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Impeach Bush

Panel's focus falls on Aug. 6 Bush brief
USA Today
By Mimi Hall and John Diamond, USA TODAY
April 08, 2004

In the alphabet soup that marks so many government hearings in the nation's capital, PDB — for President's Daily Brief — was the acronym of the day Thursday.
Members of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks grilled national security adviser Condoleezza Rice about the Aug. 6 PDB, which referred to al-Qaeda's plans to attack the United States.

"Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country?" commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, a onetime Watergate prosecutor, said after Rice testified that the president had not been given specific warnings about such plots. "And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?"

Rice replied, "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.' "

It was a defining moment in the hearing, and it cut to the core of what Rice was there to answer: what the president and his team knew in the weeks and months before Sept. 11, 2001, and whether they did enough to respond to the growing threat from al-Qaeda.

Commissioners are looking for answers in the top-secret PDBs from the CIA about threats to the nation. Some suggested Thursday that the Aug. 6, 2001, PDB included a warning about al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. targets.

The public may be able to make an independent judgment on what the PDB implies. The White House said Thursday night that it intends to take the unprecedented step of declassifying the PDB. "We're actively working the declassification process," White House spokeswoman Pamela Stevens said.

The Aug. 6 PDB was the type of top-secret briefing Bush receives six days a week, accompanied by a CIA memo that's distributed to the president, vice president, national security adviser and about 17 other top officials.

The Aug. 6 PDB has become a flash point because some suggest it proves Bush knew there was a plot in the works. He and his aides have said they didn't have any way of knowing al-Qaeda's intentions.

Thursday, Rice said the memo was prepared in response to questions Bush had about whether al-Qaeda might attack in the USA, as opposed to attacking American interests abroad, as had been the pattern.

She said the PDB contained "historical information based on old reporting" about al-Qaeda. "It did not ... warn of any coming attacks inside the United States," she said.

Later in the hearing, commissioner and former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey cited some of the language in the PDB. "This is what the Aug. 6 memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking."

Rice said those reports were "checked out" and the Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines. An earlier congressional inquiry into the attacks reported that the PDB warned of recent intelligence that al-Qaeda planned to carry out attacks with explosives. But Rice continued to maintain that the information in the Aug. 6 PDB was historical.

Several commission members have been allowed to view copies of some of the memos. At a hearing last month, commissioner Jamie Gorelick said the threats reported during the summer of 2001 would "set your hair on fire."

© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Commentary:
On July 26th of 2001 Ashcroft was told commercial planes were too dangerous for him to fly on. Eleven days later Bush was told bin Laden was going to attack the US and according to Bob Kerrey (last paragraph in the above article) the August 6th 2001 PDB indicated they were preparing to hijack commercial airplanes.

Why weren't we informed about the hijacking plans and why weren't we told why commercial planes weren't safe for Ashcroft long before 9/11?