Friday, February 1, 2008

Phoenix, Part 7

We pick up where we left off in Part 6.

First, we examine the text of NSPD-1

The White House

February 13, 2001


This document is the first in a series of National Security Presidential Directives. National Security Presidential Directives shall replace both Presidential Decision Directives and Presidential Review Directives as an instrument for communicating presidential decisions about the national security policies of the United States.

National security includes the defense of the United States of America, protection of our constitutional system of government, and the advancement of United States interests around the globe. National security also depends on America's opportunity to prosper in the world economy. The National Security Act of 1947, as amended, established the National Security Council to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security. That remains its purpose. The NSC shall advise and assist me in integrating all aspects of national security policy as it affects the United States - domestic, foreign, military, intelligence, and economics (in conjunction with the National Economic Council (NEC)). The National Security Council system is a process to coordinate executive departments and agencies in the effective development and implementation of those national security policies.


The NSC shall meet at my direction. When I am absent from a meeting of the NSC, at my direction the Vice President may preside. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs shall be responsible, at my direction and in consultation with the other regular attendees of the NSC, for determining the agenda, ensuring that necessary papers are prepared, and recording NSC actions and Presidential decisions.

Very shortly after taking office, President George W. Bush modified the way the National Security Council conducted business. In addition to specifying that the NSC should meet at his discretion, he made the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs -- his National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice -- responsible for determining the agenda.

With that in mind, we continue reviewing declassified documents from the summer of 2001. These documents were declassified during the Moussaoui trial, and can be found archived in federal court records. As I present images of these documents, they have a defense exhibit number, and it is by that number that they can be located at the link.

In Defense Exhibit 538F, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was quoted in the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activies Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 report (the "JICI Report", December 20, 2002) as having testified:

I don't recall being presented with any specific threat information about an attack of this nature [the use of aircraft as weapons] or any alert highlighting this threat or indicating it was any more likely than any other.

Well, okay; he didn't recall.

But then we have the testimony of then-Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz:

I don't recall any warning of the possibility of a mass casualty attack using civilian airliners or any information that would have led us to contemplate the possibility of our shooting down a civilian airliner.

Okay, again: somebody didn't recall.

Then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice stated in a May, 2002, press briefing:

I don't think anybody could have predicted that these same people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, taken another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.

But, of course, that wasn't true, was it?

As we went on to show reviewing Defense Exhibit 538F in Part 2, the intelligence community had in the previous seven years been aware of at least twelve such plots, including one specifically targeting the World Trade Center!

In fact, in Part 5, we saw how in the summer of 2001 the FBI was interested in warning the Secret Service, presumably because of the danger of a kamikaze-style attack by Al Qaeda, given that a guy connected with Al Qaeda was trying to learn how to fly a 747, even though this guy was not a pilot.

So, in the final days of August, 2001, the following information was being briefed at high-level meetings in Washington, D.C.:

They had at least since February of that year, when Bush put Rice in charge of the meetings of the NSC, to hear about these other plots by Islamic terrorists to crash hijacked planes into targets.

And, as we see here, a man associated with Islamic extremists and Osama bin Laden was learning how to fly 747's, even though he had no corresponding background in aviation -- and this fact was being briefed in Washington in the days preceding 9/11.

But somehow, we are expected to believe, this information was not making it to the National Security Council.

Well, who was setting the agenda for the NSC's meetings? And, this person was doing so at the discretion of whom?

The answers, of course, are: National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, doing so at the discretion of President George W. Bush.