Bush Officials Admit Playing Little Role In Foiling British Terror Plot

Conservatives have “seized on the arrests of terrorism suspects in Britain yesterday to bolster a White House campaign to turn national security issues to their advantage.”

But as White House officials have admitted — and news reports have verified — the Bush administration apparently had little to do with foiling the potential “second September 11.”

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:

Well, we think the British succeeded in disrupting the plot. And there’s no question the focal point of the operational activity was in Britain. “¦ Now we really took a lot of our cue from them because they had the boots on ground. They had the firsthand knowledge. [8/10/06]


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

Today’s announcement is a true testament to the hundreds of hours of patient work by British authorities. [Gonzales, 8/10/06]

Congressional Quarterly:

[Conservative lawmakers] largely praised the administration’s response, although it appeared British authorities had thwarted the plot with minimal involvement by the United States. [8/10/06]

CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux:

[W]e have learned that President Bush first learned about this developing terrorist plot on Sunday. That is when he had a video conference call with Prime Minister Blair. [8/10/06]

The actual White House record is nothing to brag about. The former 9/11 Commission gave the administration “dismal” grades on homeland security in its latest report card, including an “F” for failures to improve aviation security. Commissioner James Thompson, the former governor of Illinois, “warned in particular of the failure to protect against terrorists smuggling a bomb onboard a plane.”