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Profile: George W. Bush

 
  

Positions that George W. Bush has held:

  • US President


 

Quotes

 
  

Undefined, September 20, 2001

   “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” [White House, 9/20/2001]

Associated Events

Undefined, March 20, 2002

   “Remember these are—the ones in Guantanamo Bay are killers. They don't share the same values we share.” [Human Rights Watch, 1/9/2004, White House, 3/20/2002]

Associated Events

Undefined, June 10, 2002

   “This guy, Padilla, is a bad guy. And he is where he needs to be—detained,” along with many other “would-be killers” [CNN, 6/11/2002]

Associated Events

Undefined, July 10, 2002

   “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.” [White House, 7/10/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, August 22, 2002

   “The American people know my position. And that is that regime change is in the interest of the world.” [CNN, 8/25/02, Agence France-Presse, 8/22/02, CNN, 9/30/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 7, 2002

   “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need.” [Washington Times 9/27/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 12, 2002

   “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [The Age (Australia), 6/7/03, White House, 9/12/02, PBS, 9/12/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 16, 2002

   Saddam's offer is “his latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations.... He's not going to fool anybody. We've seen him before.... We'll remind the world that, by defying resolutions, he's become more and more of a threat to world peace. [The world] must rise up and deal with this threat, and that's what we expect the Security Council to do.” [Agence France Presse, 9/19/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 25, 2002

   “... the danger is, is that they work in concert. The danger is, is that al-Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world. Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. And so it's a comparison that is—I can't make because I can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.” [White House, 9/25/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 1, 2002

   “Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq.” [White House, 10/1/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, October 7, 2002

   “The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions—its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.... We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas ... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02, White House, 10/7/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 21, 2002

   “The stated policy of the United States is regime change because, for 11 years, Saddam Hussein has ignored the United Nations and the free world. For 11 years, he has—he said, look, you passed all these resolutions; I could care less what you passed. And that's why the stated policy of our government, the previous administration and this administration, is regime change—because we don't believe he is going to change.” [White House, 10/21/02]

Associated Events

Quote, October 22, 2002

   “For the sake of having an international body which is effective, the UN ... must be resolved to deal with this person, must resolve itself to be something more than a League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than just a debating society, must resolve itself to help keep international peace. It's an important time in our history to determine whether or not we're going to be a nation which is willing to work with other nations to keep the peace. The answer is ‘you bet’ but if they won't, if the UN can't make its mind up, if Saddam Hussein won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace.” [CNN, 10/22/02, Associated Press, 10/22/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 7, 2002

   “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully ' don't get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there's a chance he may decide too o that. And war is not my first choice, don't ' it's my last choice.” [White House, 11/7/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 8, 2002

   Saddam's “cooperation must be prompt and unconditional or he will face severest consequences” [White House, 11/8/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 9, 2002

   “The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons ... [a]nd my administration will see to it that the world's judgment is enforced” [White House, 11/9/02]

Associated Events

Quote, November 20, 2002

   “Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, he will have entered his final stage with a lie. And deception this time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the severest of consequences. America's goal, the world's goal, is more than the return of inspectors to Iraq. Our goal is to secure the peace through the comprehensive and verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Voluntary or by force, that goal will be achieved.” [White House, 11/20/02, New York Times, 11/21/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 2, 2002

   “In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years? Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging.... That declaration must be credible and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world once again that he has chosen not to change his behavior. Any act of delay, deception, or defiance will prove that Saddam Hussein has not adopted the path of compliance and has rejected the path of peace.” [Washington Post, 12/3/02, White House, 12/2/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 4, 2002

   “This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It�s up to him to make his decision.” [White House, 12/4/02]

Associated Events

Quote, December 31, 2002

   “I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully. One of my New Year's resolutions is to work to deal with these situations in a way so that they're resolved peacefully. ... You said we're headed to war in Iraq ? I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [White House, 12/31/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 2, 2003

   “First of all, you know, I'm hopeful we won't have to go war, and let's leave it at that.” [White House, 1/2/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, January 28, 2003

   “[M]ore than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Put it this way, they're no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.” [The White House, 1/28/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, February 7, 2003

   “But Saddam Hussein is—he's treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make. He's the person who gets to decide war and peace.” [White House, 2/7/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 6, 2003

   “I've not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully. ... I want to remind you that it's his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace.” [White House, 3/6/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 8, 2003

   “[I]t is clear that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm. ... We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [White House, 3/8/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 17, 2003

   “For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. ... Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” [White House, 3/17/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, March 26, 2003

   “We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices.” [White House, 3/26/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 28, 2003

   “As freedom takes hold in Iraq, the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders and their own government. America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture. Yet, we will ensure that all Iraqis have a voice in the new government ...” [White House, 4/28/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, May 9, 2003

   “Soon, Iraqis from every ethnic group will choose members of an interim authority. The people of Iraq are building a free society from the ground up, and they are able to do so because the dictator and his regime are no more.” [White House, 5/9/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, July 2, 2003

   “There are some who feel that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation.” [New York Times, 7/2/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, July 30, 2003

   “Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant-instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered.”

Associated Events

Quote, October 18, 2003

   “We don't torture people in America. And people who make that claim just don't know anything about our country.” [Amnesty International, 10/20/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, May 5, 2004

   “People in Iraq must understand that I view those practices as abhorrent. ...must also understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know. ... The America that I know has sent troops to Iraq to promote freedom.” [CBS News, 5/5/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, May 11, 2004

   “I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment. ... These prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands. And here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals. I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons, looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying.” [New York Times, 5/11/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, June 10, 2004

   “Listen, I'll say it one more time. ... The instructions that were given were to comply with the law. That should reassure you. We are a nation of laws. We follow the law. We have laws on our books. You could go look at those laws and that should reassure you.” [White House, 6/10/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, June 24, 2004

   “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” [Amnesty International, 5/7/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, September 1, 2005

   “I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will.” [Washington Post, 9/1/2005, Reuters, 9/2/2005]


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

George W. Bush actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1988: Bin Ladens Bail Out George W. Bush?      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush during his Harken days.
Prior to this year, President George W. Bush is a failed oilman. Three times, friends and investors have bailed him out to keep his business from going bankrupt. However, in 1988, the same year his father becomes president, some Saudis buy a portion of his small company, Harken, which has never performed work outside of Texas. Later in the year, Harken wins a contract in the Persian Gulf and starts doing well financially. These transactions seem so suspicious that the Wall Street Journal in 1991 states it “raises the question of ... an effort to cozy up to a presidential son.” Two major investors in Bush's company during this time are Salem bin Laden and Khalid bin Mahfouz. [Salon, 11/19/01; Intelligence Newsletter, 3/2/00] Salem bin Laden is Osama's oldest brother; Khalid bin Mahfouz is a Saudi banker with a 20 percent stake in BCCI. The bank will be shut down a few years later and bin Mahfouz will have to pay a $225 million fine (while admitting no wrongdoing) (see October 2001)). [Forbes, 3/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Harken, Salem bin Laden, George W. Bush, Khalid bin Mahfouz
          

May 1990      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The US National Security Council presents a white paper to President Bush in which it describes Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as the optimum contender “to replace the Warsaw Pact” and on that basis argues for the continuation of Cold War-level military spending. [Pilger, 1991 cited in Davidsson, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 4, 1992: FBI Investigates Ties Between George W. Bush and Saudi Money      Complete 911 Timeline

      
James Bath.
The FBI investigates connections between James Bath and George W. Bush, according to published reports. Bath is Salem bin Laden's official representative in the US. Bath's business partner contends that, “Documents indicate that the Saudis were using Bath and their huge financial resources to influence US policy,” since George W. Bush's father is president. George W. Bush denies any connections to Saudi money. What becomes of this investigation is unclear, but no charges are ever filed. [Houston Chronicle, 6/4/92]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Bath, Salem bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

October 1996-early 2002: Arms Dealer Aligns with Taliban and ISI      Complete 911 Timeline

       Russian arms merchant Victor Bout, who has been selling weapons to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance since 1992, switches sides, and begins selling weapons to the Taliban and al-Qaeda instead. [Los Angeles Times, 1/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02; Guardian, 4/17/02] The deal comes immediately after the Taliban captures Kabul in late October 1996 and gains the upper hand in Afghanistan's civil war. In one trade in 1996, Bout's company delivers at least 40 tons of Russian weapons to the Taliban, earning about $50 million. [Guardian, 2/16/02] Two intelligence agencies later confirm that Bout trades with the Taliban “on behalf of the Pakistan government.” In late 2000, several Ukrainians sell 150 to 200 T-55 and T-62 tanks to the Taliban in a deal conducted by the ISI, and Bout helps fly the tanks to Afghanistan. [Montreal Gazette, 2/5/02] Bout formerly worked for the Russian KGB, and now operates the world's largest private weapons transport network. Based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bout operates freely there until well after 9/11. The US becomes aware of Bout's widespread illegal weapons trading in Africa in 1995, and of his ties to the Taliban in 1996, but they fail to take effective action against him for years. [Los Angeles Times, 5/17/02] US pressure on the UAE in November 2000 to close down Bout's operations there is ignored. Press reports calling him “the merchant of death” also fail to pressure the UAE. [Financial Times, 6/10/00; Guardian, 12/23/00] After President Bush is elected, it appears the US gives up trying to get Bout, until after 9/11. [Guardian, 4/17/02; Washington Post, 2/26/02] Bout moves to Russia in 2002. He is seemingly protected from prosecution by the Russian government, which in early 2002 will claim, “There are no grounds for believing that this Russian citizen has committed illegal acts.” [Guardian, 4/17/02] The Guardian suggests that Bout may have worked with the CIA when he traded with the Northern Alliance, and this fact may be hampering current international efforts to catch him. [Guardian, 4/17/02]
People and organizations involved: United Arab Emirates, George W. Bush, Russia, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Victor Bout, Central Intelligence Agency, Northern Alliance
          

1999      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Presidential candidate George W. Bush tells prominent Texas author and Bush family friend Mickey Herskowitz, who is helping Bush write an autobiography, that as president he would invade Iraq if given the opportunity. “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief,” Herskowitz remembers Bush saying. “My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of [Kuwait] and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade Iraq, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz later says he believes Bush's comments were intended to distinguish himself from his father, rather than express a desire to invade Iraq. [Houston Chronicle, 10/31/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Mickey Herskowitz
          

December 2, 1999      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire, presidential candidate George Bush says as president he would not lift the sanctions on Iraq nor attempt to negotiate with Saddam Hussein. “I'd make darn sure that he lived up to the agreements that he signed back in the early '90s. I'd be helping the opposition groups. And if I found, in any way shape or form, that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take them out. I'm surprised he's still there. I think a lot of other people are as well.” [Boston Globe, 12/3/1999; Federal Document Clearing House, 12/2/1999]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(May 17, 2000)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Presidential candidate George W. Bush allegedly tells Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American newspaper, that if he becomes president he will remove Saddam Hussein from power. “He told me that he was going to take him out, ” Siblani says in a radio interview on Democracy Now! almost five years later. Siblani will also recall that Bush “wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.” As Siblani will later note, as a presidential candidate Bush has no access to classified intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs. [Democracy Now!, 3/11/05 Sources: Osama Siblani]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Osama Siblani
          

September-October 2000: Predator Flights over Afghanistan Are Initiated Then Halted      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Footage from a Predator drone apparently shows bin Laden surrounded by security.
An unmanned spy plane called the Predator begins flying over Afghanistan, showing incomparably detailed real-time video and photographs of the movements of what appears to be bin Laden and his aides. It flies successfully over Afghanistan 16 times. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04] President Clinton is impressed by a two-minute video of bin Laden crossing a street heading toward a mosque. Bin Laden is surrounded by a team of a dozen armed men creating a professional forward security perimeter as he moves. The Predator has been used since 1996, in the Balkans and Iraq. One Predator crashes on takeoff and another is chased by a fighter, but it apparently identifies bin Laden on three occasions. Its use is stopped in Afghanistan after a few trials, mostly because seasonal winds are picking up. It is agreed to resume the flights in the spring, but the Predator fails to fly over Afghanistan again until after 9/11. [Clarke, 2004, pp 220-21; Washington Post, 12/19/01] On September 15, 2001, CIA Director Tenet apparently inaccurately tells President Bush, “The unmanned Predator surveillance aircraft that was now armed with Hellfire missiles had been operating for more than a year out of Uzbekistan to provide real-time video of Afghanistan.” [Washington Post, 1/29/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, George Tenet, Central Intelligence Agency
          

December 2000: Incoming Bush Administration Briefed on Terrorism Threat; Apparently Ignores Recommendations      Complete 911 Timeline

       CIA Director Tenet and other top CIA officials brief President-elect Bush, Vice President-elect Cheney, future National Security Adviser Rice, and other incoming national security officials on al-Qaeda and covert action programs in Afghanistan. Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt recalls conveying that bin Laden is one of the gravest threats to the country. Bush asks whether killing bin Laden would end the problem. Pavitt says he answers that killing bin Laden would have an impact but not stop the threat. The CIA recommends the most important action to combat al-Qaeda is to arm the Predator drone and use it over Afghanistan. [Reuters, 3/24/04 (B); 9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04] However, while the drone is soon armed, Bush never gives the order to use it in Afghanistan until after 9/11 (see September 4, 2001).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, James Pavitt, al-Qaeda, George Tenet
          

December 16, 2000      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President-elect George W. Bush announces his nomination of Powell to the position of Secretary of State. Powell, in his remarks, suggests that the US might have to “confront” Saddam Hussein. Powell says: “Saddam Hussein is sitting on a failed regime that is not going to be around in a few years' time. The world is going to leave him behind and that regime behind as the world marches to new drummers, drummers of democracy and the free enterprise system. And I don't know what it will take to bring him to his senses. But we are in the strong position. He is in the weak position. And I think it is possible to re-energize those sanctions and to continue to contain him and then confront him, should that become necessary again.” [Journal of the Air Force Association, 2/2001]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

Fall 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Bush signs a number of Presidential Directives giving the CIA the authority to kill or capture suspected terrorists and set up a global network of facilities to detain and interrogate them in secret. [New York Times, 8/27/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 10, 2001-September 4, 2001: Armed Predator Drone Is Readied, but Unused      Complete 911 Timeline

      
A Predator drone.
Even before President Bush's official inauguration, Clinton holdover counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke pushes National Security Adviser Rice and other incoming Bush officials to resume Predator drone flights over Afghanistan (originally carried out in September and October 2000) in an attempt to find and assassinate bin Laden. [CBS News, 6/25/03; Washington Post, 1/20/02] On January 10, Rice is shown a video clip of bin Laden filmed by a Predator drone the year before. [Washington Post, 1/20/02] Clarke learns of an Air Force plan to arm the Predator. The original plan calls for three years of testing, but Clarke pushes so hard that the armed Predator is ready in three months. [New Yorker, 7/28/03] A Hellfire missile is successfully test fired from a Predator on February 16, 2001. [CBS News, 6/25/03] In early June, a duplicate of the brick house where bin Laden is believed to be living in Kandahar, Afghanistan, is built in Nevada, and destroyed by a Predator missile. The test shows that the missile fired from miles away would have killed anyone in the building, and one participant calls this the long sought after “holy grail” that could kill bin Laden within minutes of finding him. [Washington Post, 1/20/02] Clarke repeatedly advocates using the Predator, armed or unarmed. However, bureaucratic infighting between the CIA and the Air Force over who would pay for it and take responsibility delays its use. Clarke later says, “Every time we were ready to use it, the CIA would change its mind.” [New Yorker, 7/28/03] Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Steve Hadley decide to delay reconnaissance flights until the armed version is ready. In July 2001, Hadley directs the military to have armed Predators ready to deploy no later than September 1. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] The issue comes to a head in early September, but even then, a decision to use the Predator is delayed [New Yorker, 7/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency, Richard A. Clarke, Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

After January 20, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       After George W. Bush is inaugurated into office, the manner in which the daily intelligence briefings are presented to the president changes. President Bill Clinton read the PDBs, usually about 12 pages in length, himself and often had no need for the follow-up oral briefings. Bush, on the other hand, prefers a shorter seven-to-10-page PDB containing “more targeted hard intelligence” items. The PDB is delivered to him orally, as he reads along. According to the Washington Post, the CIA's top officials personally review the PDB before it is presented to Bush. “Tenet reviews the PDB with the briefer as they drive from the director's Maryland home to the White House. On the way, Tenet often makes notes and looks over the backup material the briefer has brought. Tenet and, often, the deputy director for intelligence have already looked it over before going to bed the night before, though it is finished by staffers who go to work at midnight and monitor incoming intelligence throughout the night.” Tenet is present during the actual briefing and “expands where he believes necessary and responds to questions by Bush and others,” the Post reports. [CNN, 1/18/2001; Washington Post, 5/24/2002, pp A33] According to retired veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern, the CIA director's presence during these briefing is highly unusual. The daily briefings began during the Reagan administration at the suggestion of then-Vice President George H. W. Bush. According to McGovern, the briefings were done at that time by a “small team of briefers ... comprised of senior analysts who had been around long enough to earn respect and trust.” McGovern, who did such briefings for the vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and the national security assistant from 1981 to 1985, says that briefers “had the full confidence of the CIA director, who ... rarely inserted himself into the PDB process. .... The last thing we briefers needed was the director breathing down our necks.” McGovern suggests that Tenet's presence at the briefings possibly influenced the content of the briefing. [McGovern, 3/5/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray McGovern, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton
          

January 21, 2001: Bush Administration Takes Over; Many Have Oil Industry Connections      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Chevron oil tanker named after National Security Advisor Rice.
George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Bill Clinton. The only Cabinet-level figure to remain permanently in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long-time friend of George H. W. Bush. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on until June 2001. Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Adviser Rice. Rice had been on Chevron's Board of Directors since 1991, and even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. [Salon, 11/19/01] It is later revealed that Cheney is still being paid up to $1 million a year in “deferred payments” from Halliburton, the oil company he headed. [Guardian, 3/12/03] Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [Washington Post, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Louis J. Freeh, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron, George Tenet
          

January 29, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini, who heads the Islamic Center of America in Detroit, one of the nation's largest mosques, meets with President Bush in the White House about the administration's policy towards Iraq. The president says he supports a policy aimed at removing Saddam Hussein from power, though he does not discuss by what means. “No method was discussed at all,” al-Qazwini will tell the New York Times two years later. “It was a general desire for regime change.” He will also tell the newspaper that he had spoken with Bush about removing Saddam Hussein a total of six or seven times, both before and after the 2000 elections. [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini
          

(January 30, 2001): First National Security Council Meeting Focuses on Iraq and Israel, Not Terrorism      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The focus is on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Bamford, 2004, pp 261 Sources: Paul O'Neill]
Israeli-Palestinian conflict - “We're going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict,” Bush reportedly tells his national security team. “We're going to tilt it back toward Israel.” His view is that the Israeli government, currently headed by Ariel Sharon, should be left alone to deal as it sees fit with the Palestinians. “I'm not going to go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon. I'm going to take him at face value. We'll work on a relationship based on how things go.” Justifying his position, he recalls a recent trip he took to Israel with the Republican Jewish Coalition. “We flew over the Palestinian camps. Looked real bad down there. ... I don't see much we can do over there at this point.” Powell, surprised by Bush's intended policy towards the 50-year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, objects. According to Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neil, Powell “stresse[s] that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army.” When Powell warns the president that the “consequences of that [policy] could be dire, especially for the Palestinians,” Bush shrugs. “Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things,” he suggests. [Bamford, 2004, pp 265-266]
Iraq - The meeting then moves on to the subject of Iraq. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice begins noting “that Iraq might be the key to reshaping the entire region.” She turns the meeting over to CIA director George Tenet who summarizes current intelligence on Iraq. He mentions a factory that “might” be producing “either chemical or biological materials for weapons manufacture.” The evidence he provides is a picture of the factory with some truck activity, a water tower, and railroad tracks going into a building. He admits that there is “no confirming intelligence.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 267] US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, later recalls: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go ... From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O'Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O'Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ ” [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04; Guardian, 1/12/04; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 234 Sources: Paul O'Neill] Another official who attends the meeting will later say that the tone of the meeting implied a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC News, 1/13/04 Sources: Unnamed senior official of the Bush administration] The council does more than just discuss Iraq. It makes a decision to allow the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an Iraqi opposition group, to use $4 million to fund efforts inside Iraq to compile information relating to Baghdad's war crimes, military operations, and other internal developments. The money had been authorized by Congress in late 2004. The US has not directly funded Iraqi opposition activities inside Iraq itself since 1996. [Guardian, 2/3/2005] After Paul O'Neill first provides his account of this meeting in 2004, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “... The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. ... And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [New York Times, 1/12/04]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Paul O'Neill, Iraqi National Congress, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

February 2001: Joseph Allbaugh Becomes FEMA's New Director      Hurricane Katrina

       President Bush appoints Joseph M. Allbaugh, a longtime Bush aide, to serve as the director of FEMA. In his new role, Allbaugh will coordinate “federal disaster relief activities on behalf of President Bush, including the Federal Response Plan that authorizes the response and recovery operations of 28 federal agencies and departments and the American Red Cross.” Additionally, he will oversee the National Flood Insurance Program and the US Fire Administration and initiate proactive mitigation activities to reduce loss of life and property from all types of hazards. Allbaugh will manage FEMA's annual budget of about $3 billion, about 2,500 permanent federal employees, and 4,500 temporary disaster assistance employees. Allbaugh has served Bush in the past. He was “the governor's point person for nine presidential disaster declarations and more than 20 state-level emergencies.” Allbaugh also served as Bush's national campaign manager for the 2000 election and as the campaign manager for Bush's first run for Texas governor in 1994. He also served as Governor Bush's Chief of Staff. Along with Bush's longtime aides, Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh is known as one of the three members of Bush's so-called “iron triangle.” [FEMA website, 9/16/2005; Fire Chief Magazine, 3/1/2005]
People and organizations involved: Joeseph M. Allbaugh, George W. Bush
          

March 2001: US and Taliban Discuss Handing over bin Laden      Complete 911 Timeline

       Taliban envoy Rahmatullah Hashimi meets with reporters, middle-ranking State Department bureaucrats, and private Afghanistan experts in Washington. He carries a gift carpet and a letter from Afghan leader Mullah Omar for President Bush. He discusses turning bin Laden over, but the US wants to be handed bin Laden and the Taliban want to turn him over to some third country. A CIA official later says, “We never heard what they were trying to say. We had no common language. Ours was, ‘Give up bin Laden.’ They were saying, ‘Do something to help us give him up.’ ... I have no doubts they wanted to get rid of him. He was a pain in the neck.” Others claim the Taliban were never sincere. About 20 more meetings on giving up bin Laden take place up until 9/11, all fruitless. [Washington Post, 10/29/01] Allegedly, Hashimi also proposes that the Taliban would hold bin Laden in one location long enough for the US to locate and kill him. However, this offer is refused. This report, however, comes from Laila Helms, daughter of former CIA director Richard Helms. While it's interesting that this information came out before 9/11, one must be skeptical, since Helms' job was public relations for the Taliban. [Village Voice, 6/6/01]
People and organizations involved: Rahmatullah Hashimi, Laila Helms, Osama bin Laden, Taliban, Mullah Omar, George W. Bush
          

April-May 2001: Bush, Cheney Receive Numerous al-Qaeda Warnings      Complete 911 Timeline

       President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers headlined, “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations,” “Bin Laden Public Profile May Presage Attack,” and “Bin Laden Network's Plans Advancing.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but apparently, none specifically mentions a domestic US attack. [New York Times, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

May 2001: Report Warns of al-Qaeda Infiltration from Canada      Complete 911 Timeline

       US intelligence obtains information that al-Qaeda is planning to infiltrate the US from Canada and carry out an operation using high explosives. The report does not say exactly where, when, or how an attack might occur. Two months later, the information is shared with the FBI, the INS, the US Customs Service, and the State Department, and it will be shared with President Bush in August. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02; Washington Post, 9/19/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda, US Customs Service, US Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service
          

June-July 2001: Terrorist Threat Reports Surge, Frustration with White House Grows      Complete 911 Timeline

