Apr 14, 2004
Why One Stonewalls
By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief headlined “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,” the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda’s intentions. So had Vice President Cheney and Bush’s top national security team, according to newly declassified information released yesterday by the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence community headlined some of those reports “Bin Laden planning multiple operations,” “Bin Laden network’s plans advancing” and “Bin Laden threats are real.”
The intelligence included reports of a hostage plot against Americans. It noted that operatives might choose to hijack an aircraft or storm a U.S. embassy. Without knowing when, where or how the terrorists would strike, the CIA “consistently described the upcoming attacks as occurring on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil,” according to one of two staff reports released by the panel yesterday.
President Bush was in an expansive mood on Aug. 7, 2001, when he ran into reporters while playing golf at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Tex.