Intel Officials: Rice’s July 2001 Briefing Described Urgent Threat, ’10 On a Scale of 1 to 10′

Condoleezza Rice describes her briefing with CIA officials George Tenet and Cofer Black on July 10, 2001 as relatively unremarkable. Here’s how her spokesman Sean McCormack described it yesterday:

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack [said]… the information Rice got “was not new’’ and didn’t amount to an urgent warning. “Rather, it was a good summary from the threat-reporting from the previous several weeks,’’ McCormack said in a statement from Saudi Arabia where Rice is traveling.

Earlier in the day, Rice questioned whether the meeting even happened and said that it was “incomprehensible” the meeting included a warning that U.S. interests faced an imminent threat from al-Qaeda.

Here’s how the briefing was described by the officials who prepared it, according to McClatchy:


One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a “10 on a scale of 1 to 10” that “connected the dots” in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again…

“The briefing was intended to `connect the dots’ contained in other intelligence reports and paint a very clear picture of the threat posed by bin Laden,” said the official, who described the tone of the report as “scary.”

Rice also considered the August 6 President’s Daily Brief, entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US,” an historical document.

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