9/11 Commission Report/Notes/Part 10

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Wartime[edit]

1.All times are Eastern Daylight Time. Sometime around 10:30, after the decision had already been made not to return to Washington, a reported threat to "Angel"-the code word for Air Force One-was widely disseminated in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) and aboard Air Force One. Notes from the morning indicate that Vice President Cheney informed President Bush in a phone conversation shortly after 10:30 that an anonymous threat had been phoned into the White House that was viewed as credible.At about the same time, news of the threat was conveyed on the air threat conference call.

The Secret Service's Intelligence Division tracked down the origin of this threat and, during the day, determined that it had originated in a misunderstanding by a watch officer in the White House Situation Room.The director of the White House Situation Room that day disputes this account. But the Intelligence Division had the primary job of running down the story, and we found their witnesses on this point to be credible. During the afternoon of September 11 the leadership of the Secret Service was satisfied that the reported threat to "Angel" was unfounded.

At the White House press briefing on September 12, spokesperson Ari Fleischer described the threat to Air Force One as "real and credible."White House transcript, Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer, Sept. 12, 2001 (online at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/print/20010912-8.html). Fleischer told us he cited the information in good faith. Indeed, Fleischer had conferred with Vice President Cheney and Karen Hughes before the briefing, and they had decided to let people know about the threat, all of them believing it was true.According to Fleischer, only weeks later did he learn-from press reports-that the threat was unfounded. We have not found any evidence that contradicts his account.Ari Fleischer interview (Apr. 22, 2004); Chuck Green interview (Mar. 10, 2004); Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004); Ralph Sigler meeting (May 10, 2004); Andrew Card meeting (Mar. 31, 2004); Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); Secret Service briefing (Jan. 29, 2004).

2. Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); USSS memo, interview with Edward Marinzel, Oct. 3, 2001; President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004);Ari Fleischer interview (Apr. 22, 2004); Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004);White House record, PEOC Watch Log, Sept. 11, 2001.

3. Commission analysis of Air Force One radar data; Edward Marinzel interview (Apr. 21, 2004); USSS memo, interview with Edward Marinzel, Oct. 3, 2001; Deborah Loewer meeting (Feb. 6, 2004).

4.White House record, Situation Room Communications Log, Sept. 11, 2001.

5.White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 367.

In the interview, Rice also said the President characterized the war as "global in nature." Ibid.

6. See White House transcript, Rice interview with Scott Pelley of CBS, Aug. 2, 2002, p. 408; but see Rice's statement to Bob Woodward:"In the first video conference, the assumption that everybody kind of shared was that it was global terrorists.. . . I don't believe anybody said this is likely al Qaeda. I don't think so." White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 367.

7. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of Deputies Committee Meeting (held by secure teleconference), Sept. 11, 2001.

8.The Secretary's decision was broadcast on the air threat conference call at 10:43. A minute later, Secretary Rumsfeld spoke to the Vice President, and he asked Rumsfeld to run the issue by the President. At 10:45 conferees were told to "hold off " on Defcon 3, but a minute later the order was reinstated. Rumsfeld believed the matter was urgent and, having consulted DOD directives, concluded he had the authority to issue the order and would brief the President. Rumsfeld briefed the President on the decision at 11:15. See DOD transcript,Air Threat Conference Call, Sept. 11, 2001; Stephen Cambone interviews (July 8, 2004; July 12, 2004); DOD notes, Stephen Cam-bone notes, Sept. 11, 2001.

9.The 9/11 crisis tested the U.S. government's plans and capabilities to ensure the continuity of constitutional government and the continuity of government operations.We did not investigate this topic, except as needed in order to understand the activities and communications of key officials on 9/11.The Chair,Vice Chair, and senior staff were briefed on the general nature and implementation of these continuity plans.

10.White House transcript, Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation, Sept. 11, 2001 (online at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010911-16.html).

11.White House transcript, Rice interview with Bob Woodward, Oct. 24, 2001, p. 371.

12. Joshua Bolten meeting (Mar. 18, 2004); see also Steven Brill, After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era (Simon & Schuster, 2003), pp. 50-51.

