…On 52 occasions, from April 1, 2001, to Sept. 10, 2001, the FAA’s own daily intelligence briefings contained references to the al-Qaida terror network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, mostly in regard to overseas threats.
The [9/11] commission was clear on one point: It found no evidence that the FAA had any information that terrorists planned to hijack airplanes in the United States and use them as weapons.
The agency “received numerous threat assessments from the U.S. intelligence community in the spring and summer of 2001,” FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said in a statement Thursday. “However, the FAA received no specific information before 9/11 about terrorist means or methods directed at aviation in the U.S. that would have indicated specific countermeasures.”
Lee Hamilton, former vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said in an interview that because the FAA did not provide a direct warning about the new threats, “what you have here is a pattern, which was a pattern of complacency.”The data points were out there, but no one had assembled them in a manner which raised big red flags.
It’s difficult to decide which is more outrageous — federal aviation officials’ failure to follow through on intelligence reports before Sept. 11, 2001, that warned of al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden using airliner hijackings and suicide operations, or the Bush administration’s refusal to let the American public know about it before the November election.
Now they’re just reaching…