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This is the Memo?
by Raymond Green
12 April 2004Condoleezza Rice

The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, as Dr. Rice stated, is extremely vague and actually tells us very little we didn’t already know.

Condoleezza Rice’s 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 machine.

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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