       Terrorist threat reports, already high in the preceding months, surge even higher. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers with headlines such as “Bin Laden Threats Are Real” and “Bin Laden Planning High Profile Attacks.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but according to the 9/11 Commission they consistently predict upcoming attacks that will occur “on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil, consisting of possible multiple—but not necessarily simultaneous—attacks.” CIA Director Tenet later recalls that by late July the warnings coming in could not get any worse. He feels that President Bush and other officials grasp the urgency of what they are being told. [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04 (B)] But Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin later states that he feels a great tension, peaking these months, between the Bush administration's apparent misunderstanding of terrorism issues and his sense of great urgency. McLaughlin and others are frustrated when inexperienced Bush officials question the validity of certain intelligence findings. Two unnamed, veteran Counter Terrorism Center officers deeply involved in bin Laden issues are so worried about an impending disaster that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (C)] Dale Watson, head of counterterrorism at the FBI, wishes he had “500 analysts looking at Osama bin Laden threat information instead of two.” [9/11 Commission Report, 4/13/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, John E. McLaughlin, George Tenet, Dale Watson, Osama bin Laden, Bush administration
          

June 13, 2001: Counterterrorism Not Part of Bush Defense Plan      Complete 911 Timeline

       At President Bush's first meeting with NATO heads of state in Brussels, Belgium, Bush outlines his five top defense issues. Missile defense is at the top of the list. Terrorism is not mentioned at all. This is consistent with his other statements before 9/11. Almost the only time he ever publicly mentions al-Qaeda or bin Laden before 9/11 is later in the month, in a letter that renews Clinton administration sanctions on the Taliban. [CNN, 6/13/01; Washington Post, 4/1/04] He only speaks publicly about the dangers of terrorism once before 9/11, in May, except for several mentions in the context of promoting a missile defense shield. [Washington Post, 1/20/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Clinton administration, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

Mid-February 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       David Frum interviews George W. Bush for a biography he is writing on the new president. Some time later, he reviews the notes he took during this interview and is “startled at how much of what would happen over the next year is prefigured” in those notes. Bush's statements, he says, demonstrated “his focus on the danger presented by Iran [and] his determination to dig Saddam Hussein out of power in Iraq.” [Frum, 2003, pp 26]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, David Frum
          

July 5, 2001: Genoa Planes as Weapons Threat Helps Inspire Bush to Ask For Famous August 2001 Briefing      Complete 911 Timeline

       In 2002, Newsweek will report, “The White House acknowledged for the first time, [President] Bush was privately beginning to worry about the stream of terror warnings he was hearing that summer, most of them aimed at US targets abroad. On July 5, five days before the Phoenix memo (see July 10, 2001), Bush directed [Condoleezza] Rice to figure out what was going on domestically.” [Newsweek, 5/27/02] In 2004, President Bush will explain why he requested this. “[T]he reason I did is because there had been a lot of threat intelligence from overseas. And part of it had to do with the Genoa [Italy] G8 conference that I was going to attend.” [New York Times, 4/13/04 (D)] Though he doesn't mention it, the chief security concern at the late July 2001 conference he mentions is intelligence that al-Qaeda plans to fly an airplane into the conference. This threat is so widely reported before the conference (with some reports before July 5 (see June 13, 2001) (see Mid-July 2001)) that the attack is called off. For instance, in late June, Time magazine mentioned a German intelligence report of a bin Laden plot “to fly remote-controlled model aircraft packed with Semtex into the conference hall and blow the leaders of the industrialized world to smithereens.” (see June 20, 2001) Bush's request will result in the later-famous August 6, 2001 briefing entitled, “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” (see August 6, 2001) [New York Times, 4/13/04 (D)]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda
          

July 20-22, 2001: During G-8 Summit, Italian Military Prepare Against Attack from the Sky      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Extra security precautions for the G8 Summit in Genoa.
The G8 summit is held in Genoa, Italy. Acting on previous warnings that al-Qaeda would attempt to kill President Bush and other leaders, Italian authorities surround the summit with antiaircraft guns. They keep fighters in the air and close off local airspace to all planes. [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01] The warnings are taken so seriously that Bush stays overnight on an aircraft carrier offshore, and other world leaders stay on a luxury ship. [CNN, 7/18/01] No attack occurs. US officials at the time state that the warnings were “unsubstantiated” but after 9/11, they will claim success in preventing an attack. [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda
          

Early August 2001: Britain Warns US Again; Specifies Multiple Airplane Hijackings      Complete 911 Timeline

       Britain gives the US another warning about an al-Qaeda attack. The previous British warning on July 16, 2001 (see July 16, 2001), was vague as to method, but this warning specifies multiple airplane hijackings. This warning is said to reach President Bush. [Sunday Herald, 5/19/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, al-Qaeda
          

August 4-30, 2001: Bush Nearly Sets Record for Longest Presidential Vacation      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush spends most of August 2001 at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, nearly setting a record for the longest presidential vacation. While it is billed a “working vacation,” news organizations report that Bush is doing “nothing much” aside from his regular daily intelligence briefings. [Salon, 8/29/01; Washington Post, 8/7/01; ABC News, 8/3/01] One such unusually long briefing at the start of his trip is a warning that bin Laden is planning to attack in the US (see August 6, 2001), but Bush spends the rest of that day fishing. By the end of his trip, Bush has spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route. [Washington Post, 8/7/01] At the time, a poll shows that 55 percent of Americans say Bush is taking too much time off. [USA Today, 8/7/01] Vice President Cheney also spends the entire month in a remote location in Wyoming. [Jackson Hole News and Guide, 8/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 6, 2001: Bush Briefing Titled Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on August 6, 2001. Advisors wait with classified briefings.
President Bush receives a classified intelligence briefing at his Crawford, Texas ranch indicating that bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. The memo provided to him is titled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” The entire memo focuses on the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the US. [Newsweek, 5/27/02; New York Times, 5/15/02] Incredibly, the New York Times later reports that Bush “[breaks] off from work early and [spends] most of the day fishing.” [New York Times, 5/25/02] The existence of this memo is kept secret, until it is leaked in May 2002, causing a storm of controversy. While National Security Adviser Rice claims the memo is only one and a half pages long; other accounts state it is 11 1/2 pages instead of the usual two or three. [Newsweek, 5/27/02; New York Times, 5/15/02; Die Zeit, 10/1/02] She disingenuously asserts that, “It was an analytic report that talked about [bin Laden]'s methods of operation, talked about what he had done historically, in 1997, in 1998. ... I want to reiterate, it was not a warning. There was no specific time, place, or method mentioned.” [White House, 5/16/02] A page and a half of the contents are released on April 10, 2004, after Rice testifies before the 9/11 Commission. [Washington Post, 4/10/04] Rice testifies that the memo is mostly historic regarding bin Laden's previous activities, and she says it contains no specific information that would have prevented an attack. The memo, as released, states as follows:
Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Laden 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 Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a -REDACTED-service.
An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told -REDACTED- service at the same time that bin Laden 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 Laden'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 in ---, Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaida encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaida was planning his own US attack.
Ressam says bin Laden was aware of the Los Angeles operation.
Although bin Laden 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 Laden associates surveyed 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 Qaeda 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-Qaeda 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 Laden 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 -REDACTED- service in 1998 saying that bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other US-held extremists.
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 Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives. [9/11 Commission, 7/22/2004] The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry calls it “a closely held intelligence report for senior government officials” presented in early August 2001. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles International Airport, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Ahmed Ressam, 9/11 Commission, Central Intelligence Agency, Abu Zubaida, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, World Trade Center
          

August 17 and 31, 2001: Tenet Briefs President Bush; Fails to Mention Moussaoui      Complete 911 Timeline

       CIA records show that Tenet briefed the president twice in August—once in Crawford, Texas, on August 17, and once in Washington, on August 31. By the time of the second briefing, Tenet is aware of Zacarias Moussaoui's arrest , but, apparently, he fails to tell Bush about it. [Washington Post, 4/15/04 (B)] In April 2004, Tenet will testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission that he had no direct communication with President Bush during the month of August. [New York Times, 4/15/04] This is quickly discovered to be untrue. A CIA spokesperson will then claim, “He momentarily forgot [about the briefings].” [Washington Post, 4/15/04 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, George Tenet, Zacarias Moussaoui, 9/11 Commission
          

August 23 or 24, 2001: CIA Senior Staff Sits on Moussaoui Memo      Complete 911 Timeline

       CIA Director Tenet and CIA senior staff are briefed about the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in a briefing entitled “Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.” However, apparently others such as President Bush and the White House counterterrorism group are not told about Moussaoui until after the 9/11 attacks begin. Even the acting director of the FBI is not told, despite the fact that lower level FBI officials who made the arrest tried to pass on the information. Tenet later maintains that there was no reason to alert President Bush or to share information about Moussaoui during an early September 2001 Cabinet-level meeting on terrorism, saying, “All I can tell you is, it wasn't the appropriate place. I just can't take you any farther than that.” [Washington Post, 4/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Zacarias Moussaoui, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Central Intelligence Agency
          

August 24, 2001      US Military

       President George W. Bush appoints Gen. Richard Myers, an expert in hi-tech computer and space warfare, as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Observers say that Bush's nomination of Myers, a former head of the US Space Command, reflects the Bush administration intent to develop a missile defense system and weaponize space. [Reuters, 8/30/2001; US Department of State, 8/24/2001; PBS, 8/24/2001]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard B. Myers
          

August 29, 2001: Bush Vows Security Is His First Responsibility      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush says, “We recognize it's a dangerous world. I know this nation still has enemies, and we cannot expect them to be idle. And that's why security is my first responsibility. And I will not permit any course that leaves America undefended.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Early September 2001: Iranian Inmate in Germany Warns of Imminent Attack on WTC      Complete 911 Timeline

       An Iranian man known as Ali S. in a German jail awaiting deportation repeatedly phones US law enforcement to warn of an imminent attack on the WTC in early September. He calls it “an attack that will change the world.” After a month of badgering his prison guards, he is finally able to call the White House 14 times in the days before the attack. He then tries to send a fax to President Bush, but is denied permission hours before the 9/11 attacks. German police later confirm the calls. Prosecutors later say Ali had no foreknowledge and his forebodings were just a strange coincidence. They say he is mentally unstable. Similar warnings also come from a Moroccan man being held in a Brazilian jail. [Sunday Herald, 9/16/01; Ananova, 9/14/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 9/13/01]
People and organizations involved: World Trade Center, George W. Bush, Ali S.
          

September 9, 2001: Bush's First Budget Has Gaps for Counterterrorism Funding      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush's first budget calls for $13.6 billion on counterterrorism programs, compared with $12.8 billion in President Clinton's last budget and $2 billion ten years earlier. However, there are gaps between what military commanders say they need to combat terrorism and what they are slated to receive. These gaps are still unresolved on September 11. [Knight Ridder, 9/27/01; Time, 8/4/02; Washington Post, 1/20/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, George W. Bush
          

September 10, 2001: Deputies Still Putting Final Touches on Three-Year Plan to Stop al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       Another deputies meeting further considers policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, and makes further revisions to the National Security Presidential Directive regarding al-Qaeda. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (D)] By the end of the meeting, a formal, three-phase strategy is agreed upon. An envoy is to go to Afghanistan and give the Taliban another chance to expel bin Laden. If this fails, more pressure will be put on the Taliban, including more support for the Northern Alliance and other groups. If the Taliban still refuse to change, the US will try to overthrow the Taliban through more direct action. The time-frame for this strategy is about three years. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04] CIA Director Tenet is formally tasked to draw up new authorities for the covert action program envisioned, and request funding to implement it. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04 (C)] The directive is then to be sent to National Security Adviser Rice for approval. President Bush is apparently aware of the directive and prepared to sign it (though he hasn't attended any of the meetings about it), but he does not sign it until October. [MSNBC, 5/16/02; Los Angeles Times, 5/18/02; Washington Post, 4/1/04]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Northern Alliance
          

(6:00 a.m.): Bush Interview or Assassination Attempt?      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush has just spent the night at Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida. Surface-to-air missiles have been placed on the roof of the resort (it is not known if this was typical of presidential security before 9/11, or if this was related to increased terror warnings). [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/10/02] Bush wakes up around 6:00 a.m. and is preparing for his morning jog. [MSNBC, 10/27/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; New York Times, 9/16/01 (B)] A van occupied by men of Middle Eastern descent arrives at the Colony Beach Resort, stating they have a “poolside” interview with the president. They do not have an appointment and they are turned away. [Longboat Observer, 9/26/01] Some question whether this was an assassination attempt modeled on the one used on Afghan leader Ahmed Massoud two days earlier (see September 9, 2001). [Time, 8/4/02 (B)] Longboat Key Fire Marshal Carroll Mooneyhan was reported to have overheard the conversation between the men and the Secret Service, but he later denies the report. The newspaper that reported this, the Longboat Observer stands by its story. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] Witnesses recall seeing Mohamed Atta in the Longboat Key Holiday Inn a short distance from where Bush was staying as recently as September 7, the day Bush's Sarasota appearance was publicly announced. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04; Longboat Observer, 11/21/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Carroll Mooneyhan, Mohamed Atta, NBC, Secret Service
          

(6:31 a.m.): Bush Goes Jogging      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort, where Bush stays the night before 9/11.
President Bush goes for a four-mile jog around the golf course at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort. [MSNBC, 10/27/02; Washington Times, 10/7/02; Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(8:00 a.m.): Bush Receives Daily Intelligence Briefing      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush sits down for his daily intelligence briefing. “The president's briefing appears to have included some reference to the heightened terrorist risk reported throughout the summer,” but it contained nothing serious enough to cause Bush to call National Security Adviser Rice. The briefing ends around 8:20 a.m. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice
          

(8:30 a.m.): Some US Leaders Are Scattered; Others in D.C.      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves his Lima, Peru hotel after hearing the news.
Just prior to learning about the 9/11 attacks, top US leaders are scattered across the country and overseas:
President Bush is in Sarasota, Florida. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Secretary of State Powell is in Lima, Peru. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
General Henry Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is flying across the Atlantic on the way to Europe. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Attorney General Ashcroft is flying to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh is at a conference in Montana. [ABC News, 9/14/02 (B)] Others are in Washington:
Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice are at their offices in the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is at his office in the Pentagon, meeting with a delegation from Capitol Hill. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
CIA Director Tenet is at breakfast with his old friend and mentor, former senator David Boren (D), at the St. Regis Hotel, three blocks from the White House. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
FBI Director Mueller is in his office at FBI Headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is at his office at the Department of Transportation. [Senate Commerce Committee, 9/20/01]
Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is at a conference in the Ronald Reagan Building three blocks from the White House. [Clarke, 2004, pp 1]
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, Henry H. Shelton, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Joeseph M. Allbaugh, Richard A. Clarke, Norman Mineta, Donald Rumsfeld, David Boren, Colin Powell, George Tenet, George W. Bush
          

(8:35 a.m.): Bush Motorcade Leaves for Elementary School      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The destination of Bush's motorcade is Booker Elementary School.
President Bush's motorcade leaves for Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. [Washington Times, 10/7/02; Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01; BBC, 9/1/02; Washington Post, 1/27/02] His official schedule had him leaving at 8:30. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] He said farewell to the management at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort at 8:20 a.m. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(After 8:46 a.m.): Emergency Response Plans Activated by Officials, Not by Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush will say in a speech later that evening, “Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans.” [White House, 9/11/01] However, the Wall Street Journal reports that lower level officials activate CONPLAN (Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan) in response to the emerging crisis. CONPLAN, created in response to a 1995 Presidential Decision Directive issued by President Clinton and published in January 2001, details the responsibility of seven federal agencies if a terrorist attack occurs. It gives the FBI the responsibility for activating the plan and alerting other agencies. Bush in fact later states that he doesn't give any orders responding to the attack until after 9:55 a.m. [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04; Conplan, 1/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

(Between 8:55-9:00 a.m.): Bush First Told About WTC Crash?; Suggests Accident      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Karl Rove, Andrew Card, and Dan Bartlett.
President Bush's motorcade has arrived at Booker Elementary School and Bush enters the school with his entourage. The beepers of politicians' aides are going off with news of the first WTC crash as Bush arrives. According to one account, Bush learns of the crash when adviser Karl Rove takes Bush aside in a school corridor and tells him about the calamity. According to this account, Rove says the cause of the crash was unclear. Bush replies, “What a horrible accident!” Bush also suggests the pilot may have had a heart attack. This account is recalled by photographer Eric Draper, who was standing nearby at the time. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Dan Bartlett, White House Communications Director, also says he is there when Bush is told: “[Bush] being a former pilot, had kind of the same reaction, going, was it bad weather? And I said no, apparently not.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] One account states that Rove tells Bush the WTC has been hit by a large commercial airliner. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] However, Bush later remembers Rove saying it appeared to be an accident involving a small, twin-engine plane. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] In a third version of the story, Bush later recalls that he first learns of the crash from chief of Staff Andrew Card, who says, “ ‘Here's what you're going to be doing; you're going to meet so-and-so, such-and-such.’ And Andy Card says, ‘By the way, an aircraft flew into the World Trade Center.’ ” [Washington Times, 10/7/02] “From the demeanor of the president, grinning at the children, it appeared that the enormity of what he had been told was taking a while to sink in,” according to a reporter standing nearby at the time. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Card, Dan Bartlett, George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Eric Draper
          

(9:00 a.m.): Rice Informs Bush Flight 11 Has Accidentally Hit the WTC, but Knows Nothing Else      Complete 911 Timeline

       National Security Adviser Rice later claims she is in her White House office when she hears about the first WTC crash just before 9:00 a.m. She recalls, “I thought to myself, what an odd accident.” She reportedly speaks to President Bush around 9:00 a.m. on the telephone, and tells him that a twin-engine plane has struck the WTC tower. She says, “That's all we know right now, Mr. President.” [Newsweek, 12/31/01] Rice later claims, “He said, what a terrible, it sounds like a terrible accident. Keep me informed.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] Despite her title of National Security Adviser, she is apparently unaware that NORAD has scrambled planes after learning of two hijackings in progress at least 15 minutes ago. She goes ahead with her usual national security staff meeting. [Newsweek, 12/31/01] Author James Bamford comments, “Neither Rice nor Bush was aware that the United States had gone to ‘battle stations’ alert and had scrambled fighter jets into the air to intercept and possibly take hostile action against multiple hijacked airliners, something that was then known by hundreds of others within NORAD, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Pentagon.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 17] Congressman Dan Miller, who is waiting in a receiving line to meet Bush, says he waits a few minutes for the call to end. Bush appears unbothered when he greets Miller after the call. Miller recalls, “It was nothing different from the normal, brief greeting with the president.” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04]
People and organizations involved: North American Aerospace Defense Command, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Dan Miller, James Bamford
          

(9:01 a.m.): Bush Claims to See First WTC Crash on Television While at Elementary School      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush later makes the following statement: “And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower—the television was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, ‘There's one terrible pilot.’ And I said, ‘It must have been a horrible accident.’ But I was whisked off there—I didn't have much time to think about it.” [CNN, 12/4/01] He has repeated the story on other occasions. [CBS News, 9/11/02; White House, 1/5/02] Notably, the first WTC Crash was not shown live on television. Further, Bush does not have access to a television until 15 or so minutes later. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] A Boston Herald article later notes, “Think about that. Bush's remark implies he saw the first plane hit the tower. But we all know that video of the first plane hitting did not surface until the next day. Could Bush have meant he saw the second plane hit—which many Americans witnessed? No, because he said that he was in the classroom when Andrew Card whispered in his ear that a second plane hit.” The article, noting that Bush has repeated this story more than once, asks, “How could the commander in chief have seen the plane fly into the first building—as it happened?” [Boston Herald, 10/22/02] A Bush spokesman later calls Bush's repeated comments “just a mistaken recollection.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(9:03-9:06 a.m.): Bush Enters Classroom Photo-Op, Still Claims to Think WTC Crash Is Accidental      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush enters Sandra Kay Daniels' classroom.
President Bush enters Sandra Kay Daniels' second-grade class for a photo-op to promote Bush's education policies. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02] Numerous reporters who travel with the president, as well as members of the local media, watch from the back of the room. [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (D)] Altogether, there are about 150 people in the room, 16 of whom are children in the class. He is introduced to the children and poses for a number of pictures. The teacher then leads the students through some reading exercises (video footage shows this lasts about three minutes). [Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] Bush later claims that during this lesson, he is thinking what he will say about the WTC crash. “I was concentrating on the program at this point, thinking about what I was going to say. Obviously, I felt it was an accident. I was concerned about it, but there were no alarm bells.” [Washington Times, 10/7/02] The children are just getting their books from under their seats to read a story together when Chief of Staff Andrew Card comes in to tell Bush of the second WTC crash. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] According to the Washington Times, Card comes in at the conclusion of the first half of the planned lesson, and “[seizes] a pause in the reading drill to walk up to Mr. Bush's seat.” [Washington Times, 10/7/02; Washington Times, 10/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Andrew Card, Sandra Kay Daniels, George W. Bush
          

(9:06 a.m.): Bush Told WTC Hit Again and America's Under Attack; He Continues Photo-Op      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Andrew Card speaks to President Bush and tells him of the second World Trade Center crash.
President Bush is in a Booker Elementary School second-grader classroom. His chief of staff, Andrew Card, enters the room and whispers into his ear, “A second plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Albuquerque Tribune, 9/10/02; Washington Times, 10/8/02; New York Times, 9/16/01 (B); ABC News, 9/11/02] Intelligence expert James Bamford describes Bush's reaction: “Immediately [after Card speaks to Bush] an expression of befuddlement passe[s] across the president's face. Then, having just been told that the country was under attack, the commander in chief appear[s] uninterested in further details. He never ask[s] if there had been any additional threats, where the attacks were coming from, how to best protect the country from further attacks. ... Instead, in the middle of a modern-day Pearl Harbor, he simply turn[s] back to the matter at hand: the day's photo-op.” [Bamford, 2002, pp 633] Bush begins listening to a story about a goat. But despite the pause and change in children's exercises, as one newspaper put it, “For some reason, Secret Service agents [do] not bustle him away.” [Globe and Mail, 9/12/01] Bush later says of the experience, “I am very aware of the cameras. I'm trying to absorb that knowledge. I have nobody to talk to. I'm sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children's story and I realize I'm the commander in chief and the country has just come under attack.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Bush listens to the goat story for about ten more minutes. The reason given is that, “Without all the facts at hand, George Bush ha[s] no intention of upsetting the schoolchildren who had come to read for him.” [MSNBC, 10/29/02] Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is only three and a half miles away. In fact, the elementary school was chosen for the photo-op partly because of its closeness to the airport. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/12/02] Why the Secret Service does not move Bush away from his publicized location that morning remains unclear.
People and organizations involved: Secret Service, James Bamford, Andrew Card, George W. Bush
          

(9:16 a.m.): Bush Takes His Time Leaving Classroom Photo-Op      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush continues to read the goat story.
President Bush leaves the Sarasota classroom where he has been since about 9:03 a.m.(see 9:03 a.m.). The children finish their lessons and put away their readers. [Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01] Bush advises the children to stay in school and be good citizens. [Tampa Tribune, 9/1/02; St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)] He also tells the children, “Thank you all so very much for showing me your reading skills.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] One student also asks Bush a question, and Bush gives a quick response on his education policy. [New York Post, 9/12/02] A reporter asks, “Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there any...” This question is interrupted by an aide who has come into the room, saying, “All right. Thank you. If everyone could please step outside.” Bush then says, “We'll talk about it later.” [CBS News, 9/11/02 (B)] Bush then tells school principal Gwen Tose-Rigell, who is in the room, about the terror attacks and why he has to leave. [Washington Times, 10/7/02] He then goes into an empty classroom next door and meets with his staff there. [ABC News, 9/11/02] Bush's program with the children was supposed to start at 9:00 a.m. and end 20 minutes later. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01] He leaves the classroom only a couple of minutes earlier than planned, if at all. The “goodbyes” and questions on the way out may have taken another minute or two.
People and organizations involved: Gwen Tose-Rigell, George W. Bush
          

