- 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
- "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.