Thursday, April 08, 2004

Newsweek 9/13/01

Could the bombers have been stopped? NEWSWEEK has learned that while U.S. intelligence received no specific warning, the state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill. In testimony to the Intelligence Committee earlier this year, CIA Director George Tenet said bin Laden posed the most immediate terrorist threat to Americans around the world and was capable of "multiple attacks with little or no warning." "There is a giant accountability issue starting today," says former Afghanistan CIA station chief Milt Bearden, "and in the midst of legitimate accountability there will be a lot of scapegoating. They're going to start looking for the modern-day equivalent of General Short and Admiral Kimmel [the armed-forces commanders at Pearl Harbor], and they're going to find them."

That was before the Operation Unquestioning Patriotism kicked into full swing, and all such questions were forgotten.