History Commons Groups

January 10, 2009

Solved Redaction in ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’ PDB

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 5:51 am

One of the most famous documents that emerged after 9/11 was the 6 August 2001 President’s Daily Brief item for George Bush entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” which you can find a copy of here (timeline entry here, timeline category here). I’ve been reading a few things about it for an update to the timeline category, and I’ve uncovered one of the three redactions in the released PDB item.

One of the paragraphs is:

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [–] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of “Blind Shaykh” ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists.

I just re-read a 2002 Washington Post article by Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen, and it says:

In one brief mention, sources said, the memo noted that unconfirmed information from British intelligence in 1998 showed that al Qaeda members talked about using an airline hijacking to negotiate the release of imprisoned Muslim cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who had been convicted of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks.

So the paragraph from the PDB item should be in full:

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [British intelligence] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of “Blind Shaykh” ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists.

There’s another two redactions in the published text, but I don’t know what they are. Bet the second one is “Egyptian,” though.

Incidentally, I know there is some talk about whether the PDB item is complete or not. I don’t know. Maybe there is a paragraph or two lopped off, maybe not.

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