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DoD Staffer’s Notes From 9/11 Confirm CBS’s “Related or Not” Report

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On July 23, 2005, I submitted an electronic Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense seeking DoD staffer Steven Cambone’s notes from meetings with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. Cambone’s notes were cited heavily in the 9/11 Commission Report’s reconstruction of the day’s events. On February 10, 2006, I received a response from the DoD which includes partially-redacted copies of Cambone’s notes.

The released notes document Donald Rumsfeld’s 2:40 PM instructions to General Myers to find the “[b]est info fast . . . judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time – not only UBL [Usama Bin Laden]” (as discussed on p. 334-335 of the 9/11 Commission Report and in Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack).

In addition, the documents confirm the contents of CBS News’ Sept. 4, 2002 report “Plans For Iraq Attack Began on 9/11,” which quoted Rumsfeld’s notes as stating: “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.” These lines were not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report or Woodward’s Plan of Attack, and to my knowledge, have not been independently confirmed by any other source. After the Rathergate fiasco, I wondered if CBS had been fooled into publishing a story that, from a publicity perspective, seemed too good to be true (see Blogcritics.org post CBS Report on Rumsfeld’s 9/11 Notes Under Scrutiny). These documents prove that CBS was right on this one.

Finally, these documents unveil a previously undisclosed part of the 2:40 PM discussion. Several lines below the “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. at same time” line, Cambone’s notes from the conversation read: “Hard to get a good case.”

The documents are available as a photo set on Flickr, or to download them in PDF format, go to the post at outragedmoderates.org.

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  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Interesting stuff. It’s a bit troubling that so much of the content is deleted with ‘NR’ next to it. One really has to wonder what’s missing.

    You also glossed over one of the most interesting sections of the notes, where he mentions the fact that they knew who three of the 9/11 attackers were in advance and that two of them had been held for questioning and released right before the attacks. I’ve seen all of this mentioned before, but seeing it right there in the notes really brings home how close we were to averting the whole mess had we known then what we know now and if we had been at the level of wariness then that we are now.

    Dave

  • http://www.outragedmoderates.org Thad Anderson

    Good point. Also, another part of the notes (the 12:05 meeting) talks about the intercepted communication from Bin Laden to another Al Qaeda member/associate, saying he had “heard good news.”

  • http://www.outragedmoderates.org Thad Anderson

    Good point. Also, another part of the notes (the 12:05 meeting) talks about a creepy intercepted communication from Bin Laden to another Al Qaeda member/associate, saying he had “heard good news.”

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