This Kurt Eichenwald op-ed about what the Bush administration knew prior to 9/11 is good but it leaves out a detail that has driven me crazy for 16 years. Remember this quote from Condi Rice on September 24, 2001:
I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile
That’s a lie.
This is why that was a lie This was published September 26, 2001.
Two months before the attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden may have been contemplating an aerial attack against world leaders assembled in Genoa for a G8 summit.
Rumours that the terrorist suspect planned to pack an aircraft with explosives and launch it at the Ducal palace containing George Bush have been given weight by the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.
He said Islamist suicide pilots were originally intended to launch an attack on the Italian riviera.
“On June 13 of this year, we learned of a communique from Bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate Mr Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Italy. It was a well-known piece of in formation,” said President Mubarak.
On a state visit to Paris, the president told French media that Egypt’s intelligence services had intercepted plans for “an aeroplane stuffed with explosives” to plunge into Genoa. A warning was passed to the US, he said.
When they installed a missile defence system at Genoa’s airport in July and enforced a no-fly zone, the Italian authorities were derided, but now they feel vindicated.
After President Mubarak went public, Italy’s deputy prime minister, Gianfranco Fini, confirmed that his own intelligence services had briefed him about the threat. They were expecting a small civilian aircraft with the range to fly from dozens of European airports, not a passenger jet.
“Many people joked about the Italian intelligence force. But actually, they had information that in Genoa there was the hypothesis of an attack on the American president with the use of an aeroplane. That is why we closed the airspace above Genoa and installed anti-aircraft missiles. Those who joked should now reflect,” Mr Fini said.
In addition to President Bush and Vladimir Putin, the July 20-22 summit of the seven most industrialised countries plus Russia gathered the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.
Days before the summit the head of Mr Putin’s personal protection force, General Yevgeni Murov, told the Russian news agency Itar-Tass that the US and Russian presidents were at risk. “Bin Laden utters threats to the US president,” he was quoted as saying.
Italian media at the time also reported that Germany’s intelligence service had relayed to Rome notice of a Bin Laden plot. That prompted the former CIA chief, Vincent Cannistrano, to hypothesise about an attack at the time deemed fanciful: “It would be simple to put explosives in a toy plane and fly it into a room full of dignitaries.”
The Egyptian president told Le Figaro that his knowledge was based on a video made by Bin Laden on June 13. “It spoke of assassinating President Bush and other heads of state in Genoa. It was a question of an aeroplane stuffed with explosives. These precautions then had been taken.”
However, in a twist which casts doubt on President Mubarak, the New York Times reported that people who have viewed the tape said there was no reference to stuffing an aircraft with explosives or killing Mr Bush.
The British government was unable to confirm that there had been a threat to attack the Genoa summit.
But this information was published before that. I was paying attention to the G8 summit in Genoa because I fully intended to backpack Europe that summer. I was already in Cardiff, Wales when an abscessed tooth sidelined me. I’d intended to meet an old friend in Genoa and she was already in the protests there. I was paying a lot of attention to news of the place at the time. Bush stayed on the aircraft carrier USS Enterpise during that meeting because he was worried about threats against him. The Guardian still has a piece up dated from July 10th, 2001 taking about missiles, balloons, etc. to counter aerial incursions. That is absolutely not the behavior of anyone who isn’t thinking about an aerial attack. They knew how the attack on the USS Cole used suicide bombers. Any decent intelligence office would connect the threats of an aerial attack with a suicide attack.
They didn’t just know Osama bin Laden was determined to strike the U.S. They knew how he was likely to do it and took measures to protect Bush. Why they only used this intelligence to protect only Bush and his advsiors, I cannot presume to know, but the fact remains that they repeatedly lied about their ignorance of how planes used as missiles were a potential means of attack.
I realize this all makes me seem like a 9/11 Truther, but read those Guardian articles from 2001 again. Think of the USS Cole. Think of how they knew Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the U.S.
The failure of the Bush administration to protect the United States on 9/11 is greater than the ordinary American is yet willing to understand. Their incompetence was monstrous.
Why do I bring this up again? Apparently Trump’s poll numbers are finally rising again because he dared to call out Jeb’s assertion that his brother kept America safe. I loathe Trump but I appreciate this truth being acknowledged. It’s not enough for me though. The vast scale of incompetence and mendacity has yet to measured. Let’s drag out all of the skeletons from the closet.