The August 6th Memo — A Big Sack Of Nothing

Rarely has there ever been so much sound and fury over a government document of such little importance as the August 6th memo entitled, “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US“. This was the memo that produced the “Bush Knew!” media storm a while back, seemingly endless questions to Condi Rice, and insinuations from the left lately that Bush could have had the info he needed to stop 9/11 but didn’t act.

So what do we have in this memo that’s supposed to be actionable? The title? Like everybody didn’t already know “Bin Ladin (was) Determined to Strike in US”? Gee, I’d have thought the first WTC bombing and the foiled Millennium bombing plot would have clued everyone into that.

There was a mention of hijacking a US plane, but the briefing refers to that as a “sensational threat” that “(w)e have not been able to corroborate”.

Here’s another line from the briefing that some people have cited…

“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.”

First of all, when are there not people engaged in “patterns of suspicious activity in this country”? I also love the fact that they say the “suspicious activity” could have something to do with “hijackings or other types of attacks”. Maybe it’s just me, but calling that a bit broad is like calling the sun “sort of hot”. Then there’s the “surveillance of federal buildings in New York”. Here’s a newsflash — the WTC wasn’t a federal building and the “surveillance” turned out to be a couple of Yemeni tourists.

So what should Bush have done based on the non-specific information in this briefing? We already know from Condi’s testimony that,

“The FAA issued at least five civil aviation security information circulars to all U.S. airlines and airport security personnel, including specific warnings about the possibility of hijacking.”

Come on you critics out there, what else should they have done? Keep in mind that the President gets briefings like this one ALL THE TIME. If you warned the public every time information like this came in, the public would soon tune it out. If you start closing down airports or cancelling events based on information this generic, we’d literally have multiple closings EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR.

Look, here’s the fundamental reality people need to come to grips with: While I will grant you that we can always improve security and intelligence gathering, there is no such thing as 100% safety. We live in an enormous country, with sparsely guarded borders, & airplanes and boats that arrive daily from overseas. Truthfully, it’s just not that hard for terrorists to get into our country. Then when they get here, they have an almost infinite supply of high value targets with minimal security to choose from. Just ask yourself: how many places are there in the United States where let’s say 500 or more people gather in one place with minimal or no security? As we all know, there are tens of thousands of locations like that and the terrorists only have to get an attack through on one of them to be successful while we have to block them all.

That’s why it’s so essential to go after the terrorists before they get in the United States. We have to go AFTER THEM where THEY LIVE, before they come AFTER US, where WE LIVE. That means showing up on THEIR DOORSTEPS and blowing their brains out or capturing them and pumping them for information. It means going after the rogue states that shelter, supply, and train them. It means that our military has to put their lives on the line fighting terrorists in Iraq, so that unsuspecting, unarmed, civilians in the United States don’t have to fight the terrorists here one day.

That’s what Bush is doing right now and it’s the most important thing we can do to minimize the chances of another 9/11 from happening here one day….

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