13.The collapse of the World Trade Center towers on the morning of September 11 coated Lower Manhattan with a thick layer of dust from the debris and fire. For days a plume of smoke rose from the site. Between September 11 and September 21, 2001, EPA issued five press releases regarding air quality in Lower Manhattan. A release on September 16 quoted the claim of the assistant secretary for labor at OSHA that tests show "it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York's financial district." (OSHA's responsibility extends only to indoor air quality for workers, however.) The most controversial press release, on September 18, quoted EPA Administrator Christine Whitman as saying that the air was "safe" to breathe.This statement was issued the day after the financial markets reopened.The EPA Office of Inspector General investigated the issuance of these press releases and concluded that the agency did not have enough data about the range of possible pollutants other than asbestos to make a judgment, lacked public health benchmarks for appropriate levels of asbestos and other pollutants, and had imprecise methods for sampling asbestos in the air; it also noted that more than 25 percent of the bulk dust samples collected before September 18 showed the presence of asbestos above the agency's 1 percent benchmark. EPA Inspector General report,"EPA's Response to the World Trade Center Collapse: Challenges, Successes, and Areas for Improvement," Aug. 21, 2003.

We do not have the expertise to examine the scientific accuracy of the pronouncements in the press releases. The issue is the subject of pending civil litigation.

We did examine whether the White House improperly influenced the content of the press releases so that they would intentionally mislead the public.The EPA press releases were coordinated with Samuel Thernstrom, associate director for communications at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Oral reports, interviews with EPA officials, and materials on the EPA's Web site were not coordinated through the White House.Although the White House review process resulted in some editorial changes to the press releases, these changes were consistent with what the EPA had already been saying without White House clearance. See, e.g., David France and Erika Check, "Asbestos Alert; How much of the chemical does the World Trade Center wreckage contain?" Newsweek Web Exclusive, Sept. 14, 2001 (quoting EPA Administrator Whitman as saying the air quality is not a health problem); Andrew C. Revkin, "After the Attacks:The Chemicals; Monitors Say Health Risk From Smoke Is Very Small," New York Times, Sept. 14, 2001, p.A6 (EPA says levels of airborne asbestos below threshold of concern); Hugo Kugiya, "Terrorist Attacks; Asbestos Targeted in Cleanup Effort; EPA's Whitman: 'No reason for concern,'" Newsday, Sept. 16, 2001, p.W31 (Whitman says there is no reason for concern given EPA tests for asbestos).There were disputes between the EPA's communications person and the White House coordinator regarding the press releases. The EPA communications person said she felt extreme pressure from the White House coordinator, and felt that they were no longer her press releases. EPA Inspector General interview of Tina Kreisher,Aug. 28, 2002.The White House coordinator, however, told us that these disputes were solely concerned with process, not the actual substance of the releases. Samuel Thernstrom interview (Mar. 31, 2004). Former EPA administrator Christine Whitman agreed with the White House coordinator. Christine Whitman interview (June 28, 2004) The documentary evidence supports this claim. Although Whitman told us she spoke with White House senior economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey regarding the need to get the financial markets open quickly, she denied he pressured her to declare the air was safe due to economic expediency.We found no evidence of pressure on EPA to say the air was safe in order to permit the markets to reopen. Moreover, the most controversial release that specifically declared the air safe to breathe was released after the markets had already reopened.

The EPA did not have the health-based benchmarks needed to assess the extraordinary air quality conditions in Lower Manhattan after 9/11.The EPA and the White House therefore improvised and applied standards developed for other circumstances in order to make pronouncements regarding air safety, advising workers at Ground Zero to use protective gear and advising the general population that the air was safe.Whether those improvisations were appropriate is still a subject for medical and scientific debate. See EPA Inspector General report, "EPA's Response to the World Trade Center Collapse,"Aug. 21, 2003, pp. 9-19.

14. Brill, After, pp. 47-50.

15.We studied this episode and interviewed many of the participants.The NYSE,Amex, and Nasdaq have developed plans for coordination and cooperation in the event of a disaster affecting one or all of them, but these plans do not include other exchanges or international components.The White House efforts during the crisis were coordinated by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, a group created in the 1980s.

