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That former Bush speechwriter and current torture enthusiast Mark Thiessen would accuse President Obama of skipping daily intelligence briefings should come as no surprise. That he, along with Dick Cheney, would do so to mark the solemn anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is not just a national disgrace, but a personal one. After all, on the same day Thiessen made his claim that the Obama White House laughed off as "hilarious," new revelations about the Bush administration's fatal lack of concern over the Al Qaeda threat to the U.S. homeland in 2001 came to light. Which is why Team Bush, the one which protested that "nobody could have predicted" the 9/11 tragedy, the chaos in Iraq, the Katrina disaster, the 2008 economic collapse and so much more, will forever be remembered by the words of Condoleezza Rice and President Bush himself:
"I believe the title was 'Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.'"

"All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Writing in the New York Times, 500 Days author Kurt Eichenwald documented the Bush administration's near-total deafness to the rapidly growing threat from Osama Bin Laden in the summer of 2001. While Americans learned three years later of the famous Aug. 6, 2001 PDB ("Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S"), Eichenwald's findings show the Bush White House pre-occupied with Saddam Hussein at best and, at worst, asleep at the wheel:
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...

"The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden," the daily brief of June 29 read...And the C.I.A. repeated the warnings in the briefs that followed. Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have "dramatic consequences," including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but "will occur soon." Some of the briefs again reminded Mr. Bush that the attack timing was flexible, and that, despite any perceived delay, the planned assault was on track.

This week's revelations represent the first details on the contents of a trove of 120 previously secret documents concerning the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks obtained by the National Security Archive. As NSA's Barbara Elias-Sanborn concluded, "I don't think the Bush administration would want to see these released." Salon's Jordan Michael Smith explained why:
Many of the documents publicize for the first time what was first made clear in the 9/11 Commission: The White House received a truly remarkable amount of warnings that al-Qaida was trying to attack the United States. From June to September 2001, a full seven CIA Senior Intelligence Briefs detailed that attacks were imminent, an incredible amount of information from one intelligence agency. One from June called "Bin-Ladin and Associates Making Near-Term Threats" writes that "[redacted] expects Usama Bin Laden to launch multiple attacks over the coming days." The famous August brief called "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the US" is included. "Al-Qai'da members, including some US citizens, have resided in or travelled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure here," it says.

During the entire month of August, President Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Texas -- which tied with one of Richard Nixon's as the longest vacation ever taken by a president. CIA Director George Tenet has said he didn't speak to Bush once that month, describing the president as being "on leave." Bush did not hold a Principals' meeting on terrorism until September 4, 2001, having downgraded the meetings to a deputies' meeting, which then-counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke has repeatedly said slowed down anti-Bin Laden efforts "enormously, by months."

That's a far cry from the image of the President Bush, Republicans were so fond of telling Americans, who "kept us safe."

As George W. Bush was taking office in early 2001, the Hart-Rudman Commission on U.S. National Security issued its report declaring "The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack" and cautioning "many thousands of American lives" are at risk. At a transition briefing in the White House situation room during the first week of January, Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger warned his successor Condoleezza Rice, "I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." And on Jan. 25, 2001, counterrorism czar Richard Clarke (who helped lead the 1996 effort to protect the Atlanta Olympics from, among other things, threats from hijacked aircraft) handed the Bush national security team the famous Delenda plan for attacking Al Qaeda.

But in the aftermath of the horrific 9/11 attacks, Condi Rice played the role of a reverse Nostradmus, detailing the myriad foreign policy and security disasters she failed to predict. Confronted by 9/11 commissioner Richard Ben Veniste about the Aug. 6, 2001 PDB (Presidential Daily Brief) which warned of "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks," national security adviser Rice responded:

"I believe the title was 'Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.'"
For his part, the vacationing President George W. Bush responded to the CIA presenter of the infamous Aug. 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) which warned of Al Qaeda's intent to attack the U.S. homeland by declaring:
"All right. You've covered your ass, now."
(Continue reading below the fold.)

