It’s long been suspected that the George W. Bush administration had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and did nothing to respond to it. Those suspicions have now been confirmed by former CIA Director George Tenet and counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black in an astonishing new interview with POLITICO, in which they reveal that they informed the Bush administration in May 2001 of an imminent terrorist attack, and those warnings were deliberately ignored with all the hubris that has come to characterize Bush’s disastrous presidency.
Tenet recounts how the CIA presented a plan (the “Blue Sky” paper) to deal with the growing threat from al-Qaeda in early 2001 – and were not only told to shelve the plan, they were told to hide the paper trail that showed that the Administration had been warned. The Bush Administration refused to recognize the severity of the threat posed by al-Qaeda: “I think they were mentally stuck back eight years [before]. They were used to terrorists being Euro-lefties—they drink champagne by night, blow things up during the day, how bad can this be? And it was a very difficult sell to communicate the urgency to this” said Tenet.
On July 10th, the CIA’s al-Qaeda unit presented concrete evidence that there would be a significant terrorist attack on American soil. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw” says Cofer. He details how National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was told that “there will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.” And nothing was done.
And so, with nineteen volunteers and a budget of around $500,000, al-Qaeda was able to destroy the World Trade Centers, kill thousands of Americans, and provoke us into two horrendously expensive wars that destabilized the geopolitical world order and led to the deaths of millions across the world. George Bush and Dick Cheney’s criminal negligence is difficult to understand. Were they really so arrogant that they refused to acknowledge the threat posed by Muslim extremists? Or were they silently complicit? “To me it remains incomprehensible still. I mean, how is it that you could warn senior people so many times and nothing actually happened? It’s kind of like The Twilight Zone,” laments Tenet. If the case for war crimes against Bush and Cheney isn’t strong enough already, treason can now be added to that list. There is no punishment great enough for what they’ve done to our nation and the world.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.