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The Myth That President Bush Knew About the 9-11 Attacks in Advance


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Many like to argue that President Bush knew of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. They cite the title of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), which read: “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US. "

The PDB's actual text; however, gives no specifics, or warnings, on what eventually happened on 9/11 attacks. The title is immediately followed by this PDB statement: “Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U. S. "

The briefing continues on in a tone similar to terror related security briefings. It gives a basic history of Bin Laden's attacks against U. S.interests, then gives a general overview of specific attempted, or desired, attacks. Its theme was Bin Laden's desires to strike inside the US, and his mode of operation.

According to the PDB, Osama Bin Laden wanted to attack Washington D. retaliation for our missile strikes against Afghanistan. He wanted to go on the offensive and fight in America.

The first post Afghanistan attack opportunity came with the botched millennium attacks. It started with a guy planning on attacking the Los Angeles airport, then developed to a plan that Al-Qaeda ended up supporting. The report goes on to talk about how Al Qaeda prepared for its attacks by initially conducting surveillance, then planning the attacks. The PDB talked about how terrorists take their time preparing prior to carrying the attacks out.

The report talked about al Qaeda cells in the U. S. , groups of people that were ready to carry these attacks out.

The PDB does mention a Bin Ladin desire to conduct a hijacking operation, but it wasn't for bombing the World Trade Center. He wanted to hijack an American airplane to try to get the Blind Sheik, al-Rahman, and Islamic extremists released. In other words, this PDF mentioned a routine, pre 9/11 style airplane hijacking. This is where an airplane is taken, Americans are held hostage, a few days of negotiations take place; and then the hostages hopefully get released. This part of the report wasn't corroborated, and the hijacking was listed as the most “sensational" report.

The PDB talked about pre terror attack surveillance taking place in the US, to include surveillance being conducted in New York. The surveillance targets; however, were federal buildings, not the World Trace Center buildings. The PDB also explained explosions, but in terms of explosions being carried out from within the US. Not via airplane.

Simply put, the warning was general, vague, and projected based on Pre 9/11, or 9/10, assumptions.

History tells us that even if the President, after reading this PDB, set defenses up to meet those threats, the 9/11 attacks would've still happened. This PDB is an example of the kind of information that the intelligence community constantly receives. Throughout the 1990s, the government received numerous terrorist related threats. Most the threats didn't bear fruit; this is what the government has to work with when trying to prevent future attacks.

To argue that President Bush turned a blind eye to the 9/11 attacks, by using this PDB, is to apply a double standard. President Bush's critics take the hijacking part of the PDB; which was uncorroborated; then argue that President Bush “knew" that a 9/11 style hijacking was supposed to take place in the near future. The PDB doesn't support that assumption. Ironically, many of these critics will turn around and dismiss as “unconfirmed" strong circumstantial evidence that helps the Bush Administration's arguments.


Presidential Daily Brief dated, Dated August 6, 2001, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US. "

Travis is a freelance writer that specializes in information market, political writing, fundraising and communications.


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