On March 22, 2004, Rice took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to argue, "No al-Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration." And in an argument she would later make repeatedly, Rice first introduced the now ubiquitous "nobody could have predicted" defense on May 16, 2002:

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile. All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking."
In early 2008, White House spokesman Tony Fratto showed that Rice's talking point still had legs. Spoon-fed last month by Fox News anchor Jon Scott's suggestion that "nobody was thinking that there'd be terrorists flying 767s into buildings at that point," Fratto reliably coughed up the laughably discredited sound bite:
"That's true. I mean, no one could have anticipated that kind of attack - or very few people."
As late as January 2009, Vice President Dick Cheney was adamant that "I wouldn't have predicted 9/11" or any of the other calamities which defined the Bush years:
"No, obviously, I wouldn't have predicted that. On the other hand I wouldn't have predicted 9/11, the global war on terror, the need to simultaneous run military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq or the near collapse of the financial system on a global basis, not just the U.S."
As late as December 2009, Cheney aide Mary Matalin was blaming the slaughter which occurred during Bush's watch on his predecessor:
"I was there, we inherited a recession from President Clinton, and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history."
Eleven years later, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has inherited George Bush's neoconservative advisers. As for Osama Bin Laden, that's one problem the next president won't have to deal with. Thanks to the special operations raid President Obama ordered and candidate Romney opposed, Osama Bin Laden is dead. But according to a 2007 biography of Ariel Sharon, that's not quite the fate Bush had in mind for the 9/11 mastermind. As the Israeli paper Ha'aretz described this purported exchange between President Bush and Sharon:
Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"
As for the Bushies, they would be advised to choose a different day to cover their own.
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Comment Preferences

  •  a soundbite in the holster for October's Debate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, tikkun
    "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

    Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 09:56:43 AM PDT

  •  W's Santorum Moment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, KenBee, tikkun
    Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!"

    Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 09:57:45 AM PDT

  •  When Clinton went after the terrorists (10+ / 0-)

    by sending tomahawks missiles to Afganistan,
    the outcry of "wag the dog" was deafening by republicans.

  •  People also seem to forget who kept blocking (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, betson08, tikkun

    the creation of the 9/11 Commission...

    "We need to look forward, not backward..."

    "This is not about assigning blame..."

    "When and if fascism comes to America...it will not even be called 'fascism'; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'" --Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School; New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15

    by demongo on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 10:26:59 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for a substantive, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Intheknow, hazey, kurt, dagnome

    thoughtful, and well-referenced diary. As much as our hearts break for the victims of 9/11, it's good to see some of these things made finally public. That's especially true now, as we risk going down the same path if President Obama is not re-elected.

    Just wanted to add a couple of pieces of worthy reporting. First, from the CS Monitor of July 8. From my personal (fallible) memory of Cheney having so often going to Langley in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, a snip:

    Based on documents declassified this summer and acquired from the CIA through a formal “Mandatory Declassification Review” request, the report finds that the spy agency’s internal review “blames ‘analyst liabilities,’ such as neglecting to examine Iraq's deceptive behavior ‘through an Iraqi prism,’ for the failure to correctly assess the country's virtually non-existent WMD capabilities.”

    In other words, CIA officials – who critics say were being urged by hawks in the administration and think tank neoconservatives pressuring the White House to justify war – in turn pushed agency analysts to come up with conclusions that in hindsight were fundamentally (and in the end tragically) wrong.

    "Analysts tended to focus on what was most important to us – the hunt for WMD – and less on what would be most important for a paranoid dictatorship to protect,” the now-declassified CIA review states.

    More detail, also dated July 8, from the Foreign Policy Journal entitled "The Lies that Led to the Iraq War and the Persistent Myth of ‘Intelligence Failure’." It is a lengthy article, but well worth the time it takes to read. A snip containing the overall premise, but -- again -- details that are new to some of us (me ;) :
    There was no such “intelligence failure”. On the contrary, there was an extremely successful disinformation campaign coordinated by the CIA in furtherance of the government’s policy of seeking regime change in Iraq. The language of the document itself reveals a persistent dishonesty. It speaks of “deepened suspicions” that Iraq “had ongoing WMD programs” and “suspicions that Iraq continued to hide WMD.” Needless to say, however, the Iraq war was not sold to the public on the grounds that government officials and intelligence agencies had “suspicions” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It was sold to the public with declarations that it was a known fact that Iraq had ongoing programs and stockpiles of WMD. The tacit acknowledgment that the actual evidence only supported “suspicions” that this was so by itself is proof of that the narrative of an “intelligence failure” is a fiction.
    In addition, there's a documentary, called simply WMD -- fictionalized only to make it look like closed-circuit TV -- about the British role in selling the WMD lie. It's free at Hulu. (Yes it's owned by the corporate media, but not just Fox.) The documentary includes some of the under-reported facts as I remember them.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 10:43:34 AM PDT

