We’ve all had the suspicions – that we didn’t know the full truth about what the Bush Administration did in the first years after 9/11. We knew some of the broad information – torture, warrantless wiretapping, secret detention, Guantanamo – but even still, it didn’t feel like the whole story.
We were right. For the last six years, I’ve been working on my next book, which is about the development of policy in the aftermath of 9/11. The book is called 500 DAYS: SECRETS AND LIES IN THE TERROR WARS. It goes on sale tomorrow, but I decided to give a sneak peek. Among the many disclosures in the book are:
The supposed al Qaeda training manual that American officials used to justify aggressive policies had nothing to do with al Qaeda. Instead, the unsophisticated document was written by a group of jihadist bumblers whose goals conflicted with those of al Qaeda.
Bush Administration officials threatened to plunge Bosnia back into civil war if its leaders did not arrest six men, despite a total lack of evidence showing they had engaged in wrongdoing.
President Bush mistakenly issued an unplanned international policy pronouncement during a critical speech at the United Nations after his staff loaded the wrong speech into a teleprompter.
False information was loaded into the government’s prime classified intelligence document, requiring investigation of absurd reports such as one claiming Bin Laden had been spotted on an American military base in Asia, shopping at the Post Exchange.
Administration officials intentionally kept Bush in the dark as they planned for the use of abusive interrogation tactics, including waterboarding.
Prime Minister Tony Blair allowed President Bush to believethat Britain would join the attack in Iraq at a time when his own Attorney General had declared an invasion without U.N. backing to be illegal.
Bush told French President Chirac that the Iraq war was willed by God and had been foretold in Biblical prophesy, an assertion that influenced France’s choice to stay out of the conflict.
Administration officials lied to Colin Powell about a decision to spirit a Canadian citizen to Syria, causing the Secretary of State to unknowingly pass false information to key allies.
Bruce Ivins, the man identified as the anthrax killer, secretly assisted the FBI for years in its hunt for the perpetrator of the bacteriological attack. His contribution to the investigation was considered so important that the Pentagon quietly awarded him its highest civilian award.
Manhattan faced the possibility of destruction by a devastating flood caused by the 9/11 attacks. After being notified of the danger, the White House began to plan for an evacuation.
There’s plenty more. In fact, read The New York Times Op-Ed tomorrow for another set of disclosures from me.