All this time we've been wondering why the Bush administration wasn't able to take the various scattered bits of pre-9/11 intelligence and "connect the dots" -- and now we know that the Bushies never even managed to connect the dots within the text of the August 6 PDB.
The PDB, by the way, runs a whopping 470 words (plus 5 or so that were redacted) and takes up a little more than a page. (Text version; PDF facsimile.)
The PDB says: Bin Laden wants to strike America. Bin Laden has people in America. Bin Laden was recruiting people in the U.S. for attacks in 1998, and bin Laden begins planning his strikes years in advance. The FBI sees a lot of suspicious stuff going on. Some people say bin Laden's operatives want to hijack airplanes.
Therefore we may currently be at risk for...? Class? Anyone?
I imagine Bush might have a problem making his way all the way through a memo of this length ("C'mon! I don't care about all this! I want something new! New!"), but Condi, who clearly can read and think, said, "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" -- all of which is true if you confine yourself to the first 193 words of the briefing's main text, or, arguably, the first 257 words -- just up to the point where it says,
Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.
which eventually leads to
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
Did anyone actually read this thing all the way to the end?
I'm reminded of the old Woody Allen standup routine -- Woody is kidnapped and his father receives a ransom note: "So he gets into bed at night with the ransom note, and he read half of it, you know, and then he got drowsy and fell asleep...."