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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


April 10, 2004

Declassified: Presidential Daily Briefing, Aug. 6, 2001 (text)

Presidential Daily Briefing On Bin Laden, August 6, 2001 (4/10/2004 -

The full text (as declassified) of the Presidential Daily Briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Transcribed from a photographic copy. The text below is formatted similarly to the original. All italics and name spellings are as in the orignal. Redacted (censored) text is indicated with xxxxxx using approximately the same number of characters as deleted.

This is the first Presidential Daily Briefing ever to be released to the public.

(For a photographic and PDF versions, go here.)

Presidential Daily Briefing
August 6, 2001

[ page 1 ]

Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US

[As declassified (with redactions) by the White House on April 10, 2004.]

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx service.

An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an xxxxxxxxxx service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.

The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Ladin's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Ladin lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own US attack.

Ressam says Bin Ladin was aware of the Los Angeles operation.

Although Bin Ladin has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Ladin associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.

Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa'ida members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.

A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar 'Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists.


For the President Only
6 August 2001
 xxxxxxxxxxxxx  Declassified and Approved
for Release, 10 April 2004

[ page 2 ]

 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.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.

[ end ]

[Read the source...]

Related article from

White House releases bin Laden memo
Presidential briefing was at center of Rice's testimony

Saturday, April 10, 2004

The White House declassified and released Saturday the daily intelligence briefing delivered to President Bush a month before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Portions of the intelligence report dealing with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and dated August 6, 2001, have been redacted for national security reasons, the White House said.

The memo, titled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States," had been described by the White House as a largely historical document with scant information about domestic al Qaeda threats.

The memo includes intelligence on al Qaeda threats as recent as three months before the attacks.

Much of the intelligence was uncorroborated, and nothing in the memo points directly to the September 11 attacks.

Highlights of the report include:

  • An intelligence report received in May 2001 indicating that al Qaeda was trying to send operatives to the United States through Canada to carry out an attack using explosives. That information had been passed on to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
  • An allegation that al Qaeda had been considering ways to hijack American planes to win the release of operatives who had been arrested in 1998 and 1999.
  • An allegation that bin Laden was set on striking the United States as early as 1997 and through early 2001.
  • Intelligence suggesting that suspected al Qaeda operatives were traveling to and from the United States, were U.S. citizens, and may have had a support network in the country.
  • A report that at least 70 FBI investigations were under way in 2001 regarding possible al Qaeda cells/terrorist-related operations in the United States.

The two-page document became the highlight of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony Thursday before the commission investigating the attacks.

The commission asked that the presidential daily briefing be declassified after Rice's testimony.

"This was the commission's hope," spokesman Al Felzenberg said Saturday.

"The White House has now complied. The White House agreed to release the documents. This is what the commission had hoped."

The briefing was delivered to Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Rice told the commission Thursday that the briefing included mostly "historical information" and that most of the threat information known in the summer of 2001 referred to overseas targets.

She said she did not recall any reports about al Qaeda using aircraft as weapons before September 11.


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