Kevin Drum wins best headline of the year. And he’s right:
Drum scoffs at the sheer hypocrisy and selective memory inherent in Cheney’s complaints. He says, “This came on the same day that Kurt Eichenwald told us what he’d learned after seeing a series of daily briefings from the months prior to 9/11. Presumably Dick Cheney saw them all too.”
- 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 [i.e., Cheney's clique of neocon nitwits -ed.] considered the warning to be just bluster….In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
- “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name
- On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.”
- On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews.
- On July 24, Mr. Bush was notified that the attack was still being readied, but that it had been postponed, perhaps by a few months. But the president did not feel the briefings on potential attacks were sufficient, one intelligence official told me, and instead asked for a broader analysis on Al Qaeda, its aspirations and its history. In response, the C.I.A. set to work on the Aug. 6 brief.
- August 6, of course, was the infamous daily brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” — the one that prompted George Bush to tell his briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass.”
NEVERFORGET™ how much good it did us for Bush to attend his daily briefings in the summer of 2001.
Drum reminds everyone, “Obama reads the daily brief and sometimes he attends briefing sessions. Either way, though, he certainly seems to pay more attention to them than either George Bush or Dick Cheney ever did.”
“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.” — National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in response to this criticism