Saturday, April 17, 2004

The Presidential Daily Briefing Paper: Fake? (a site which arouses mixed feelings in me) draws our attention to a fascinating claim which -- if true -- could force us to re-think the operatic histrionics surrounding the 9/11 commission. The site reprints an investigation by German journalist Oliver Schroem, published in the October 2, 2002 issue of the respected magazine Die Zeit. Schroem gives a chronology, of sorts, leading up to the tragedy. Here is the paragraph which now seems so stunning:

Crawford, August 6, 2001. George W Bush is on vacation. He wanted to spend the whole month at his ranch in Texas."The Presidential Daily Brief" was part of his morning routine. In the PDB, as its called in CIA jargon, a senior CIA official presents the President with a summary of the security situation. On this morning the CIA Director personally briefs the President. Instead of the usual two or three pages, today's briefing paper consists of eleven and a half printed page and carries the title "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.". The CIA chief argued that Al Qaeda was now also attempting to carry out attacks inside the US, and there were probably already members of the terror organization located in the US for some time. It's not clear whether or not the CIA Director told the President about statements made by Al Qaeda members who were already in custody. According to their statements, the terror organization had long thought about hijacking airplanes in order to use them as missiles.

Eleven and a half pages? The briefing paper released on the internet just a few days ago is a mere two pages.

Who or what is the source of Schroem's information? Is it true? Is it possible that the trappings of melodrama surrounding this document's release amounted to a diversionary tactic -- a clever ruse designed to keep both the public and the commission from suspecting censorship?

The very notion seems outlandish -- but not beyond the realm of the possible, given the many indications that Bush has turned the White House into the Home of the Whopper. My suggestion: Write to members of the committee (you can use this convenient link) and ask them to interview Oliver Schroem.

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