It's astounding that anyone even tries to defend Bush's record against terrorism prior to 9.11...
Originally Posted by Thunder
What the September 11 commission hearings revealed
Part two: Ignoring the warnings—the FBI and Justice Department
The recent public hearings of the 9/11 commission provided numerous examples of the inexplicable indifference, inaction or outright negligence of the Bush administration in response to warnings that a catastrophic terrorist attack was about to take place in the United States.
As the New York Times noted in its summary of the evidence: “The warnings during the summer were more dire and more specific than generally recognized
. Descriptions of the threat were communicated repeatedly to the highest levels within the White House. In more than 40 briefings, Mr. Bush was told by George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, of threats involving Al Qaeda
These warnings were issued throughout the spring and summer of 2001, but even as late as September 6, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would send a letter to Senator Carl Levin telling him that he would urge Bush to veto an effort to transfer money in the Pentagon’s budget from missile defense to counterterrorism.
Four days later, on September 10, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft rejected a similar appeal from the FBI.
Acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard had objected that the Justice Department’s proposed fiscal 2003 budget proposed no additional spending for counterterrorism over fiscal 2002, and asked Ashcroft to authorize an increase of $58 million. Pickard received the attorney general’s response on September 12, the day after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
This was part of a pattern of indifference to the threat of terrorism from the time Ashcroft took office. According to the draft report of the 9/11 commission staff, FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson testified that he “fell off my chair” when he learned in May 2001 that Ashcroft had not listed terrorism as one of his priorities
in a memo to the department staff.