16. Brill, After, pp. 53-55, 89-91. Following interim reports in 1999 and 2000, a congressional commission chaired by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, and directed by retired general Charles Boyd, had, in January 2001, recommended the creation of a cabinet department dedicated to "homeland security." In May 2001, President Bush named Vice President Cheney to head a task force on problems of national preparedness. His recently hired coordinator, Admiral Steven Abbot, had started work just before the 9/11 attack.

17. Ashcroft told us that he established a "hold until cleared" policy because of the high rate of flight from deportation proceedings. John Ashcroft testimony,Apr. 13, 2004. For closure of hearings and secrecy of the detainee names, see DOJ email, Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy to all immigration judges,"Cases requiring special procedures," Sept. 21, 2001.This policy has been challenged in two U.S. courts of appeals.The Sixth Circuit held that there is a constitutional right of public access to these hearings; the Third Circuit reached the opposite result. The Supreme Court has not yet decided to resolve this "circuit split." See Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F.3d 681 (6th Cir. 2002); North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v.Ashcroft, 308 F.3d 198 (3d Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 123 S.Ct. 2215 (2003). For the length of the clearance process, see DOJ Inspector General report, "The September 11 Detainees:A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks," Apr. 2003, p. 51.

18. DOJ Inspector General report,"The September 11 Detainees,"Apr. 2003, pp. 142-150, 195-197.

19. John Ashcroft testimony, Apr. 13, 2004; DOJ record, "Special Interest Cases," Sept. 16, 2003.These numbers do not add up to 768 because we have not included all categories. Some of those remanded to the Marshals Service were held as material witnesses, and individuals were released "on bond" only after they were "cleared" by the FBI of any connection to 9/11. For the response to our questions about the 9/11 detainee program, see DOJ emails, Daniel Levin to the Commission, July 9, 2004; July 13, 2004.There is one exception to the statement in the text that the detainees were lawfully held on immigration charges; one detainee was held for a short time "despite the fact that there was no valid immigration charge." DOJ Inspector General report,"The September 11 Detainees," Apr. 2003, p. 15, n. 22. See also Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl testimony, Dec. 8, 2003.

20. Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, May 10, 2003.

21. The complete title of the Act is Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 273 (signed into law Oct. 26, 2001).

22. John Ashcroft interview (Dec. 17, 2003).

23. On the early development of the Patriot Act, see, e.g., Brill, After, pp. 73-76, 120-125.

24. During the morning of September 11, the FAA suspended all nonemergency air activity in the national airspace.While the national airspace was closed, decisions to allow aircraft to fly were made by the FAA working with the Department of Defense, Department of State, U.S. Secret Service, and the FBI.The Department of Transportation reopened the national airspace to U.S. carriers effective 11:00 A.M. on September 13, 2001, for flights out of or into airports that had implemented the FAA's new security requirements. See FAA response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004.

25. After the airspace reopened, nine chartered flights with 160 people, mostly Saudi nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. In addition, one Saudi government flight, containing the Saudi deputy defense minister and other members of an official Saudi delegation, departed Newark Airport on September 14. Every airport involved in these Saudi flights was open when the flight departed, and no inappropriate actions were taken to allow those flights to depart. See City of St. Louis Airport Authority, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, May 27, 2004; Los Angeles International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 2, 2004; Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Orlando International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004; Metropolitan Washington Airports Author-ity,Washington Dulles International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, JFK Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 4, 2004; Massachusetts Port Authority, Logan International Airport, and Hanscom Airfield response to Commission questions for the record, June 17, 2004; Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 22, 2004; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Newark Airport response to supplemental question for the record, July 9, 2004.

