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Report of the 9/11 Commission

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« Reply #1425 on: September 08, 2009, 12:40:38 am »

60. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (Free Press, 2004), p. 32. According to Clarke, he responded that "al Qaeda did this."When the President pressed Clarke to check if Saddam was involved and said that he wanted to learn of any shred of evidence, Clarke promised to look at the question again, but added that the NSC and the intelligence community had looked in the past for linkages between al Qaeda and Iraq and never found any real linkages. Ibid.

61. President Bush told us that Clarke had mischaracterized this exchange. On the evening of September 12, the President was at the Pentagon and then went to the White House residence. He dismissed the idea that he had been wandering around the Situation Room alone, saying,"I don't do that." He said that he did not think that any president would roam around looking for something to do.While Clarke said he had found the President's tone "very intimidating," ("Clarke's Take on Terror,", Mar. 21, 2004, online at /2004/03/19/60minutes/printable607356.shtml), President Bush doubted that anyone would have found his manner intimidating. President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). Roger Cressey, Clarke's deputy, recalls this exchange with the President and Clarke concerning Iraq shortly after 9/11, but did not believe the Pres-ident's manner was intimidating. Roger Cressey interview (June 23, 2004).

62. NSC memo, Kurtz to Rice, Survey of Intelligence Information on any Iraq Involvement in the September 11 Attacks, Sept. 18, 2001. On 60 Minutes (CBS, Mar. 21, 2004), Clarke said that the first draft of this memo was returned by the NSC Front Office because it did not find a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda; Rice and Hadley deny that they asked to have the memo redone for this reason.

63. See DOD notes,Victoria Clarke notes, Sept. 11, 2001; DOD notes, Stephen Cambone notes, Sept. 11, 2001. Cambone's notes indicate this exchange took place at 2:40 P.M. on September 11, 2001. Steven Cambone interview (July 15, 2004).

64. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004). For an account of Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's position on Iraq, see Bob Woodward, Bush at War (Simon & Schuster, 2002), pp. 83-84. Rice told us that the Bush at War account of the Camp David discussions on Iraq accorded with her memory.

65. DOD memo, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,"War on Terrorism: Strategic Concept," Sept. 14, 2001.

66. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Rumsfeld told Bob Woodward that he had no recollection of Wolfowitz's remarks at Camp David. DOD transcript,"Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the Washington Post," Jan. 9, 2002 (online at

67. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Powell raised concerns that a focus on Iraq might negate progress made with the international coalition the administration was putting together for Afghanistan.Taking on Iraq at this time could destroy the international coalition. Ibid.

68. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004).

69.White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

70. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004).

71. NSC memo,"Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting," Sept. 17, 2001.

72. Condoleezza Rice testimony, Apr. 8, 2004; see also Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 22.

73. DOD memo, Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld, "Preventing More Events," Sept. 17, 2001. We review contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda in chapter 2.We have found no credible evidence to support theories of Iraqi government involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing.Wolfowitz added in his memo that he had attempted in June to get the CIA to explore these theories.

74. DOD memo,Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld,"Were We Asleep?" Sept. 18, 2001.

75. DOD memo, Rumsfeld to Shelton,"Some Thoughts for CINCs as They Prepare Plans," Sept. 19, 2001. In a memo that appears to be from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith to Rumsfeld, dated September 20, the author expressed disappointment at the limited options immediately available in Afghanistan and the lack of ground options.The author suggested instead hitting terrorists outside the Middle East in the initial offensive, perhaps deliberately selecting a non-al Qaeda target like Iraq. Since U.S. attacks were expected in Afghanistan, an American attack in South America or Southeast Asia might be a surprise to the terrorists.The memo may have been a draft never sent to Rumsfeld, or may be a draft of points being suggested for Rumsfeld to deliver in a briefing to the President. DOD memo, Feith to Rumsfeld,"Briefing Draft," Sept. 20, 2001.

76. Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004).

77.Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

78. NSC memo, memorandum of conversation from meeting of President Bush with Prime Minister Blair,

Sept. 20, 2001.

79.Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

80.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People,

Sept. 20, 2001. British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the session.

81. Ibid. Several NSC officials, including Clarke and Cressey, told us that the mention of the Cole in the speech to Congress marked the first public U.S. declaration that al Qaeda had been behind the October 2000 attack. Clarke said he added the language on this point to the speech. Richard Clarke interview (Feb. 3, 2004); Roger Cressey interview (Dec. 15, 2003).

82.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001. President Bush told the Washington Post that he considered having Powell deliver the ultimatum to the Taliban, but determined it would have more impact coming directly from the president. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

83.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001.

84. Ibid.

85. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Major General Del Dailey, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, also attended the September 21 meeting.The meeting was in direct response to the President's September 17 instruction to Rumsfeld to develop a military campaign plan for Afghanistan.The original "Infinite Justice" name was a continuation of a series of names begun in August 1998 with Operation Infinite Reach, the air strikes against Bin Ladin's facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan after the embassy bombings.The series also included Operation Infinite Resolve, a variety of proposed follow-on strikes on al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan.

