Nat Geo Infomercial: 'Why Didn't We Know This?' Wonders George Bush After 9/11

In an interview that aired Sunday night, President Bush told National Geographic Channel's Peter Schnall that after 9/11, he didn't want to blame intelligence agencies for failing to predict the attacks. "At some point in time in the immediate
2 years ago by David
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In an interview that aired Sunday night, President Bush told National Geographic Channel's Peter Schnall that after 9/11, he didn't want to blame intelligence agencies for failing to predict the attacks.

"At some point in time in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, I thought about why didn't we know this?" Bush recalled.

"I knew we needed to figure out what went wrong to prevent other attacks but I didn't want to start the finger pointing and say to our intelligence communities, 'You fouled up. You should have caught this. Why didn't you know?'"

On Aug. 6, 2001 -- more than a month before the attacks -- Bush received a presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

"Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US," the briefing said. "Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 'bring the fighting to America.'"

"FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

The day after receiving the report while vacationing on his ranch, "Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday," according to The Washington Post.

UPDATE: John Amato: Heather posted about Rupert Murdoch's infomercial for George Bush yesterday, but I didn't think there would be much news coming out of it. Guess I was mistaken. Who can forget Ben-Veniste's questioning of Condi Rice during the 9/11 Commission over the Bin Laden PDB?

RICE: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don't remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Now, the...

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

And in September of 2007, Bill Moyers covered this PDB quite thoroughly:

BILL MOYERS: The system was blinking red but the 9/11 Commission report says the American people were not warned. Where were the President's national security advisers?

--
RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste, you…

BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the…

RICE: I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE: I didn't know there was a point.

RICE: Given that you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks…

BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.

RICE: What the August 6th PDB said, and perhaps I should read it to you…

BEN-VENISTE: We would be happy to have it declassified in full at this time, including its title.

MOYERS: Two days after Rice's testimony and after the Commission's most heated showdown with the Bush Administration over access to classified information — the PDB, heavily blacked out — is released on the Saturday night before Easter.

The President had been informed that, quote: "Bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington."

The President had been informed that FBI information, quote, "indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

And the President had been informed of reports that a group of bin Laden supporters are, quote, "in the U.S. planning attacks."

But the President stays at his Texas ranch for 23 more days. His National Security Adviser does not convene a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss the urgent warnings.

ROEMER: Not once do the principals ever sit down. You, in your job description as the national security adviser, the secretary of State, the secretary of Defense, the President of the United States and meet solely on terrorism to discuss, in the spring and the summer, when these threats are coming in; when you've known since the transition that al Qaeda cells are in the United States; when, as the PDB said on August 6th, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the United States."

RICE: The PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked. It says bin Laden would like to attack the United States. I don't think you, frankly, had to have that report to know that bin Laden would like to attack the United States. The threat reporting… the threat reporting…

ROEMER: So why aren't you doing something about that earlier than August 6th, then?

MOYERS: The Commission never gets a satisfactory answer to that question.

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