October 03, 2006

Mining pre-9/11 History

One of the stupidest things that Condi Rice ever said was: “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center.” Of course, today, she is trying to outdo herself by saying that she doesn't remember any urgent briefing mid-July 2001 from George Tenet and Cofer Black about the extreme terrorist threat on the United States by al Qaeda. The only reason the second statement doesn't outdo the first is that the first was so much closer to the actual events, and today she at least has the fog of some five years that could give her some excuse for not recalling that specific meeting. Perhaps she has early dementia.

Yet, to me, it is telling that both lies can be disputed by news reports about the G8 Summit held in Genoa, Italy in July 2001.

One news item that grabbed my attention about that summit in July 2001 was how George W Bush was going to sleep offshore on a US fleet ship because there had been a threat that he was a target for assassination.

Here's a CNN report that showed that Italy worried about an aerial attack at the summit.

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 ministry said the decision to install the missiles is not excessive.

"There's no excessive precaution," military spokesman Colonel Alberto Battaglini told Reuters. "The measure, which was planned by the previous government, may seem open to criticism, but in reality it is merely to act as a deterrent against any aerial incursion during the summit."

Here's another CNN report a few days later on that G8 summit with more on what type of threat had been reported:

U.S. President George W. Bush will not stay with other world leaders because of fear of terrorist attack.

...Adding to the security headache is a reported assassination threat against Bush by millionaire militant Muslim Osama bin Laden.

Earlier this month AP reported that the head of Russia's Federal Security Services viewed "the threats as totally serious."

And then in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the LA Times reported on Sept 27, 2001, that the specific threat in Genoa was from a plane being used as a bomb.

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.

But a U.S. official said that American counter-terrorism experts considered the warning "unsubstantiated."

In either case, the reports suggest that Western governments were aware that terrorists might one day use a hijacked airplane as a suicide weapon--as they did Sept. 11 in attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Genoa warning was disclosed last week by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini. In remarks on a television talk show reported by the Italian news agency ANSA, Fini said: "Many people were ironic about the Italian secret services. But in fact they got the information that there was the possibility of an attack against the U.S. president using an airliner. That's why we closed the airspace and installed the missiles. Those who made cracks should now think a little."

And yes, since we've been hearing about how much the Bush administration had done in response to the terrorist threat and after all, it was Clinton that fell down on the job, it's instructive to see how easily the Bush administration poo-pooed the reports.

In an interview published Sept. 21 in the French newspaper Le Figaro, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said his government provided information to the United States about possible attacks on the Genoa summit by Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden. "There was a question of an airplane stuffed with explosives. As a result, precautions were taken."

White House aides refused to comment on the reports. "We just don't talk about security arrangements," spokeswoman Anna Perez said.

But a U.S. official outside the White House said the Genoa reports were received and discounted.

"There were some press reports citing what we subsequently determined was unsubstantiated information," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That must be the reason that Bush refused to stay with the rest of the heads of state and his security team decided he would stay some place safer, because it just wasn't a credible threat.

Oh, well. In Bush-world, Bush did everything a near-God could do to prevent 9/11 and it was still Clinton's fault for not taking the threat of Osama bin Laden seriously enough.

Meanwhile, Condi might want to review her notes and start using Google to see what lies could be easily found out before speaking again.

And now we're right back into the questions about what happened leading up to 9/11.

  • Who was that unnamed U.S. official that said the threat was not credible in September? Gee, it seems they are starting the coverup early.

  • Why was Bush so blase in August? After all, he heard the August 6th PDB and told the briefer, "You've covered your ass."

  • What happened with NORAD on 9/11? It seems totally strange that Bush could be so worried about a "non-credible" threat in Genoa and then so absolutely out to lunch about the threat when it was against the United States. Perhaps he is narcissistic that he didn't think it was a problem if it didn't concern his own personal safety?

  • And what was Condi's excuse? What was she thinking when she brushed off Tenet and Black? Was she really so clueless that she couldn't put the July 10th briefing together with the July 19th reports about the threat from Osama bin Laden against Bush?

No wonder there are so many conspiracy theories. Too many things still don't make any sense.

Some more about the Bush post-9/11 story from 2002:

In 2002, Newsweek will report, “The White House acknowledged for the first time, [President] Bush was privately beginning to worry about the stream of terror warnings he was hearing that summer, most of them aimed at US targets abroad. On July 5, five days before the Phoenix memo (see July 10, 2001), Bush directed [Condoleezza] Rice to figure out what was going on domestically.” [Newsweek, 5/27/2002] In 2004, President Bush will explain why he requested this. “[T]he reason I did is because there had been a lot of threat intelligence from overseas. And part of it had to do with the Genoa [Italy] G8 conference that I was going to attend.” [US President, 4/19/2004] Though he doesn’t mention it, the chief security concern at the late July 2001 conference he mentions is intelligence that al-Qaeda plans to fly an airplane into the conference. This threat is so widely reported before the conference (with some reports before July 5 (see June 13, 2001) (see Mid-July 2001)) that the attack is called off (see July 20-22, 2001). For instance, in late June, Time magazine mentioned a German intelligence report of a bin Laden plot “to fly remote-controlled model aircraft packed with Semtex into the conference hall and blow the leaders of the industrialized world to smithereens.” (see June 20, 2001) Bush’s request will result in the later-famous August 6, 2001 briefing entitled, “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” (see August 6, 2001) [US President, 4/19/2004]

Entity Tags: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice

Oh, yes. July 5th, Bush asks Condi to get to the bottom of the terrorist threats domestically and on July 10th, she blows off Tenet and Black when they tell her about the threats. Boy, that story holds together well, right? But, you must remember this is the Bush administration revising history in 2002 after they decided that Bush had been extraordinarily on the ball about terrorism. Too bad the way-back-machine trips continues to expose the lies.

Posted by Mary at October 3, 2006 12:05 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |



Now, that`s at the first place disgusting and morally perversive.

The perversions of power, (what is) the might sifting and wavering thru the lousy asses of the republican party, show effects of degeneration.
The glibbering gems of Foleys perverted calls for attitude towards children is a new peak in the Bush era approach towards human mankind.
The democratic crediblity gained in six elections misused for such an infamous and heinous offense comes close to 911 when Bush couldnt read memos. The damage done to democracy wont be equalized by tormenting the Geneva conventions. Especially the morale of this story also doesnt improve thru this pityful excuse circus the Republican party is just presenting.

Posted by: ccoaler at October 3, 2006 04:56 AM

Why is the July 11, 2001 meeting a secret? Why is the content of this meeting a secret? Why is the Powerpoint for this meeting a secret?

Was she warned that OBL was planning a terrorist attack? We read the memo.
Was she warned that they were training as airline piolts, we read the memo.
Was she warned NY might be attacked? We read the memo.
Was she warned this was mostly a group of Saudi's making up the ranks of OBL followers? We read the memo.

I could go on and on, but you get my point. What possible content, that cannot be reasonably redacted to protect names and such, is still required to be secret for National Seurity? We experienced 9/11 already.

Where's the secret? Is the fact that Condi, Rummy, and Ashcroft were told this information the only real secret.

Posted by: Bill Selznick at October 3, 2006 08:49 AM