Was he or wasn’t he? Back in July 2001, was John Ashcroft provided the same “10 on a scale of 10” terror briefing that George Tenet and Cofer Black provided to Condi Rice (which she has variously claimed either did not happen or she cannot remember, depending on what day it is)?
In the course of a single articleMcClatchy claims that Ashcroft definitely was provided the same briefing, then quotes Ashcroft as saying he was not briefed, and finally quotes Crisco John’s former Chief of Staff as saying Ashcroft does not remember the briefing.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and former Attorney General John Ashcroft received the same CIA briefing about an imminent al-Qaida strike on an American target that was given to the White House two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The State Department’s disclosure Monday that the pair was briefed within a week after then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was told about the threat on July 10, 2001, raised new questions about what the Bush administration did in response, and about why so many officials have claimed they never received or don’t remember the warning.
Ashcroft, who resigned as attorney general on Nov. 9, 2004, told the Associated Press on Monday that it was “disappointing” that he never received the briefing, either.
David Ayres, who was Ashcroft’s chief of staff at the Justice Department, said that the former attorney general also has no recollection of a July 17, 2001, terrorist threat briefing. Later, Ayres said that Ashcroft could recall only a July 5 briefing on threats to U.S. interests abroad.
He said Ashcroft doesn’t remember any briefing that summer that indicated that al-Qaida was planning to attack within the United States.
Oh, my. rudeboy reminds me ofthis.
Like most of the Bush cabinet, Attorney General John Ashcroft took commercial jets when he traveled. But on July 24, 2001, he changed that practice and began flying in chartered government jets. Asked by CBS News at the time about the change, the Justice Department cited a “threat assessment” by the FBI and said Ashcroft had been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term. “There was a threat assessment, and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines,” an FBI spokesman said.
But as CBS went on to report, “Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected, or who made it.” A “senior official” at the CIA said he wasn’t aware of specific threats against any cabinet member, and Ashcroft himself declared, “I don’t do threat assessments myself, and I rely on those whose responsibility it is in the law enforcement community, particularly the FBI. And I try to stay within the guidelines that they’ve suggested I should stay within for those purposes.” When asked if he knew details of the threat or who might have made it, Ashcroft said, “Frankly, I don’t. That’s the answer.”