Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Bush himself personally received two major briefings during the summer of 2001, one in the White House Situation Room and another on his ranch in Crawford. Each warned that a major terrorist attack against the United States, possibly carried out by al Qaeda, and possibly including hijacked planes, was likely in the offing. The latter memo read to Bush was entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”—not “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.,” as Ari Fleischer would later argue. Condoleezza Rice would likewise claim, by way of partial exoneration, “The overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas.” It was not.
The warnings to Bush appear to have been based on information passed along by British, German, Israeli, Moroccan, Russian, Jordanian, and Egyptian intelligence, as well as by the U.S. intelligence community’s own considerable resources. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the memo’s authors worried “that members of Al Qaeda, including some U.S. citizens, had resided in or traveled to the United States for years and that the group apparently maintained a support structure here.” It raised the possibility that bin Laden would hijack planes and noted patterns of activity consistent with such a plan, as well as information acquired in May 2001 indicating a group of bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives. “Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon,” the government’s top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, stated.
What did George Bush do after receiving his second serious warning of imminent danger to the nation whose protection and defense he had sworn to uphold? According to reporter Ron Suskind, Bush replied to the CIA briefer, "All right. You’ve covered your ass, now," and spent the rest of the day fishing.