Former Vice President Dick Cheney popped up a few months ago, in the hopes of exploiting the deaths of Americans in Benghazi for partisan gain, with an unusually cheap shot. “When we were there, on our watch, we were always ready on 9/11, on the anniversary,” he said.
The rhetorical shot was hard to take seriously – Cheney apparently thinks his administration was ready, presumably everywhere, for everything, every Sept. 11, which is absurd – but more important was the fact that Cheney had to add the “on the anniversary” qualifier because he and the Bush administration clearly weren’t ready on 9/11 itself.
I thought of this because Hayes Brown noted this morning that today happens to be a related anniversary, which has particular salience given the larger contemporary context.
[Today]marks the 12th anniversary of the day that President George W. Bush received the infamous Presidential Daily Briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” […]
“Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US,” the declassified version of the 2001 report reads.
What is less well known is that when George W. Bush received that intelligence briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, and was handed the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” memo, the then-president was on a month-long vacation at the time. After listening to the briefer, Bush reportedly replied, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” We know what happened a month later.
Exactly 12 years later, however, remnants and off-shoots of al Qaeda remain, and U.S. officials are still working to prevent additional attacks. “You’ve covered your ass, now” is no longer considered an acceptable presidential response to terrorist threats.
Rachel will have more on this on tonight’s show.