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Smoking Gun redux

Claims made about the President's Daily Brief (PDB) [all quotes from The President's Daily Brief Coverup, which lists sources]:

These are documents that only two or three people would normally have access to. To make those available to an outside group is something that no other president has done in our history. — Thomas Kean, chair of the 9/11 Commission

The most highly sensitized classified document in the government. — Ari Fleischer, then-White House spokesman

If a president's intelligence briefing is not a legitimate secret, after all, what is? &mdash Washington Post editorial

The family jewels. — Vice President Dick Cheney

Sacrosanct: it's something you never, ever share? It really is advising your client, the president, in the most intimate way. — Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, former CIA general counsel

I'm not saying I buy all this, but if it were true, what would be a logical conclusion to draw from the fact that the one from 6 August 2001 was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside United States?" I'd think this would be sure to get the President's attention. Isn't that the purpose of these things? To help the President set the daily agenda for the administration?

Yet, yesterday, Dr Condoleezza Rice testified about that day's PDB (each quote being at a different point in her testimony):

[T]his was a historical memo,... it was not based on new threat information.

And there was historical information in there about various aspects of al Qaeda's operations.

It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

Commissioner, this was not a warning. This was a historic memo—historical memo prepared by the agency because the president was asking questions about what we knew about the inside.

Well, if you ask me, Dr Rice's testimony doesn't square with the earlier statements about the nature of the PDB. It seems, once again, that the Bush Administration wants to have it both ways.

The Slacktivist quotes a good point Fred Kaplan makes about the role the National Security Adviser is supposed to play.

Garance Franke-Ruta over at The American Prospect Online makes a similarly good point.

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