Bush-Cheney ignored CIA warnings about al Qaeda, failed to go after bin Laden prior to 9/11
Yet more evidence that the Bush Administration, for all its self-aggrandizing post-9/11 bluster, did little to nothing to root out America enemies before the attack:
Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.
The material contains much new information about the hunt before and after 9/11 for bin Laden, the development of the drone campaign in AfPak, and al-Qaida's relationship with America's ally, Pakistan. Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn't get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks. "I don't think the Bush administration would want to see these released, because they paint a picture of the CIA knowing something would happen before 9/11, but they didn't get the institutional support they needed," says Barbara Elias-Sanborn, the NSA fellow who edited the materials.
So Bush-Cheney pushed the CIA around in the lead-up to the Iraq War, politicizing intelligence and fabricating a case for war, but basically ignored the CIA's efforts and warnings about a very real threat to the country's security before 9/11.
Not to excuse the CIA entirely, of course, but this certainly adds to the view many of us have had for a long time now -- not least given that notorious "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US" brief of August 6, 2001, as well as Richard Clarke's January 2001 memo to Condi Rice about the al Qaeda threat, as well as George Tenet's briefing of Condi Rice on July 10, 2001 about an imminent threat -- that Bush & Co. had no interest in dealing with terrorism (and was largely isolationist) before 9/11 and only later used 9/11 as an excuse to go into Afghanistan (justifiably, perhaps, but certainly without focus and a clear long-term purpose) and then to launch the bloody misadventure in Iraq that directed America's resources against a supposed "enemy" that had nothing at all to do with 9/11.
Perhaps there's nothing all that new here, but it's compelling nonetheless, additional confirmation that Bush, Cheney, Rice, and their various minions and cronies were utterly negligent with respect to their national security responsibilities.