The August 6, 2001, memo did not refer to a planned attempt to fly planes into skyscrapers. All it says is:
- Bin Laden since 1997 wanted to "bring the fighting to America".
- "We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other US-held extremists."
So he planned hijackings of airplanes to press for the release of his underlings - hardly a pretext for flying these planes into buildings.
- "Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
Note, that these are alternatives in the memo: "preparations for hijackings" and "other other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." There was no suspicion that the hijackings could lead to the destruction of buildings. Actually, the perceived threat to "federal buildings in New York" was based on the observation of tourists taking pictures of buildings in New York:
"...the information relating to the possible surveillance of federal buildings in New York, which was later determined by the FBI to be consistent with tourist-related activity..." (Fact Sheet, Press Office of The White House)
And here are headlines of German media reporting on the August 6 memo:
AFP: Bush Knew of Attack Plans in August 2001
N24: Newspaper: Bush Knew the Terror Plan
WELT: Bush Knew of Attack Plans
FAZ: Press: Bush Knew Al-Qaeda-Plans
stern: Contradictions - Bush In Fact Warned Before 9/11 of the Terror Attacks?
Tagesspiegel: Protocol Feeds Doubts About Rice’s Testimony: Did Bush Know of a Concrete Danger before August 2001?
Al Jazeera: Memo contradicts Rice on al-Qaida threat
(Oops, Al Jazzeera is not a German media outlet, but the well know anti-Israel, anti-American, pro-Hamas, pro-Hizbollah Arab news organization. Don't know why they fit in here...)
While it is true that the actual reporting in the above-mentioned German media moves away from the impression given in the headlines, it's the headlines that stick in people’s minds.
My forecast: within a very short time the German media will regularly quote the "fact" that Bush already knew in August 2001 about the planned destruction of the WTC. And after a bit more time has passed - probably right before the election in November - there will be reporting in the German media indicating a conspiracy between neocons (Bush himself?) and Al Qaeda to destroy the WTC in order to ... (please choose one) create new jobs in the New York construction industry / grab Iraqi oil / undermine Saudi Arabia / throw Russia and France out of Iraq.
Anything's possible in the German media, if it fits into their anti-Bush agenda...
Update: I swear I hadn't seen this Cox & Forkum cartoon when I wrote the last two paragraphs...
(Hat tip Gabi)
(Translation by Ray D.)
Update: This is the transcript of Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on April 8, 2004.