Another particular allegation is that a flight carrying Saudi nationals from Tampa, Florida, to Lexington, Kentucky, was allowed to fly while airspace was closed, with special approval by senior U.S. government officials. On September 13,Tampa police brought three young Saudis they were protecting on an off-duty security detail to the airport so they could get on a plane to Lexington. Tampa police arranged for two private investigators to provide security on the flight.They boarded a chartered Learjet. Dan Grossi interview (May 24, 2004); Manuel Perez interview (May 27, 2004); John Solomon interview (June 4, 2004); Michael Fendle interview (June 4, 2004).The plane took off at 4:37 P.M., after national airspace was open, more than five hours after the Tampa airport had reopened, and after other flights had arrived at and departed from that airport. Hillsborough County Aviation Authority,Tampa International Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 7, 2004.The plane's pilot told us there was "nothing unusual whatsoever" about the flight other than there were few airplanes in the sky.The company's owner and director of operations agreed, saying that "it was just a routine little trip for us" and that he would have heard if there had been anything unusual about it.The pilot said he followed standard procedures and filed his flight plan with the FAA prior to the flight, adding,"I was never questioned about it." Christopher Steele interview (June 14, 2004); Barry Ellis interview (June 14, 2004). FAA records confirm this account. FAA supplemental response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004.When the plane arrived at Lexington Blue Grass Airport, that airport had also been open for more than five hours. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board, Blue Grass Airport response to Commission questions for the record, June 8, 2004.The three Saudi nationals debarked from the plane and were met by local police.Their private security guards were paid, and the police then escorted the three Saudi passengers to a hotel where they joined relatives already in Lexington. Mark Barnard interview (June 7, 2004).The FBI is alleged to have had no record of the flight and denied that it occurred, hence contributing to the story of a "phantom flight." This is another misunderstanding. The FBI was initially misinformed about how the Saudis got to Lexington by a local police officer in Lexington who did not have firsthand knowledge of the matter.The Bureau subsequently learned about the flight. James M. interview (June 18, 2004).

26. Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004).

27.Andrew Card meeting (Mar. 31, 2004); President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004); Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004); Prince Bandar interview (May 5, 2004); Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004); Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004 ("I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don't know"). Instead, the matter was handled as follows.Within days of September 11, fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, Rihab Massoud, the deputy chief of mission at the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., called Dale Watson, the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism, and asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country. Rihab Massoud interview (May 11, 2004).At about the same time, Michael Rolince, chief of the FBI's international terrorism operations section, also heard from an FBI official in Newark about a proposed flight of Saudis out of the country. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004).We believe this was the Saudi deputy defense minister's flight. Rolince says he told the Newark official that the Saudis should not be allowed to leave without having the names on their passports matched to their faces, and their names run through FBI case records to see whether they had surfaced before. Rolince and Watson briefed Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, about the issue and how they were handling it.The State Department played a role as well in flights involving government officials or members of the royal family. State coordinated with the FBI and FAA to allow screening by the FBI of flights with Saudi nationals on board. There is no evidence that State tried to limit the screening. DOS record, Log of USA 9-11 Terrorist Attack Task Force, Sept. 13, 2001; Jack S. interview (June 14, 2004).The FBI effectively approved the Saudi flights at the level of a section chief. Having an opportunity to check the Saudis was useful to the FBI.This was because the U.S. government did not, and does not, routinely run checks on foreigners who are leaving the United States.This procedure was convenient to the FBI, as the Saudis who wished to leave in this way would gather and present themselves for record checks and interviews, an opportunity that would not be available if they simply left on regularly scheduled commercial flights.

28. These flights were screened by law enforcement officials, primarily the FBI. For example, one flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. Screening of this flight was directed by an FBI agent in the Baltimore Field Office who was also a pilot. This agent, coordinating with FBI headquarters, sent an electronic communication to each of the field offices through which the Bin Ladin flight was scheduled to pass, including the proposed flight manifest and directing what screening should occur. He also monitored the flight as it moved around the country-from St. Louis to Los Angeles to Orlando to Washington Dulles, and to Boston Logan-correcting for any changes in itinerary to make sure there was no lapse in FBI screening at these locations.Again, each of the airports through which the Bin Ladin flight passed was open, and no special restrictions were lifted to accommodate its passage. James C. interview (June 3, 2004).

