Memo warned Bush of al-Qaida threat

A recently declassified memo warned the Bush administration of al-Qaida's threat to the US and the Muslim world before 9/11.

    Clark got his meeting only a week prior to the 9-11 attacks

    Critics have said that the warning went unheeded by US President George Bush until the 11 September 2001 attacks.

     

    The memo dated 25 January 2001 - five days after Bush took office - was an essential feature of last year's hearings into intelligence failures before the attacks on New York and Washington.

     

    A copy of the document was posted on the National Security Archive website on Thursday.

     

    The memo, from former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, had been described during the hearings but its full contents had not been disclosed.

     

    Clarke, a holdover from Bill Clinton's administration, had requested an immediate meeting of top national security officials as soon as possible after Bush took office to discuss combating al-Qaida.

     

    He described the network as a threat with broad reach.

     

    Al-Qaida's Asian threat

     

    "Al-Qaida affects centrally our policies on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, North Africa and the GCC [Gulf Arab states]. Leaders in Jordan and Saudi Arabia see al-Qaida as a direct threat to them," Clarke wrote.

     

    Rice (L) was warned of al-Qaida's
    threat when she first took office

    "The strength of the network of organisations limits the scope of support friendly Arab regimes can give to a range of US policies, including Iraq policy and the [Israeli-Palestinian] peace process. We would make a major error if we underestimated the challenge al-Qaida poses."

     

    The memo also warned of overestimating the stability of moderate regional allies threatened by al-Qaida.

     

    It recommended that the new administration urgently discuss the al-Qaida network, including the magnitude of the threat it posed and strategy for dealing with it.

     

    The document was declassified on 7 April 2004, one day before Rice's testimony before the September 11 commission.

     

    It was released recently by the National Security Council to the National Security Archive - a private library of declassified US documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

     

    The meeting on al-Qaida requested by Clarke did not take place until 4 September 2001, one week before 9/11. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.