Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 12, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

WHY THE PDB IS SO SHORT....Just a quick note: I've gotten a pile of email asking if there's something fishy about the August 6 PDB. Why is it only 1 pages long when this story in Die Zeit indicates it was 11 pages long? And why are the page numbers at the bottom redacted? Are we seeing the whole document?

My understanding is that the al-Qaeda stuff was an addendum to the normal daily briefing, which was several pages longer. I'm not quite sure why the page numbers had to be redacted, but all that's missing is the rest of the routine daily briefing. If there's any genuine funny business, I'm sure the members of the 9/11 commssion who have seen the entire thing will raise a flag. So far they haven't.

On another topic, the LA Times today brings up the most important point about the PDB, which so far has gotten lost in the shuffle:

How did the president respond? And what did the FBI do?

....Largely lost in the charges and countercharges was how the president and the FBI, the agency principally responsible for protecting Americans from terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, reacted to the information in the CIA-drafted report, which was declassified and released Saturday.

But that is about to change. The bipartisan commission investigating the events leading up to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is expected to make the once-classified document and the Bush administration's reaction to it a prime focus of its hearings Tuesday and Wednesday. Top FBI and Justice Department officials in the Clinton and Bush administrations, along with CIA director George J. Tenet, are scheduled to testify.

"The 9/11 commission is going to want to know what was the White House's reaction to the analysis and judgment of the CIA and the FBI about the threats," said Roger W. Cressey, who served as a deputy White House counterterrorism official in both administrations and now heads a security consulting firm.

If Dick Clarke is correct, it's the FBI that will get the most heat. His book may be critical of Bush, but it is scorching in its attitude toward Louis Freeh and the FBI. Expect fireworks.

Kevin Drum 12:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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