On August 6, 2001, President George Bush read a simply-worded 1 1/4 page summary memo clearly entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." One paragraph of the memo stated: "Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country, consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
The next sentence continued, "The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related."
The President was then enjoying a month-long summer vacation on his Texas ranch. According to one CNN reporter whose beat then was the vacationing President, Mr. Bush was incredibly relaxed that summer..."more relaxed than we had ever seen him." The President read this memo, and concluded that it was too vague to cause protective action to be taken in New York or elsewhere.
I don't know which idea is scarier to me.....that he's lying about his interpretation of this memo and made an erroneous risk assessment, or that he honestly finds these words too vague to be a credible warning and "actionable" threat. His earnest insistence is starting to convince me that he really didn't comprehend the memo.
I find it more comforting to think he's lying. Lying can be fixed.
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