(9:29 a.m.): Pentagon Command Center Begins High Level Conference Call      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The National Miilitary Command Center, inside the Pentagon.
Captain Charles Leidig is in command of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), “the military's worldwide nerve center.” [CNN, 9/4/02] Telephone links are established with the NMCC located inside the Pentagon (but on the opposite side of the building from where the explosion will happen), Canada's equivalent Command Center, Strategic Command, theater commanders, and federal emergency-response agencies. An Air Threat Conference Call is initiated and it lasts for eight hours. At one time or another, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, key military officers, leaders of the FAA and NORAD, the White House, and Air Force One are heard on the open line. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] NORAD command director Captain Michael Jellinek claims this happens “immediately” after the second WTC hit. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] However, the 9/11 Commission concludes it starts nearly 30 minutes later, at approximately 9:29 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Brigadier General Montague Winfield, who later takes over for Leidig, says, “All of the governmental agencies that were involved in any activity going on in the United States at that point, were in that conference.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] The call continues right through the Pentagon explosion; the impact is not felt within the NMCC. [CNN, 9/4/02] However, despite being in the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld doesn't enter the NMCC or participate in the call until 10:30 a.m. (see (10:30 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, National Military Command Center, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Mike Jellinek, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Federal Aviation Administration, Charles Leidig, Montague Winfield
          

(9:30 a.m.): Clarke Asks Cheney's Bunker for Air Force One Fighter Escort and Shootdown Authorization; Neither Happen for Some Time      Complete 911 Timeline

       As President Bush begins a speech in Florida, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke orders all US embassies overseas closed and orders all military bases to an alert level named Combat Threatcon. Over the next few minutes, Clarke discusses with aides where Bush should go from Sarasota, Florida. He telephones PEOC, the command bunker containing Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Rice, and says, “Somebody has to tell the president he can't come right back here [to Washington]. Cheney, Condi, somebody, Secret Service concurs. We do not want them saying where they are going when they take off. Second, when they take off, they should have fighter escort. Three, we need to authorize the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft—including a hijacked passenger flight—that looks like it is threatening to attack and cause large-scale death on the ground. Got it?” [Clarke, 2004, pp 5-7] However, when Bush departs on Air Force One about half an hour later, there are no fighter escorts, and none appear for an hour or so. In addition, if Clarke requests authorization for a shootdown order at this time, it is apparently ignored; neither President Bush nor Vice President Cheney give shootdown authorization for at least another 30 minutes (see (Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.)).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard A. Clarke, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Secret Service
          

(9:34 a.m.): Bush Leaves Booker Elementary School for Sarasota Airport; Possible Threat En Route      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush speaks on a cell phone while sitting next to Andrew Card as his motorcade travels to the Sarasota airport.
President Bush's motorcade leaves Booker Elementary School and heads toward Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Washington Times, 10/8/02; Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04] A few days after 9/11, Sarasota's main newspaper reports, “Sarasota barely skirted its own disaster. As it turns out, terrorists targeted the president and Air Force One on Tuesday, maybe even while they were on the ground in Sarasota and certainly not long after. The Secret Service learned of the threat just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/16/01] Kevin Down, a Sarasota police officer at the scene, recalls, “I thought they were actually anticipating a terrorist attack on the president while we were en route.” [BBC, 8/30/02] ABC News reporter Ann Compton, who is part of the motorcade, recalls, “It was a mad-dash motorcade out to the airport.” [BBC, 9/1/02] A year later, Chief of Staff Andrew Card says, “As we were heading to Air Force One, we did hear about the Pentagon attack, and we also learned, what turned out to be a mistake, but we learned that the Air Force One package could in fact be a target.” [MSNBC, 9/9/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Andrew Card, Kevin Down, Ann Compton, Secret Service
          

(After 9:37 a.m.): Cheney Tells Bush to Stay Away from Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

       Having learned that the Pentagon had been hit, Vice President Cheney telephones President Bush, who is on his way to the Sarasota airport, and tells him that the White House has been “targeted.” Bush says he wants to return to Washington, but Cheney advises him not to “until we could find out what the hell was going on.” According to Newsweek, this call takes place in a tunnel on the way to the PEOC underground bunker. Cheney reaches the bunker “shortly before 10:00 a.m.” [Newsweek, 12/31/01] The 9/11 Commission's account largely follows Newsweek's. He reaches the tunnel around the time of the Pentagon crash and lingers by a television and secure telephone as he talks to Bush. The commission has Cheney enter the bunker just before 10:00, but they note, “There is conflicting evidence as to when the vice president arrived in the shelter conference room.” [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Indeed, in other accounts, including those of Richard Clarke and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Cheney reaches the bunker before the Flight 77 crash at 9:37 a.m. [Clarke, 2004, pp 3-4; ABC News, 9/11/02; 9/11 Commission Report, 5/23/03 Sources: Norman Mineta, Richard A. Clarke] Regardless of Cheney's location, as Cheney and Bush talk on the phone, Bush once again refrains from making any decisions or orders about the crisis. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

9:43 a.m.: Bush Learns of Attack on Pentagon as Motorcade Reaches Sarasota Airport      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush boards Air Force One in Sarasota, Florida, waving to people below as if the day were like any other.
President Bush's motorcade arrives at Sarasota's airport and pulls up close to Air Force One. As the motorcade nears the airport, he learns a plane has hit the Pentagon. Bush immediately boards the plane. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Congressman Dan Miller and others hurry up the rear steps of the plane while Bush enters through the exposed front stairs. Bush pauses in the doorway to wave to photographers. The St. Petersburg Times notes this raises “further questions about security [on 9/11].” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] Security then does an extra-thorough search of all the baggage of the other passengers, delaying takeoff until 9:55 a.m. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/8/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Dan Miller
          

(9:45 a.m.): Bush Aides Debate Where to Fly Air Force Once      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to the 9/11 Commission, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, the lead Secret Service agent, the president's military aide, and Air Force One pilot Colonel Mark Tillman, confer on a possible destination for Air Force One around this time. According to witnesses, some support President Bush's desire to return to Washington, but the others advise against it. The issue is still not decided when Air Force One takes off around 9:55 a.m. (see (9:56 a.m.)). [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Mark Tillman, Secret Service, Andrew Card
          

(9:56 a.m.): Air Force One Gets Airborne Without Fighter Escort      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Air Force One departs from Sarasota.
President Bush departs from the Sarasota, Florida, airport on Air Force One. [Daily Mail, 9/8/02; New York Times, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 1/27/02; Associated Press, 9/12/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; ABC News, 9/11/02; Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04; CBS News, 9/11/02 (B); Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Amazingly, his plane takes off without any fighters protecting it. “The object seemed to be simply to get the president airborne and out of the way,” says an administration official. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] There are still 3,520 planes in the air over the US. [USA Today, 8/13/02 (B)] About half of the planes in the Florida region where Bush's plane is are still airborne. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/7/02] Apparently, fighters don't meet up with Air Force One until about an hour later. Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke claims to have heard around 9:50 a.m. from the bunker containing Vice President Cheney that fighter escort had been authorized. [Clarke, 2004, pp 8-9]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

(Between 10:00-10:15 a.m.): Bush and Cheney Said to Confer on Shootdown Orders, 9/11 Commission Doubts Their Account      Complete 911 Timeline

       According to a 9/11 Commission staff report, Vice President Cheney is told that a combat air patrol has been established over Washington. Cheney then calls President Bush to discuss the rules of engagement for the pilots. Bush authorizes the shootdown of hijacked aircraft at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] According to a Washington Post article, which places the call after 9:55 a.m., “Cheney recommended that Bush authorize the military to shoot down any such civilian airliners—as momentous a decision as the president was asked to make in those first hours.” Bush then talks to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to clarify the procedure, and Rumsfeld passes word down the chain of command. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] Cheney and Bush recall having this phone call, and National Security Adviser Rice recalls overhearing it. However, as the commission notes, “Among the sources that reflect other important events that morning there is no documentary evidence for this call, although the relevant sources are incomplete. Others nearby who were taking notes, such as the vice president's chief of staff, [I. Lewis ‘Scooter’] Libby, who sat next to him, and [Lynne] Cheney, did not note a call between the president and vice president immediately after the vice president entered the conference room.” The commission also apparently concludes that no evidence exists to support the claim that Bush and Rumsfeld talked about such procedures at this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] Commission Chairman Thomas Kean says, “The phone logs don't exist, because they evidently got so fouled up in communications that the phone logs have nothing. So that's the evidence we have.” Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton says of the shootdown order, “Well, I'm not sure it was carried out.” [New York Daily News, 6/18/04; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04 (C)] Newsweek reports that it “has learned that some on the commission staff were, in fact, highly skeptical of the vice president's account and made their views clearer in an earlier draft of their staff report. According to one knowledgeable source, some staffers ‘flat out didn't believe the call ever took place.’ ” According to a 9/11 Commission staffer, the report “was watered down” after vigorous lobbying from the White House. [Newsweek, 6/20/04] An account by Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek (who was overseeing NORAD's Colorado headquarters, where he claims to hear Bush give a shootdown order), as well as the order to empty the skies of aircraft, appears to be discredited. [Toledo Blade, 12/9/01]
People and organizations involved: Lee Hamilton, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Mike Jellinek
          

(After 10:06 a.m.): Bush, Told of Flight 93 Crash, Wonders If It Was Shot Down      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush is told that Flight 93 crashed a few minutes after it happened, but the exact timing of this notice is unclear. Because of Vice President Cheney's earlier order, he asks, “Did we shoot it down or did it crash?” Several hours later, he is assured that it crashed. [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(Between 10:10-10:15 a.m.): Cheney, Told That Flight 93 Is Still Heading to Washington, Orders It Shot Down      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Secret Service, viewing projected path information about Flight 93, rather than actual radar returns, does not realize that Flight 93 has already crashed. Based on this erroneous information, a military aide tells Vice President Cheney and others in the White House bunker that the plane is 80 miles away from Washington. Cheney is asked for authority to engage the plane, and he quickly provides authorization. The aide returns a few minutes later and says the plane is 60 miles out. Cheney again gives authorization to engage. A few minutes later and presumably after the flight has crashed or been shot down, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten suggests Cheney contact President Bush to confirm the engage order. Bolten later tells the 9/11 Commission that he had not heard any prior discussion on the topic with Bush, and wanted to make sure Bush knew. Apparently, Cheney calls Bush and obtains confirmation. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] However, there is controversy over whether Bush approved a shootdown before this incident or whether Cheney gave himself the authority to make the decision on the spot. As Newsweek notes, it is moot point in one sense, since the decision was made on false data and there is no plane to shoot down. [Newsweek, 6/20/04]
People and organizations involved: Joshua Bolten, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Secret Service
          

10:32 a.m.: Air Force One Threatened? Some Doubt Entire Story      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney reportedly calls President Bush and tells him of a threat to Air Force One and that it will take 40-90 minutes to get a protective fighter escort in place. Many doubt the existence of this threat. For instance, Representative Martin Meehan (D) says, “I don't buy the notion Air Force One was a target. That's just PR, that's just spin.” [Washington Times, 10/8/02] A later account calls the threat “completely untrue,” and says Cheney probably made the story up. A well-informed, anonymous Washington official says, “It did two things for [Cheney]. It reinforced his argument that the president should stay out of town, and it gave George W. an excellent reason for doing so.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Martin Meehan, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

(10:35 a.m.): Bush Heads for Louisiana on Air Force One      Complete 911 Timeline

       Air Force One turns toward a new destination of Barksdale Air Force Base, near Shreveport, Louisiana, in response to a decision that Bush should not go directly to Washington. [Washington Post, 1/27/02; CBS News, 9/11/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(Before 10:36 a.m.): Andrews Fighters Ordered to Shoot Down Threatening Planes Over Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

      
David Wherley.
A Secret Service agent again contacts Andrews Air Force Base and commands, “Get in the air now!” It's not clear if this is treated as an official scramble order, or how quickly fighters respond to it. According to fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville, almost simultaneously, a call from someone else in the White House declares the Washington area “a free-fire zone. That meant we were given authority to use force, if the situation required it, in defense of the nation's capital, its property, and people.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02] Apparently, this second call is made to General David Wherley, flight commander of the Air National Guard at Andrews, who has made several phone calls this morning, seeking airborne authorization for his fighters. Wherley had contacted the Secret Service after hearing reports that it wanted fighters airborne. One Secret Service agent, using two telephones at once, relays instructions to Wherley from another Secret Service agent in the White House who has been given the instructions from Vice President Cheney. Wherley's fighters are to protect the White House and shoot down any planes that threaten Washington. Wherley gives Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville, lead pilot, the authority to decide whether to execute a shootdown. According to a different account, during this call Wherley is speaking with a woman in the Secret Service's command and control center at the White House. Wherley says, “She was standing next to the vice president (Dick Cheney) and she said, ‘They want you to put a CAP up.’ Basically what they told me, and this is another one of those things that's clear in my mind � ‘We want you to intercept any airplane that attempts to fly closer than 20 miles around any airport around the Washington area. � Attempt to turn them away, do whatever you can to turn them away and if they won't turn away use whatever force is necessary � to keep them from hitting a building downtown.’” President Bush and Vice President Cheney later claim they were not aware that any fighters had scrambled from Andrews at the request of the Secret Service. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04; Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 79] Sasseville and the pilot code-named Lucky will take off at 10:42 a.m. (see (10:42 a.m.))
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Marc Sasseville, David Wherley, Andrews Air Force Base, George W. Bush, Secret Service
          

(Between 10:55-11:41 a.m.): Fighter Escort Finally Reaches Air Force One? Reports Conflict      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush (center, bending) and others look out the windows of Air Force One as their fighter escort arrives.
No fighters escort President Bush's Air Force One until around this time, but accounts conflict. At 10:32 a.m., Vice President Cheney said it would take until about 11:10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to get a fighter escort to Air Force One. [Washington Post, 1/27/02] However, according to one account, around 10:00 a.m., Air Force One “is joined by an escort of F-16 fighters from a base near Jacksonville, Florida.” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] Another report states, “At 10:41 [am.] ... Air Force One headed toward Jacksonville to meet jets scrambled to give the presidential jet its own air cover.” [New York Times, 9/16/01 (B)] But apparently, when Air Force One takes evasive action around 10:55 a.m., there is still no fighter escort. NORAD commander Major General Larry Arnold later says, “We scrambled available airplanes from Tyndall [near Tallahassee and not near Jacksonville, Florida] and then from Ellington in Houston, Texas,” but he does not say when this occurs. [Code One Magazine, 1/02 Sources: Larry Arnold] In yet another account, two F16s eventually arrive, piloted by Shane Brotherton and Randy Roberts, from Ellington, not from any Florida base. [CBS News, 9/11/02] The St. Petersburg Times, after interviewing people on Air Force One, estimate the first fighters, from Texas, arrive between 11:00 and 11:20. [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04] By 11:30 a.m., there are six fighters protecting Air Force One. [Sarasota Magazine, 9/19/01] The BBC, however, reports that the Ellington, Texas, fighters are scrambled at 11:30 a.m., and quotes ABC reporter Ann Compton, inside Air Force One, saying fighters appear out the windows at 11:41 a.m. [BBC, 9/1/02] Given that two of the seven bases said to have fighters on alert on 9/11 are in Florida (Homestead Air Station, 185 miles from Sarasota; and Tyndall Air Station, 235 miles from Sarasota), why a fighter escort does not reach Air Force One earlier remains unclear. Philip Melanson, author of a book on the Secret Service, comments, “I can't imagine by what glitch the protection was not provided to Air Force One as soon as it took off. I would have thought there'd be something in place whereby one phone call from the head of the security would get the fighters in the air immediately.” [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04]
People and organizations involved: Randy Roberts, Ann Compton, Shane Brotherton, Secret Service, George W. Bush
          

(11:30 a.m.): Congressmen Meet with Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       Two congressmen, Dan Miller (R) and Adam Putnam (R), are on Air Force One. they've been receiving periodic updates on the crisis from President Bush's adviser Karl Rove. At this time, they're summoned forward to meet with the president. Bush points out the fighter escort, F-16s from a base in Texas, has now arrived. He says that a threat had been received from someone who knew the plane's code name. However, there are doubts that any such threat ever occurred (see 10:32 a.m.). [St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/04]
People and organizations involved: Dan Miller, Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Adam Putnam
          

11:45 a.m.: Air Force One Lands at Louisiana Air Force Base      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Air Force One at Barksdale Air Force Base.
Air Force One lands at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana. “The official reason for landing at Barksdale was that President Bush felt it necessary to make a further statement, but it isn't unreasonable to assume that—as there was no agreement as to what the president's movements should be—it was felt he might as well be on the ground as in the air.” [CBS News, 9/11/02; New York Times, 9/16/01 (B); Salon, 9/12/01 (B); Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Barksdale Air Force Base, George W. Bush
          

12:36 p.m.: Bush Records Second Speech; Aired About 30 Minutes Later      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush records a speech at Barksdale Air Force Base.
President Bush records a short speech that is played by the networks at 1:04 p.m. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] In a speech at the Louisiana base, President Bush announces that security measures are being taken and says: “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.” [New York Times, 9/12/01; MSNBC, 9/22/01; CNN, 9/12/01] He also states, “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. And freedom will be defended.” [ABC News, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(12:58 p.m.): Bush Argues with Cheney, Others About Where He Should Go Next      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush spends most of his time at Barksdale Air Force Base arguing on the phone with Vice President Cheney and others over where he should go next. “A few minutes before 1 p.m.,” he agrees to fly to Nebraska. As earlier, there are rumors of a “credible terrorist threat” to Air Force One that are said to prevent his return to Washington. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

1:02 p.m.: Rumsfeld Calls for War      Complete 911 Timeline

       Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later claims that he says to President Bush on the phone, “This is not a criminal action. This is war.” [Washington Times, 2/23/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

1:04 p.m.: Military on High Alert Worldwide      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush announces that the US military has been put on high alert worldwide. [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B); CNN, 9/12/01] Apparently, this occurs in a televised speech that was actually recorded half an hour earlier.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(1:30 p.m.): Air Force One Leaves Louisiana; Flies to Nebraska      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush leaves Louisiana on Air Force One, and flies to Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base, where the US Strategic Command is located. [MSNBC, 9/22/01; CNN, 9/12/01; Salon, 9/12/01 (B); Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] He travels with Chief of Staff Andrew Card, senior adviser Karl Rove, communications staffers Dan Bartlett, Ari Fleischer, and Gordon Johndroe, and a small group of reporters. [Salon, 9/12/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: US Strategic Command, Ari Fleischer, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Gordon Johndroe, Dan Bartlett, George W. Bush, Offutt Air Force Base
          

2:50 p.m.: Bush Arrives in Nebraska; Enters Strategic Command Center      Complete 911 Timeline

       Having left Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana at around 1:30 p.m. (see (1:30 p.m.)), Air Force One lands at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. President Bush stays on the plane for about ten minutes before entering the United States Strategic Command bunker at 3:06 p.m. [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Salon, 9/12/01 (B)] Offutt Air Force Base appears to be the headquarters of the US Strategic Command (Stratcom) exercise Global Guardian that was “in full swing” at the time the attacks began (see 8:30 a.m.). While there, the president spends time in the underground Command Center from where Global Guardian was earlier being directed, being brought up to date on the attacks and their aftermath. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Omaha World-Herald, 2/27/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: Offutt Air Force Base, George W. Bush
          

(3:00 p.m.): Bush Meets with Top Officials via Video Conference Call      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush takes part in a video teleconference at Offutt Air Force Base. Chief of Staff Andrew Card sits on his left, and Admiral Richard Mies sits on his left.
President Bush begins a video conference call from a bunker beneath Offutt Air Force Base. He and Chief of Staff Andrew Card visually communicate directly with Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director Tenet, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, and others. [ABC News, 9/11/02; Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01] According to Clarke, Bush begins the meeting by saying, “I'm coming back to the White House as soon as the plane is fueled. No discussion.” Clarke leads a quick review of what has already occurred, and issues that need to be quickly addressed. CIA Director Tenet states that al-Qaeda is clearly behind the 9/11 attacks. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that about 120 fighters are now above US cities. [Clarke, 2004, pp 21-22] The meeting ends at 4:15 P.M. [Washington Times, 10/8/02; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Richard Armitage, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard A. Clarke, Norman Mineta, al-Qaeda, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Andrew Card
          

3:55 p.m.: Bush Said to Be at Undisclosed Location      Complete 911 Timeline

       White House adviser Karen Hughes briefly speaks to the media and says President Bush is at an undisclosed location, taking part in a video conference. This is possibly the only in-person media appearance by any Bush administration official since the attacks and until a news conference by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at 6:40 p.m. [CNN, 9/12/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Karen Hughes
          

(4:00 p.m.): Bush Determined to Return to Washington; Rove Later Misinforms Public About Threat to Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush has just told his advisers that he is returning to Washington as soon as the plane is fueled— “No discussion.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 21-22] Yet, Bush adviser Karl Rove later says that at this time President Bush is hesitant to return to Washington because, “they've accounted for all four [hijacked] planes, but they've got another, I think, three or four or five planes still outstanding.” [New Yorker, 9/25/01] However, the FAA points out there are no such reports and that Bush had been quickly informed when domestic US skies were completely cleared at 12:16 p.m. [Wall Street Journal, 3/22/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Federal Aviation Administration, Karl Rove
          

(4:33 p.m.): Air Force One Leaves Nebraska; Heads Toward Washington      Complete 911 Timeline

      
This photo of Bush speaking to Cheney shortly after leaving Offutt is later used for Republican fundraising.
President Bush leaves Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for Washington. [MSNBC, 9/22/01; CNN, 9/12/01; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Washington Times, 10/8/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(6:54 p.m.): Bush Returns to White House      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush arrives at the White House, after exiting Air Force One at 6:42 p.m. and flying across Washington in a helicopter. [Salon, 9/12/01 (B); ABC News, 9/11/02; Washington Times, 10/8/02; CNN, 9/12/01; Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01; Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(7:00 p.m.): Powell Returns from Peru      Complete 911 Timeline

       Secretary of State Powell returns to Washington from Lima, Peru. He is finally able to speak to President Bush for the first time since the 9/11 attacks began when they both arrive at the White House at about the same time. Powell later says of his flight, “And the worst part of it, is that because of the communications problems that existed during that day, I couldn't talk to anybody in Washington.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] The Daily Telegraph later theorizes, “Why so long? In the weeks before September 11, Washington was full of rumors that Powell was out of favor and had been quietly relegated to the sidelines...” [Daily Telegraph, 12/16/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

8:30 p.m.: Bush Gives Third Speech to Nation, Declares Bush Doctrine      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Bush addresses the nation from the White House.
President Bush addresses the nation on live television. [CNN, 9/12/01] In what will later be called the Bush Doctrine, he states, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(9:00 p.m.): Bush Meets with Advisers, Declares War Without Barriers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
President Bush (below television screen) meeting with the National Security Council in a bunker below the White House. In the far row from left to right, are Attorney General Ashcroft, President Bush, Chief of Staff Card, CIA Director Tenet, and counterterrorism "tsar" Ckarke. In the near row, Secretary of State Powell can be seen waving his hand, and National Security Advisor Rice sits to his right.
President Bush meets with his full National Security Council in the PEOC beneath the White House for about 30 minutes. He then meets with a smaller group of key advisers. Bush and his advisers have already decided bin Laden is behind the attacks. CIA Director Tenet says that al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan are essentially one and the same. Bush says, “Tell the Taliban We're finished with them.” [Washington Post, 1/27/02] He goes on to say, “I want you all to understand that we are at war and we will stay at war until this is done. Nothing else matters. Everything is available for the pursuit of this war. Any barriers in your way, they're gone. Any money you need, you have it. This is our only agenda.” When Rumsfeld points out that international law only allows force to prevent future attacks and not for retribution, Bush yells, “No. I don't care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” [Clarke, 2004, pp 23-24]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, National Security Council, George Tenet, George W. Bush, Taliban, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice
          

(11:30 p.m.): Bush Sees New Pearl Harbor      Complete 911 Timeline

       Before going to sleep, President Bush writes in his diary, “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today. ... We think it's Osama bin Laden.” [Washington Post, 1/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

September 12, 2001: Bush to Clarke: ‘Look into Iraq’       Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US President George Bush speaks privately with White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke in the White House Situation Room. According to Clarke, Bush tells him to investigate the possibility that Iraq was involved in the attacks. “I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything,” Bush says. “See if Saddam did this.” When Clarke responds, “But Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this,” Bush replies, “I know, I know, but... see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred.” Clarke insists that the CIA, FBI, and White House already concluded that there were no such links. As he exits the room, Bush “testily” says again, “Look into Iraq, Saddam.” [Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard A. Clarke] During a “60 Minutes” interview, Clarke will say that Bush's instructions were made in a way that was “very intimidating,” and which hinted that Clarke “should come back with that answer.” “Now he never said, ‘Make it up.’ But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.” [CBS News, 3/20/04; New York Times, 3/23/04] Clarke's account is later confirmed by several eyewitnesses. [Guardian, 3/26/2004; BBC, 3/23/2004; CBS News, 3/20/04] After his meeting with Bush, Clarke works with CIA and FBI experts to produce the report requested by the president; but they find no evidence that Iraq had a hand in the attacks. It gets “bounced by the national-security advisor, or deputy,” according to Clarke. “ It got bounced and sent back, saying ‘Wrong answer .... Do it again.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pp 238]
People and organizations involved: Richard A. Clarke, Scott McClellan, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley  Additional Info 
          

