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April 10, 2004
August 6, 2001 PDB Declassified

Finally, after all of the shouting, the Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001 for which 9/11 commissioners Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey showboated demands for declassification has been released. And guess what -- it's exactly as Condoleezza Rice and the Bush Administration has characterized it -- a document giving a brief history of al-Qaeda operations, their desire to attack the US, and ongoing investigations of their efforts, just like I had earlier posted:

Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After U.S. missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative's access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Laden's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own U.S. attack.

Ressam says Bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although Bin Laden has not succeeded, his attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Laden associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

AI Qaeda members including same who are U.S. citizens have resided in and traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.

Two Al Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers Bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or Bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.

That's it; no planes flying into buildings, just a suggestion that bin Laden may have planned a hijacking to free Omar abd al-Rahman, who currently resides in a federal prison for the first World Trade Center bombing. It describes 70 "ongoing" FBI investigations related to bin Laden.

What in God's name in this report gave any specific warning that coordinated hijackings would turn planes into guided missiles? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing in this PDB that could have prevented 9/11, and Ben-Veniste and Kerrey knew it -- because they had already read it. Why did Ben-Veniste and Kerrey demand its declassification? Because they thought they wouldn't get it, and wanted to suggest that the Bush administration was covering up something.

Ben-Veniste and Kerrey bluffed, and today their bluff got called. Game over. They've been exposed as political hacks, and should withdraw immediately from the commission, or else the commission should disband.

California Yankee also has this. I suspect the blogosphere will be erupting

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Power Line asks, "This is it?"

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 10, 2004 6:31 PM

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For what it's worth, my paragraph-by-paragraph look at the August 6, 2001 presidential briefing declassified today: Paragraph 1:"Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in... [Read More]

Tracked on April 11, 2004 12:24 AM



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