Most of us are familiar with the White House briefing from August 2001 labeled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." What's not so well known is the host of briefs that the Bush administration received beforehand. Those memos reveal "significantly more negligence than has been disclosed," writes Kurt Eichenwald in the New York Times. Among them were warnings about a group already "within the United States," preparing to attack "soon" with "dramatic consequences."
In fact, intelligence officials were so concerned about the attacks that they considered seeking a transfer in order to deflect responsibility for the imminent attacks, insiders tell Eichenwald. But a new, neoconservative Pentagon staff told the administration that Osama bin Laden was likely faking the attack plans in order to distract from the real threat, Saddam Hussein. The famous Aug. 6 brief was the result of President Bush's request for more information on al-Qaeda's background. While the Bush administration may be right to point out that it didn't know of the attacks' timing and location, the question is: "Had the government been on high alert," would it have been able to do more? "We can’t ever know," concludes Eichenwald. "And that may be the most agonizing reality of all." Click for Eichenwald's full piece. (Read more George W. Bush stories.)