September 15, 2001-April 6, 2002: Bush Shifts Public Focus from bin Laden to Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       On September 15, 2001, President Bush says of bin Laden: “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01 (B)] Two days later, he says, “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ ” [ABC News, 9/17/01] On December 28, 2001, even as the US was declaring victory in Afghanistan, Bush says, “Our objective is more than bin Laden.” [Associated Press, 8/19/02 (B)] Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech describes Iraq as part of an “axis of evil” and fails to mention bin Laden at all. On March 8, 2002, Bush still vows: “We're going to find him.” [Washington Post, 10/1/02] Yet, only a few days later on March 13, Bush says, “He's a person who's now been marginalized. ... I just don't spend that much time on him. ... I truly am not that concerned about him.” Instead, Bush is “deeply concerned about Iraq.” [White House, 3/13/02] The rhetoric shift is complete when Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers states on April 6, “The goal has never been to get bin Laden.” [Department of Defense, 4/6/02] In October 2002, the Washington Post notes that since March 2002, Bush has avoided mentioning bin Laden's name, even when asked about him directly. Bush sometimes uses questions about bin Laden to talk about Saddam Hussein instead. In late 2001, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war on terrorism could not be called a success without bin Laden's death or capture. That number falls to 44 percent in a March 2002 poll, and the question has since been dropped. [Washington Post, 10/1/02] Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies, later points out: “There appears to be a real disconnect” between the US military's conquest of Afghanistan and “the earlier rhetoric of President Bush, which had focused on getting bin Laden.” [Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard B. Myers, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein
          

September 16, 2001: Bush Claim That Using Planes as Missiles Was Impossible to Predict Is Contradicted by Former CIA Official      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush says, “Never (in) anybody's thought processes ... about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil doers would fly not one but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets ... never.” [NATO, 9/16/01] A month later, Paul Pillar, the former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, says, “The idea of commandeering an aircraft and crashing it into the ground and causing high casualties, sure we've thought of it.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Paul Pillar, George W. Bush
          

September 17, 2001: Bush Signs Afghanistan War Plan, But Also Includes Order to Prepare for Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush signs a 2 1/2-page “top secret” document that outlines the administration's plan to invade Afghanistan and topple its government. According to administration officials interviewed by the Washington Post, the document also instructs the Pentagon to begin planning for an invasion of Iraq. [Washington Post, 1/12/03; The Mirror, 9/22/03; Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004 Sources: senior administration officials] The document further orders the military to be ready to occupy Iraq's oil fields if the country acts against US interests. [Washington Post, 7/23/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 20, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       “On September 11, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country,” President Bush says in a speech delivered before a joint session of the US Congress. The enemy, he declares, is the al-Qaeda organization, led by Osama bin Laden, and aided by the Taliban government of Afghanistan. But defeating them alone will not be enough. “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.” It is thus that the president declares the commencement of the unlimited Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). “Americans should not expect one battle,” Bush continues, “but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.” The campaign will be fought both visibly and in secret. “It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. ... Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” [Sources: Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, President Bush, 9/20/2001]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Congress
          

Late September-Early October 2001: Bin Laden Reportedly Agrees to Face International Tribunal; US Not Interested?      Complete 911 Timeline

       Leaders of Pakistan's two Islamic parties are negotiating bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 9/11 attacks during this period, according to a later Mirror article. Under the plan, bin Laden will be held under house arrest in Peshawar and will face an international tribunal, which will decide whether to try him or hand him over to the US. According to reports in Pakistan (and the Daily Telegraph ), this plan has been approved by both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. [Mirror, 7/8/02] Based on the first priority in the US's new “war on terror” proclaimed by President Bush, the US presumably would welcome this plan. For example, Bush had just announced, “I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ ” [ABC News, 9/17/01] Yet, Bush's ally in the war on terror, Pakistani President Musharraf, rejects the plan (stating that his reason for doing so was because he “could not guarantee bin Laden's safety”). Based on a US official's later statements, it appears that the US did not want the deal: “Casting our objectives too narrowly” risked “a premature collapse of the international effort [to overthrow the Taliban] if by some lucky chance Mr. bin Laden was captured.” [Mirror, 7/8/02]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, George W. Bush, Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden
          

Early November 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       According to a September 2002 USA Today article, the decision to invade Iraq is made at this time. Significantly, the decision is made independent of normal policy-making procedures—a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq was not requested, members of Congress were not consulted, and the concerns of senior military officers and intelligence analysts were ignored. Explaining why the White House did not request a NIE on Iraq, an unnamed US intelligence official explains it didn't want to detail the uncertainties regarding the threat Iraq allegedly poses to the US. A senior administration official says the White House did not believe an NIE would be helpful. However in September 2002, an NIE will finally be requested as a result of pressure from Congress. The classified version of the document will include many qualified and nuanced statements, but the shorter, unclassified version, which is given to Congress, will not include these uncertainties (see October 1, 2002). [USA Today, 9/10/02 Sources: officials at the White House, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies, Congress and elsewhere]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Congress
          

November 10, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Vice-President Cheney leads a meeting at the White House to put the finishing touches on a draft Presidential Order establishing military commissions (see November 9, 2001). The meeting includes Ashcroft, Haynes, and the White House lawyers, but leaves out senior officials of the State Department and the National Security Council. Two officials later claim Cheney advocated withholding the document from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. According to a former official, Cheney discusses the draft with Bush over lunch a few days later. [New York Times, 10/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, William J. Haynes, John Ashcroft, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

November 13, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush issues a 3-page executive order authorizing the creation of military commissions to try non-citizens alleged to be involved in international terrorism. The president will decide which defendants will be tried by military commissions. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will appoint each panel and set its rules and procedures, including the level of proof needed for a conviction. A two-thirds vote is needed to convict a defendant and impose a sentence, including life imprisonment or death. Only the president or the secretary of defense has the authority to overturn a decision. There is no provision for an appeal to US civil courts, foreign courts, or international tribunals. Nor does the order specify how many judges are to preside on a tribunal or what qualifications they must have. [New York Times, 10/24/2004; US Department of Defense, 11/13/2001; Washington Post, 11/14/2001, pp A01] The order also adopts a rule of evidence stemming from the 1942 Supreme Court case of United States v. Quirin that says evidence shall be admitted “as would ... have probative value to a reasonable person.” This rule, according to Judge Evan J. Wallach, “was repeatedly used [in World War II and in the post-war tribunals] to admit evidence of a quality or obtained in a manner which would make it inadmissible under the rules of evidence in both courts of the United States or courts martial conducted by the armed forces of the United States.” [9/29/2004] Evidence derived from torture, for example, could theoretically be admitted. It should be noted that the order is unprecedented among presidential directives in that it takes away some individuals' most basic rights, while claiming to have the power of law, with the US Congress not having been so much as consulted. During the next few years, lawyers will battle over the exact proceedings of the trials before military commissions, with many of the military lawyers arguing for more rights for the defendants and with Haynes, and the Justice and White House lawyers, Gonzales, Addington, and Flanigan, taking a more restrictive line. [New York Times, 10/24/2004] Both Rice and Powell were left outside of the circle during the drafting of this directive (see November 6, 2001) (see November 9, 2001). Rice is reportedly angry about not be informed. [New York Times, 10/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, David S. Addington, Timothy E. Flanigan, Alberto R. Gonzales, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Haynes  Additional Info 
          

November 21, 2001: Bush Says Afghanistan Is Just the Beginning      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush states that “Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated. Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win.” [White House, 11/21/01] A short time later, it is reported that “the US has honed a hit list of countries to target for military action in rogue regions across the globe where it believes terror cells flourish,” including Iraq. [Guardian, 12/10/01]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 20, 2001: Bush Says He Didn't Feel ‘Sense of Urgency’ to Deal With Bin Laden Before 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       In an interview with the Washington Post, President Bush says that before 9/11: “I knew [bin Laden] was a menace and I knew he was a problem. I was prepared to look at a plan that would be a thoughtful plan that would bring him to justice, and would have given the order to do that. I have no hesitancy about going after him. But I didn't feel that sense of urgency.” [Washington Post, 5/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

December 21, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush says he has not ruled out bringing treason charges against Lindh. While he at first called him a “poor boy” who was “misled,” Bush now says Lindh is a member of al-Qaeda. “Walker's unique,” Bush says, “in that he's the first American al-Qaeda fighter that we have captured.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/22/2001]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, John Walker Lindh
          

December 22, 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       After a week on the USS Peleliu, Bush calls Lindh an al-Qaeda fighter, who “is being well treated on a ship of ours.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/22/2001] Around the same time, it is reported that at least four other detainees are being held aboard the USS Peleliu [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/22/2001] and about 7,000 on the Afghan mainland. [The Guardian, 12/21/2001]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, John Walker Lindh
          

December 28, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       General Tommy Franks, the head of US Central Command, visits Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and briefs him on the progress of his Iraq war plan. Bush requested an updated plan from the Defense Department on November 21 (see November 21, 2001). [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Thomas Franks
          

January 18, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Siding with the Pentagon and Justice Department against the State Department, President George Bush declares the Geneva Conventions invalid with regard to conflicts with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. [New York Times, 10/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 24, 2002: Cheney and Bush Pressure Senator to Avoid 9/11 Inquiry      Complete 911 Timeline

       Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) later claims that on this day, Vice President Cheney calls him and urges that no 9/11 inquiry be made. President Bush repeats the request on January 28, and Daschle is repeatedly pressured thereafter. Newsweek summarizes one of these conversations: “Bush administration officials might say they're too busy running the war on terrorism to show up. Press the issue ... and you risk being accused of interfering with the mission.” [Newsweek, 2/4/02] Cheney later disagrees: “Tom's wrong. He has, in this case, let's say a misinterpretation.” [Reuters, 5/27/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Tom Daschle
          

January 28, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Referring to the Guantanamo detainees, President Bush tells the press: “These killers—these are killers ... These are killers. These are terrorists.” [White House, 1/28/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 29, 2002: Bush Sees an Axis of Evil      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush's State of the Union speech describes an “axis of evil” consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. When Bush advisor Richard Perle was asked one month before 9/11 about new challenges the US faced, he replied by naming these exact three countries (see August 6, 2001). Bin Laden is not mentioned in the speech. [CNN, 1/29/02] The speech is followed by a new public focus on Iraq and a downplaying of bin Laden.
People and organizations involved: Iraq, North Korea, Iran, George W. Bush
          

February 1, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       In a letter to Bush, Ashcroft argues that the Third Geneva Convention should not be applicable to the Taliban, based on two grounds. First, Afghanistan is a failed state and cannot therefore be considered a party to the treaty. Second, Taliban fighters acted as unlawful combatants. Explaining the advantages of this proposal, Ashcroft notes, “[A] Presidential determination against treaty applicability would provide the highest assurance that no court would subsequently entertain charges that American military officers, intelligence officials and law enforcement officials violated Geneva Convention rules relating to field conduct, detention conduct or interrogation of detainees.” [Sources: Letter from US Attorney General John Ashcroft to George Bush, 2/1/2002] As Judge Evan J. Wallach will later observe, “Attorney General Ashcroft's letter seems to make it clear that by the end of January, at least, consideration was being given to conduct which might violate [the Third Geneva Convention's] strictures regarding the detention and interrogation of prisoners of war.” [International Law Of War Association, 9/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, John Ashcroft
          

After February 7, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President George Bush signs a secret order authorizing the CIA to set up a network of secret detention and interrogation centers outside the United States where high value prisoners can be interrogated “with unprecedented harshness.” [Newsweek International, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 9, 2002      US confrontation with Iran

       Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with President George W. Bush. According to the Ha'aretz Daily, the goal of the meeting is to “convince the United States that Iran constitutes a strategic threat to Israel.” [Ha'aretz, 2/9/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 15, 2002: Bush Directs CIA to Conduct Operations in Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Bush signs an intelligence finding, directing the CIA to conduct operations within Iraq as part of an ultimate plan to overthrow Saddam's government. The CIA warns Bush that staging a coup to depose the leader would be impossible. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Between February 27, 2002 and March 6, 2002: Bush's Budget Director Complains to Bush about Army Corps Official      Hurricane Katrina

       Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, writes in a memo to President Bush, complaining about Assistant Secretary of the Army Mike Parker's testimony opposing the administration's proposed budget cuts (see February 27, 2002). Daniels complains that Parker's testimony “reads badly ... on the printed page,” and that “Parker. . . is distancing [himself] actively from the administration.” [GovExec, 9/1/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Mitch Daniels
          

(March 2002)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a meeting at the White House attended by Condoleezza Rice and a group of Republican and Democratic senators, President Bush, who is not scheduled to be at the meeting, shows up. At some point, the discussion drifts to Iraq and the president says, “F__k Saddam. We're taking him out.” [Time, 5/5/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice
          

March 20, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush tells reporters during a visit to Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria: “Remember these are—the ones in Guantanamo Bay are killers. They don't share the same values we share.” [White House, 3/20/2002; Human Rights Watch, 1/9/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 6-7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on a visit to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas [Independent, 2/27/05] , tells the president that the UK intends to “support military action to bring about regime change.” [Guardian, 5/2/05; Daily Telegraph, 5/4/05] But Blair also says that certain conditions will have to be met. He says that efforts will have to be made to “construct a coalition,” “shape public opinion,” and demonstrate that all options to “eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors” have been exhausted. Additionally, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should be quiescent, he says. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] During a joint press conference with Bush on the first day of their summit at Crawford, Blair is asked by a reporter if Bush has convinced him “on the need for military action against Iraq” and whether or not regime change “is now the policy of the British government.” Blair does not respond with a direct answer to either of the questions. [Downing Street, 4/6/02; White House, 4/6/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

April 18, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       US President George W. Bush warns Chavez to draw a lesson from the unrest that his country has just experienced and insists that he commit himself to democracy. “If there's lessons to be learned, it's important that he learn them,” Bush says in a meeting with Colombian President Andres Pastrana. [BBC, 4/18/2002]
People and organizations involved: Andres Pastrana, George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez Frias
          

April 25, 2002: Saudi Prince Said to Meet Suspected Hijacker Associate While Visiting Bush      Complete 911 Timeline

       Osama Basnan, an alleged associate of 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, reports his passport stolen to Houston police. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] This confirms that Basnan is in Houston on the same day that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Saudi US Ambassador Prince Bandar meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Powell, and National Security Adviser Rice at Bush's ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas. [US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, 4/25/02] Abdullah's entourage passes through Houston that week en route to Bush's ranch. While in Texas, it is believed that Basnan “met with a high Saudi prince who has responsibilities for intelligence matters and is known to bring suitcases full of cash into the United States.” [Guardian, 11/25/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] The still-classified section of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry is said to discuss the possibility of Basnan meeting this figure at this time. [Associated Press, 8/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Colin Powell, Bandar bin Sultan, Osama Basnan, Saud al-Faisal, Condoleezza Rice, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

May 23, 2002: Bush Opposes Special Inquiry into Terrorism Warnings      Complete 911 Timeline

       President Bush says he is opposed to establishing a special, independent commission to probe how the government dealt with terrorism warnings before 9/11. [CBS News, 5/23/02] He later changes his stance in the face of overwhelming support for the idea (see September 20, 2002), and then sabotages an agreement that Congress had reached to establish the commission.
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Zahed Sheikh Mohammed
          

June 1, 2002: Bush Launches Doctrine of Preemptive Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       In a speech, President Bush announces a “new” US policy of preemptive attacks: “If we wait for threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge.” [New York Times, 6/2/02] This preemptive strategy is included in a defensive strategic paper the next month (see July 13, 2002), and formally announced in September 2002. Despite the obvious parallels, the mainstream media generally fails to report that this “new” antiterrorism strategy was first proposed by Bush's key administration officials in 1992 (see March 8, 1992) and has been continually advocated by the same people ever since. [Washington Post, 9/21/02; New York Times, 9/20/02; Guardian, 9/21/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 4, 2002: Bush Acknowledges Agencies Made Mistakes, Continues to Insist That 9/11 Could Not Have Been Prevented      Complete 911 Timeline

       For the first time, Bush concedes that his intelligence agencies had problems: “In terms of whether or not the FBI and the CIA were communicating properly, I think it is clear that they weren't.” [Times of London, 6/5/02] However, in an address to the nation three days later, President Bush still maintains, “Based on everything I've seen, I do not believe anyone could have prevented the horror of September the 11th.” [Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/02] Days earlier, Newsweek reported that the FBI had prepared a detailed chart showing how agents could have uncovered the 9/11 plot if the CIA had told them what it knew about the hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar sooner. (FBI Director Mueller denies the existence of such a chart. [Washington Post, 6/3/02] ) One FBI official says, “There's no question we could have tied all 19 hijackers together.” [Newsweek, 6/2/02] Attorney General Ashcroft also says it is unlikely better intelligence could have stopped the attacks. [Washington Post, 6/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Nawaf Alhazmi, John Ashcroft, Robert S. Mueller III, Khalid Almihdhar, George W. Bush, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency
          

June 10, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Attorney General John Ashcroft announces Padilla's arrest (see June 9, 2002), claiming that “in apprehending [Padilla] as he sought entry into the United States,” the US government has “disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive ‘dirty bomb.’ ” [CBS News, 6/10/2002] Similarly, President Bush says: “This guy, Padilla, is a bad guy. And he is where he needs to be—detained,” along with many other “would-be killers” as part of the war on terrorism. And Rumsfeld too, states that Padilla “was unquestionably involved in terrorist activities.” [CNN, 6/11/2002] Padilla becomes publicly known as the “dirty-bomber.”
People and organizations involved: John Ashcroft, George W. Bush, Jose Padilla, Donald Rumsfeld
          

July 2002      US Military

       President George Bush issues an executive order transferring control of the covert operation Gray Fox (it now has a new codename) from the Army to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa at the insistence of Rumsfeld's office. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld
          

July 10, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President George Bush says in a speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center: “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.” [White House, 7/10/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Late July -September 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush allegedly approves a request from the Pentagon for $700 million to help fund military preparations underway in the Gulf for war against Iraq. The charge is made by Bob Woodward in his book, Plan of Attack, released in the spring of 2004. [Woodward, 2004; CBS News, 4/18/04] The White House and Pentagon will deny the charge claiming that Bush only approved the spending of $178.4 million out of a requested total of $750 million. According to the Pentagon, $178.4 million is spent on 21 projects in Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. At least 11 of them are in Kuwait, which becomes the major staging ground for operations in Iraq. In that country alone, $24 million is spent constructing an ammunition storage and supply system for an Army brigade, and $15 million worth of communications equipment is installed at the Arifjan Base Camp. The military also builds a $3 million detention facility and a $6.5 million inland petroleum-distribution system. In Qatar, $36.4 million goes toward the construction of a forward headquarters facility for Central Command. [Wall Street Journal, 4/22/2004, pp A4] The money for these projects is taken from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War without congressional approval. [CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(Early August 2002)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush discuss over the phone their intention to topple Saddam Hussein's government. An unnamed White House official who later reads the transcripts of the 15-minute phone call will explain to Vanity Fair that it was clear from their conversation that the decision to invade Iraq had already been made. The magazine reports in April 2004: “Before the call, the official says, he had the impression that the probability of invasion was high, but still below 100 percent, Afterward, he says, ‘it was a done deal.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 284 Sources: Unnamed White House official]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

August 2, 2002      US International Relations

       US President George Bush signs the American Servicemembers' Protection Act (HR 4775), making it Public Law 107-206. Section 2007, written by Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, prohibits the United States from providing military assistance to any nation that is party to the International Criminal Court (see July 17, 1998). Only countries that receive a special waiver from the president or that sign so-called “Article 98” agreements (see August 2002-July 1, 2003) will be exempt from the prohibition. The exemption is also extended to a select few other counties (Taiwan, NATO members, and “major non-NATO allies” like Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Argentina, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand). Section 2007 will go into effect on July 1, 2003, one year after the Rome Statute entered into force. Section 2008 of HR 4775 gives the president authority to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any person ... being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” [New York Times, 8/10/2002 Sources: American Servicemembers' Protection Act, HR 4775]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tom DeLay
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

August 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       After a spate of criticism of his administration's Iraq policy from several prominent Republican former US government officials, President George Bush says from his ranch in Mount Crawford, Texas: “I am aware that some very intelligent people are expressing their opinions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. I listen very carefully to what they have to say. I'll continue to consult.... I will use all the latest intelligence to make informed decisions about how best to keep the world at peace, how best to defend freedom for the long run.... Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies.” But he also adds, “There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that this man is thumbing his nose at the world, that he has gassed his own people, that he is trouble in his neighborhood, that he desires weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 8/17/02; CNN, 8/16/02; Fox News, 8/16/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

August 27, 2002: Close Relationship Between Saudi ambassador and Bush Raise Questions      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Prince Bandar and President Bush meet at Bush's ranch in August.
Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, meets privately for more than an hour with President Bush and National Security Adviser Rice in Crawford, Texas. [Daily Telegraph, 8/28/02] Press Secretary Ari Fleischer characterizes it as a warm meeting of old friends. Bandar, his wife (Princess Haifa), and seven of their eight children stay for lunch. [Fox News, 8/27/02] Prince Bandar, a long-time friend of the Bush family, donated $1 million to the George W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. [Bush Library; Boston Herald, 12/11/01 (B)] This relationship later becomes news when it is learned that Princess Haifa gave between $51,000 and $73,000 to two Saudi families in California who may have financed two of the 9/11 hijackers (see December 4, 1999). [New York Times, 11/23/02; MSNBC, 11/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Dean Eckmann, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Bandar bin Sultan
          

Fall 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush White House establishes a “high-level, interagency task force” charged with the task of “coordinating all Iraq war planning efforts and postwar initiatives.” The task force is headed by the Deputies Committee, which is made up of the “No. 2 officials at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, State Department, CIA, National Security Council, and vice president's office.” The committee's job is to review the work of other groups who have been involved in the planning of post-war Iraq, and provide recommendations to Bush's top advisors. The committee presumably draws on the work of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (OSP) (see 2002-2003) (see September 2002), Elliot Abrams' group (see November 2002-December 2002) (see December 2002) and the State Department's “Future of Iraq” project (see April 2002-March 2003). Later accounts make clear that Abrams' and the OSP's recommendations have much more influence. The Deputies Committee usually meets in the White House situation room. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice keeps President Bush updated on the progress of the task force's work. In November, US News reports that a consensus is forming “at the highest levels of the Bush administration over how to run the country after Saddam and his regime are history.” [Financial Times, 11/4/02; US News, 11/25/03; Reuters, 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
Some Conclusions of the Deputies Committee, as reported by US News and World Report -
The US should not create a provisional government or a government in exile. “We are not going to be in the business of choosing” who should lead Iraq, a senior official tells US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official]
The invasion of Iraq will likely be followed by a lengthy occupation. This conclusion is passed on to Bush. “I have been with the president when he has been briefed about the need to have US forces there for an extended period of time,” a senior administration official will later tell US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior administration official]
During the first phase of the occupation, Iraq will be ruled by the military, probably a US general. The primary objective during this phase will be maintaining security and preventing the emergence of hostilities between the Shiites and Sunnis. Pentagon officials involved in planning this stage are reported to have reviewed the archived plans for the occupation of Germany and Japan. The second phase of the occupation will involve some sort of international civilian administration, with a diminished US military presence, and Iraqis will be given a larger role in the government. In the last phase, a constitution will be drafted, transferring power to a representative, multiethnic Iraqi government that commits to being free of weapons of mass destruction. [US News 11/25/03]
Revenue generated from the sale of Iraq's oil will be used for the cost of reconstruction and for conducting humanitarian operations. Hardliners however want the funds to pay for the military costs of the invasion as well. [US News 11/25/03]
No firm decisions are made about the what role, if any, Iraqi exiles affiliated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) will play in post-Saddam Iraq. Pentagon hardliners and some top officials in the White House favor giving them a prominent role, while the CIA and State Department adamantly oppose their inclusion, arguing that the exiles cannot be trusted. [US News 11/25/03]
Iraqis will not necessarily treat the invading American soldiers as “liberators.” Many Iraqis harbor a deep resentment against the US for the decades-long sanction policy. [US News, 11/25/03]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush
          

