What Dr. Rice appears to have done is a classic Washington push-off, which is to say, “Go brief somebody else.” She did not, as the National Security Advisor, do what previous national security advisors had done with this kind of a meeting, which was to herself call a meeting of senior levels in the government to discuss the serious information that was available. And so, as I have said before, the issue here is, what did she do about it? And what she did about it was basically nothing.
"Classic Washington Pushoff" - Fmr. Counterrorism Advisor Rand Beers on Rice's Reported Dismissal of Pre-9/11 CIA Warnings
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006
In his new book, "State of Denial," Bob Woodward reveals that then-CIA director George Tenet had warned of an imminent threat from al-Qaeda in a July 2001 meeting with Condoleezza Rice. We speak with former counterterrorism advisor Rand Beers. He served on the National Security Council under four consecutive presidents before resigning on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. [includes rush transcript]
The Bush administration is coming under renewed scrutiny over its actions in the months prior to the Sept. 11th attacks.
In his new book, State of Denial, Bob Woodward reveals that on July 10, 2001 then CIA director George Tenet called President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to hold an emergency meeting to review the latest on Osama Bin Laden. Intelligence was showing an increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States.
According to the Tenet and his counterterrorism chief Cofer Black told Rice that al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself. They also said that they needed to immediately take covert or military action to thwart bin Laden.
Woodward reports that Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice but he left feeling that Rice had brushed off the warnings. Two months later the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked.
After the publication of Woodward's book, Rice initially suggested such a meeting in July 2001 did not even take place. On Sunday, Rice told reporters said, "The idea that I would have ignored that, I find incomprehensible. I am quite certain that it was not a meeting in which I was told that there was an impending attack, and refused to respond." But on Monday the State Department confirmed that Rice did meet with Tenet and Black on July 10th and that after the meeting Rice was compelled enough to ask the CIA to give the same briefing to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and to then Attorney General John Ashcroft.
- Rand Beers, served in the Bush administration as Senior Director for Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council. He also served on the National Security Council during the Reagan, first Bush and Clinton administrations. He resigned in protest from the Bush administration in March 2003, five days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He is currently president of the National Security Network.