Bush Warned Of Possible Bin
Laden Hijackings Just Before 911

Carl Limbacher

In the weeks before the 9-11 attacks on America, the CIA briefed President Bush on the possibility that Osama bin Laden was planning new terrorist acts that could involve airplane hijackings - but the briefings gave no hint that the hijackers would act as kamikazes targeting U.S. landmarks.
"There has been long-standing speculation, shared with the president, about the potential of hijackings in the traditional sense,'' White House press secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledged Wednesday, after CBS News broke the story. "We had general threats involving Osama bin Laden around the world and including in the United States.''
After receiving the CIA briefing, Bush notified "the appropriate agencies," Fleischer said, that hijackings of the sort perpetrated by Arab terrorists throughout the 1980's were once again possible.
The bin Laden heads up "is the first direct link between Bush and intelligence gathered before Sept. 11 about the attacks," the Associated Press noted.
Contacted by the AP, the CIA would not confirm what it told Bush, but explained that the potential for bin Laden connected hijackings was among several possible terrorist threats covered in briefings to U.S. officials at the time.


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