September 3, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush invites a group of skeptical Congressional leaders to the White House to solicit their support for action against Iraq. [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 4, 2002 or September 5, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration invites two dozen senators from both parties to the Pentagon to discuss Iraqi policy with Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George J. Tenet. [New York Times, 9/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

September 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a joint press conference with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two leaders make 2 false and misleading statements, which are quickly contested by experts.
Tony Blair states, “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Agency [IAEA] this morning showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons sites to realize that” Saddam is a real threat. [White House, 9/7/02] But no such report exists. [Washington Times, 9/27/02] What Blair is actually referring to is a set of commercial satellite photographs showing signs of new construction at a site the US had bombed in 1998. [Associated Press, 9/10/02; MSNBC 9/7/02; Guardian 9/9/02] That same day, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the UN agency, says the agency had drawn no conclusion from those photographs. [MSNBC 9/7/02] On September 9, the Guardian of London will report that according to “a well-placed source” the photographs do not support Blair's statement. “You cannot draw any conclusions,” the source explains. “The satellites were only looking at the top of a roof. You cannot tell without inspectors on the ground.” [Guardian, 9/9/02] [Guardian, 9/9/02] The following day, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, will similarly tell reporters: “... satellites don't see through roofs. So we are not drawing conclusions from them. But it would be an important element in where, maybe, we want to go to inspect and monitor.” [Associated Press, 9/10/02; The Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]
Bush asserts, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon,” adding, “I don't know what more evidence we need.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02; White House, 9/7/02] But Bush's statement is quickly refuted by an MSNBC news report published later that day, which includes an excerpt from the summary of the 1998 IAEA report Bush cited. The summary reads, “[B]ased on all credible information available to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] The text of the actual report, authored by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, reads: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02] When confronted by MSNBC reporters on this point, an unnamed senior White House official states, “What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] Later, when The Washington Times presses Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan for an explanation, he says, “[Bush is] referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away.” But this too is challenged by Mr. Gwozdecky, spokesman for the UN agency, who says that no such report was ever published by the IAEA in 1991. Apparently the President's accusations are based on two news articles that were published more than a decade ago— “a July 16 [2001] story in the London Times by Michael Evans and a July 18 [2001] story in the New York Times by Paul Lewis.” But as The Washington Times notes, “Neither article cites an IAEA report on Iraq's nuclear-weapons program or states that Saddam was only six months away from ‘developing a weapon’ —as claimed by Mr. Bush.” Instead the two news articles reported that at that time, UN inspectors had concluded that Iraq was only six months away from the large-scale production of enriched uranium. But as the 1998 report shows, both 1991 news stories are outdated. [Washington Times, 9/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Mark Gwozdecky, Mohamed ElBaradei, Scott McClellan, George W. Bush
          

September 9, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Canadian Primer Minister Jean Chretien and US President George Bush meet in Detroit to discuss policy towards Iraq as well as security measures along the US-Canadian border initiated after September 11. Chretien later tells reporters that Bush said that Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to militant Islamic groups was “not the angle they're exploring now. The angle they're exploring is the production of weapons of mass destruction.” [Washington Post, 9/10/02; CNN, 9/10/02 Sources: Jean Chretien]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, Jean Chretien
          

September 12, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President George Bush tells the UN General Assembly, “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [White House, 9/12/02; PBS, 9/12/02; The Age (Australia), 6/7/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

September 20, 2002: Bush Changes Course, Backs 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

       In the wake of damaging Congressional 9/11 inquiry revelations, President Bush reverses course and backs efforts by many lawmakers to form an independent commission to conduct a broader investigation than the current Congressional inquiry. Newsweek reports that Bush had virtually no choice. “There was a freight train coming down the tracks,” says one White House official. [Newsweek, 9/22/02] But as one of the 9/11 victim's relatives says, “It's carefully crafted to make it look like a general endorsement but it actually says that the commission would look at everything except the intelligence failures.” [CBS News, 9/20/02] Rather than look into such failures, Bush wants the commission to focus on areas like border security, visa issues, and the “role of Congress” in overseeing intelligence agencies. The White House also refuses to turn over documents showing what Bush knew before 9/11. [Newsweek, 9/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Zahed Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, George W. Bush
          

October 1, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush is asked whether he thinks the US economy is strong enough to withstand a war with Iraq. He responds, “Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq,” and then adds, “I think the US economy is strong .... we're strong enough to handle the challenges ahead.” [White House, 10/1/2002]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 3, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The US and Britain continue to demand that weapons inspectors not return to Iraq until after a stronger resolution—one that authorizes the use of force—is agreed upon by the National Security Council. Bush threatens to lead a coalition against Iraq if the UN Security Council fails to back him. During an address in Washington to Hispanic leaders, Bush says: “My intent, of course, is for the United Nations to do its job. I think it'll make it easier for us to keep the peace.... My intent is to put together a vast coalition of countries who understand the threat of Saddam Hussein. The military option is my last choice, not my first. It's my last choice.... The choice is up to the United Nations to show its resolve. The choice is up to Saddam Hussein to fulfill its word—his word. And if neither of them acts, the United States, in deliberate fashion, will lead a coalition to take away the world's worst weapons from one of the world's worst leaders.” [Reuters, 10/3/2002b; White House, 10/3/02] But Russia, France, and China maintain their opposition to the US-British draft resolution which would pave the way for using military force against Iraq. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov strongly disagrees that a tougher resolution is needed. And France remains insistent that any further resolutions against Iraq should be broken into two parts—one defining the terms of inspections, and a second outlining the consequences if Iraq does not comply. [Reuters, 10/3/2002b]
People and organizations involved: Richard Gephardt, Alexander Saltanov, Robert C. Byrd, George W. Bush
          

October 6, 2002: Christian Fundamentalists Believed to Influence Bush Foreign Policy      Complete 911 Timeline

       60 Minutes airs a program on the religious support for President Bush's expansionist Middle Eastern policies. [CBS News, 10/6/02] A Guardian editorial from around the same time suggests that “Christian millenarians” who are “driven by visions of messiahs and Armageddon” have formed an alliance with “secular, neoconservative Jewish intellectuals, such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz” and are strongly influencing Bush's foreign policy. [Guardian, 9/17/02] A later Washington Post article also sees the support of evangelical Christians and right-wing Jewish groups as instrumental in defining US Middle East policy. [Washington Post, 2/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, George W. Bush, Christian fundamentalists
          

October 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a televised speech, Bush presents the administration's case that Saddam Hussein's regime is a threat to the security of the nation. The speech is widely criticized for including false and exaggerated statements.
Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons - Bush claims that a shipment of 3,000 aluminum tubes to Iraq, which were intercepted in Jordan by US authorities in July of 2001 (see July 2001), had been destined for use in a uranium enrichment program. But by this time numerous experts and government scientists have already warned the administration against making this allegation. [White House, 10/7/02] Three weeks before Bush's speech, The Washington Post ran a story on the aluminum tubes. The article summarized a study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), disputing the administration's claim that the tubes were to be used for gas centrifuges. The report was authored by the institute's president and founder, David Albright, a respected nuclear physicist, who had investigated Iraq's nuclear weapons program after the First Gulf War as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection team and who has spoken before Congress on numerous occasions. In his study, he concluded that Iraq's attempts to import the tubes “are not evidence that Iraq is in possession of, or close to possessing, nuclear weapons” and “do not provide evidence that Iraq has an operating centrifuge plant or when such a plant could be operational.” [Washington Post, 9/19/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02; Guardian, 10/9/02; Institute for Science and International Security, 10/9/03] Soon after the speech, David Albright tells The Guardian newspaper that there is still no evidence to substantiate that interpretation. As one unnamed specialist at the US Department of Energy explains to the newspaper, “I would just say there is not much support for that [nuclear] theory around here.” [Guardian 10/9/02] The Washington Post article also reported that government experts on nuclear technology who disagreed with the White House view had told Mr. Albright that the administration expected them to remain silent. [Washington Post 9/19/02; Independent 9/22/02] Houston G. Wood III, a retired Oak Ridge physicist considered to be “among the most eminent living experts” on gas centrifuges reviewed the tube question in August 2001 (see 1950s) and concluded at that time that it was very unlikely that the tubes had been imported to be used for centrifuges in a uranium enrichment program. He later tells The Washington Post in mid-2003 that “it would have been extremely difficult to make these tubes into centrifuges,” adding that it stretched “the imagination to come up with a way.” He also says that other centrifuge experts whom he knew shared his assessment of the tubes. [Washington Post, 8/10/03 Sources: Houston G. Wood III] In addition to the several outside experts who criticized the tubes allegation, analysts within the US intelligence community also doubted the claim. Less than a week before Bush's speech, the Energy Department and the State Department's intelligence branch, the INR, had appended a statement to a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq disputing the theory (see October 1, 2002). [National Intelligence Estimate, 10/2002 Sources: David Albright]
Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue in 1998 - Bush says that US intelligence has information that Saddam Hussein ordered his nuclear program to continue after inspectors left in 1998. “Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites,” Bush charges. “That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.” [White House, 10/7/02; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] But Bush's “high-ranking” source turns out to be Khidir Hamza, who is considered by many to be an unreliable source. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security where Hamza worked as an analyst from 1997 to 1999, says that after Hamza defected “he went off the edge” and “started saying irresponsible things.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] And General Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law who was in charge of the dictator's former weapons program but who defected in 1995, told UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors, as well as US and British intelligence, that Khidhir Hamza was “a professional liar.” “He worked with us, but he was useless and always looking for promotions,” Kamel had explained. “He consulted with me but could not deliver anything. . . . He was even interrogated by a team before he left and was allowed to go.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: UNSCOM report, S/1998/332, April 16, 1998]
Iraq is developing drones that could deploy chemical and biological weapons - The President claims that Iraq is developing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which “could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.” He goes so far as to say, “We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” [White House, 10/7/02; Guardian, 10/9/02] But this claim comes shortly after US intelligence agencies completed a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, in which Air Force intelligence had disputed the drone allegation (see October 1, 2002). Bush's drone allegation is quickly derided by experts and other sources. The Guardian of London reports two days later that according to US military experts, “Iraq had been converting eastern European trainer jets, known as L-29s, into drones, but ... that with a maximum range of a few hundred miles they were no threat to targets in the US.” [Guardian, 10/9/02 Sources: Unnamed military experts] And the San Francisco Chronicle will cite experts who say that “slow-moving unmanned aerial vehicles would likely be shot down as soon as they crossed Iraq's borders” because “Iraqi airspace is closely monitored by US and British planes and radar systems” . The report will also note, “It's also unclear how the vehicles would reach the US mainland—the nearest point is Maine, almost 5, 500 miles away—without being intercepted.” [San Francisco Chronicle 10/12/02 Sources: Unnamed experts] Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will say he believes the drone allegation is unrealistic. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he says, “As a guesstimate, Iraq's present holdings of delivery systems and chemical and biological weapons seem most likely to be so limited in technology and operational lethality that they do not constrain US freedom of action or do much to intimidate Iraq's neighbors.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02 Sources: Anthony Cordesman] These criticisms of Bush's claim are validated after the US invasion of Iraq. Two US government scientists involved in the post-invasion hunt for weapons of mass destruction will tell the Associated Press in August 2003 that they inspected the drones and concluded that they were never a threat to the US. “We just looked at the UAVs and said, ‘There's nothing here. There's no room to put anything in here,’ ” one of the scientists will say. “The US scientists, weapons experts who spoke on condition of anonymity, reached their conclusions after studying the small aircraft and interviewing Iraqi missile experts, system designers and Gen. Ibrahim Hussein Ismail, the Iraqi head of the military facility where the UAVs were designed,” the Associated Press will explain in its report. [Associated Press, 8/24/03 Sources: Unnamed US government scientists]
Saddam Hussein could give terrorists weapons of mass destruction - Bush asserts, “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.” [White House, 10/7/02] But not only have numerous experts and inside sources disputed this theory (see July 2002-March 19, 2003), US intelligence's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq—completed just one week before—concluded that this is an unlikely scenario (see October 1, 2002). “Baghdad, for now, appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States,” the document clearly stated. “Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/12/03]
Iraq rebuilding facilities associated with production of biological and chemical weapons - Bush claims that surveillance photos indicate that Iraq “is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” [White House, 10/7/02] On the following day, photos are published on the White House website showing that Iraq had repaired three sites damaged by US bombs—the Al Furat Manufacturing Facility, the Nassr Engineering Establishment Manufacturing Facility, and Fallujah II. [White House, 10/8/02] But no evidence is provided by the White House demonstrating that these sites have resumed activities related to the production of weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi authorities will give reporters a tour of the facilities on October 10 (see October 10, 2002).
Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases - Bush alleges that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda operatives “in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” [White House, 10/7/02] The claim is based on a September 2002 CIA document which had warned that its sources were of “varying reliability” and that the claim had not yet been substantiated (see September 2002). The report's main source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative who offered the information to CIA interrogators while in custody, later recounts the claim (see February 14, 2004). A Defense Intelligence Agency report in February 2002 (see February 2002) had also expressed doubt in the claim, going so far as to suggest that al-Libi was “intentionally misleading [his] debriefers.” [CNN, 9/26/02; Newsweek, 7/5/2004; The New York Times, 7/31/2004; New York Times, 11/6/2005 Sources: Unnamed administration official] And earlier in the month, US intelligence services had concluded in their National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that this allegation could not be confirmed. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02; Newsday, 10/10/02; Washington Post, 6/22/03; CNN, 9/26/02]
A very senior al-Qaeda leader received medical treatment in Baghdad - Bush claims: “Some al-Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.” The allegation refers to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is the founder of al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. No evidence ever surfaces to suggest that the group works with al-Qaeda. The allegation is partly based on intercepted telephone calls in which Al Zarqawi was overheard calling friends or relatives (see Late 2001-May 2002). But Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that according to US intelligence officials, “The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq.” [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/7/02; White House, 10/7/02 Sources: Umnamed US intelligence officials]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Houston G. Wood III, David Albright, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi  Additional Info 
          

Before October 10, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       As a group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress are discussing the proposed bill to authorize the use of force against Iraq (see October 2, 2002), President Bush walks in and says: “Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you.” When a senator attempts to ask him a question, Bush snaps back, “Look, I'm not going to debate it with you.” [Time Magazine, 9/6/2004; The New York Times Magazine, 10/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush signs the congressional resolution (see October 2, 2002) authorizing him to use military force against Iraq. “I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary,” he says shortly before signing the document. “Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action.” He says he has “carefully weighed the human cost of every option before us” and that he will only send troops “as a last resort.” [White House, 10/16/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 21, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte provides the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a revision of the UN draft resolution. [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Telegraph, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq] The Bush administration makes it clear that it expects the UN Security Council to vote on this draft of the resolution soon and signals that US officials are losing their patience with other member states. At the daily White House press briefing, Secretary Ari Fleischer says, “It's coming down to the end. The United Nations does not have forever.” Similarly, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher, states, “We're also making clear it is time to wrap this up.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Associated Press, 10/21/02] George Bush will say the following day: “The UN can't make its mind up. If Saddam won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him for the sake of peace. [The United Nations] must resolve itself to be something more than the League of Nations, must resolve itself to be more than a debating society, must resolve itself to keep international peace.” Summing up US feelings, an unnamed official tells the New York Times that the administration's message to the other permanent members is, “You're either with us or against us.” [CNN, 10/22/02; New York Times, 10/23/02; Telegraph, 10/22/02]
The revision drops the words “all necessary means,” stipulating in its place that Iraq's failure to abide by the new resolution would result in “serious consequences.” [Associated Press, 10/21/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Washington Post, 10/22/02; Telegraph, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision does not require that UN inspectors be accompanied by armed guards, a requirement in the earlier draft which many current and former UN inspectors opposed. [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Associated Press, 10/21/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
A provision in the previous draft requiring that member states help the UN enforce “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones around the inspection sites remains in the draft resolution, but in brackets, suggesting that the US and Britain are willing to negotiate on this point. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Economist, 10/23/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision does not require that the five permanent members of the Security Council be permitted to appoint their own officials to the inspection teams. [Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Telegraph, 10/22/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
The revision stipulates that Iraq must declare its weapons of mass destruction within 30 days of the resolution's passing, after which the weapons inspectors would have another 45 days to commence its work on disarmament. If Iraq does not meet the deadline, its failure to do so will be considered a “material breach” of the resolution. [ABC News, 10/23/02; Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: John Negroponte]
The revised draft still contains phrases that set a hair trigger for the implementation of “serious consequences.” The revision stipulates that further “false statements and omissions” by Iraq would amount to “a further material breach.” [Economist, 10/23/02 Sources: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq]
Reactions - In spite of the revision, the oppositional stances of France, Russia, Mexico, and China remain unchanged. Bulgaria, Colombia, Norway, Singapore show some support for the revision. [Telegraph, 10/22/02; Associated Press, 10/21/02b; Times, 10/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Revised Draft of a US-British UN Resolution on Iraq, Richard A. Boucher, Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

November 2002-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration disagrees with the United Nations and other member states over what precisely should qualify as a “material breach” of UN Resolution 1441. The UN and other nations believe that only serious violations should count. The US, however, takes the position that any violation, no matter how small, should be considered a material breach and thus sufficient cause for using military force against Iraq. The difference in opinion is acknowledged by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who says, “The US does seem ... to have a lower threshold than others may have” to justify the use of military force. He also says, “I think the discussion in the council made it clear we should be looking for something serious and meaningful, and not for excuses to do something.” President Bush, reflecting the stance of his hawkish advisors, says the Security Council should have “zero tolerance,” implying that even minor infractions could be considered a “material breach.” [Washington Post, 11/17/02 Sources: US and UN officials] Colin Powell and Vice President Cheney contend that the delay of, or omissions and inaccuracies in, Iraq's early December declaration would constitute a breach. And Iraq is warned to this effect. During a dinner meeting on November 18, Hans Blix reminds a close aide to Saddam Hussein that a failure to meet the deadline would be considered by the United States to be a “material breach.” [Independent, 11/20/02; Observer, 12/8/02; US Department of State 11/21/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kofi Annan
          

November 7, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A reporter asks President Bush if he thinks a war against Iraq might be a bad idea given widespread concerns that it could “generate a tremendous amount of anger and hatred at the United States ... [thus] creating many new terrorists who would want to kill Americans.” Bush responds that the US should not avoid taking action out of fear that it might “irritate somebody [who] would create a danger to Americans.” He also adds that no decision has been made with regard to using force against Iraq. “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully,” he says. “And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there's a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice ... it's my last choice. But nevertheless, it is ... an option in order to make the world a more peaceful place.” [White House, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 8, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favor of UN Resolution 1441, which stipulates that Iraq is required to readmit UN weapons inspectors under tougher terms than required by previous UN resolutions. The resolution does not give the US authority to use force against Iraq. The resolution makes it very clear that only the UN Security Council has the right to take punitive action against Iraq in the event of noncompliance. [United Nations, 11/8/02; Zunes, 11/14/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] After the resolution is passed, top Bush administration officials make public statements threatening to use military force against Iraq if Saddam's regime does not comply with the resolution. George Bush, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, Andrew Card, and Ari Fleischer make statements asserting that the resolution does not prevent the US from using force.
A provision that would have authorized UN member states to use “all necessary means” to disarm Iraq is relocated to the preamble of the resolution where it presumably has no practical significance. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
A provision requiring that security guards accompany the inspectors is removed. [New York Times, 11/6/02]
The resolution requires Iraq to provide the UN with the names of all its weapons experts. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution states that weapons inspectors will be authorized to remove Iraqi scientists, as well as their families, from Iraq in order to interview them. An official later tells The Washington Post that the power to interview Iraqi scientists was “the most significant authority contained in the resolution” and “the one thing that is most likely to produce overt Iraqi opposition.” [The Washington Post, 12/12/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution overturns provisions of the previous Resolution 1154 that required UN inspectors to notify Baghdad before inspecting Saddam Hussein's presidential sites. Resolution 1154 had also required that inspections of those sensitive sites occur in the presence of diplomats. The new resolution demands that Iraq allow the inspectors “immediate, unimpeded, unconditional and unrestricted access” to any sites chosen by the inspectors. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; Guardian, 11/7/02; CNN, 11/8/02] Unnamed diplomats and US officials tell USA Today that the US may attempt to claim that Iraq is engaged in a pattern of defiance and deceit if it hinders the inspectors in any way. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
The resolution include a provision calling for “no-fly” and “no-drive” zones in the areas surrounding suspected weapons sites to prevent the Iraqis from removing evidence prior to or during inspections. [Times, 11/9/02; New York Times, 11/6/02; Guardian, 11/7/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The final resolution includes statements stipulating that an Iraqi failure to comply with the terms of the resolution, including “false statements or omissions” in the weapons declaration it is required to submit, will “constitute a further material breach” of its obligations. Additional wording included in the same provision explains that any breach of the resolution will “be reported to the Council for assessment.” Also, towards the end of the resolution, it states that the chief weapons inspector should “report immediately to the Council any interference” by Iraq so that the Council can “convene immediately to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all the relevant council resolutions in order to restore international peace and security.” [New York Times, 11/6/02; Times, 11/9/02; CNN, 11/8/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
Paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that Iraq “shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or of any Member State taking action to uphold any Council resolution.” The US contends that this applies to the US- and British- patrolling of the “no-fly” zones that the two countries imposed shortly after the Gulf War. The “patrolling,” which has never been officially sanctioned by the UN and which is not recognized by Iraq, often includes aerial attacks on Iraqi sovereign territory. Iraq consistently fires on the attacking jets in self-defense. Other UN Security Council members explicitly oppose this interpretation of the resolution before its passage. [Associated Press, 11/15/02; Associated Press, 11/12/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02; United Press International; Reuters, 11/15/02; Washington Post, 11/16/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441]
The resolution gives Iraq seven days to announce whether or not it will comply with the resolution, and 30 days (December 8) to declare its chemical, biological, and nuclear-related capabilities—even those that are unrelated to weapons programs. 10 days after Iraq's acceptance of the terms, inspectors will send an advanced team to Baghdad, but will have a total of 45 days to begin the actual work. The inspection team will be required to provide the UN Security Council with a report 60 days (January 27) after the commencement of its work. [Guardian, 11/7/02; Associated Press, 11/8/02; Associated Press, 11/16/02 Sources: UN Resolution 1441] Diplomats and US officials speaking off the record tell USA Today that the declaration due on December 8 represents a hidden trigger, explaining that any omissions will be considered a material breach and sufficient justification for war. [USA Today 12/19/02 Sources: Unnamed diplomats and US officials]
Syria requested that the resolution include a provision stating that Iraq's compliance with the terms would result in the lifting of sanctions. This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
Syria requested that the resolution declare the entire Middle East a “nuclear-free and weapons of mass destruction-free zone.” This provision was not included. [CNN, 11/8/02]
France did not want the resolution to include any wording that might authorize the use of force. Instead it argued that the resolution should include only terms for tougher inspections. In the event of Iraqi noncompliance with the terms, France argued, a separate resolution should be agreed upon to decide what further action would be necessary. France lost its argument, and the new resolution includes a warning to Iraq “that it will face serious consequences” in the event of its failure to comply with the terms of the resolution. [Guardian, 11/7/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

November 13, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Bush reiterates the White Houses' interpretation of UN Resolution 1441: “I have told the United Nations we'll be glad to consult with them, but the resolution does not prevent us from doing what needs to be done, which is to hold Saddam Hussein into account. We hope that he disarms, we hope that he will listen to the world.” [White House, 11/13/02; Associated Press, 11/13/02b]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 15, 2002: Congress Starts New 9/11 Investigation      Complete 911 Timeline

       Congress approves legislation creating an independent commission—the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States—to “examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks” and “make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks.” President Bush signs it into law November 27, 2002. [US Department of State, 11/28/02] Bush originally opposed an independent commission (see May 23, 2002), but he changes his mind over the summer (see September 20, 2002) after political pressure. The Democrats concede several important aspects of the commission (such as subpoena approval) after the White House threatens to create a commission by executive order, over which it would have more control. Bush will appoint the commission chairman and he sets a strict time frame (18 months) for the investigation. [CNN, 11/15/02] The commission will only have a $3 million budget. Senator Jon Corzine (D) and others wonder how the commission can accomplish much with such a small budget. [Associated Press, 1/20/03] The budget is later increased (see March 26, 2003).
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Jon Corzine, US Congress, George W. Bush
          

