2,461. 9/11/2001

“Within fifteen minutes of the attacks [on September 11, 2001], the National Security Agency [NSA] intercepted a call from an Al Qaeda operative in Asia to a contact in a former Soviet republic reporting the ‘good news’ of the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon. [CIA Director George] Tenet passed that report on to [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld around midday, but according to notes taken by aides who were with the secretary of defense, he characterized the NSA report as ‘vague’ and said there was ‘no good basis for hanging hat’ on the fact that Al Qaeda had conducted the assaults. Later that afternoon, CIA intelligence showing that three of the hijackers were suspected Al Qaeda men was still not enough for Rumsfeld. As he ordered his military to start work on retaliatory strikes, he said he wanted ‘best info fast,’ and issued instructions to ‘[j]udge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Osama bin Laden].’ ”

 – Tyler Drumheller with Elaine Monaghan, On The Brink, Pages 36-37

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