WASHINGTON—Condi Rice at the 9-11 commission hearings this morning said the U.S. was facing a war with terrorists for years before 9-11 and that President Bush was well aware of the threat. However, under questioning she admitted that she could not remember whether or not she told the President when Richard Clarke, the counter terrorism advisor, told her al Qaeda cells were in place within the U.S. by summer of 2001.
When Vice Chair Lee Hamilton pointed out there were 100 meetings of National Security officials before one discussed bin Laden, Rice said the figure was more like 33.
When Clarke told her Rice said she asked herself, “What do we need to do about that?” and decided, since the FBI had several investigations on the matter in progress, not to make any recommendations.
According to Congressional investigations, an intelligence source warned that a group of al Qaeda operatives were planning to conduct an unspecified attack inside the U.S. There were reports of planned
attacks in both California and New York during April.