November 25, 2002: Bush Creates Department of Homeland Security      Complete 911 Timeline

      
This Homeland Security department logo of an eye peeking through a keyhole was copyrighted but apparently not used.
President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department will consolidate nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service. [New York Times, 11/26/02 (C); Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] However, the FBI and CIA, the two most prominent anti-terrorism agencies, will not be part of Homeland Security. [New York Times, 11/20/02] The department wants to be active by March 1, 2003, but “it's going to take years to integrate all these different entities into an efficient and effective organization.” [New York Times, 11/20/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] Some 9/11 victims' relatives are angry over sections inserted into the legislation at the last minute. Airport screening companies will be protected from lawsuits filed by family members of 9/11 victims. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the WTC, says, “We were down there lobbying last week and trying to make the case that this will hurt us, but they did it anyway. It's just a slap in the face to the victims.” [New York Times, 11/26/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, US Coast Guard, George W. Bush, US Customs Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kristen Breitweiser, Relatives of September 11 Victims, Central Intelligence Agency
          

November 27, 2002: Kissinger Named Chairman of New 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Henry Kissinger.
President Bush names Henry Kissinger as Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Congressional Democrats appoint George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader and peace envoy to Northern Ireland and the Middle East, as vice chairman. Their replacements and the other eight members of the commission are chosen by mid-December. Kissinger served as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser for Presidents Nixon and Ford. [New York Times, 11/29/02] Kissinger's ability to remain independent is met with skepticism. [CNN, 11/30/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 11/29/02; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/13/02; Washington Post, 12/17/02; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/3/02] . He has a very controversial past. For instance, “Documents recently released by the CIA, strengthen previously-held suspicions that Kissinger was actively involved in the establishment of Operation Condor, a covert plan involving six Latin American countries including Chile, to assassinate thousands of political opponents.” He is also famous for an “obsession with secrecy.” [BBC, 4/26/02] It is even difficult for Kissinger to travel outside the US. Investigative judges in Spain, France, Chile, and Argentina seek to question him in several legal actions related to his possible involvement in war crimes, particularly in Latin America, Vietnam, Cambodia (see March 1969-1973), Laos (see 1969-1973), Bangladesh, Chile, and East Timor (see December 7, 1976). [BBC, 4/18/02; Village Voice, 8/15-21/01; Chicago Tribune, 12/1/02] The New York Times suggests, “Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Mr. Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed.” [New York Times, 11/29/02] The Chicago Tribune notes that “the president who appointed him originally opposed this whole undertaking.” Kissinger is “known more for keeping secrets from the American people than for telling the truth” and asking him “to deliver a critique that may ruin friends and associates is asking a great deal.” [Chicago Tribune, 12/5/02]
People and organizations involved: George Mitchell, 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Henry A. Kissinger
          

December 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       CIA Director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin meet in the White House with President George Bush and Bush's top advisors for a “dress rehearsal” ahead of a public presentation that will accuse Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction. According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush is disappointed with Tenet and McLauglin's presentation, which is based on communications intercepts, satellite photos, diagrams, and other intelligence. “Nice try,” Woodward's source will later recall Bush saying. “I don't think this quite—it's not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from.” Bush reportedly says to Tenet. “I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD, and this is the best we've got?” Tenet responds, “It's a slam dunk case.” Woodward's book will say that Bush then asked, “George, how confident are you?” To which the intelligence head responded, “Don't worry, it's a slam dunk.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/17/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, John E. McLaughlin
          

December 2, 2002      US Military

       US President George Bush signs the 2003 Defense Authorization Act. [White House, 12/2/2002] One of the act's provisions creates the new Pentagon post of undersecretary of defense for intelligence (see June 21, 2002). [Sources: 2003 Defense Authorization Act, Sec. 901]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 4, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a question and answer period following President Bush's signing of the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, the president is asked about the weapon inspectors' progress in Iraq and if he believes “the signs are not encouraging that they're doing their job.” Bush responds: “This isn't about inspectors. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein will disarm. Will he disarm in the name of peace.” He also condemns Iraq's shooting of US and British planes that have been patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones over northern and southern Iraq (see June 2002-March 2003) and contends that these actions demonstrate that Saddam does not intend to comply with UN Resolution 1441 (see November 8, 2002). Bush also implies that no decision has been made to use military force against Iraq. “The best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm,” he insists. “It's up to him to make his decision.” [White House, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 11, 2002      US Military

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends President Bush a memo requesting authority to appoint US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Adm. James O. Ellis Jr. in charge of all of the United States' “strategic” warfare options to combat terrorist states and organizations. By giving STRATCOM warplanners jurisdiction over the full range of the country's warfare options, the president would effectively remove a decades-old firewall between conventional and nuclear weapons which had served to prevent nuclear arms from being anything but a weapon of last resort. According to William Arkin, a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the request, if approved, would remove “nuclear weapons out of their long-established special category and [lump] them in with all the other military options.” Bush approves the request early the following month (see Early January 2003). [Los Angeles Times, 1/26/2003 Sources: Memo obtained by the LA Times, Unnamed senior military officials at US Central Command]
People and organizations involved: James O. Ellis Jr, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

December 16, 2002: Ex-Governor Kean replaces Kissinger as Chairman of New 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Thomas Kean.
President Bush names former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean as the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission after his original choice, Henry Kissinger, resigned (see December 13, 2002). [Washington Post, 12/17/02] In an appearance on NBC, Kean promises an aggressive investigation. “It's really a remarkably broad mandate, so I don't think we'll have any problem looking under every rock. I've got no problems in going as far as we have to in finding out the facts.” [Associated Press, 12/17/02] However, Kean plans to remain president of Drew University and devote only one day a week to the commission. He also claims he would have no conflicts of interest, stating: “I have no clients except the university.” [Washington Post, 12/17/02] However, he has a history of such conflicts of interest. Multinational Monitor has previously stated: “Perhaps no individual more clearly illustrates the dangers of university presidents maintaining corporate ties than Thomas Kean,” citing the fact that he is on the Board of Directors of Aramark (which received a large contract with his university after he became president), Bell Atlantic, United Health Care, Beneficial Corporation, Fiduciary Trust Company International, and others. [Multinational Monitor, 11/97]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, George W. Bush
          

December 31, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       At his ranch in Texas, President Bush tells a reporter who questions whether the world is safer heading into 2003: “I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully. One of my New Year's resolutions is to work to deal with these situations in a way so that they're resolved peacefully.” To another reporter's question, he similarly states: “I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [White House, 12/31/02; Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Early January 2003      US Military

       US President George Bush approves Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's December request (see December 11, 2002) to give US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warplanners jurisdiction over the full range of the country's warfare options, including nuclear weapons. Many senior officials are concerned, according to columnist and reporter William Arkin, “that nuclear weapons—locked away in a Pandora's box for more than half a century—are being taken out of that lockbox and put on the shelf with everything else.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/26/2003 Sources: Unnamed senior military officials at US Central Command]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 2, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       At his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush converses with the press about the economy, Iraq, and North Korea. When one reporter asks whether or not the US can afford to go to war with Iraq, given the downturn in the economy, the president interrupts the reporter mid-sentence, saying, “First of all, you know, I'm hopeful we won't have to go war, and let's leave it at that.” [White House, 1/2/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 10, 2003: Government Employees Responsible for 9/11 Failures Are Promoted      Complete 911 Timeline

       FBI Director Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)] Bowman, head of the FBI's National Security Law Unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui's belongings before the 9/11 attacks, is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman's unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 12/22/02] Bowman's unit also blocked an urgent request by FBI agents to begin searching for Khalid Almihdhar after his name was put on a watch list. In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman's unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [Associated Press, 1/10/03] As Senator Charles Grassley (R) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted:
Pasquale D'Amuro, the FBI's counterterrorism chief in New York City before 9/11, is promoted to the bureau's top counterterrorism post. [Time, 12/30/02]
FBI Supervisory special agent Michael Maltbie, who removed information from the Minnesota FBI's application to get the search warrant for Moussaoui, is promoted to field supervisor. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)]
David Frasca, head of the FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit, is “still at headquarters,” Grassley notes. [Salon, 3/3/03 (B)] Frasca received the Phoenix memo warning al-Qaeda terrorists could use flight schools inside the US, and then a few weeks later he received the request for Moussaoui's search warrant. “The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.” [Time, 5/27/02] Even after 9/11, Frasca continued to “[throw] up roadblocks” in the Moussaoui case. [New York Times, 5/27/02]
President Bush later names Barbara Bodine the director of Central Iraq shortly after the US conquest of Iraq. Many in government are upset about the appointment because of her blocking of the USS Cole investigation, which some say could have uncovered the 9/11 plot. She failed to admit she was wrong or apologize. [Washington Times, 4/10/03] However, she is fired after about a month, apparently for doing a poor job.
An FBI official who tolerates penetration of the translation department by Turkish spies and encourages slow translations just after 9/11 is promoted (see March 22, 2002). [CBS News, 10/25/02] The CIA has promoted two unnamed top leaders of its unit responsible for tracking al-Qaeda in 2000 even though the unit mistakenly failed to put the two suspected terrorists on the watch list (see August 23, 2001). “The leaders were promoted even though some people in the intelligence community and in Congress say the counterterrorism unit they ran bore some responsibility for waiting until August 2001 to put the suspect pair on the interagency watch list.” CIA Director Tenet has failed to fulfill a promise given to Congress in late 2002 that he would name the CIA officials responsible for 9/11 failures. [New York Times, 5/15/03]
People and organizations involved: Pasquale D'Amuro, Michael Maltbie, David Frasca, Khalid Almihdhar, Charles Grassley, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Barbara Bodine, Central Intelligence Agency, George W. Bush, Marion ("Spike") Bowman, Robert S. Mueller III
          

January 13, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet alone in the Oval Office for twelve minutes. According to Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, Bush says, “The inspections are not getting us there.... I really think I'm going to have to do this,” adding that he is firm in his decision. Powell responds, “You're sure? ... You understand the consequences.... You know that you're going to be owning this place?” Bush indicates that he understands the implications and asks, “Are you with me on this? ... I think I have to do this. I want you with me.” Powell responds: “I'll do the best I can. ... Yes, sir, I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President.” Woodward will also say in his book that Bush had never—ever—asked his Secretary of State for his advice on the matter of Iraq. “In all the discussions, meetings, chats and back-and-forth, in Powell's grueling duels with Rumsfeld and Defense, the president had never once asked Powell, Would you do this? What's your overall advice? The bottom line?” Woodward will write. [Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/04; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 4/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

January 14, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Before his meeting with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, Bush tells reporters that he does not support an extension for the inspections. “I am sick and tired of games and deception, and that is my view on timetables,” he says. “The United Nations has spoken with one voice. He's been given 11 years to disarm, and we have given him one last chance.” [New York Times, 1/15/03b; Washington Post, 1/15/03; Sydney Morning Herald, 1/16/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

January 20-21, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Bush and his advisors respond to statements made the previous day by Russian, French, Chinese, and German ministers expressing satisfaction with the weapons inspection process. Bush says: “He's not disarming. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying, he is deceiving, he is asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors. ... It's clear to me now that he is not disarming. And, surely, our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely we have learned how this man deceives and delays. ... This business about more time—how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? As I said, this looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not interested in watching it.” US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also refutes the notion that Saddam is cooperating with inspectors. “Our other options are just about exhausted at this point,” he asserts “This regime has very little time left to undo the legacy of 12 years. There is no sign, there is not one sign that the regime has any intent to comply fully.” [Washington Post, 1/21/03; White House, 1/21/03; Washington Post, 1/22/03b; New York Times 1/22/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Richard Armitage
          

January 21, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President George Bush signs an executive order formally creating the Office of Global Communications (see July 30, 2002) to coordinate efforts among various federal agencies to “disseminate truthful, accurate, and effective messages about the American people and their government” to audiences around the world. [New York Times, 1/22/03; White House, 1/21/03] The office has actually been in existence since before July 2002 (see July 30, 2002). Its first publication is also released on this day. Titled, “Apparatus of Lies,” the 32-page white paper argues that Iraq is using a carefully calibrated system of propaganda and disinformation to gain international support for the regime and to hide development of its weapons of mass destruction programs. In its executive summary, it states that Iraq's foreign relations consist primarily of “a highly developed, well disciplined, and expertly organized program designed to win support for the Iraqi regime through outright deceit.” It goes on to say that the “elaborate program is one of the regime's most potent weapons for advancing its political, military, and diplomatic objectives. In their disinformation and propaganda campaigns, the Iraqis use elaborate ruses and obvious falsehoods, covert actions and false on-the-record statements, and sophisticated preparation and spontaneous exploitation of opportunities. Many of the techniques are not new, but this regime exploits them more aggressively and effectively—and to more harmful effect—than any other regime in power today.” [Sources: Apparatus of Lies]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Office of Global Communications
          

January 27, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush receives a letter signed by more than 120 members of the House of Representatives urging him “to use the opportunity provided in the upcoming State of the Union Address to offer assurances both to the American people and the international community that the United States remains committed to the diplomatic approach and comprehensive inspections process agreed to in the UN Security Council.” The letter is written by Representatives Sherrod Brown and Ron Kind. In it they argue that Bush should “sufficiently weigh future decisions regarding Iraq on the assessment given by UNMOVIC/IAEA, including additional inspection time and resources as appropriate.” The letter emphasizes: “Your commitment to working through the UN Security Council and your vocal support for Resolution 1441 are critical to UNMOVIC/IAEA's eventual success.” The anti-war organization, moveon.org, plays a large role in influencing the representatives' decision to sign the letter. The group had helped coordinate hundreds of visits by concerned citizens to the offices of their congresspersons demanding that they sign the letter. [The Nation, 1/27/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Sherrod Brown, Ron Kind, Move-On [.org]
          

January 28, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       The President delivers his State of the Union address and describes his rollbacks as environmental protections. He talks about his “Healthy Forest Initiative” (see May 21, 2003) and the issues of energy independence and air pollution, stressing his administration's disfavor with “command-and-control regulations.” The President does not mention the issue of clean water. [Natural Resources Defense Council, 1/28/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d. Sources: 2003 State of the Union Address]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

January 31, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Executive directors of human rights organizations write to President George Bush demanding clear statements from administration officials against torture in any form and statements ensuring that any US official found to have used or approved of torture would be held accountable. The organizations also demand that the administration take steps to inform US interrogators of international laws and treaties which define the limits of lawful interrogation methods. [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 4, 2003      US Military

       US President George Bush announces his intention to nominate Stephen Cambone to the new Pentagon position of undersecretary of defense for intelligence (see June 21, 2002). [White House, 2/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Stephen A. Cambone
          

February 5, 2003      US Military

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, inform the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that they intend to seek permission from George Bush to use calmative agents (see February 12, 2001-March 30, 2001) against Iraqi civilians, in cave systems or to take prisoners. [Independent article; Newsmax, 2/6/2003] Rumsfeld calls the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) a “straightjacket” [Baltimore Sun, 3/27/2003; The Guardian, 4/8/2003] and insists that “there are times when the use of non-lethal riot agents is perfectly appropriate.” [The Guardian, 3/12/2003; The Guardian, 4/8/2003; Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003; Newsmax, 2/6/2003] Under the provisions of the CWC, military use of chemicals—including non-lethal gases like tear gas—is prohibited. The treaty only permits the use of non-lethal agents for law enforcement purposes. [Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003; Newsmax, 2/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush
          

February 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       With Secretary of State Colin Powell at his side, President Bush speaks about Iraq in the Roosevelt Room, repeating many of the allegations that were made in Powell's speech to the UN the day before (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). [White House, 2/6/2003]
“The regime has never accounted for a vast arsenal of deadly biological and chemical weapons. .... The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Firsthand witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents, equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery. Using these factories, Iraq could produce within just months hundreds of pounds of biological poisons. ... Iraq has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. The regime is actively pursuing components for prohibited ballistic missiles. And we have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons—the very weapons the dictator tells the world he does not have.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. All the world has now seen the footage of an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological agents over wide areas. Iraq has developed spray devices that could be used on unmanned aerial vehicles with ranges far beyond what is permitted by the Security Council. A UAV launched from a vessel off the American coast could reach hundreds of miles inland.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“One of the greatest dangers we face is that weapons of mass destruction might be passed to terrorists, who would not hesitate to use those weapons. Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.” [Newsweek, 11/10/2005; White House, 2/6/2003]
“We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. The network runs a poison and explosive training center in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad. The head of this network traveled to Baghdad for medical treatment and stayed for months. Nearly two dozen associates joined him there and have been operating in Baghdad for more than eight months.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
“[W]e can give the Iraqi people their chance to live in freedom and choose their own government. ... Saddam Hussein has made Iraq into a prison, a poison factory, and a torture chamber for patriots and dissidents.” [White House, 2/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Colin Powell
          

February 7, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       When President Bush is asked by a reporter if he believes Iraq can be “disarmed” without the use of force, the president responds that it's up to Saddam Hussein. He asserts that Saddam Hussein has been playing “a game with the inspectors” for the last 90 days. “But Saddam Hussein is—he's treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make,” Bush says. “He's the person who gets to decide war and peace.” [White House, 2/7/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 22 or 23, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush telephones Mexican President Vicente Fox to discuss Mexico's stance on Iraq. Shortly after the phone call, the Mexican government issues a 2-page policy directive backing Bush's policy on Iraq. It states that its position is that Iraq must disarm immediately and makes no mention of the weapons inspections. “Nothing is more urgent, no time can be lost in achieving this objective,” it says. The last point of the directive notes the importance of Mexico's relationship with the United States and the need to have a policy based on Mexico's national interests. “We know that this issue is of critical importance to the United States and to the Bush administration,” the directive also says. [Associated Press, 2/26/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Vicente Fox
          

March 6, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a press conference, Bush is asked if the US will provide journalists, humanitarian workers, and weapons inspectors enough time to leave Iraq before the war begins, if it comes to that. Bush responds that people will be given a chance, but also recommends to journalists, “If you're going, and we start action, leave.” He also insists that no decision has been made to use military force. “I've not made up our mind about military action,” Bush says. “Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” At the conclusion of the press conference, Bush again says that he has not made any decision to use force. “I want to remind you that it's his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It's Saddam's choice. He's the person that can make the choice of war and peace.” [White House, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 8, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a radio address, Bush asserts that “it is clear” from the report given by Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to the UN Security Council the day before (see March 7, 2003) “that Saddam Hussein is still violating the demands of the United Nations by refusing to disarm.” While Blix described Iraq's destruction of Al Samoud II missiles (see March 1, 2003) as significant, Bush downplays this, claiming the US has intelligence that Saddam Hussein “ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles.” Near the conclusion of his radio address, Bush says: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [White House, 3/8/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 17, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a televised address to the nation, shortly before the US officially begins its invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush justifies the need to use military force. He asserts that the US has “pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war,” but that Iraq “has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament.” He maintains that Iraq “continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” and “has aided, trained, and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda.” “Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed,” he insists. Bush then gives Saddam Hussein an ultimatum, warning the Iraqi leader that if he and his sons do not leave Iraq within 48 hours, the US will use military force to topple his government. The choice is his, Bush says. “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.” He assures Iraqis that the US will liberate them and bring them democracy and warns Iraq's military not to destroy its country's oil wells or obey orders to deploy weapons of mass destruction. [US President, 3/17/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 18, 2003: Bush Sends Letter to Congress Justifying Decision to Invade Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Bush sends a letter to Congress justifying the invasion of Iraq. First, he has determined that further diplomacy will not protect the US. Second, he is “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” [White House, 3/18/03] This mimics language from a bill passed by Congress in October 2002 (see 1:15 a.m. October 11, 2002), which granted Bush the power to declare war against Iraq if a link with the 9/11 attacks is shown and several other conditions are met. [White House, 10/2/02] But there is no evidence linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, a simple fact that even Bush has acknowledged (see January 31, 2003).
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Congress
          

March 26, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In a speech to US troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, US President George Bush says: “We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices.” [White House, 3/26/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 28, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US President George Bush, in discussion on the future of Iraq at the Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Michigan, says: “As freedom takes hold in Iraq, the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders and their own government. America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture. Yet, we will ensure that all Iraqis have a voice in the new government.” [White House, 4/28/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

(May 2003-May 2004)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       At “various times throughout this period,” Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld relay the Red Cross' concerns about the Coalition's treatment of prisoners directly to President George Bush. [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004 Sources: Unnamed aid to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

May 9, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US President George Bush, in a commencement address at the University of South Carolina, says: “Soon, Iraqis from every ethnic group will choose members of an interim authority. The people of Iraq are building a free society from the ground up, and they are able to do so because the dictator and his regime are no more.” [White House, 5/9/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

2:28 p.m. May 29, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In an interview with Polish TV station TVP, hours before leaving on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, Bush says: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.” [White House, 5/29/03; Washington Post, 5/31/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

May 30, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In an interview with a Polish television station, President Bush refers to the two trailers that had been found in northern Iraq in April as evidence that the US had “found the weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 6/26/03; New York Times, 6/27/03; Sheperd Express, 7/10/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 1, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In St. Petersburg, Russia, Bush says, responding to a US reporter's question, “Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited.” [Rosbalt News Agency, 1/6/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 12, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush sends Congress the Biennial Report on the Administration of the Coastal Zone Management Act, [White House, 6/12/2003] which proposes new rules that would undermine coastal states' control over their coastlines by reducing public and state government participation in decisions affecting the coast and its resources. The changes would pave the way for new offshore oil and gas development. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Environmental Defense Center, 8/21/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, George W. Bush, Bush administration
          

June 23, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush designates Ali Sale Kayla al-Marri as an enemy combatant. Al-Marri has been in US custody since December 2001 (see December 15, 2001). The presidential order says he “engaged in conduct that constituted hostile and war-like acts, including conduct in preparation for acts of international terrorism.” The order adds that Al-Marri “represents a continuing, present, and grave danger to the national security of the United States.” His detention is necessary, the order claims, to prevent him from participating in terrorist activities against the US. Al-Marri is subsequently detained in solitary confinement at the Naval Brig in Charleston. The immediate result of the presidential order is that the Pentagon becomes Al-Marri's new custodian and that Al-Marri will not be entitled to legal representation or access to a US court. “Rather than providing due process,” his lawyer, Mark Berman, says, “the government has chosen a forum in which they can deny the defendant his constitutional rights, not the least of which is right to counsel.” The order in effect precludes a pretrial hearing scheduled for July 2 and the start of a formal trial on July 22. Berman filed a motion to suppress evidence seized at Al-Marri's apartment during an FBI search, which he says was conducted without a warrant. In addition, he claims his client was not properly advised of his rights before his initial interrogation. Officially, Al-Marri was indicted on seven counts, including making false statements to the FBI and identity and credit card fraud. He supposedly lied about contacts between September and November 2001 with an al-Qaeda paymaster in the United Arab Emirates, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi. The Justice Department also alleges that Al-Marri is an al-Qaeda sleeper operative tasked with assisting other members in carrying out future terrorist attacks. These officials say this information was provided by another detainee, believed to be a member of al-Qaeda, who also claims Al-Marri is trained in the use of poisons. Other detainees have told interrogators that Al-Marri met with Osama bin Laden at the Al-Farouq training camp in Afghanistan, where he offered to become a martyr. An additional reason for Al-Marri's designation of enemy combatant appears to be the possibility of drawing more information from him. Attorney General Ashcroft states: “An individual with that kind of situation is an individual who might know a lot about what could happen, might know the names of individuals, information being so key to intelligence and prevention.” [CNN, 6/24/2003]
People and organizations involved: Ali Sale Kayla al-Marri, John Ashcroft, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Mark Berman
          

