Despite the unfortunate choice of words by former Rep. Tim Roemer, who called the upcoming Sept. 11 report due out in the next couple of weeks as “highly explosive,” I wonder if the report will live up its billing.
“It’s compelling and galvanizing and will refocus the public’s attention on Sept. 11,” predicted Roemer, an Indiana Democrat. “Certain mistakes, errors and gaps in the system will be made clear.”
The report allegedly has at least two revelations, including:
- More information on ties between the Saudi royal family, government officials and terrorists. The FBI may have mishandled an investigation into how two of the Sept. 11 hijackers received aid from Saudi groups and individuals.
- A coherent narrative of intelligence warnings, some of them ignored or not shared with other agencies, before the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The report also seems to say that the Bush Administration was warned in the summer of 2001 that al Qa’ida was going to attempt to hijack planes and launch “a spectacular attack.”
This appears to contradict (again) what Condoleeza Rice told the San Francisco Chronicle on May 17, 2002.
Rice said that the president, as part of his daily intelligence briefing, was informed Aug. 6 while on vacation at his ranch that Islamic militants associated with bin Laden might hijack American airliners. The mention of bin Laden and “hijacking in a traditional sense” was part of a 1 1/2-page terrorism report given to Bush during the briefing.
But Rice said the administration never considered alerting the public to a possible hijacking threat at home and had no idea that hijackers might consider using an airplane as a missile in a suicide attack. (emphasis added.)
“The most important and most likely thing was that they would take over an airliner, holding passengers and demand the release of one of their operatives,” Rice said.
“That terrorism and hijacking might be associated is not rocket science,” she added. “I don’t think that anyone could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center.”
We’ll have to see what’s in the report, of course. I’m looking forward to it. But I’ll go out on a limb and predict that if the report is as embarrassing as Roemer and Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who is running for President in part armed with allegations of negligence against the White House, say it is, the response from Team Bush will consist of a) denial that they had any warnings, and when confronted with evidence that they _did_ have warnings, b) blame it on Bill Clinton.
Just a hunch.