April 3, 2004

JOE GANDELSMAN notes an interesting, though so far unsubstantiated, claim that the White House had advance warning that Al Qaeda was planning airplane attacks. Condi Rice, of course, has maintained (absurdly, as I’ve noted here repeatedly) that such attacks were unforeseeable. Of course, such advance warning may have been nebulous, not terribly credible, or otherwise not very useful in actually preventing attacks, but if it existed, and was brought to higher-level attention, it’s certainly a blow to the Administration’s credibility. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Reader Richard Newell emails:

This translator’s story has been in circulation for some time. Your summary from Joe Gandelsman is less tha precise, in that it summarizes the facts as relating to White House knowledge. Yet, from personal experience working in the intelligence field, a translator would not have access to analyzed material, nor would she know if it had been analyzed, and if it had, to whom it was distributed. Moreover, this may yet turn out to be law enforcement material from a grand jury investigation, which wouldn’t be available. I urge caution.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers note numerous reasons for skepticism regarding this story. No doubt they’re right. (Example from reader Mark Daviet: “In regard to the translator from the FBI, I just find it strange that she was hired two days after Sept 11 and still knows all about what happened before. Also, why did she not come up with this acusation last year when she said the FBI had slowed down translations?” Good questions.)

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