Thursday :: Apr 8, 2004

Hints of the August 6th Memo

by CA Pol Junkie

by CA Pol Junkie

Condoleeza Rice's testimony this morning gave us glimpses of what was in the August 6th Memo. Rice's testimony today was consistent with her previous assertions that it was a historical memo, and not based on new threat information. The commissioners, who have now seen the Memo, strongly implied there was more to it than that:

And I am asking you whether it is not the case that you learned in the PDB memo of August 6th that the FBI was saying that it had information suggesting that preparations _ not historically, but ongoing, along with these numerous full field investigations against al-Qaida cells, that preparations were being made consistent with hijackings within the United States? - Richard Ben-Veniste

In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking. - Bob Kerrey

In response to Rice's assertions that the August 6th Memo did not include specific threats to New York and Washington D.C., Ben-Veniste concurred:

We agree that there were no specifics.

The 9/11 Timeline seems to concur with the commissioners with its list of items in the Memo:

1. Bin Laden has wanted to conduct attacks inside the US since 1997.
2. Members of al-Qaeda, including some US citizens, [have] resided in or traveled to the US for years and that the group apparently maintain[s] a support structure in the US.
3. A discussion of the arrest of Ahmed Ressam and the 1998 US embassy bombings.
4. Uncorroborated information obtained in 1998 that bin Laden wants to hijack airplanes to gain the release of US-held extremists such as Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman.
5. Information acquired in May 2001 indicating al-Qaeda is planning to infiltrate the US from Canada and attack the US using high explosives.
6. FBI judgments about patterns of activity consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks.
7. The number of bin Laden-related investigations underway

It appears that the Memo does not necessarily include the relatively specific warnings which have been reported from Israel, Russia, the U.K., Egypt, and Jordan at least. That begs the question as to how high up those warnings went, if they didn't make it to the top.

The 9/11 Commission has asked that the August 6th memo be declassified so everyone can see what is in it. The Bush administration is, of course, dragging their feet. If it was not a warning document, as Rice insisted, then as Timothy Roemer put it, Why wouldn't it be made public then?

Update: The New York Times is reporting that the White House has agreed to release the August 6th Memo. When they will do so is anyone's guess...

CA Pol Junkie :: 12:50 PM :: Comments (15) :: Digg It!