By Alan Levin and Mimi Hall, USA TODAY
Nearly half of the Federal Aviation Administration's daily intelligence reports in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks mentioned Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, according to newly released documents.
A report by the 9/11 Commission adds new details to long-standing concerns by the commission that the FAA did not respond aggressively enough in 2001 to intelligence suggesting al-Qaeda was planning an attack. The report was withheld from the public for five months before it was declassified. [...]
The report, completed Aug. 26, was intended as an addendum to the commission's full report. But the Bush administration spent months blacking out material it considered secret. The report was sent to the Archives on Jan. 28 with large chunks deleted.
Three things to keep in mind, as this story continues to unfold.
First: National Security Advisor and now Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indeed lied, repeatedly, when she claimed to the media and to Congress that the Administration didn't have advance warning of al-Qaeda threats -- that's roundly been proven by multiple reports and sources, at this point. Either Rice knew full well about the al-Qaeda threats or she didn't -- as National Security Advisor it's unclear which of those two options makes her look more stunningly incompetent -- but Al-Qaeda was such a well-known threat that the FAA referred to the terrorist group in fifty-two separate daily intel reports from April, 2001 to the time the attacks finally took place.
Second: While this 9/11 Commission report was completed in late August, two months before the presidential elections, the release of this report was blocked "for national security concerns" until this January by the Bush administration. The report was finally released (and only with substantial redactions) only two weeks ago, on Jan 28th.
But Third: Those large delays and redactions, ostensibly done for national security reasons, didn't have anything to do with national security, according to the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean. According to the USA TODAY story, Kean says "There's nothing affecting national security that I can see in the redactions." So that leaves the obvious question: what was redacted?