Thursday, February 10, 2005

This doesn't look good

The Bush administration received 52 intelligence reports warning about Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda between April and September 2001. Five briefings discussed terrorists' hijacking ability, and two talked about their plans for suicide assaults. Federal Aviation Administration officials "had indeed considered the possibility that terrorists would hijack a plane and use it as a weapon" before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Those are just a few of the revelations in the final declassified version of a previously undisclosed 9/11 commission report. The newly disclosed report also hammers the FAA for not expanding its terrorist watch list or hiring more air marshals. A cursory reading of The New York Times' story on the report leaves an impression that some high-level government officials made very few efforts to connect the dots.

The Bush administration received the report five months ago but withheld it until two weeks ago, a decision I'm sure had nothing whatsoever to do with November's presidential election. After all, the al-Qaeda and bin Laden warnings constituted only half of all intelligence reports that Bush received in the five months before 9/11. Why would the American public worry about that when deciding whether to re-elect him?

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