I assume Jeb Bush must be rising in the polls because I’ve seen a number of September 11 analysis posts in the last couple of days. Everything from a re-hash of a pointless NYT piece to Donald Trump as a prognosticator of terror attacks. Much like the BS of the National Guard memo, the August 2001 briefing about Usama bin Laden “determined to strike in the US” was supposed to be a smoking gun.
First of all, contrary to popular belief, bin Laden was not nearly as big of a player as Al Qaeda. Except for the CIA, bin Laden’s connection to Al Qaeda was not well known. The August memo also referenced hijacking planes rather than using them as missiles. The world hadn’t seen Kamikazes since the Kamikazes.
The Administration asked for a more clear determination of where and when the “strike” would occur. The CIA was short on answers. Without specifics, the government would have to change the entire way air travel was handled. Even though some of that happened after 9/11, it still took years for the holes to be patched in the process. If 9/11 had never happened and the TSA were created, I am sure that the shoe and underwear bombers could have succeeded. Passengers would just not have been as vigilant without historical knowledge.
In the 1970’s, the flying public was gripped with the fear of Cuban hijackers. For years, they were told that if they didn’t try to fight, they would land safely and get back home. That was still the conventional wisdom on 9/11. If a criminal tried to hijack a plane for a free ride today, they’d wind up arrested or dead.
Sadly, a September 11 attack had to happen to have a proportionate response. The Israeli airline became the most secure in the world due to the state of war they’ve been in for decades. Even now, security measures are being slowly dismantled. Imagine trying to make them more stringent on a piece of intel. Then imagine that lasting for a decade without people fighting against it.
So, how exactly was Bush supposed to stop the September 11 attack?