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"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rice was told of terrorist threat | The World | The Australian

Rice was told of terrorist threat
Correspondents in Washington
October 04, 2006
A REVIEW of White House records has shown that then CIA director George Tenet briefed Condoleezza Rice about the looming threat from al-Qa'ida on July 10, 2001, despite Dr Rice yesterday saying she did not recall the meeting.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said records showed the September 11 Commission had also been informed about the meeting, details of which emerged last week in a new book by investigative reporter Bob Woodward.

Following the disclosure of the meeting in the book State of Denial, Bush administration officials questioned Woodward's reporting. But The New York Times reported yesterday that current and former Bush administration officials have now confirmed parts of his account.

Officials agree that on July 10, 2001, Mr Tenet and his counter-terrorism deputy, J. Cofer Black, were so alarmed about intelligence pointing to an impending attack by al-Qa'ida that they demanded an emergency meeting at the White House with Dr Rice and her National Security Council staff, the paper said.

But Dr Rice said yesterday she could not recall the warning from Mr Tenet. "What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible," said Dr Rice, who was then George W. Bush's national security adviser.

"I don't know that this meeting took place, but ... what I'm quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told there was an impending attack and I refused to respond."

Speaking to reporters en route to Saudi Arabia and other stops in the Middle East, Dr Rice said she met Mr Tenet daily at that point, and has no memory of the wake-up call from him described in the book.

Mr McCormack said the records in fact showed that, far from ignoring Mr Tenet's warnings, Dr Rice acted on the intelligence and requested that Mr Tenet make the same presentation to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then attorney-general John Ashcroft.

But Mr Ashcroft said yesterday he had received no briefing at that time from Mr Tenet.

According to the September 11 Commission, Mr Ashcroft was briefed on July 5, 2001, with "warning that a significant terrorist attack was imminent". The report noted that the briefing addressed only threats outside the US.

Woodward wrote that the meeting between Mr Tenet, Dr Rice and Mr Black stood out in the minds of Mr Tenet and Mr Black as the "starkest warning they had given the White House" on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida network.

Mr Tenet asked for the meeting after receiving a disturbing briefing from Mr Black, according to the book.

But though Mr Tenet and Mr Black warned Dr Rice in the starkest terms of the prospects for attack, she brushed them off, Woodward reiterated yesterday.

He told NBC that Mr Black told him the two men were so emphatic, it amounted to "holding a gun to her head" and doing everything except pulling the trigger.

Mr Black reportedly laid out secret intercepts and other data "showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qa'ida would soon attack the United States".

"Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice," Woodward wrote of the session. "She was polite, but they felt the brush-off."

AP

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