ARTICLE XXXIII.—REPEATEDLY IGNORED AND FAILED TO RESPOND TO HIGH LEVEL INTELLIGENCE WARNINGS OF PLANNED TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE US, PRIOR TO 911
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution ‘‘to take care that the laws be faithfully executed’’, has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, failed in his Constitutional duties to take proper steps to protect the nation prior to September 11, 2001.
The White House’s top counter-terrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, has testified that from the beginning of George W. Bush’s presidency until September 11, 2001, Clarke attempted unsuccessfully to persuade President Bush to take steps to protect the nation against terrorism. Clarke sent a memorandum to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on January 24, 2001, ‘‘urgently’’ but unsuccessfully requesting ‘‘a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al Qaeda attack.’’
In April 2001, Clarke was finally granted a meeting, but only with second-in-command department representatives, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who made light of Clarke’s concerns.
Clarke confirms that in June, July, and August 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned the president in daily briefings of unprecedented indications that a major al Qaeda attack was going to happen against the United States somewhere in the world in the weeks and months ahead. Yet, Clarke was still unable to convene a cabinet-level meeting to address the issue.
Condoleezza Rice has testified that George Tenet met with the president 40 times to warn him that a major al-Qaeda attack was going to take place, and that in response the president did not convene any meetings of top officials. At such meetings, the FBI could have shared information on possible terrorists enrolled at flight schools. Among the many preventive steps that could have been taken, the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines, and airports might have been put on full alert.
According to Condoleezza Rice, the first and only cabinet-level meeting prior to 9/11 to discuss the threat of terrorist attacks took place on September 4, 2001, one week before the attacks in New York and Washington.
On August 6, 2001, President Bush was presented a President’s Daily Brief (PDB) article titled ‘‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’’ The lead sentence of that PDB article indicated that Bin Laden and his followers wanted to ‘‘follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and ‘bring the fighting to America.’ ’’ The article warned: ‘‘Al-Qa’ida members—including some who are US citizens—have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.’’
The article cited a ‘‘more sensational threat reporting that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft,’’ but indicated that the CIA had not been able to corroborate such reporting. The PDB item included information from the FBI indicating ‘‘patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.’’ The article also noted that the CIA and FBI were investigating ‘‘a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.’’
The president spent the rest of August 6, and almost all the rest of August 2001 on vacation. There is no evidence that he called any meetings of his advisers to discuss this alarming report. When the title and substance of this PDB article were later reported in the press, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice began a sustained campaign to play down its significance, until the actual text was eventually released by the White House.
New York Times writer Douglas Jehl, put it this way: ‘‘In a single 17-sentence document, the intelligence briefing delivered to President Bush in August 2001 spells out the who, hints at the what and points towards the where of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that followed 36 days later.’’
Eleanor Hill, Executive Director of the joint congressional committee investigating the performance of the US intelligence community before September 11, 2001, reported in mid-September 2002 that intelligence reports a year earlier ‘‘reiterated a consistent and constant theme: Osama bin Laden’s intent to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States.’’
That joint inquiry revealed that just two months before September 11, an intelligence briefing for ‘‘senior government officials’’ predicted a terrorist attack with these words: ‘‘The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.’’
Given the White House’s insistence on secrecy with regard to what intelligence was given to President Bush, the joint-inquiry report does not divulge whether he took part in that briefing. Even if he did not, it strains credulity to suppose that those ‘‘senior government officials’’ would have kept its alarming substance from the president.
Again, there is no evidence that the president held any meetings or took any action to deal with the threats of such attacks.
In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.
ARTICLE XXXIV.—OBSTRUCTION OF INVESTIGATION INTO THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution ‘‘to take care that the laws be faithfully executed’’, has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, obstructed investigations into the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Following September 11, 2001, President Bush and Vice President Cheney took strong steps to thwart any and all proposals that the circumstances of the attack be addressed. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was forced to renege on his public promise on September 23 that a ‘‘White Paper’’ would be issued to explain the circumstances. Less than two weeks after that promise, Powell apologized for his ‘‘unfortunate choice of words,’’ and explained that Americans would have to rely on ‘‘information coming out in the press and in other ways.’’
On Sept. 26, 2001, President Bush drove to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia, stood with Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and said: ‘‘My report to the nation is, we’ve got the best intelligence we can possibly have thanks to the men and women of the C.I.A.’’ George Tenet subsequently and falsely claimed not to have visited the president personally between the start of Bush’s long Crawford vacation and September 11, 2001.
Testifying before the 9/11 Commission on April 14, 2004, Tenet answered a question from Commission member Timothy Roemer by referring to the president’s vacation (July 29–August 30) in Crawford and insisting that he did not see the president at all in August 2001. ‘‘You never talked with him?’’ Roemer asked. ‘‘No,’’ Tenet replied, explaining that for much of August he too was ‘‘on leave.’’ An Agency spokesman called reporters that same evening to say Tenet had misspoken, and that Tenet had briefed Bush on August 17 and 31. The spokesman explained that the second briefing took place after the president had returned to Washington, and played down the first one, in Crawford, as uneventful.
In his book, At the Center of the Storm, (2007) Tenet refers to what is almost certainly his August 17 visit to Crawford as a follow-up to the ‘‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US’’ article in the CIA-prepared President’s Daily Brief of August 6. That briefing was immortalized in a Time Magazine photo capturing Harriet Myers holding the PDB open for the president, as two CIA officers sit by. It is the same briefing to which the president reportedly reacted by telling the CIA briefer, ‘‘All right, you’ve covered your ass now.’’ (Ron Suskind, The One-Percent Doctrine, p. 2, 2006). In At the Center of the Storm, Tenet writes: ‘‘A few weeks after the August 6 PDB was delivered, I followed it to Crawford to make sure that the president stayed current on events.’’
A White House press release suggests Tenet was also there a week later, on August 24. According to the August 25, 2001, release, President Bush, addressing a group of visitors to Crawford on August 25, told them: ‘‘George Tenet and I, yesterday, we piled in the new nominees for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Vice Chairman and their wives and went right up the canyon.’’
In early February 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney warned then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle that if Congress went ahead with an investigation, administration officials might not show up to testify. As pressure grew for an investigation, the president and vice president agreed to the establishment of a congressional joint committee to conduct a ‘‘Joint Inquiry.’’ Eleanor Hill, Executive Director of the Inquiry, opened the Joint Inquiry’s final public hearing in mid-September 2002 with the following disclaimer: ‘‘I need to report that, according to the White House and the Director of Central Intelligence, the president’s knowledge of intelligence information relevant to this inquiry remains classified, even when the substance of the intelligence information has been declassified.’’
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was created on November 27, 2002, following the passage of congressional legislation signed into law by President Bush. The President was asked to testify before the Commission. He refused to testify except for one hour in private with only two Commission members, with no oath administered,