2,359. 9/10/2001

“The intercepts [of al Qaeda plotters, made by the National Security Agency (NSA) on September 10, 2001] were the main reason President Bush so readily pointed to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as the terrorists who planned and carried out the [9/11] attacks. The intelligence community, through anonymous spokesmen, said analysts were not sure the messages were related to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The intercepts were dismissed as ‘noise’ and ‘unactionable’ intelligence. …NSA director Michael Hayden was questioned about the lapse…in June 2002. …His response was that NSA gathers huge volumes of intercepts every day and that it is nearly impossible to translate and disseminate it all in a timely manner. The exchange highlighted the key failing of U.S. technical spying agencies as it related to the September 11 attacks.”

 – Bill Gertz, Breakdown, Pages 129-130

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