Bush wondered after 9/11, ‘Why didn’t we know this?’
In an interview that aired Sunday night, President Bush told National Geographic Channel’s Peter Schnall that after 9/11, he didn’t want to blame intelligence agencies for failing to predict the attacks.
“At some point in time in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, I thought about why didn’t we know this?” Bush recalled.
“I knew we needed to figure out what went wrong to prevent other attacks but I didn’t want start the finger pointing and say to our intelligence communities, ‘You fouled up. You should have caught this. Why didn’t you know?'”
On Aug. 6, 2001 — more than a month before the attacks — Bush received a presidential daily briefing entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
“Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US,” the briefing said. “Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and ‘bring the fighting to America.'”
“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 day after receiving the report while vacationing on his ranch, “Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday,” according to The Washington Post.
On at least two other occasions in August 2001, CIA Director George Tenet also reportedly briefed Bush on terrorist threats.
Watch this video from National Geographic Channel, broadcast Aug. 28, 2011.