The National Security Archive has come through again. This week they released a set of 9/11 Commission staff reports and a previously classified January 2001 memo from Richard Clarke to Condoleeza Rice making specific suggestions for confronting Al Qaeda.
The 9/11 Commission staff reports that as early as April 2000 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned airlines that highjackers might blow up planes. Discussing the hijacking of foreign vs. domestic flights the agency briefing noted: “If, however, the intent of the hijacker is not to exhange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable.” There was a good article on this in the Feb. 10, 2005 New York Times. As the National Security Archive notes, the Transportation Security Administration has gone to great lengths to keep these documents secret, against the wishes of the 9/11 Commission.
The Richard Clarke memo basically confirms everything he said during the 9/11 Commission hearings and contradicts the position of the Bush administration. The memo’s first attachment is the final Clinton administration report on Al Qaeda. The second attachment remains classified.