This is the Memo?
by Raymond Green
12 April 2004
August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, as Dr. Rice stated, is extremely vague and actually tells us very little
we didn’t already know.
testimony in front of the September 11 Commission dropped a number of bombshells
and provided new insights for the public to see how President Bush intended
on tackling the issue of terrorism prior to 9/11. Of these bombshells was
the account by Rice that President Bush’s first priority was to eliminate
al Qaeda, and the entire decimation of Dick Clarke’s false -- or at least,
grossly inaccurate -- accusations that the President was doing even less
than the Clinton administration. The insights and actions taken since the
testimony, though, are no less damaging to the Democrat conspiracy mongering
Richard Ben-Veniste, the Commission’s “weakest link” at portraying this panel
as apolitical, launched into a tirade about an August 6, 2001 Presidential
Daily Brief (P.D.B.). At the time, the P.D.B. was classified, leaving much
to the imagination. His first question was whether Rice told “the president,
at any time prior to August 6, of the existence of al Qaeda cells in the
United States.” When he finally allowed her to answer, it was clear that
the P.D.B. was actually drafted in response to questions posed by the president
and in that sense, “he asked that this be done.” A president rarely poses
questions about an issue he is unattached to.
Ben-Veniste’s following dialogue is far more revealing though. The following
is the transcript, verbatim, of the dialogue following the above mentioned
exchange between Rice and Ben-Veniste:
BEN-VENISTE. Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 P.D.B. warned
against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall
the title of that P.D.B.
RICE. I believe the title was Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States. Now, the P.D.B. --
BEN-VENISTE. Thank you.
RICE. No, Mr. Ben-Veniste --
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. You said did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks
inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting.
There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any
coming attacks inside the United States.
Ben-Veniste posed two questions, and wanted the answer to only one. He wanted
the title of the P.D.B. because it distorted the content of the P.D.B. in
context. He even interrupted Rice because he had what he wanted. He wanted
the title, Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US, knowing very well
that it would play to wild imaginations and could only be debunked with a
full explanation -- not a strong suit for a public craving witty sound bites.
The P.D.B. has now been declassified and conspiracy theories are squelched.
The memo, as Rice stated, is extremely vague and actually tells us very little
we didn’t already know. In fact, if this is the best intelligence being provided
to the president, we can better understand our failure to find the weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq.
The memo states, “We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational
threat reporting,” such as the report that Bin Laden “wanted” to “hijack
a US aircraft to gain the release of ‘Blind Shaykh’ ‘Umar’ Abd al-Rahman…”
– in 1998. It also states that FBI information indicated “suspicious activity
in this country consistent with preparations for highjackings, including
recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” No mention of the
idea that these planes would be used as missiles, no mention (except in a
historical context) of the WTC, no mention of the Pentagon and no smoking
gun. In fact, the memo’s implication was that necessary action was already
being taken to prevent a future attack.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice was accurate in saying no “Silver Bullet” existed to
prevent the attacks on 9/11. President Bush was right in resisting the creation
of this political panel. The White House was accurate in its description
of this extremely vague memo. Democrats have waged a credibility war against
the president with vigor and are losing -- according to poll numbers -- because
they are wrong, not because their message isn’t getting out. Democrats always
want to look forward when it comes to issues like Chappaquiddick and perjury,
but somehow always manage to get hung up on conspiracies they conjured up
from the Kennedy Compound.
Raymond Green's website is SupportNoSpin.com.
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