June 26, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       In honor of United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, President Bush releases a statement saying that the US is “committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and [is] leading this fight by example.” Bush calls on all nations to join the US in “prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent cruel and unusual punishment.” In his speech he also condemns countries who have refused to admit international human rights monitors into their facilities. “Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors.” [Whites House, 6/26/2003; Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 2, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       Interior Secretary Gale Norton presents President George Bush with a report detailing the achievements of the National Park Service. The report calls attention to the $2.9 billion that the Bush administration says it has set aside for the park's maintenance backlog. [National Park Service, 7/2/2003] But the figure is misleading because it actually refers the park's entire maintenance budget. Only $370 million of that amount represents funds allocated to the maintenance backlog. Moreover, as the National Parks Conservation Association notes, “the president's budget is [actually] contributing to the backlog by ignoring the annual needs of the national parks, which continue to operate with only two-thirds of the needed funding.” [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Salt Lake City Tribune, 7/09/2003; CNN, 8/15/2003] According to the General Accounting Office, the Park Service needs upwards of $6.8 billion to complete the deferred maintenance and repairs. Critics of the administration's record also note that the administration's lax enforcement of clean air policies and its plan to replace some parks' staff with private contractors are serious threats to the national park system. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/16/2003]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, George W. Bush, National Park Service (NPS), Gale A. Norton
          

July 3, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The government announces that President Bush has named six Guantanamo detainees to be tried before a military commission. They are David Hicks from Australia, Moazzam Begg holding dual British and Pakistan nationality, Feroz Abbasi from the UK, Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al-Bahlul, both from Yemen, and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi from Sudan. [Department of Defense, 7/3/2003]
People and organizations involved: David Hicks, Feroz Abbasi, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, Moazzam Begg, George W. Bush, Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al-Bahlul
          

July 11, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Referring to Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, CIA director George Tenet says in a written statement, “These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” But Tenet denies that the White House is responsible for the mistake, putting the blame squarely on his own agency. And comments by Condoleezza Rice also blame the CIA, “If the CIA: the director of central intelligence, had said, ‘Take this out of the speech,’ it could have been gone, without question. If there were doubts about the underlying intelligence, those doubts were not communicated to the president, to the vice president or to me.” Another senior White House official, defending the president and his advisors, tells ABC news: “We were very careful with what the president said. We vetted the information at the highest levels.” But an intelligence official, also interviewed by ABC, dismisses the claim. [CNN, 7/11/03; The Washington Post, 7/12/03; New York Times, 7/12/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] Following Tenet's statement, a barrage of news reports citing unnamed CIA officials reveal that the White House had in fact been explicitly warned not to include the African-uranium claim. These reports indicate that at the time Bush delivered his State of the Union address, it had been widely understood in US intelligence circles that the Africa-uranium claim had little evidence supporting it. [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 6/12/03; Boston Globe, 3/16/03; New York Times, 3/23/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03; Newsday, 7/12/03; Associated Press, 6/12/03; Knight Ridder, 6/16/03; Knight Ridder, 6/13/03] For example, CBS News reports, “CIA officials warned members of the president's National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.” And a Washington Post article cites an unnamed intelligence source who says, “We consulted about the paper [September 2002 British dossier] and recommended against using that material.” [CNN, 7/10/03; CBS News, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/11/03 Sources: Unnamed intelligence official] White House officials respond that the dossier issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” and that the officials had argued that as long as the statement was attributed to the British Intelligence, it would be technically true. Similarly, ABC News reports: “A CIA official has an idea about how the Niger information got into the president's speech. He said he is not sure the sentence was ever cleared by the agency, but said he heard speechwriters wanted it included, so they attributed it to the British.” The same version of events is told to the New York Times by a senior administration official, who claims, “The decision to mention uranium came from White House speechwriters, not from senior White House officials.” [New York Times, 7/19/03; New York Times, 7/14/03; CBS News, 7/10/03; ABC News, 6/12/03 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Unnamed CIA official] But according to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who are investigating the issue, the decision to include the Africa-uranium claim was influenced by the people associated with the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03 Sources: four members of the Senate's intelligence committee, Unnamed CIA official]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

(12:10 p.m.) July 21, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President George Bush and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Crawford, Texas. [ABC News, 7/21/03; White House, 7/21/2003]
People and organizations involved: Silvio Berlusconi, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush
          

July 28, 2003: Bush Opposes Release of Full 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Report      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal after meeting Bush over the 9/11 report.
In the wake of the release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry's final report, pressure builds to release most of the still-censored sections of the report, but on this day President Bush says he is against the idea. [New York Times, 7/29/03; Associated Press, 7/29/03 (B)] Through an obscure rule, the Senate could force the release of the material with a majority vote [USA Today, /5/29/03] , but apparently the number of votes in favor of this idea falls just short. MSNBC reports that “the decision to keep the passage secret ... created widespread suspicion among lawmakers that the administration was trying to shield itself and its Saudi allies from embarrassment. ... Three of the four leaders of the joint congressional investigation into the attacks have said they believed that much of the material on foreign financing was safe to publish but that the administration insisted on keeping it secret.” [MSNBC, 7/28/03] Senator Richard Shelby (R), one of the main authors of the report, states that “90, 95 percent of it would not compromise, in my judgment, anything in national security.” Bush ignores a reporter's question on Shelby's assessment. [Associated Press, 7/29/03 (B)] Even the Saudi government claims to be in favor of releasing the censored material so it can better respond to criticism. [MSNBC, 7/28/03] All the censored material remains censored; however, some details of the most controversial censored sections are leaked to the media.
People and organizations involved: Richard Shelby, George W. Bush, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Saudi Arabia
          

July 30, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a press conference, Bush is asked if the White House is planning to provide the public with “definitive evidence that Saddam was working with al-Qaeda terrorists” or if the alleged al-Qaeda links had been “exaggerated to justify war.” Bush responds that the US needs more time to analyze documents uncovered in Iraq. Bush explains: “Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant-instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered.” [US Newswire, 7/30/03; US Department of State, 7/30/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

August 11, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President George Bush names Utah Governor Mike Leavitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing Christie Todd Whitman who resigned in June. [White House, 8/11/2003] Leavitt was at the center of a controversy a couple of months ago for a back-room deal he made with Interior Secretary Gale Norton to suspend wilderness studies on millions of acres of Utah lands (see April 11, 2003). He supports replacing mandatory pollution controls with voluntary compliance programs for polluting industries and is a strong backer of the administration's policy of shifting environmental regulation to the states. [Washington Times, 8/12/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] During his term as governor, US Magnesium, a magnesium-processing company on the western side of the Great Salt Lake, earned the place as the nation's worst polluter. Leavitt says that he and Bush “have a like mind and a like heart” on environmental policy. [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/12/2003] Environmentalists condemn the nomination noting that aside from Leavitt's strong opposition to a plan to store nuclear waste on a Utah Indian reservation, the governor has a very poor environmental record. “Mike Leavitt has no credentials, no understanding and no political willpower to protect America's clean air, clean water and clean land,” Marc Clemens, chapter coordinator for the Utah Sierra Club, tells the Salt Lake Tribune. [Salt Lake City Tribune, 8/12/2003]
People and organizations involved: Environmental Protection Agency, Mike Leavitt, George W. Bush
          

September 12, 2003: Bush Administration Is Sued for Having Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ellen Mariani.
9/11 victim's relative Ellen Mariani sues the US government, claiming that certain officials had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. “I'm 100 percent sure that they knew,” she says. In doing so, she is ineligible for government compensation from what she calls the “shut-up and go-away fund.” She believes she would have received around $500,000. According to a statement by her lawyer, her lawsuit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, Defense Department, and other administration members “is based upon prior knowledge of 9/11; knowingly failing to act, prevent or warn of 9/11; and the ongoing obstruction of justice by covering up the truth of 9/11; all in violation of the laws of the United States.” As the Toronto Star points out, this interesting story has been “buried” by the mainstream media, at least initially. Coverage has been limited mostly to Philadelphia where the case was filed and New Hampshire where Mariani lives. [Al Jazeera, 12/9/03; Toronto Star, 11/30/03; Village Voice, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/03; Associated Press, 12/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Ellen Mariani, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, United States, US Department of Defense
          

September 14, 2003-September 17, 2003: Cheney Links Iraq to 9/11; Bush, Rumsfeld, and Rice All Disavow Cheney's Claim      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Vice President Cheney says on NBC's “Meet the Press”, “I think it's not surprising that people make [the] connection” between Iraq and 9/11. He adds, “If We're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of The Base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” However, two days later, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that he hasn't “seen any indication that would lead” him to believe there was an Iraq-9/11 link. [Asssociated Press, 9/16/03] National Security Adviser Rice says the administration has never accused Hussein of directing the 9/11 attacks. [Reuters, 9/16/03] The next day, Bush also disavows the Cheney statement, stating, “We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th . . . [but] there's no question that Saddam Hussein has al-Qaeda ties.” [Associated Press, 9/17/03; Washington Post, 9/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

October 18, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush is asked in an Australian television interview, whether two Australians held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay are being tortured. He replies: “No, of course. We don't torture people in America. And people who make that claim just don't know anything about our country.” However, as Amnesty International points out, “On that same day, it was revealed that eight US soldiers had been charged with acts of brutality against prisoners of war in Iraq. One of the prisoners had died.” [Amnesty International, 10/20/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

October 31, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture announce a decision to approve the unrestricted sale of the pesticide atrazine. Manufacturers of the chemical will be responsible for monitoring atrazine residue levels in only a small percentage of the watersheds vulnerable to atrazine contamination and ensuring that they do not exceed the Clean Water Act's total maximum daily load (TMDL). Other vulnerable waterways will not be monitored by the manufacturers or the EPA. For example, Syngenta—the major manufacturer of the chemical—agreed in private meetings with the EPA that it would monitor atrazine pollution in 20 of 1,172 watersheds labeled as high risk beginning in 2004. The number would double the following year. Atrazine has been linked to cancer and is potentially harmful to endangered fish, reptiles, amphibians, mussels, and aquatic plant life. [Natural Resources Defense Council, 10/31/2003; Environmental Protection Agency, 10/31/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Syngenta
          

November 2003: New FEMA Official Has Strong Political Ties; Little Disaster Experience      Hurricane Katrina

       President George W. Bush appoints Scott R. Morris as FEMA's deputy chief of staff. In this role, Morris will manage FEMA's day-to-day operations, and assist in the implementation of FEMA Director Michael Brown's priorities and policies. Prior to his appointment, Morris served as the deputy chief of staff and White House liaison for the US Small Business Administration. Before coming to Washington, he was the marketing director for the world's leading provider of e-business applications software in California, and worked for Maverick Media in Austin, Texas as a media strategist for the George W. Bush for President primary campaign and the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. He has also served as the director of political communications for a private communications firm, managed grassroots activities and media strategies for the Dole for President campaign, and assisted the executive director of the Republican National Committee. [FEMA, 3/2005; Washington Post, 9/9/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott R. Morris, George W. Bush
          

November 7, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush says in a speech that Syria has left “a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin.” [Washington Post, 11/20/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

November 12, 2003: 9/11 Commission and White House Agree to Terms of Access      Complete 911 Timeline

       Senators of both parties have been accusing the White House of stonewalling the 9/11 Commission by blocking its demands for documents despite threats of a subpoena. [Associated Press, 10/27/03] On this day, the White House and the 9/11 Commission strike a deal. The main issue is access to the presidential daily briefings given to President Bush. Under the deal, only some of the ten commissioners will be allowed to examine classified intelligence documents, and their notes will be subject to White House review. Some 9/11 victims' relatives complain that the agreement gives the White House too much power. The Family Steering Committee complains, “All ten commissioners should have full, unfettered, and unrestricted access to all evidence.” It urges the public release of “the full, official, and final written agreement.” [Associated Press, 11/13/03] Commissioner Max Cleland is unsatisfied with the deal and resigns a short time later (see December 9, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, George W. Bush, 9/11 Commission
          

November 14, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       After 71 days of negotiations, Congressional Republicans announce that they have agreed on an energy bill that would provide some $20 billion in tax breaks for power companies. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; New York Times, 11/15/2003] President Bush voices his support for the bill—drafted mostly by Republicans—which he says will make the US “safer and stronger” by helping to “keep the lights on, the furnaces lit, and the factories running.” He also states, “By making America less reliant on foreign sources of energy, we also will make our nation more secure.” [New York Times, 11/15/2003; White House, 11/14/2003] To facilitate the bill's passage through Congress, “negotiators sprinkled in dozens of sweeteners sought by states and congressional districts,” including nearly $1 billion in shoreline restoration projects, tax credits for a company that manufactures fuel from compressed turkey carcasses, and a provision doubling the use of corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive. The Republican lawmakers also dropped a section that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, as Democrats had made clear that they would vote against any bill containing such a provision. But the Republicans decided against including a Democrat-favored plan to require large utility companies to steadily increase their use of energy from clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar power. [New York Times, 11/15/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; Associated Press, 11/16/2003] The bill includes:
A provision introduced by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay that would provide energy companies and universities with $2 billion in subsidies over the next 10 years for research and development of ultra deep-water oil exploration techniques and “unconventional” natural gas extraction. [Associated Press, 11/16/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003]
A controversial provision granting Gulf Coast refiners of the fuel additive MTBE $2 billion in subsidies to assist them in the phasing out of MTBE production. The phase-out, originally proposed to take 4 years, is extended to 10 by the bill. MTBE, or methyl tertiary-butyl ether, which helps decrease smog, is known to contaminate groundwater. The new energy bill would also prevent communities from bringing product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of MTBE. Tom Delay was a strong supporter of this provision, as were other legislators from Louisiana and Texas, where MTBE is produced. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003; New York Times, 11/15/2003; Associated Press, 11/16/2003]
A section dealing with the electric grid that would require large power companies to meet new mandatory reliability standards. [New York Times, 11/15/2003; New York Times, 11/16/2003]
Royalty relief to the owners of marginal oil and gas wells. The program would apply to approximately 80 percent of all wells on federal lands. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003]
A provision that would allow taxpayer money to fund the clean-up of leaking underground gasoline storage tanks (LUST). [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
A provision authorizing Alaska's “Denali Commission” to use over $1 billion on hydroelectric and other energy projects on Alaska Federal Lands. [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
A provision permitting urban areas like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Washington, DC and southwestern Michigan to further delay efforts to reduce air pollution, “an action that will place a significant burden on states and municipalities down-wind of these urban centers.” [Sources: Letter from head of evironmental groups to Congress about the energy bill HR 6]
$100 million/year in production tax credits for the construction of up to four light-water nuclear reactors. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]; Christian Science Monitor, 11/19/2003]
Loan guarantees for building a $20 billion trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline. But officials of ConocoPhillips, a major backer of the project, complain that the bill's incentives are insufficient to get the project moving. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]; Associated Press, 11/16/2003]
Tax incentives to encourage wind power generators, energy-efficient homes and hybrid passenger cars running on gasoline and batteries. Additionally, it sets aside funds for equipping government buildings with photovoltaic cells and developing energy-efficient traffic lights. The package also allocates $6.2 million to encourage bicycle use. But according to a preliminary estimate by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, these progressive reforms would eliminate only about three months worth of energy use between now and 2020. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]]
A repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act, which limits utility industry mergers. This provision was a top priority for the electric power industry and the White House. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003 [b]] Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico and chairman of the conference committee charged with resolving differences between the House and Senate bills, acknowledge to the New York Times that the bill will likely be criticized. [New York Times, 11/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush, Pete V. Domenici  Additional Info 
          

November 24, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush signs into law the defense authorization bill, which contains a controversial rider allowing the Pentagon to circumvent the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). The MMPA prohibits government and commercial interests from engaging in activities harmful to the declining populations of whales, dolphins and seals. The act, passed in 1972, has been credited with halting the decline of some of those populations. The bill also exempts the military from certain provisions of the ESA. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; The Washington Post, 11/16/2003] For example, the bill:
Permits the secretary of defense to exempt any military activity from the MMPA, without regard to its impact on whales, seals and dolphins. The Navy claims the MMPA puts American lives at risk because it makes it more difficult for the Navy to detect enemy submarines. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Loosens the MMPA definition of “harassment” of marine mammals, making it almost impossible to enforce the MMPA. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Extends the Pentagon's exemptions to scientists who conduct research sponsored by the Navy or other federal agencies. [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Eliminates language in the MMPA that prohibits the Navy from doing sonars, invasive research, bomb testing and other activities that threaten the habitat of whales, seals and dolphins. [Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003; Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004]
Exempts US military bases and lands from ESA habitat-protection provisions. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the new exemption will “improve ... military readiness” even though a General Accounting Office study found that “very few units reported being unable to achieve combat-ready status due to inadequate training areas.” [Earth Island Institute, 11/6/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003 Sources: Military Training: DoD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO, June 2002] Encouraged by their success at weakening the MMPA and ESA, defense officials say that next year they will attempt to modify a court agreement the Pentagon accepted the month before requiring the Navy to limit where it can use its new low-frequency sonar system that has the ability to track quiet diesel submarines. Critics argue the sonar's frequency is so loud that it could kill noise-sensitive whales and dolphins. [The Washington Post, 11/16/2003; League of Conservation Voters, n.d.] The military is also planning to seek exemptions to the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Superfund Act (see April 6, 2004). [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Christian Science Monitor, 11/24/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

December 3, 2003      Bush's environmental record

       President Bush signs into law the “Healthy Forest Restoration Act,” (see May 21, 2003) aimed at reducing environmental and judicial review of forest-thinning fire-prevention programs in national forests. The law—modeled on President Bush's “Healthy Forest Initiative” —almost doubles the federal budget for forest-thinning projects to $760 million. [CNN, 12/4/2003; White House, 12/3/2003; Los Angeles Times, 12/4/2003] The bill axes a requirement that any proposed US Forest Service (USFS) program that may adversely affect endangered plants or animals be reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. Under the new law, reviews will instead be performed by USFS biologists or other land-management agencies. Marty Hayden, legislative director for Earthjustice, says the measure removes important checks and balances. “The conflict of interest is that the agency whose top job is to do the logging will make this decision, rather than the agency whose top job is to protect threatened or endangered species,” he explains. [Los Angeles Times, 12/4/2003] Critics of the bill argue that it will make it easier for timber companies to log large fire-resistant trees in remote parts of the forest and ignore the needs of at-risk communities who need help clearing flammable brush from the immediate areas surrounding their homes and property. Sean Cosgrove, a forest expert with the Sierra Club, tells CNN: “The timber industry fought real hard for this bill for a reason and it's not because they want to remove brush and chaparral. Through and through this thing is about increasing commercial logging with less environmental oversight.” Overall, critics say, the law reduces environmental review, limits citizen appeals, pressures judges to quickly handle legal challenges to logging plans, and facilitates access for logging companies to America's 20 million acres of federal forests. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Natural Resources Defense Council, 12/3/2003; Associated Press, 12/3/2003; CNN, 12/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, US Forest Service (USFS), Bush administration
          

December 14, 2003: Bush Has Difficulty Answering Question About 9/11 Foreknowledge      Complete 911 Timeline

       During a press conference, Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon asks President Bush, “I know you said there will be a time for politics, but you've also said you wanted a change in tone in Washington. Howard Dean recently seemed to muse aloud whether you had advanced knowledge of 9/11. Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that this kind of rhetoric borders on political hate speech?” Bush stammers and pauses with his reply: “Look, there's time for politics. ... And, you know ... there's a time for politics. ... And ... it's an absurd insinuation.” [CNN (video), 12/14/03; Dallas Morning News, 12/15/03]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Bill Sammon
          

January 2004: Louisiana Governor Personally Asks Bush to Fund Louisiana Coastal Restoration Project      Hurricane Katrina

       During President Bush's visit to Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco asks the president in a private conversation to include $50 million in his budget to begin construction work on the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) wetlands restoration project. She follows up with a formal letter outlining her request. [Associated Press, 2/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush, Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Study
          

January 13, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) agent who received the Abu Ghraib prison photographs from Spc. Joseph Darby (see January 13, 2004), calls his boss, a colonel, who takes them to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez. [Signal Newspaper of Santa Clara, 7/4/2004] Within three days, a report on the photos makes its way to Donald Rumsfeld, who informs President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004] Within the Pentagon, few people are informed—unusually few—according to Hersh, who will later write that knowledge of the abuses were “severely, and unusually restricted.” A former intelligence official will tell him: “I haven't talked to anybody on the inside who knew; nowhere. It's got them scratching their heads.” Rumsfeld and his civilian staff, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and Gen. John P. Abizaid, reportedly try to suppress the issue during the first months of the year. “They foresaw major diplomatic problems,” according to a Pentagon official. [The New Yorker, 5/17/2004] According to one former intelligence official, the Defense Secretary's attitude is: “We've got a glitch in the program. We'll prosecute it.” The former official explains to Seymour Hersh, “The cover story was that some kids got out of control.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: John P. Abizaid, George W. Bush, The New Yorker, Criminal Investigation Division, Donald Rumsfeld, Seymour Hersh, Ricardo S. Sanchez
          

February 2, 2004: Louisiana Governor Criticizes President's Failure to Include Adequate Funds for Louisiana Coastal Wetland Restoration Project      Hurricane Katrina

       Governor Kathleen Blanco says in response to the release of President Bush's 2005 budget (see February 2, 2004): “While I am pleased to see that President Bush included some money in his executive budget to address coastal restoration in Louisiana, I must say I am disappointed that the $8 million he proposed is less than one-sixth of what I had requested. We need immediate help ... to protect our state and our nation from the continued degradation of the area we call America's Wetland.” [Associated Press, 2/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush
          

February 15, 2004      Bush's environmental record

       The US Forest Service reverses its ban on poisoning prairie dogs on five national grasslands in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. The measure is a response to complaints from the livestock industry that prairie dog populations are spreading from federal lands onto private property, ruining grazing land, causing erosion and damaging roads. Critics of the decision to lift the ban note that in 2000, the US Fish and Wildlife Service had concluded that prairie dogs should be listed as a threatened species. [League of Conservation Voters, n.d.; Associated Press, 2/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: US Forest Service (USFS), George W. Bush
          

March 1, 2004      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       US President George Bush announces that the US is sending US forces to Haiti to help stabilize the country. [Reuters, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 13, 2004: Bush Continues to Insist That 9/11 Could Not Have Been Prevented      Complete 911 Timeline

       In a press conference, President Bush states, “We knew he [Osama bin Laden] had designs on us, we knew he hated us. But there was nobody in our government, and I don't think [in] the prior government, that could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.” [Guardian, 4/15/04] He also says, “Had I any inkling whatsoever that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings, we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country.” [White House, 4/13/04; New York Times, 4/18/04 (C)] Two days earlier, he said, “Had I known there was going to be an attack on America I would have moved mountains to stop the attack.” [New York Times, 4/18/04] In July 2004, he will claim even more generally, “Had we had any inkling whatsoever that terrorists were about to attack our country, we would have moved heaven and earth to protect America.” [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 7/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush
          

Evening April 28, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       CBS “60 Minutes II” airs the Abu Ghraib prison photos (see March 23, 2004) having learned that the New Yorker is about to publish a piece on abuses at Abu Ghraib. Bush reportedly first learns about these photos from the television report. [Baltimore Sun, 5/6/2004; St. Petersburg Times, 5/9/2004; Sydney Morning Herald, 5/6/2004; CBS News, 5/6/2004] Most of the photos show prisoners being forced to engage in humiliating sexual acts. For example in one photo a hooded naked man is forced to masturbate as a grinning female MP, Lynndie England, looks on, giving a thumbs-up. Another photo shows two naked hooded men, one standing, while the other is kneeling in front of him, simulating oral sex. The Bush administration will portray these forced acts of humiliation as the immature pranks of low ranking soldiers. But others will argue that the acts were ordered from above with the intent to exploit Arab culture's conservative views with regard to sex and homosexuality (see (2002-March 2003)). [The New Yorker, 5/17/2004; The New Yorker, 5/10/2004] A different picture shows a hooded-man with his arms spread and wires dangling from his fingers, toes, and penis. He was apparently told that if he fell off the box he would be electricuted. The tactic is known as the “The Vietnam,” an “arcane torture method known only to veterans of the interrogation trade” that had been first used by Brazilians in the 1970s. [Seattle Times, 5/14/2004; Newsweek, 5/24/2004 Sources: Darius Rejali] Another picture is of Manadel al-Jamadi who was killed after being “stressed” too much (see (7:00 a.m.) November 4, 2003). [The New Yorker, 5/10/2004; The New Yorker, 5/17/2004] “A generation from now,” one observer notes, “historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq.” [Washington Monthly, November 2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

April 29, 2004: Bush and Cheney Privately Meet with 9/11 Commission; Decline to Provide Testimony Under Oath      Complete 911 Timeline

