A day before the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday lashed out at President Barack Obama for not paying enough attention to the same daily intelligence briefings that warned President George W. Bush that Osama bin Laden was “determined to strike in the U.S.”
“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney said in an email.
“Those who deserve the credit are the men and women in our military and intelligence communities who worked for many years to track him down. They are the ones who deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.”
National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor told conservative columnist Marc Thiessen that President Obama preferred to read the intelligence briefings.
“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet,” Vietor added to The Daily Caller.
In an interview that aired before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 last year, Bush told National Geographic Channel’s Peter Schnall that he didn’t want to blame the intelligence community 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.
But on Aug. 6, 2001 — more than a month before the attacks — Bush had 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.
[Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore]