Saturday, April 24, 2004

Government memos that did not spur action ...

With the September 11 commission focusing this week on unheeded warnings and myriad intelligence malfunctions by the CIA and FBI, here are a few government memos that did not spur action:

* As Condoleezza Rice tells it, the August 6, 2001 President's Daily Brief was old news and contained "no new threat information." You know, apart from that stuff about the 70 ongoing FBI investigations of al-Qaeda cells and those bothersome "patterns of suspicious activity." Read the PDB

* Then there was the July 2001 memo from the Phoenix FBI agent who noted the possibility of a "coordinated effort" by Osama bin Laden to place his disciples in U.S. flight schools. Agent Kenneth Williams, whose warning was ignored by bureau bosses, wrote that the terrorist's followers would be in a position "to conduct terror activity against civil aviation targets." Read the Phoenix memo

* In May 1998, an FBI agent in the bureau's Oklahoma City office penned a memo, titled "Weapons of Mass Destruction," warning that "large numbers of Middle Eastern males" were taking flight lessons at local airports. The agent thought the enrollments may have been "related to planned terrorist activity." Read the Oklahoma City memo

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