14 April 2004

FBI and 9/11: The picture fills in

But on Tuesday Louis Freeh, FBI director from 1993 to 2001, rejected this implicit criticism of his tenure and the agency he once led. He said that the FBI did all it could to counter terrorism, despite constraints on resources and the fact that the terror threat was simply not a national issue at the time.

It's easy to forget today that terrorism as an issue was virtually absent from the 2000 presidential campaign, said Mr. Freeh, even though Al Qaeda operatives had attacked the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000.

'We need to keep in perspective what the reality was before 9/11,' Freeh told the 9/11 commission in his public testimony.

Ahem. The reality before 9/11 was that al-Qa'ida was preparing a massive and deadly attack. The failure of various agencies and bureaucrats to detect al-Qa'ida's preparations does not alter that reality.

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