This is a big deal.
Hey, you remember that Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001?
The one that the CIA was all shpilkes over (it was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike US") and the one that after he was briefed on it Bush tossed it aside with a casual "You've covered your ass, now."
Yea, that one.
Turns out, there's more to the story:
On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.This is from Kurt Eichenwald, reporter from Vanity Fair writing in the New York Times.
That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it. [emphasis added.]
For years the Bush Administration said they'd not been told any details of any specific threat, right? Eichenwald points out:
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 neoconservatives then in command of the Pentagon, Eichewald adds, thought that it was a disinformation campaign by Bin Laden - a deflection away from his BFF, Saddam Hussein. The grownups at the CIA disagreed but the neocons won out anyway.
There were more warnings that summer, warnings that were dismissed. And some very bad things followed.
Something else we should remember whenever we hear that "Bush Kept Us Safe."