Kurt Eichenwald has, including the volumes of Presidential Daily Briefings now public, and it turns out the Bush White House knew way more than has been previously discussed, and chose to ignore those warnings out of a misguided and unsupported belief that the “real” threat was Iraq.
By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
Ah, neocons. Fuck each and every one of them, and then put ’em in jail. Jesus.
You can tell it’s all true, btw, because the right’s response has been to send out professional liar Ari Fleischer to smear Eichenwald as a “truther.” In this segment on AC360, the level of sheer smugtastic douchery from Fleischer is breathtaking.