Report: Clinton CIA had no plan to deal with bin Laden

The report comes from the CIA itself. It’s the Executive Summary of the CIA’s Inspector General’s look into 9-11. You can read it here for yourself. It contains several interesting nuggets.

# U.S. spy agencies, which were overseen by Tenet, lacked a comprehensive strategic plan to counter Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. The inspector general concluded that Tenet “by virtue of his position, bears ultimate responsibility for the fact that no such strategic plan was ever created.”
# The CIA’s analysis of al-Qaida before Sept. 2001 was lacking. No comprehensive report focusing on bin Laden was written after 1993, and no comprehensive report laying out the threats of 2001 was assembled. “A number of important issues were covered insufficiently or not at all,” the report found.

Let’s halt at that last one for a sec. It doesn’t jibe with what former Secretary of State Madeline Albright testified before the 9-11 Commission.

Albright told the 9/11 commission the Clinton administration did everything it could to defeat al-Qaeda and would have killed Osama bin Laden if officials had better intelligence.

“President Clinton and his team did everything we could, everything we could think of, based on the knowledge we had, to protect our people and disrupt and defeat al-Qaeda,” Albright said.

Tenet was a part of that team; he was appointed DCI by Clinton himself. But Tenet’s CIA didn’t write up a comprehensive plan to get bin Laden and drafted no comprehensive report on bin Laden. Evidently even such bureaucratic paperpushing wasn’t among the things that Albright et al thought of.

If they didn’t even think to come up with a report on bin Laden, if only to cover themselves later by being able to brandish such a report and say “See, I told you so,” what were they doing?

They didn’t have Central Intelligence analyze the threat. And they didn’t draft a plan for dealing with the threat.

They did, however, build a wall between law enforcement and intelligence-gathering. So there’s that. And according to the CIA report, that wall didn’t really contribute much to 9-11 at all.

The summary concludes: “Informing the FBI and good operational followthrough by CIA and FBI might have resulted in surveillance of [the “UBL associates”]. Surveillance, in turn, would have had the potential to yield information on flight training, financing, and links to others who were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.”