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Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Making Sense By Michael Reagan

The 9/11 Commission is not doing its job.

It is ignoring a document that shows that President Clinton was alerted in 1996 about the possibility of 9/11 style attack, while instead focusing on the August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB).

Having harassed the Bush administration into declassifying the August 6 PDB, the Commission must now demand that a PDB from the Clinton administration also be declassified. Unlike the August 6 document which had no information about hijacking jets to crash into U.S. Targets, the 1996 PDB gave specifics about al Qaeda plans to carry out exactly that kind of attack.

Sometime in the summer of 1996, President Clinton was given a PDB which described in chilling detail an al Qaeda plot known as Operation Bojinka (Arabic for "Loud Bang"). It involved using hijacked jet planes to crash into The Pentagon, the White House, the World Trade Center, and other buildings in the U.S.

The PDB was based on information from Philippine authorities who broke up an al Qaeda cell in Manila that, among other things, had been plotting to fly explosives-laden planes into the Pentagon, and possibly some skyscrapers.

According to Allan J. Favish writing in the October 14, 2003 FrontPageMagazine (, the CIA knew about the plot and so did the FBI. "We told the Americans about the plans to turn planes into flying bombs as far back as 1995," a Philippine official said. "Why didn't they pay attention?"

The plot was never implemented because the terrorist network was unable to find the pilots needed to carry it out. That problem was later remedied when al Qaeda sent operatives to U.S. flight schools after giving them thorough training abroad in hijack techniques.

Sometime in the summer of 1996, the Operation Bojinka information was communicated to President Clinton in a PDB, according to now retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson. Patterson was a military aide to Clinton from May 1996 to May 1998 one of five officers entrusted with carrying the bag containing the codes for launching nuclear weapons.

On page 139 of Patterson's book "Dereliction of Duty - The eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised National Security" published in March 2003, he wrote:

"During the summer of the 1996 attacks, I myself learned first¬hand that the administration knew that terrorists were plotting to use commercial airliners as weapons. The president received a Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB, every morning. It -- contained the president's daily intelligence update from the NSC. A senior NSC representative normally delivered it to the president. On weekends, at Camp David, and on vacations, the military aide was responsible for delivering and retrieving the brief.

"One late-summer Saturday morning, the president asked me to pick up a few days' worth of PDBs that had accumulated in the Oval Office. He gave them to me with handwritten notes stuffed inside the folders and asked that I deliver them back to the NSC.

"I opened the PDB to rearrange the notes and noticed the heading "Operation Bojinka." I keyed on a reference to a plot to use commercial airliners as weapons and another plot to put bombs on U.S. airliners. Because I was a pilot, this naturally grabbed my attention. I can state for a fact that this information was circulated within the U.S. intelligence community, and that in late 1996 the president was aware of it."

What happened as a result of this shocking PDB? Col. Patterson recently told me that the information was relayed to the intelligence community and Clinton formed a White House Commission on Aviation Safety & Security, chaired by Vice President Gore. In the spring of 1998, the group made several recommendations, among them improving airport security and establishing a system for profiling passengers. The FAA chose not to comply because they feared profiling on the basis of ethnicity would violate civil liberties. Another recommendation involved interagency cooperation between the FBI, the CIA and the FAA on suspected terrorists.

The findings were never implemented by the agencies involved. Had the Gore recommendations been followed in 1998, September 11 might never have occurred.

Why isn't the Commission asking Al Gore and the FAA why they never acted? Why haven't they called Col. Patterson?

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. Comments to mereagan@hotmail.comfor Mike.

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