  •  7/17/2001 - SAM's protect Bush at G8 Summit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, hazey, kurt

    Rice refused to allow Bush to attend the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy unless missiles were installed to shoot down attacking aircraft.  Guess who the "very few people." were who "could have anticipated that kind of attack".

    The Italian authorities' security measures also include the positioning of surface-to-air missiles at Genoa's Christopher Columbus airport. Dubbed the SPADA, the land-based system consists of missiles capable of a range of 15 kilometres (9.3 miles).
    The official G8 Summit Web site said it was not so much violence by the demonstrators that they feared most, but "the possibility of a terrorist attack."

    The head of Russia's Federal Bodyguard Service has warned of a plot by terrorist Osama bin Laden to assassinate George W. Bush at the summit and the U.S. President may be staying at U.S. Camp Darby military base in Livorno or offshore on the American aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise to avoid any terrorist risk.

    CNN - July 17, 2001 - Genoa braces for G8 summit
    The Italian authorities are bringing in surface-to-air missiles to boost security for next week's G8 summit in Genoa.

    A government spokesman called it a precautionary move against any terrorist attack from the air.

    BBC - 10 July, 2001 - Missile defence for Genoa summit
    From a Times Staff Writer

    WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Italian officials were warned in July that Islamic terrorists might attempt to kill President Bush and other leaders by crashing an airliner into the Genoa summit of industrialized nations, officials said Wednesday.

    Italian officials took the reports seriously enough to prompt extraordinary precautions during the July summit of the Group of 8 nations, including closing the airspace over Genoa and stationing antiaircraft guns at the city's airport.

    September 27, 2001 - Italy Tells of Threat at Genoa Summit

    L.A. Times Archives

  •  The insults are about Eikenwald's book (0+ / 0-)

    not so much Obama. He's just a convenient target, since the best defense is a good offense, as they say.

    They are guilty of being both incompetent and evil. Nothing is a more infuriating combination than that.

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." >www.okiciyap.yolasite.com<"

    by betson08 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 02:02:47 PM PDT

  •  There's NOTHING surprising about this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    ... except the magnitude of their chutzpah in attempting to revise the history of George W. bush's HORRIBLY FAILED administration.

    Not only did the draft-dodging idiot boy king from the fake ranch in Crawford, TX preside over the near-destruction of our economy, but it has been quite clear all along that he did NOT "keep us safe".

    It's UNTHINKABLE for Republicans to be making this specious argument this year, in light of the mew trove of declassified documents indicating that they knew MUCH more about al-Qa'ida's possible plans in 2001 than they have ever admitted previously.

    All of which points to this: We need closure on this, and part of that closure should be indictment and prosecution for both Bush and Cheney. There's NO reason for them to be walking around free, after having presided over massive malfeasance in office.  

    For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

    by dagnome on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 03:13:38 PM PDT

  •  I firmly believe that History will be very (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    unkind to the Bush administration.

    No wonder Jeb has kept a low profile!

  •  "nobody could have foreseen" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    Show they don't even bother with beach reading....  I seem to remember a 747 turned into a missile  during a joint session of Congress, was the plot device that Clancy used to turn his hero Jack into the president.....

    "But it wasn't the same" - yea, the evil pilot was Japanese, not Arabic, he worked for the airline, so he just had to steal the plane, not hijack it.....

    The idea that something that weighs several thousand tons, at least 25% of that fuel, and is capable of moving at over 500mph wouldn't make a good guided missile, means the people whose job it is to think of such things, are either incompetent (or as evidence appears to show) aren't listened to.

    This planet needs a lot more kids who think taking a lawnmower apart is more fun than playing a videogame.

    by rjnerd on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 08:37:07 PM PDT

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