500 Days pre 9/11 Intel, NY TimesTue Sep 11, 2012 12:0518.104.22.168500 Days pre 9/11 Intel
The Months That Changed The World Forever
Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, there is new ... "What I've been able to see are the presidential daily briefs before August 6 of 2001. ... (Eichenwald also discussed his book, "500 Days," which chronicles the ...
Excerpted from 500 DAYS by Kurt Eichenwald. Copyright © 2012 by Kurt Eichenwald. Reprinted by permission of Touchstone Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Unedited by AskMen
The Bush White House Was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings - NYTimes.com
This is the never-before-told full story of the 500 days that followed 9/11, by New York Times bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald. Eichenwald, author of Conspiracy of Fools and The Informant, takes us behind the scenes to the depths of CIA headquarters and al-Qaeda training camps. Here is an excerpt.
With the flick of a switch, the electronic timer on a concealed briefcase bomb flashed red, its digits counting down from five minutes. A small fan quietly whirred, generating a breath of air that could disperse enough sarin gas to kill everyone within several yards. A few feet away, George W. bush set a plate of cookies on a table, shooting a glance outside as he dropped into an overstuffed chair. His beloved ranch was as tranquil as he had ever seen, with sunlight pouring through the trees in streaks of blazing heat. A cow lumbered past, attracting the fleeting attention of the grim-faced visitors who were there to reveal some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets to the texas governor.
Thirty days earlier, bush had been selected at the republican national convention in Philadelphia as the party’s candidate for the 2000 presidential election. By tradition, the central intelligence agency provides a broad-ranging intelligence briefing during the presidential campaign to both the republican and the democratic nominees, preparing them for the responsibilities of the White house. On this day, September 2, 2000, four agency officials—led by John McLaughlin, the acting deputy director—had traveled to bush’s ranch outside of Waco to present him and three of his senior advisors—Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Josh Bolten—with classified information from the most closely guarded sanctums of American power. For three hours, the conversation roamed the globe—from Russia to China, from the Middle East to Latin America. Ben Bonk, the deputy director of the CIA’s counterterrorist center, kept his silence, biding his time as he took the measure of America’s would-be commander-in-chief.
Bush struck him as intriguingly quirky; here was an aspirant to the highest office in the land attending his first intelligence briefing decked out in full marlboro man regalia—cowboy boots, jeans with a big buckle, and a checked short-sleeved work shirt. He was unpretentious, a presidential candidate willing to fetch food from the kitchen for his guests. Just as strikingly, the walls were plastered with tacky memorabilia, like a rubberized bass that could turn its head and break into song—a peculiar choice for a man seeking to become leader of the free world. But Bush’s down-home veneer, Bonk thought, disguised a keen mind. He had expected to be dealing with an intellectual lightweight, reliant on his aides for guidance in the subtleties of statecraft. Instead, it was Bush who peppered the briefers with frequent and often insightful questions, while his subordinates stayed quiet.
Bonk’s plan for this day was itself a testament to the effectiveness of Bush’s aw-shucks folksiness. Because of that reputation, Bonk had overcome his hesitance about sneaking the briefcase bomb into the house, providing Bush a vivid exhibit of the terrorist threat. Even though it contained no poison gas, the device was real enough—the CIA had built it based on a design seized from a Japanese terrorist cult that had used the bomb to kill thirteen commuters in attacks on Tokyo subway stations.
He had let the Secret Service in on the ruse, of course—otherwise, the security detail would probably have arrested him at the door—but the governor had been left in the dark about it. Once inside, Bonk set the briefcase on the floor next to his chair and had now, just before it was his turn to speak, activated the bomb with the switch on the briefcase handle.
The governor’s eyes shifted to Bonk. “All right, Ben,” he said. “You’re up.”
Bonk looked down at his briefing book. His colleagues had all opened their presentations with a joke—some were even funny—but terrorism didn’t lend itself to laughter. So Bonk had chosen a more attention-grabbing tack: shock.
“Governor Bush, everything you’ve heard today about future events has been qualified as probable or likely things,” he said. “But I can say one thing for sure without any qualification: Sometime in the next four years, americans will die as a result of a terrorist incident.”
Bush furrowed his brow as the slightest wisps of joviality were sucked out of the room. Bonk paused to let his audience absorb the import of his statement. Numerous terrorist organizations were on the move, he continued, but the most dangerous were the islamic extremist groups. Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad—the names varied but their recipe for mayhem was the same: suicide and truck bombings, kidnappings, torture, executions.
Still, the bloody toll from those tactics was nothing compared to what lay in store for America and its allies if the terrorists succeeded in their quest for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons, collectively known as CBRN. Al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, was the group most likely to succeed, Bonk said; it had the deepest pockets and the most far-flung operational networks. Its deadly shopping list was long—sodium cyanide, anthrax, radiological disbursal devices, improvised nuclear arms. If al-Qaeda or another terrorist group got its hands on any of them, it would show no hesitation in using the weapons immediately to murder as many americans as possible. America’s nuclear arsenal, which had kept an uneasy peace with the Soviet empire in the decades of the Cold War, wouldn’t deter Islamic extremists.
These weapons of mass destruction did not have to be large or cumbersome to transport, Bonk explained. Terrorists could easily slip compact bombs into a crowd without raising suspicion.Bonk reached for his briefcase, stood, and walked toward bush. As he approached, he popped it open, then tilted the case forward. Bush saw the red digits counting down.
“Don’t worry,” Bonk said. “This is harmless. But it is exactly the kind of chemical device that people can bring into a room and kill everybody.” He glanced down at the timer. “And this one would be going off in two minutes.” Bush looked at Josh Bolten. “You’ve got one and a half minutes to get that thing out of here,” he said.
The Bush White House Was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings - NYTimes.com
APFN 9/11 INFO AND LINKS...
- Excerpt from "500 Days: Secrets and Lies APFN, Tue Sep 11 12:14Excerpt from "500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars" by Kurt Eichenwald Read an excerpt below from the newly published book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, Kurt Eichenwald,... more