      
There were no pictures allowed of the Bush and Cheney joint testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Here are Commissioners Thomas Kean, Fred Fielding, and Lee Hamilton preparing to begin the testimony.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney appear for three hours of private questioning before the 9/11 Commission. (Former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore met privately and separately with the commission earlier in the month. [New York Times, 4/30/04; Washington Post, 4/30/04] ) The commission permits Bush and Cheney to appear together, in private, and not under oath. The testimony is not recorded. Commissioners can take notes, but the notes are censored by the White House. [Knight Ridder, 3/31/04; New York Times, 4/3/04; Newsweek, 4/2/04] The commission drew most of their questions from a list submitted to the White House before the interview, but few details about the questions or the answers given are available. [Washington Post, 4/29/04] Two commissioners, Lee Hamilton and Bob Kerrey, leave the session early for other engagements. They claim they had not expected the interview to last more than the previously agreed upon two-hour length. [New York Times, 5/1/04]
People and organizations involved: Lee Hamilton, Bob Kerrey, 9/11 Commission, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

May 4, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller says during a Coalition Provisional Authority briefing that while physical contact between the interrogator and detainees is prohibited, “sleep deprivation and stress positions and all that could be used—but they must be authorized.” (see April 16, 2003) But as Amnesty International later notes in a letter to George Bush, “The United Nations Committee against Torture, the expert body established by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has expressly held that restraining detainees in very painful positions, hooding, threats, and prolonged sleep deprivation are methods of interrogation which violate the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.” [Amnesty International, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Geoffrey D. Miller, George W. Bush, Amnesty International
          

May 5, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush appears on two Arab television channels, the US-funded Al-Hurra network and the Al-Arabiya satellite channel. The interviews last ten minutes for each station. He says: “People in Iraq must understand that I view those practices as abhorrent. ...must also understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know.” He adds: “The America that I know has sent troops to Iraq to promote freedom.” [CBS News, 5/5/2004] During the interviews, Bush is not asked to make an apology and nor does he offer one. [BBC, 5/5/2004] Later in the day, White House spokesman Scott McClellan uses the word “sorry” a half-dozen times. “The president is sorry for what occurred and the pain it has caused.” Asked why the president has not apologized himself, McClellan says: “I'm saying it now for him.” [CBS News, 5/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Scott McClellan
          

May 14, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal allege in an open letter to President Bush, that the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo resembles that of detainees at Abu Ghraib. “From the moment of our arrival at Guantanamo Bay (and indeed from long before) we were deliberately humiliated and degraded,” they write. Women would “inappropriately provoke and indeed molest them. It was completely clear to all the detainees that this was happening to particularly vulnerable prisoners, especially those who had come from the strictest of Islamic backgrounds.” [The Guardian, 5/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul
          

June 3, 2004: CIA Director George Tenet Resigns      Complete 911 Timeline

       Citing personal reasons, CIA Director Tenet announces he will be stepping down in the next month. President Bush praises Tenet's service, but there is widespread agreement that significant intelligence failures occurred during Tenet's tenure, most strikingly 9/11 itself. Sources also suggest that Tenet, originally a Clinton appointee, has been made a convenient scapegoat for Bush administration intelligence failures in Iraq and elsewhere. [Independent, 6/4/04; CNN, 6/3/04]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, George Tenet, George W. Bush
          

June 10, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush rejects the notion that he approved the use of torture. “The authorization I gave,” the president says, “was that all we did should be in accordance with American law and consistent with our international treaty obligations. That's the message I gave our people.” He adds, “What I authorized was that we stay within the framework of American law.” And to emphasize his point, he says: “Listen, I'll say it one more time. ... The instructions that were given were to comply with the law. That should reassure you. We are a nation of laws. We follow the law. We have laws on our books. You could go look at those laws and that should reassure you.” [White House, 6/10/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 22, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush, responding to questions regarding reports that prisoners have been tortured in Iraq, says: “Let me make very clear the position of my government and our country: We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture. The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being.” [Washington Post, 6/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

June 26, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       On the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, President Bush says: “America stands against and will not tolerate torture. We will investigate and prosecute all acts of torture ... in all territory under our jurisdiction. ... Torture is wrong no matter where it occurs, and the United States will continue to lead the fight to eliminate it everywhere.” [White House, 6/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 16, 2004: 9/11 Commission Chairman's Comments Lead to Flurry of Reporting on Iran, None on Pakistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       Shortly before the 9/11 Commission is due to release its final report (see July 22, 2004), Commission Chairman Thomas Kean says, “We believe. . . . that there were a lot more active contacts, frankly, [between al-Qaeda and] Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq.” [Time, 7/16/04] The US media immediately runs prominent stories on the Commission's evidence regarding Iran and nearly completely ignores evidence regarding Pakistan. The Commission's final report mentions that around ten of the hijackers passed through Iran in late 2000 and early 2001. At least some Iranian officials turned a blind eye to the passage of al-Qaeda agents, but there was no evidence that the Iranian government had any foreknowledge or involvement in the 9/11 plot. [Reuters, 7/18/04; Time, 7/16/04] In the wake of these findings, President Bush states of Iran, “As to direct connections with September 11, we're digging into the facts to determine if there was one.” This puts Bush at odds with his own CIA, which has seen no Iran-9/11 ties. [Los Angeles Times, 7/20/04] Bush has long considered Iran part of his “axis of evil,” and there has been talk of the US attacking or overthrowing the Iranian government. [Reuters, 7/18/04] Provocative articles appear, such as one in the Daily Telegraph titled, “Now America Accuses Iran of Complicity in World Trade Center Attack.” [Daily Telegraph, 7/18/04] Yet, while this information on Iran makes front page news in most major newspapers, evidence of a much stronger connection between Pakistan and 9/11 is nearly completely ignored. For instance, only UPI reports on a document suggesting high-level Pakistani involvement in the 9/11 attacks that is revealed this same week. [UPI, 7/22/04] Furthermore, the 9/11 Commission's final report will contain almost nothing on Pakistan's ties to al-Qaeda, despite evidence given to the Commission that, according to one commissioner speaking to the Los Angeles Times, showed that Pakistan was “up to their eyeballs” in intrigue with al-Qaeda. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/22/04; Los Angeles Times, 6/20/04]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency, al-Qaeda, Pakistan, Iran, Thomas Kean
          

July 17, 2004: Bush defends claims of relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       President Bush forcefully disputes statements by the 9/11 Commission (see Early July 2004) that there was no evidence of collaboration between Iraq and al-Qaeda. “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush says. [Washington Post, 6/18/04; CNN, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Fall 2004      US Military

       At the request of Donald Rumsfeld, President George Bush issues an Executive Order on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) authorizing the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets, including certain al-Qaeda network members, al-Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. The order was cleared by the national-security bureaucracy. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld
          

October 29, 2004      US Military

       President Bush signs the 2004 Defense Authorization Act which contains a provision giving the Pentagon authority for US special operations to give cash, equipment and weapons to foreign fighters and groups who are willing to ally themselves with the US on certain military operations. Under the new piece of legislation, US Special Operations Command will have as much as $25 million a year to spend on supporting “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals.” Commenting on Congress' generous appropriation, retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing tells the Associated Press, “For the kind of stuff they want to do—buy AK-47s, pick-up trucks, stuff like that—this is a lot of money. If they can slip someone $100,000 to buy information or buy support (from foreign individuals or groups), then that would be very useful.” Until now, these types of operations were restricted to the CIA—but only when authorized by a presidential directive. This new provision imposes no such restrictions on the Pentagon's special operations. Some observers have expressed concern that this will lead to problems. They fear that special operations will end up funding and arming unsavory foreign elements that later turn against the US, as has happened on countless occasions during the last half-century. Others say the measure is part of Rumsfeld's strategy to make the defense department more autonomous so its activities will not be subject to the oversight of other agencies. [Associated Press, 10/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, George W. Bush, Wayne Downing
          

November 2, 2004: George W. Bush Reelected      Complete 911 Timeline

       President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are re-elected to the US presidency for a second term.
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush
          

November 10, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       President Bush names Alberto Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft as the new attorney general. Ashcroft submitted a letter of resignation on November 2. [Bloomberg, 11/10/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Alberto R. Gonzales, John Ashcroft  Additional Info 
          

Week of November 14, 2004      US Military

       President George Bush issues a presidential directive establishing an interagency group to consider whether it “would best serve the nation” to give the Pentagon complete control over the CIA's elite paramilitary units. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005; New York Times, 11/23/2004; Associated Press, 11/22/2004 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant] The units carry out the government's most sensitive covert operations including “training rebel forces; destabilizing governments and organizations through violence; and directly attacking enemy targets and individuals.” [Associated Press, 11/22/2004] CIA paramilitary activities are conducted under presidential directives called “findings.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] The panel will consist of representatives from the State and Justice Departments, the Pentagon, and the CIA. Critics of the proposal, including veteran members of special operations branches, note that CIA units operate “under a different set of findings and carry different legal protections than the military, in particular for cases in which they are ordered to conduct the most extreme clandestine operations,” the New York Times reports. Other critics say the move, which is based on a recommendation by the 911 Commission, is part of a Pentagon strategy to wrest control of covert operations from the CIA. Thomas W. O'Connell, the assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, denies this, telling the New York Times, “I have heard it said that there is a conspiracy within the Department of Defense to go and rip off the agency's capabilities, and I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.” [New York Times, 11/23/2004] However, former CIA officers tell investigative reporter Seymour Hersh a few months later that they believe otherwise. They feel the study's conclusion has already been made. “It seems like it's going to happen,” Howard Hart, the former chief of the CIA's Paramilitary Operations Division says. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Howard Hart
          

December 2004      US Military

       Intelligence Brief, a newsletter published by former CIA officers Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, reports that the White House has given the Pentagon permission “to operate unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of a clear and evident terrorist threat,” including Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Malaysia, [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] and Tunisia. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh] The operations' chain of command will include Donald Rumsfeld and two of his deputies, Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin. Under these new arrangements, “US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems,” New Yorker magazine reports. “In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying out combat operations, or even terrorist activities.” Describing how the operations would be conducted, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker reports: “The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ ... [a] former high-level intelligence official asked me.... ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon's commando capabilities, said, ‘We're going to be riding with the bad boys.’ ” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, William Boykin, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Philip Giraldi, Vincent Cannistraro, Stephen A. Cambone
          

December 8, 2004      US International Relations

       President Bush signs into law the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act 2005 setting a $338 billion budget for “Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.” Section 574 of the Act (see August 2, 2002) blocks the distribution of economic aid to countries that are party to the Rome Statute (see July 17, 1998) and have not signed “Article 98” agreements (see August 2002-July 1, 2003) with the US. The provision states: “None of the funds made available in this Act in title II under the heading `Economic Support Fund' may be used to provide assistance to the government of a country that is a party to the International Criminal Court and has not entered into an agreement with the United States pursuant to Article 98 of the Rome Statute preventing the International Criminal Court from proceeding against United States personnel present in such country.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/3/2004; Washington Post, 11/26/2002 Sources: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, HR 4818]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

February 7, 2005: Bush Administration Proposes 6 Percent Cut to FEMA's Emergency Management Performance Grant Program      Hurricane Katrina

       The Bush administration's fiscal year 2006 budget request includes a six percent reduction in funding for Emergency Management Performance Grants. The cut would reduce the $180 million appropriated by Congress in 2005 to $170 million in 2006. “The grants are the lifeblood for local programs and, in some cases, it's the difference between having a program in a county and not,” says Dewayne West, the director of Emergency Services for Johnston County, North Carolina, and president of the International Association of Emergency Managers. “It's awfully difficult. More money is needed.” The White House however insists it is unfair to say Bush's budget for the performance grants are a “cut,” because it was Congress, not the White House, that had increased the program's budget in 2005 to $180 million. [Reuters, 9/17/2005]
People and organizations involved: Dewayne West, George W. Bush
          

February 18, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail, tells a packed house at Olympia Washington's Capitol Theater that George W. Bush has “signed off” on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005. [United For Peace of Pierce County, 2/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush
          

February 21, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Sam Seder, hosting Air America's Randi Rhodes show, interviews Scott Ritter about statements he made at Olympia's Capitol Theater three days earlier (see February 18, 2005). Responding to a question about possible US military air strikes on Iran, Ritter says: “I have sources, which are unimpeachable, which I would not state who they are, who told me in October of 2004 that the president had been briefed on military strike options against Iran that were to commence in June of 2005. And that the president signed off on these plans.” [The Randi Rhodes Show, 2/21/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush
          

February 22, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       During a news conference with European Union leaders in Brussels, President Bush says that rumors suggesting the US is preparing to strike Iran are “simply ridiculous.” But he quickly adds that “all options are on the table.” [Reuters, 2/22/2005; Associated Press, 2/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 7, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       President George Bush selects John Bolton, currently an official in the State Department, to be the US ambassador to the UN. Bolton is a staunch neoconservative with a long record of opposing multilateral efforts. As undersecretary of state for arms control, Bolton opposed a multilateral effort in July 2001 to create broad worldwide controls on the sale of small arms (see ). In February 2002, Bolton made it clear that the Bush administration did not feel bound to the 1978 pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states (see February 2002). Bolton was also a strong advocate of taking unilateral action against Saddam Hussein (see January 26, 1998) and in May 2002, he effectively removed the US signature from the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC) (see ). [USA Today, 3/7/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, John R. Bolton
          

June 7, 2005      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       During a joint press conference with President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a Reuters reporter asks both leaders whether comments made by Sir Richard Dearlove, recorded in the minutes of a July 23 British cabinet meeting (see July 23, 2002), were accurate. According to the minutes, Dearlove said that the “intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy [of regime change].” Responding to the question, Blair insists that the facts were not fixed “in any shape or form at all.” Bush's response, however, does not answer the question. Instead, he addresses another issue that was raised by the Downing Street minutes. The minutes, along with several other recently published Downing Street documents, called into question the Bush administration's claim that the decision to use military force against Iraq did not take place until shortly before the invasion began. In his response to the reporter's question, Bush chooses to discuss this issue instead. “And somebody said, ‘Well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam.’ There's nothing farther from the truth ... [Saddam Hussein] made the decision.” Significantly, neither Bush nor Blair, in their responses, attempt to challenge the authenticity of the memo. [White House, 6/7/2005; New York Times, 6/8/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

July 22, 2005: Former Louisiana Governors and Senators Urge Bush to Support Energy Bill Revenue Sharing Provision      Hurricane Katrina

       Several prominent former Louisiana politicians sign a letter urging President Bush to support the 2005 Energy Policy Act (HR 6)'s provisions for revenue sharing (see April 21, 2005) (see June 28, 2005). Endorsed by former Governors Mike Foster (R), Buddy Roemer (R), David Treen (R) and former Senators John Breaux (D) and J. Bennett Johnston (D), the letter states: “Louisiana puts an average of $5 billion each year into the Federal treasury from revenues produced off its shore. Energy Bill provisions that would give a meaningful share of those revenues through direct payments to Louisiana and other coastal states that host so much of the nation's energy production are critical.” [Associated Press, 7/22/2005; Office of Louisiana Governor, 7/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: Buddy Roemer, John Breaux, J. Bennett Johnston, David Treen, George W. Bush, Mike Foster
          

July 28, 2005: Blanco Invites Bush and Energy Secretary to See Louisiana's Coastal Erosion Problem      Hurricane Katrina

       In a letter to President Bush, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco urges the president and his energy secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, to visit the Louisiana coast and see first-hand the deteriorating condition of the state's coastal wetlands. She wants the administration to reconsider its objection (see July 15, 2004) to a provision in the House (see April 21, 2005) and Senate (see June 28, 2005) versions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act (HR 6) that would channel oil and gas royalties from offshore operations to coastal states for coastal wetland restoration. In her letter, she emphasizes how Louisiana's disappearing wetlands is making the oil and gas industry's vast network of pipelines increasingly vulnerable to damage. She also stresses that coastal wetlands have historically protected the coast from the full fury of hurricanes and, without this barrier, a major hurricane could devastate low-elevation coastal communities like New Orleans. “Let me show you the fragile wetlands that are the only protection for the thousands of miles of pipelines that connect this nation to 80 percent of its offshore energy supply and to a full third of all its oil and gas, both foreign and domestic. The vulnerability of those protective wetlands is all the more apparent to our two million coastal zone residents during this active hurricane season.” [Office of Louisiana Governor, 7/20/2005; Houma Today, 7/21/2005]
People and organizations involved: Samuel W. Bodman, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush
          

(Midday) August 27, 2005: President Bush Declares Emergency in Louisiana      Hurricane Katrina

       President Bush declares an emergency for Louisiana, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the affected area. This declaration activates the National Response Plan , and authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives, protect property and public health and safety for parishes in the storm's path and to minimize or avert the threat of a catastrophe in multiple parishes. Bush's declaration authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, including specifically, “[m]easures undertaken to preserve public health and safety and to eliminate threats to public or private property.” In response to this declaration, FEMA Director Michael Brown appoints William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005; White House Release, 8/27/2005] . As Governor Blanco will later note, this pre-impact declaration is extremely unusual. The last time a president issued a pre-impact declaration was when Hurricane Andrew was bearing down on Florida in 1992. Note that while President Bush's emergency declaration identifies 39 parishes, it does not identify the parishes in Katrina's path, apparently due to a clerical error. [San Jose Mercury News, 9/11/2005] This omission has no practical effect, and a corrected declaration will be issued on Monday. [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005]
Note 1 - Reuters will later incorrectly report that Bush appoints William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer, and will imply that such action is somehow unusual. [Reuters, 9/15/2005] In fact, as reflected in the official Federal Register entry, and in the White House release, Brown appoints Lokey as the coordinating officer for Louisiana. This appointment is consistent with standard practice: For each declared emergency, a different ("lower level") individual is appointed as the federal coordinating officer.
Note 2 - Knight Ridder (and other news media) will later incorrectly report that Bush failed to trigger the federal government's responsibility, and that it is not triggered until DHS Secretary Chertoff's August 31 announcement that the Katrina disaster is an “Incident of National Significance.” [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005; Knight Ridder, 9/15/2005] In fact, Bush's declaration (a) effectively authorizes FEMA to provide a full and immediate federal response to the unfolding crisis, and (b) makes the crisis an “Incident of National Significance.” [National Response Plan (PDF), 12/2004] , at 7 (“Note that while all Presidentially declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act are considered Incidents of National Significance, not all Incidents of National Significance necessarily result in disaster or emergency declarations under the Stafford Act.”); [70 Fed. Reg. 53238, 9/07/2005] (granting FEMA full authority to respond to the emergency.) The strategy behind DHS Secretary Chertoff's much ballyhooed—and inaccurate—August 31 announcement that his declaration triggers for the first time a coordinated federal response to states and localities overwhelmed by disaster remains unclear at this time.
People and organizations involved: Hurricane Andrew, Stafford Act, Michael Chertoff, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Michael D. Brown, National Response Plan, Federal Emergency Management Agency, William Lokey, George W. Bush
          

August 23, 2005: President Bush Changes Vacation Venues      Hurricane Katrina

       President Bush, who has been on vacation for the month of August, changes venues, traveling to Idaho for more biking and fishing. As he noted 10 days ago during a bike ride with journalists at his Crawford ranch, “I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy... . And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live, and will do so.” [Associated Press, 8/23/2005; USA Today, 8/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

Early Morning August 27, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President Bush to Declare an Emergency For Louisiana      Hurricane Katrina

       Louisiana Governor Blanco, determining that the storm will be so big that state and local governments will not be able to handle it, asks President Bush to declare a state of emergency. The exact timing of Blanco's letter is unclear. The PDF version of the letter is dated August 28. [Letter from Blanco to Bush (PDF), 8/28/2005] However, the Federal News dateline for the letter is 4:27 am EDT August 27. Governor Blanco's office and the Times-Picayune will publish the full text of the letter today. [LA Press Release, 8/27/2005; Times-Picayune Blog, 8/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
          

Afternoon August 27, 2005: President Considers Adjusting Schedule in Light of Katrina      Hurricane Katrina

       In a meeting with aides this afternoon, President Bush discusses the coming storm. Aides inform Bush that the evacuations are proceedings as planned, and that 11,000 National Guard troops will be in a position to respond to the emergency, according to a senior White House official. (The actual number in position will be less than half of this number, however.) Bush tells senior advisor Dan Bartlett that he may need to rearrange his schedule to add a trip to the Gulf Coast next week. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Louisiana National Guard, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina, Dan Bartlett
          

August 28, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President to Declare Expedited Major Disaster, President Bush Grants Request      Hurricane Katrina

       Governor Blanco will send a letter to President Bush today, requesting that he declare an “expedited major disaster” for Louisiana in light of the approaching hurricane. According to Blanco, “this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary.” [Blanco Letter to Bush/ (PDF), 8/28/2005] Note: A Presidential declaration of a major disaster expands the federal assistance programs available to assist the affected area in recovering from the impact of the disaster, while the earlier declaration of emergency authorizes shorter-term federal assistance to protect lives, property, and the public safety immediately before or after a disaster. [FindLaw]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
          

Before 9:30am August 28, 2005: FEMA Director Asks President to Call New Orleans Mayor to Urge Mandatory Evacuation      Hurricane Katrina

       According to a later interview with the New York Times, FEMA Director Mike Brown states that by this time, he has grown so frustrated with Mayor Nagin's apparent refusal to order a mandatory evacuation that he calls President Bush to ask for help. “ ‘Mike, you want me to call the mayor?’ the president responds in surprise,” according to Brown. [New York Times, 9/15/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Ray Nagin, Michael D. Brown
          

Shortly before 9:30 am August 28, 2005: President Bush Calls Louisiana Governor      Hurricane Katrina

       President Bush telephones Governor Blanco (apparently in response to FEMA Director Michael Brown's request to call New Orleans Mayor Nagin , to urge a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, according to later reports. Blanco responds that Mayor Nagin has already decided to do so, and will make the announcement shortly. [Washington Post, 9/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ray Nagin, George W. Bush, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
          

(10:00-11:00 am) August 28, 2005: FEMA Officials, President Bush, Participate in NHC Teleconference about Katrina      Hurricane Katrina

       Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center hosts a teleconference with FEMA officials, including FEMA Director Michael Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. [Times-Picayune, 9/04/2005; Los Angeles Times, 9/05/2005] President Bush receives a briefing via video conference from his ranch in Crawford Texas. [White House, 8/28/2005] Brown assures Bush during this briefing that FEMA is ready for the storm, according to ABC News. [ABC News, 9/8/2005] Bush tells Brown that he is very impressed with everything FEMA is doing, according to Brown
Note - Whether President Bush participates in this particular briefing is not clear from current reports. However, it is undisputed that Bush receives a briefing from Mayfield via videoconference at some point this morning.
People and organizations involved: Michael Chertoff, George W. Bush, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown, Max Mayfield
          

Before 11:30 am August 28, 2005: President Bush Declares Emergency in Mississippi      Hurricane Katrina

       Responding to Governor Barbour's request , President Bush declares an emergency for Mississippi, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the affected areas. This declaration authorizes FEMA to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives, protect property and public health and safety for counties in the storm's path and to minimize or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the surrounding parishes of Louisiana. FEMA is thus authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, including specifically, “[m]easures undertaken to preserve public health and safety and to eliminate threats to public or private property” in southern Mississippi. FEMA Director Michael Brown appoints William L. Carwile, III as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Mississippi. [White House Transcript, 8/28/2005; White House Declaration, 8/28/2005; 70 Fed. Reg. 53238]
People and organizations involved: Federal Coordinating Officer for Mississippi, Michael D. Brown, George W. Bush
          

11:31 am August 28, 2005: President Discusses Hurricane Katrina, Congratulates Iraqis on Draft Constitution      Hurricane Katrina

       From his ranch in Crawford, President Bush speaks briefly with reporters. Bush first explains that he has spoken with FEMA Director Michael Brown (see Before 9:30am August 28, 2005) and with the governors of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana (see Shortly before 9:30 am August 28, 2005), and Mississippi. He announces that he has already signed disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi. Bush then addresses the residents in the storm's path: “Hurricane Katrina is now designated a Category 5 hurricane. We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities. I urge all residents to put their own safety and the safety of their families first by moving to safe ground. Please listen carefully to instructions provided by state and local officials.” Bush then turns to Iraq, congratulating “the people of Iraq on completing the next step in their transition from dictatorship to democracy.” Bush's brief statement contains 203 words about the pending Katrina disaster, and 819 words about the new Iraqi constitution. [White House, 8/28/2005]
People and organizations involved: