The Deafness Before the Storm

(NY Times) – On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack.

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster.

Ali Soufan, author of ‘The Black Banners’ and former FBI Special Agent

(France24) – Did the CIA withhold critical information that could have prevented the 9/11 terror attacks? Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan, a lead interrogator in the post-9/11 interrogations of al Qaeda suspects, says the answer is an emphatic “Yes”. He speaks to Douglas Herbert about what he calls the CIA’s continuing efforts, 11 years later, to discredit his version of events.

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