The Bin Ladin flight and other flights we examined were screened in accordance with policies set by FBI headquarters and coordinated through working-level interagency processes. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004). Although most of the passengers were not interviewed, 22 of the 26 people on the Bin Ladin flight were interviewed by the FBI. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity. See, e.g., FBI report of investigation, interview of Mohammed Saleh Bin Laden, Sept. 21, 2001.As Richard Clarke noted, long before 9/11 the FBI was following members of the Bin Ladin family in the United States closely. Richard Clarke testimony, Mar. 24, 2004. Two of the passengers on this flight had been the subjects of preliminary investigations by the FBI, but both their cases had been closed, in 1999 and March 2001, respectively, because the FBI had uncovered no derogatory information on either person linking them to terrorist activity.Their cases remained closed as of 9/11, were not reopened before they departed the country on this flight, and have not been reopened since. FBI electronic communication, Summary of Information Regarding Flights taken by Saudi Citizens Out of the U.S. Shortly After September 11, 2001, Oct. 29, 2003, pp. 9-10.

29. Michael Rolince interview (June 9, 2004). Massoud corroborates this account. He said the FBI required the names and personal information of all departing passengers sponsored for departure by the Saudi Embassy. Rihab Massoud interview (May 11, 2004).

30. Jack S. interview (June 14, 2004).

31.The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft. Because it was not clear to us whether the TIPOFF terrorist watchlist was checked by the FBI, the Terrorist Screening Center checked the names of individuals on the flight manifests of six Saudi flights against the current TIPOFF watchlist at our request prior to our hearing in April 2004.There were no matches. At our request, based on additional information, the Terrorist Screening Center in June and July 2004 rechecked the names of individuals believed to be on these six flights, the names of individuals on three more charter flights, the names of individuals on the flight containing the Saudi Deputy Defense Minister, and the names of Saudi nationals on commercial flights that journalists have alleged are suspect.There were no matches.Tim D. interviews (Apr. 12, 2004; June 30, 2004; July 9, 2004); FBI memo, Terrorist Screening Center to Director's Office, "Request by 9/11 Commission Task Force to screen the airline passenger lists through the TDSB and TIPOFF databases," Mar. 30, 2004.

32.White House transcript,Vice President Cheney interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC, Sept. 4, 2002, p. 11. 33."The only . . . true advice I receive is from our war council." White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2001.

34. On Secretary Rumsfeld's remarks, see White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.The President's adviser, Karen Hughes, who was in the interview, listed the points Rumsfeld made at the smaller NSC meeting. Ibid.

35. On the President's tasking in the earlier meeting held that day, see NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions for NSC Meeting Held on September 12, 2001, Dec. 17, 2001. On the paper that went beyond al Qaeda, see NSC memo, Deputies Draft Paper (attached to Agenda for NSC Meeting Scheduled for Sept. 12, 2001).The Summary of Conclusions for the afternoon meeting indicates that the paper was discussed.

On giving priority to preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, see White House transcript, Hadley interview with Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, Jan. 11, 2002, p. 535.

36. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions for Principals Committee Meeting Held on September 13, 2001. In addition to the usual members of President Bush's war cabinet, Secretary of Transportation Mineta and FAA security chief Canavan also attended.

37. DOS cable, State 158711,"Deputy Secretary Armitage's Meeting with General Mahmud:Actions and Support Expected of Pakistan in Fight Against Terrorism," Sept. 14, 2001. On September 14, 2001, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad sent Musharraf 's answer to the State Department by cable.

38. DOS cable, Islamabad 5123,"Musharraf Accepts the Seven Points," Sept. 14, 2001.

39. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of NSC Meeting Held on September 13, 2001. According to the Summary of Conclusions, this meeting of the President and his advisers took place in the White House Situation Room; however, the agenda alerting agencies to the meeting specified that it would be conducted via the secure video teleconference system (SVTS).Thus, it is unclear whether the attendees met face-to-face at the White House or held their meeting remotely via SVTS.

