Did Condi Rice Sit on Terrorist Warning?

What did Condoleezza Rice know about possible terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in 2001, and when did she know it? Perhaps Rice will address the topic when she visits Cincinnati to give a speech later this week.

The embattled U.S. Secretary of State, fresh off an unsuccessful tour to quell the violence raging in the Middle East, will take time out of her busy schedule to have pastries and coffee in the Queen City while she talks to the Republican faithful.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting “A Conversation with Condoleezza Rice,” a breakfast question and answer session for members only from 8:30-10 a.m. Friday. The event at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza hotel costs $35 per person or $300 for a table of 10.

Although Wednesday is the deadline for reservations, the event already is at capacity in GOP-loving Cincinnati. For security purposes, the names of all guests had to be submitted upon registration. The Q&A is sponsored by the Chamber, the Rotary Club and the World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati.

Rice recently made headlines when she claimed that a July 10, 2001, meeting with then-CIA Director George Tenet to warn her of an imminent threat from al-Qaeda, as reported in Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, didn’t happen. But subsequent statements by Tenet and White House records confirmed the meeting took place. Strangely, although the meeting is mentioned briefly in the official 9/11 Commission report, the date was omitted.

Similar to Rice’s earlier description of an intelligence-briefing memo to the White House, dated Aug. 6, 2001, and entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S.,” Rice later dismissed the meeting’s content as too general to act upon. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, “The briefing was a summary of the threat reporting from the previous weeks.”

Woodward’s book and its revelations about confidential government meetings about al-Qaeda aren’t only affecting Rice. The actions of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft also are raising some eyebrows. Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also received warnings around the same time, and Ashcroft stopped using commercial airliners for his travel.

According to the Web site Raw Story: “Ashcroft began to charter private jets shortly afterwards, avoiding all travel by commercial airliners in July and continuing to do so up until the attacks. According to a July 26, 2001 CBS News report, Ashcroft began flying by private plane after an FBI ‘threat assessment.’

“In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a ‘threat assessment’ by the FBI and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.”

Apparently, Washington officials felt the intelligence chatter about al-Qaeda was enough to warrant warning Rice, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld about the threat, but not the American people.

— Kevin Osborne

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3 Comments on “Did Condi Rice Sit on Terrorist Warning?”

  1. I happened to be present when M. Joycelyn Elders, US Surgeon General, 1993-1994, hit Sinincincinnati a few years back.
    The question asked of her was: Is the War on Drugs a war on black people?
    She brushed it off.
    So what else is new?
    (CityBeat’s and the moral majority’s handy-dandy War on Drugs is responsible for many magnitudes more deaths than al-Qaeda.)

  2. Pop Culture Boy Says:

    City Beat launched a war and no one told me?

  3. Pop Culture Boy,
    Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.
    A war has many fathers, but wars always grow up to be failures.
    Do you support the troops, Pop Culture Boy?
    You haven’t been “Ridin’ with Osama” have you?

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