withheld]: Red had chaired the governing collective of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at a northeastern university in 1967. While he is vague about his current activities, I thought it would be improper to use that as a "litmus test" for his Commission membership. I directed Red to visit the police department of Simi Valley, California, and to give this message to the officer on duty: "Maria-Emma [surname withheld] is determined to attack inside the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Do you consider that a warning or simply historical information?"

Maria-Emma [surname withheld]: An admirer of socialist Emma Goldman, whose first name she adopted, Maria-Emma chairs the Red Lesbians Brigade. I instructed her to report to the District of Columbia Police Department, and state, "Kwame [surname withheld] is determined to attack inside The Heritage Foundation. Do you consider that a warning or simply historical information?"

Kwame [surname withheld]: A member of the "Black Kitten" generation, Kwame's parents helped found the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party. Kwame was home-schooled by his father, who blames the Panthers' demise on what he calls its "conservative wing." I directed Kwame to go to the Baltimore Police Department and report, "Red [surname withheld] is determined to attack former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Do you consider that a warning or simply historical information?"

I never heard from Red and Maria-Emma again. Kwame's email report explained the reason:

"At the Baltimore P.D., a detective told me that since former Vice President Agnew had died in 1996, my statement would be considered 'historical information,' and that I could leave. He added, 'By the way. Tell your boss not to worry about Red and Maria-Emma. They're okay.'

"I asked the detective what had happened to your other Independent Commission members. He said they were vacationing at a resort south of Miami, in a place that rhymed with 'Geronimo,' and gave me a wink. He assured me they hadn't been charged with a crime, and that since they were getting free lodging and meals, they might decide to stay there for an indeterminate period of time.

"The detective said if you want to visit them, you just have to offer to help them. Then, in recognition of your sincere intent to provide aid and comfort, a government agency he couldn't name would fly you down to have a long visit with them and provide you with the same comforts."

With only one of the three members of my Independent Commission reporting, my findings are inconclusive in establishing whether the Aug. 6 P.D.B. was a warning or historical information. I will leave that determination to others.

Marc Grobman is a freelance writer in Fanwood, N.J. who writes for business and consumer publications. His satire on making right-wingers angry, "Our 'Too Angry' Image: No Problem, An Opportunity!," recently appeared in and Demsonline. Email: Web site: MG Communications.

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