Members of the Sept. 11 commission said today that they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a White House meeting in July 2001 at which George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, about an imminent Al Qaeda attack and failed to persuade her to take action.(Via DailyKos)
Details of the previously undisclosed meeting on July 10, 2001, two months before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, were first reported last week in a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward.
The final report from the Sept. 11 commission made no mention of the meeting nor did it suggest there had been such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice, now secretary of state. . . .
Although passages of the book suggest that Mr. Tenet was a major source for Mr. Woodward, the former intelligence director has refused to comment on the book.
Nor has there been any comment from J. Cofer Black, Mr. Tenet's counterterrorism chief, who is reported in the book to have attended the July 10 meeting and left it frustrated by Ms. Rice's "brush-off" of the warnings.
He is quoted as saying, "The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head." Mr. Black did not return calls left at the security firm Blackwater, which he joined last year.
The book says that Mr. Tenet hurriedly organized the meeting -- calling ahead from his car as it traveled to the White House -- because he wanted to "shake Rice" into persuading the president to respond to dire intelligence warnings that summer about a terrorist strike. Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Tenet left the meeting frustrated because "they were not getting through to Rice."
The disclosures took members of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission by surprise last week. Some questioned whether information about the July 10 meeting was intentionally withheld from the panel.