40. State Department memo, "Gameplan for Polmil Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan," Sept. 14, 2001 (tasked by President Bush).The paper was sent to the White House on September 14, 2001.The demand to free all imprisoned foreigners reflected the U.S. government's concern about the welfare of several foreign aid workers in Afghanistan who had been imprisoned by the Taliban in August 2001.Two young American women, Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry of the organization "Shelter Now International," were among those arrested and charged with promoting Christianity.The Taliban and other Islamists found their activities an affront to Islam and in violation of Afghanistan's laws and the regime's tenets.Wendy Chamberlin interview (Oct. 28, 2003). Powell stated that the President wanted to get the hostages out but that desire would not restrain American action.White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

41. State Department memo, "Gameplan for Polmil Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan," Sept. 14, 2001.

42.White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

43. Stephen Hadley meeting (Jan. 31, 2004). Hadley told us that the White House was not satisfied with the Defense Department's plans to use force in Afghanistan after 9/11. Ibid.; see also White House transcript, Rice interview with John King of CNN, Aug. 2, 2002, p. 421.

44.Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

45. NSC memo, Hadley to recipients,"Discussion Paper for NSC meeting at Camp David on 14 September," Sept. 14, 2001.

46. CIA memo,"Going to War," Sept. 15, 2001.

47.White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

48. DOD briefing materials, "Evolution of Infinite Resolve Planning (AQ, UBL)," undated (provided to the Commission on Mar. 19, 2004). According to Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the President responded to Shelton by saying that the boots-on-the-ground option was an interesting idea. He wanted to know what the CIA would do when ground forces were in Afghanistan.White House transcript, Hadley interview with Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, Jan. 11, 2002, p. 545.

49. NSC memo,"Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting," Sept. 17, 2001;White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

50. NSC memo,"Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting," Sept. 17, 2001.

51. See NSC memo, Rice to Cheney, Powell, O'Neill, Rumsfeld,Ashcroft, Gonzales, Card,Tenet, and Shelton, Sept. 16, 2001.

52. NSC memo,"Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting," Sept. 17, 2001.

53. NSC memo, Summary of Conclusions of Terrorist Fund-raising Meeting Held on September 18, 2001.

54. DOS briefing materials,"Fact Sheet on Response to Terrorist Attacks in US," Sept. 17, 2001.

55. DOS cable, State 161279,"Deputy Secretary Armitage-Mamoud Phone Call," Sept. 18, 2001.

56.White House transcript,Vice President Cheney interview with Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, Jan. 18, 2002, pp. 7-8.

57. Stephen Hadley meeting (Jan. 31, 2004).

58. See National Security Presidential Directive 9, Oct. 25, 2001.

59. President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). On Iran, see Condoleezza Rice testimony, Apr. 8, 2004.

60. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (Free Press, 2004), p. 32. According to Clarke, he responded that "al Qaeda did this."When the President pressed Clarke to check if Saddam was involved and said that he wanted to learn of any shred of evidence, Clarke promised to look at the question again, but added that the NSC and the intelligence community had looked in the past for linkages between al Qaeda and Iraq and never found any real linkages. Ibid.

61. President Bush told us that Clarke had mischaracterized this exchange. On the evening of September 12, the President was at the Pentagon and then went to the White House residence. He dismissed the idea that he had been wandering around the Situation Room alone, saying,"I don't do that." He said that he did not think that any president would roam around looking for something to do.While Clarke said he had found the President's tone "very intimidating," ("Clarke's Take on Terror," CBSnews.com, Mar. 21, 2004, online at www.cbsnews.com/stories /2004/03/19/60minutes/printable607356.shtml), President Bush doubted that anyone would have found his manner intimidating. President Bush and Vice President Cheney meeting (Apr. 29, 2004). Roger Cressey, Clarke's deputy, recalls this exchange with the President and Clarke concerning Iraq shortly after 9/11, but did not believe the Pres-ident's manner was intimidating. Roger Cressey interview (June 23, 2004).

62. NSC memo, Kurtz to Rice, Survey of Intelligence Information on any Iraq Involvement in the September 11 Attacks, Sept. 18, 2001. On 60 Minutes (CBS, Mar. 21, 2004), Clarke said that the first draft of this memo was returned by the NSC Front Office because it did not find a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda; Rice and Hadley deny that they asked to have the memo redone for this reason.

63. See DOD notes,Victoria Clarke notes, Sept. 11, 2001; DOD notes, Stephen Cambone notes, Sept. 11, 2001. Cambone's notes indicate this exchange took place at 2:40 P.M. on September 11, 2001. Steven Cambone interview (July 15, 2004).

64. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004). For an account of Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's position on Iraq, see Bob Woodward, Bush at War (Simon & Schuster, 2002), pp. 83-84. Rice told us that the Bush at War account of the Camp David discussions on Iraq accorded with her memory.

65. DOD memo, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,"War on Terrorism: Strategic Concept," Sept. 14, 2001.

66. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Rumsfeld told Bob Woodward that he had no recollection of Wolfowitz's remarks at Camp David. DOD transcript,"Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the Washington Post," Jan. 9, 2002 (online at www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t02052002_t0109wp.html).

67. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004). Powell raised concerns that a focus on Iraq might negate progress made with the international coalition the administration was putting together for Afghanistan.Taking on Iraq at this time could destroy the international coalition. Ibid.

68. Colin Powell interview (Jan. 21, 2004).

69.White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

70. Condoleezza Rice meeting (Feb. 7, 2004).

71. NSC memo,"Conclusions of National Security Council Meeting," Sept. 17, 2001.

72. Condoleezza Rice testimony, Apr. 8, 2004; see also Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 22.

73. DOD memo, Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld, "Preventing More Events," Sept. 17, 2001. We review contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda in chapter 2.We have found no credible evidence to support theories of Iraqi government involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing.Wolfowitz added in his memo that he had attempted in June to get the CIA to explore these theories.

74. DOD memo,Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld,"Were We Asleep?" Sept. 18, 2001.

75. DOD memo, Rumsfeld to Shelton,"Some Thoughts for CINCs as They Prepare Plans," Sept. 19, 2001. In a memo that appears to be from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith to Rumsfeld, dated September 20, the author expressed disappointment at the limited options immediately available in Afghanistan and the lack of ground options.The author suggested instead hitting terrorists outside the Middle East in the initial offensive, perhaps deliberately selecting a non-al Qaeda target like Iraq. Since U.S. attacks were expected in Afghanistan, an American attack in South America or Southeast Asia might be a surprise to the terrorists.The memo may have been a draft never sent to Rumsfeld, or may be a draft of points being suggested for Rumsfeld to deliver in a briefing to the President. DOD memo, Feith to Rumsfeld,"Briefing Draft," Sept. 20, 2001.

76. Hugh Shelton interview (Feb. 5, 2004).

77.Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

78. NSC memo, memorandum of conversation from meeting of President Bush with Prime Minister Blair,

Sept. 20, 2001.

79.Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).

80.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People,

Sept. 20, 2001. British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the session.

81. Ibid. Several NSC officials, including Clarke and Cressey, told us that the mention of the Cole in the speech to Congress marked the first public U.S. declaration that al Qaeda had been behind the October 2000 attack. Clarke said he added the language on this point to the speech. Richard Clarke interview (Feb. 3, 2004); Roger Cressey interview (Dec. 15, 2003).

82.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001. President Bush told the Washington Post that he considered having Powell deliver the ultimatum to the Taliban, but determined it would have more impact coming directly from the president. White House transcript, President Bush interview with Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, Dec. 20, 2001.

83.White House transcript, President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Sept. 20, 2001.

84. Ibid.

85. Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004).Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Major General Del Dailey, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, also attended the September 21 meeting.The meeting was in direct response to the President's September 17 instruction to Rumsfeld to develop a military campaign plan for Afghanistan.The original "Infinite Justice" name was a continuation of a series of names begun in August 1998 with Operation Infinite Reach, the air strikes against Bin Ladin's facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan after the embassy bombings.The series also included Operation Infinite Resolve, a variety of proposed follow-on strikes on al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan.

86. DOD Special Operations Command and Central Command briefings (Sept. 15-16, 2003;Apr. 8-9, 2004; Apr. 28, 2004); Tommy Franks interview (Apr. 9, 2004). On death of Atef, see Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, Age of Sacred Terror, p. 349; Henry, "The CIA in Afghanistan, 2001-2002," Studies in Intelligence (classified version), vol. 47, no. 2 (2003), pp. 1, 11. See Donald Rumsfeld testimony, Mar. 23, 2004 (nearly two-thirds of the known leaders of al Qaeda had been killed or captured).