The Guardian August 13, 2003

Bush was told. Bush knew. Bush did nothing about it

In the report just issued in the US by the Congressional Inquiry 
investigating the September 11 bombing of the World Trade Centre and the 
Pentagon it is abundantly clear that Bush did know that something was about 
to happen but did nothing about it. Was it an event that Bush needed to 
launch his "war on terrorism" and to unleash wars of aggression against 
Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea and all other points north, 
south, east and west?

The report lists 36 different summaries of warnings dating back to 1997. 
Among them:L

"In September 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information that 
Bin Laden's next operation might involve flying an explosive-laden aircraft 
into a US airport and detonating it."

"In the fall of 1998, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information 
concerning a Bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and 
Washington, DC areas."

"In March 2000, the [Intelligence Community] obtained information regarding 
the types of targets that operatives of Bin Laden's network might strike. 
The Statute of Liberty was specifically mentioned, as were skyscrapers, 
ports, airports, and nuclear power plants."

Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, "stated in a May 16, 
2002, press briefing that, on August 6, 2001, (over one month before Sept 
11) the President's Daily Brief (PDB) included information that Bin Laden 
might hijack an airline and take hostages to gain release of one of their 
operatives. She said the warning was "generalised"  no date, place, or 

Knowing all this

How could Rice, knowing all this, say that the administration had no idea 
"these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade 
Centre, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon"?

"In sum, the Report of the Congressional Inquiry indicates that the 
intelligence community was very aware that bin Laden might fly an airplane 
into an American skyscraper", says John Dean a White House counsel under 
Nixon. "Given the fact that there had already been an attempt to bring down 
the twin towers of the World Trade Centre with a bomb, how could Rice say 
what she did?"

Bush has now invoked executive privilege to withhold from Congress this key 
briefing on August 6, 2001.

We do know that despite years of warnings from the intelligence community, 
the Government apparently had taken no steps to protect the eastern 
seaboard or any other American border from attack. There were no fighter 
aircraft ready to respond immediately to a threat. The government undertook 
no measures to increase airport security.

This entire affair has been forced into a discussion of what the CIA knew 
or didn't know, and what it told or didn't tell the White House. But the 
questioning needs to focus on what Bush knew or didn't know. And what he 
did or didn't do in response to what his intelligence advisers told him.

What we said

In January 2002, The Guardian published a booklet entitled Was the 
attack on Afghanistan planned prior to September 11? The introduction 
says: "There is compelling evidence that the September 11 terrorist attacks 
in the US were organised, at least in party, by US authorities as an excuse 
to start an already planned war in South Asia. It was also to be used as an 
excuse to begin the biggest attack on civil liberties in the West since the 
fascist era.

"There is evidence that the normal interception of hijacked aircraft was 
not activated until AFTER the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the 
Pentagon had taken place.

"There is evidence of a close relationship between the Bush family, the bin 
Laden family and the CIA."

The above booklet is available from SPA Books. 65 Campbell Street, Surry 
Hills, NSW 2010. Price $3 (p&p $1).

* * *
Acknowledgement to James Ridgeway The Village Voice and to Information Clearing House

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