August 18, 2022

Did You Get the Memo?

By Glenn

Every August I remember our history.  For professional historians, history is based on documents.  Documents give us a look into real time events rather than looking backwards.  Documents help us separate reality from storytelling.

August 6 PDB

On August 6, 2001 a Central Intelligence Agent handed George W. Bush a Presidential Daily Brief.  Its title could not have been clearer: “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”  It laid out the history of “al-Qa’ida” attacks against the United States.

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

Not only did Bush ignore this memorandum, his administration shifted the focus from al-Qa’ida to Iraq.  They did not believe non-state actors like Osama Bin Laden could carry out an attack.  Instead, President Bush allowed Vice President Dick Cheney to plan for an invasion of Iraq.

Domestically, Attorney General John Ashcroft moved resources away from preventing an al-Qa’ida in the US.  In the summer of 2001 he developed Justice Department goals and priorities that omitted the threat from al-Qa’ida.  In fact, his September 10 budget request cut counter terrorism funding.

This willful ignorance was a fateful mistake.  On September 11, 2001, fourteen men from Saudi Arabia​, three from United Arab Emirates​, one from Lebanon​ and one from Egypt attacked the United States of America.  Not one man was from Iraq.  Not one had any connections to Iraq.

Just as the CIA and the FBI predicted,  al-Qa’ida murdered thousands of Americans on our soil.  They conducted the attack right under the noises of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Bush and Cheney then launched a massive disinformation campaign to rewrite history and cover up their failures.  By and large they were successful.  Their ability to lie convinced the Congress and the public to attack Iraq.

The attack not only cost millions of Iraqi lives, the war cost the lives of American service men and women.   It diverted much needed resources from the hunt for al-Qa’ida.  Osama Bin Laden escaped justice until President Barak Obama redirected troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Today law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are warning of more terrorists attacks.  We have already seen many small scale attempts.  These terrorists are inspired by Donald Trump.

We have the memo.  We have the daily brief.  Are you going to be like George W. Bush and ignore the memo?  Are you going to take action to stop Trump’s Terrorists?

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