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9/11 memo could have saved America: Michael Moore blames George W Bush

Debra Killalea

THIS is the chilling memo that warned the US Government a terror attack would be made against prime US targets five weeks before September 11 took place.

The document, marked as being “declassified and approved for release” on April 10, 2004, was posted to social media overnight by controversial filmmaker Michael Moore.

In a Facebook post, Moore makes fresh claims that then US president George W Bush saw the presidential daily brief titled Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US but did nothing about it.

Moore, who posted the image to his Facebook and Twitter pages, wrote: “Here’s the actual memo. Note reference/warning using words ‘World Trade Center’. 5 weeks before 9/11, GWB read this and did nothing.”

The memo warns: “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’.”

Ramzi Yousef was one of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in February 1993.

Yousef killed six people and injured more than 1000 after driving a van full of explosives into the basement of one tower.

Critics and some commentators claim the memo is definitive proof the US knew an attack on the twin towers was imminent, but authorities failed to prevent it.

The Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker, who has just released Where to Invade Next, also posted a picture of Bush being briefed on August 6, 2001, during the president’s summer vacation to back his claim.

“Here’s the photo of the exact moment on August 6, 2001, while W was on vacation, he was handed the briefing that read ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ It said he might use planes. Bush put it down and went fishing.”

While many of Moore’s Facebook page supported his claim, some critics claim the note is too vague and not specific enough.

Rebecca Green posted: “While I support you Michael Moore, and agree that Bush may have known about the attack, where’s the proof that this was the exact moment he found out? And who would have taken this picture? Where’s the credibility in your statement that he put the paper down and went fishing?”

Kathy Dittoe also wrote: “Where is the validation that he put the paper down and went fishing? I’m no Bush fan but am tired of both the left and right making claims with no back up. It’s like the candidates saying they’re going to do this or that if their (sic) elected president and don’t really go into how they expect they can do it.”

Tom Switzer, a research associate at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, warned Moore’s posts should be taken with a grain of salt.

Mr Switzer said while he agreed with Moore that the war in Iraq was illegal, immoral and unnecessary, the claim George W Bush knew an attack on the World Trade Center was imminent was completely far-fetched.

Mr Switzer likened Moore’s claim as a “conspiracy theory without any evidence”.

He said he wasn’t sure why Moore was posing the memo 15 years after it was made, but said Donald Trump’s recent claims that Bush failed to protect America could have something to do with it.

He said he believed Moore was simply trying to appeal to the conspiracy mindset of both the left and the right and no one could have predicted how big the attack could be.

“It (9/11) caught the Bush Administration complexly off guard,” Mr Switzer said.

“I suspect he’s (Moore) only posting this memo now on the back of Trump’s comments.”

Mr Switzer said not even the Democrats would claim the Bush Administration knew such an attack was imminent or knew the level of detail enough to stop such an attack taking place.

Moore’s posts follow comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump earlier this week where he lashed out at fellow candidate Jeb Bush, arguing the Bush Administration had failed to keep America safe.

“The war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, right?” Trump said.

“I wanna tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

While Jeb Bush argued his brother kept the country safe, Trump lashed out again, this time bringing up the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center came down? I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during his reign. He kept us safe? That’s not safe. That is not safe. That is not safe.”

While most across the globe think the war in Iraq was a mistake, the majority of Republicans still back it.

They also argue that president Bush didn’t knowingly “lie” about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Even the Democrats don’t blame Bush for 9/11.

Trump’s comments echo those made last October when he argued that George W Bush failed to keep the country safe during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.” Trump told Bloomberg TV.

Jeb Bush at the time wrote a column for the conservative National Review, likening Trump’s claims to those made by Moore.

“Trump echoes the attacks of Michael Moore and the fringe Left against my brother is yet another example of his dangerous views on national security issues,” he wrote.

The Review further backed Jeb Bush’s comments noting that while America’s national security system failed in the lead-up to September 11, the failures preceded the former president’s inauguration.

Referring to the Bin Laden warning memo, a 2012 article in The New York Timesrevealed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as well as the National Security Council warned that al-Qaeda was a threat in the lead-up to the terror attacks which killed almost 3000 people.

But the warnings were reportedly considered part of a “disinformation campaign”.

According to The Times the Bush White House declassified this daily brief on April 10, 2004, in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack.

It goes on to reveal how administration “officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of al-Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack.”

It was not until September 4 that Cabinet met and approved a plan to fight al-Qaeda.

The plan was sitting on the President’s desk, waiting for his signature, on the morning the attacks shocked the world.

In an October 2015 interview with CNN, Phillip Zelikow who was the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, said “the US government as a whole did not grasp just how large catastrophic attack could be.”

“That was true of both the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and true for the Congress as well.”