86. DOD Special Operations Command and Central Command briefings (Sept. 15-16, 2003;Apr. 8-9, 2004; Apr. 28, 2004); Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004). On death of Atef, see Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, Age of Sacred Terror, p. 349; Henry, "The CIA in Afghanistan, 2001-2002," Studies in Intelligence (classified version), vol. 47, no. 2 (2003), pp. 1, 11. See Donald Rumsfeld testimony, Mar. 23, 2004 (nearly two-thirds of the known leaders of al Qaeda had been killed or captured).

11 Foresight-and Hindsight

1. Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor:Warning and Decision (Stanford Univ. Press, 1962), p. 387.

2. Intelligence Community analytic report, "The Foreign Terrorist Threat in the United States," NIE 95-13, July 1995, pp. v, vii-viii, 10-11, 13, 18.

3. Intelligence Community analytic report,"The Foreign Terrorist Threat in the US: Revisiting Our 1995 Estimate," ICB 97-8, Apr. 1997, p. 1.

4. For Bin Ladin being mentioned in only two other sentences, see ibid.

5.Titles are drawn from articles in the National Intelligence Daily and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief.

6. John McLaughlin interview (Jan. 21, 2004).

7. Ibid.; Pattie Kindsvater interview (Sept. 12, 2003).

8.Tim Weiner,"U.S. Hard Put to Find Proof Bin Laden Directed Attacks," New York Times, Apr. 13, 1999, p.A1.

9. Paul R. Pillar, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), p. 23; see also ibid., pp. 5, 21-22.

10. For a concise statement of the role of the national estimate process, see Task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, Making Intelligence Smarter:The Future of U.S. Intelligence (Council on Foreign Relations, 1996), pp. 34-35 (additional views of Richard Betts).

11.Waldo Heinrichs, Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II (Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), p. 215.

12.For the response being routine,see Gordon Prange, At Dawn We Slept:The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (McGraw-Hill, 1981), pp. 732-733. For a brief summary of these routines and the reasons why the intercepts were not properly digested, see Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision, 2d ed. (Longman, 1999), p. 194, n. 72.

13. PDBs were not routinely briefed to congressional leaders, though this item could have been in some other intelligence briefing. It was not circulated in the NID or SEIB. For the September 1998 report, see Intelligence report,"Terrorism: Possible Attack on a U.S. City," Sept. 8, 1998.

14. For the August report, see Intelligence report,"Terrorism: Alleged Threat by Arab Terrorists to Attack the World Trade Center in New York," Aug. 12, 1998. An FAA civil aviation security official believed the plan was improbable because Libyan planes were required to operate within airspace limitations and the Libyans did not possess aircraft with the necessary range to make good on the threat. Jack S. interview (June 13, 2004). On September 30, 1999, the FAA closed the file on the August report after investigation could not corroborate the report, and the source's credibility was deemed suspect. FAA report, Transportation Security Intelligence ICF Report 980162, undated; but see FAA/TSA rebuttal to the Joint Inquiry's Sept. 18, 2002, staff statement, undated, p. 1 (stating that the FAA did not formally analyze this threat).The Algerian hijackers had placed explosives in key areas of the cabin. However, there was some speculation in the media based on reports from a passenger aboard the plane that the hijackers had discussed crashing it into the Eiffel Tower. FAA report, FAA Intelligence Case File 94-305, undated.

15. For Murad's idea, see chapter 5, note 33.

16. For Clarke's involvement in the 1996 Olympics, see Richard Clarke interview (Dec. 18, 2003). For the 1998 exercise, see Chuck Green interview (Apr. 21, 2004); NSC briefing paper, Nov. 10, 1998.

17. For the report of the National Transportation Safety Board, see NTSB report, "Aircraft Accident Brief," Mar. 13, 2002 (online at For the early 2000 CSG discussion, see NSC note, CSG SVTS agenda, Jan. 31, 2000.

18. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004.

19. FAA memo, Office of Civil Aviation Security Intelligence,"Usama Bin Ladin/World Islamic Front Hijacking Threat," Intelligence Note 99-06, Aug. 4, 1999, pp. 5-6.

20. Ibid.

21. As part of his 34-page analysis, the attorney explained why he thought that a fueled Boeing 747, used as a weapon, "must be considered capable of destroying virtually any building located anywhere in the world." DOJ memo, Robert D. to Cathleen C.,"Aerial Intercepts and Shoot-downs:Ambiguities of Law and Practical Considerations," Mar. 30, 2000, p. 10. Also, in February 1974, a man named Samuel Byck attempted to commandeer a plane at Baltimore Washington International Airport with the intention of forcing the pilots to fly into Washington and crash into the White House to kill the president.The man was shot by police and then killed himself on the aircraft while it was still on the ground at the airport.

22. For NORAD's hypothesis of aircraft as weapons, see, e.g., Ralph Eberhardt interview (Mar. 1, 2004). For the 2001 Positive Force 01 exercise, see DOD briefing (Apr. 29, 2004); Tom Cecil and Mark Postgate interview (June 7, 2004).

23. For the Gates report's recommendations, see DCI task force report,"Improving Intelligence Warning," May 29, 1992. For strengthening of the warning official, see DCI memo,"Warning," July 17, 1992. For the recommendations languishing, see Charles Allen interview (Sept. 22, 2003). For CTC having responsibility for warning, see Robert Vickers interview (Sept. 17, 2003). For the Board's warnings, see, e.g., Community Counterterrorism Board report,"Intelligence Community Terrorist Threat Advisory: Bin Ladin Orchestrating Possible Anti-US Attacks," June 30, 2000.

24. CIA briefing materials,"DCI Update," Aug. 23, 2001.

25. James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004). For more on this meeting, see Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004); George Tenet interview (Jan. 28, 2004).

26. For the briefing to the President-elect, see James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).The CIA's formal analysis of what would happen if Bin Ladin alone was removed as compared with the importance of shutting down the sanctuary was offered in several places. See, e.g., CIA analytic report,"Likely Impact of Taliban Actions Against Al Qaeda," Feb. 21, 2001 (provided as background for Tenet meetings with Rice on Feb. 23 and Mar. 7, 2001).

27. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004.

28. Mike interview (Dec. 11, 2003) (reading from CIA email, Mike to Winston Wiley,Aug. 27, 1997).

29. For President Bush's statement of al Qaeda's responsibility for the Cole attack, see White House transcript, "Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People," Sept. 20, 2001 (online at

30. For Pavitt's view, see James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

31. Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004). Zinni was concerned about excessive collateral damage caused by Tomahawk strikes. See Anthony Zinni interview (Jan. 29, 2004).

32. For Shelton's view, see Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004). For Cohen's view, see William Cohen interview (Feb. 5, 2004).

33. Russell Honore interview (Oct. 29, 2003).

34. James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

35. Ibid.

36. Cofer Black interview (Dec. 9, 2003).

37. Rich interview (Dec. 11, 2003).

38. CIA memo,Tenet to Gordon and others,"Usama Bin Ladin," Dec. 4, 1998, p. 2.

39. See, e.g., Joan Dempsey interview (Nov. 12, 2003); Jeff B. interview (Dec. 11, 2003); Louis Andre interview

(Nov. 10, 2003); Mary C. interview (Oct. 25, 2003); Maureen Baginski interview (Nov. 15, 2003);Thomas Wilson interview (Dec. 4, 2003). Assistant DCI Charles Allen did redouble his efforts to coordinate and improve collection at the tactical level, but this was not a plan to address larger weaknesses in the fundamental capabilities of the intelligence community. See Charles Allen interview (Sept. 22, 2003).

40. For Dempsey's action, see Joan Dempsey interview (Nov. 12, 2003). For Minihan's view, see Joint Inquiry interview of Kenneth Minihan, Sept. 12, 2002. For the CIA viewing the memorandum as intended for non-CIA intelligence agencies, see Dave Carey interview (Oct. 31, 2003).

41. George Tenet interview (Jan. 22, 2004); James Pavitt interview (Jan. 8, 2004).

42. For the New York Times article about the Jordanian arrests, see Reuters,"Jordan Seizes 13 and Links Them to Afghan Explosives Training," New York Times, Dec. 16, 1999, p.A13. For the Ressam story being on the front page, see, e.g., Sam HoweVerhovek with Tim Weiner,"Man Seized with Bomb Parts at Border Spurs U.S. Inquiry," New York Times, Dec. 18, 1999, p. A1. For television coverage, see Vanderbilt University Television News Archive, Dec. 13, 22-31, 1999.

12 What to Do? A Global Strategy

1. For spending totals, see David Baumann, "Accounting for the Deficit," National Journal, June 12, 2004, p. 1852 (combining categories for defense discretionary, homeland security, and international affairs).

2.White House press release,"National Strategy for Combating Terrorism," Feb. 2003 (online at

3. "Islamist terrorism is an immediate derivative of Islamism.This term distinguishes itself from Islamic by the fact that the latter refers to a religion and culture in existence over a millennium, whereas the first is a political/reli-gious phenomenon linked to the great events of the 20th century. Furthermore Islamists define themselves as 'Islamiyyoun/Islamists' precisely to differentiate themselves from 'Muslimun/Muslims.'... Islamism is defined as 'an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate.'" Mehdi Mozaffari,"Bin Laden and Islamist Terrorism," Militaert Tidsskrift, vol. 131 (Mar. 2002), p. 1 (online at The Islamist movement, born about 1940, is a product of the modern world, influenced by Marxist-Leninist concepts about revolutionary organization. "Islamists consider Islam to be as much a religion as an 'ideology,' a neologism which they introduced and which remains anathema to the ulamas (the clerical scholars)." Olivier Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, trans. Carol Volk (Harvard Univ. Press, 1994), p. 3. Facing political limits by the end of the 1990s, the extremist wing of the Islamist movement "rejected the democratic references invoked by the moderates; and as a result, raw terrorism in its most spectacular and destructive form became its main option for reviving armed struggle in the new millennium." Gilles Kepel, Jihad:The Trail of Political Islam, trans. Anthony Roberts (Harvard Univ. Press, 2002), p. 14.
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