Kurt Eichenwald, a journalist and author of ‘500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars” about the time just after the attacks, wrote in NY Times that president Bush on 6 August received a top-secret document with the heading: ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’.
Eichenwald, who has read secret documents and interviewed close sources, said the first of many ignored warnings of Al Quaeda attacks came on 1 May 2001 when the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) told the White House that ‘a group presently in the United States’ was planning a terrorist operation.
At CIAs daily brief with Bush 22 June the agency said strikes could be ‘imminent’ although a time frame was flexible, but nothing was done about it.
In a long op-ed piece published 11 years after the Manhattan attacks that killed nearly 3,000, Eichenwald suggests that the White House should have reacted when operatives connected to Bin Laden 29 June said they expected some near-term attacks with ‘dramatic consequences’, when CIA on 1 July said the attack ‘will occur soon’ or when the extremist Ibn Al-Khattab, known for his Al Quaeda links, on the week after said there soon will be very big news.
Eichenwald meant that things might have turned out differently if Mohamed al-Kahtani, who is thought to have played a role in the 9/11 attacks and was stopped at an Orlando airport to be returned home on 4 August, would have been investigated.
Finally Eichenwald said Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested after acting suspiciously on a flight school, could have been a sign of what was to come. “But the dots were not connected, and Washington did not react,” he wrote.
The article has been received with various reactions. Here is a blog that has written it out to a simple dialog.
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