National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission today established new and important facts.
Two and a half years after 9/11, the American public learned that President Bush received a memo on August 6, 2001, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." It contained explicit warnings that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack the United States – including what the FBI called suspicious activities "consistent with preparations for hijacking."
Yet, there was no domestic follow-up by the Bush Administration. No high level meetings. No sense of urgency.
Dr. Rice's claim today that the FBI sent warnings to field offices was directly disputed by Commissioners who said they had conducted thousands of interviews and reviewed thousands of documents.
Their conclusion: no one at the FBI can recall such orders.
In order to help clarify what the President knew and what he did in response, the White House needs to immediately declassify the August 6 briefing as requested today by all 10 members of the bipartisan Commission.
Dr. Rice claimed the Administration was waiting for more "actionable" intelligence before doing anything and that there was "no silver bullet that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks."
But given what we learned today, the Administration has no excuse for not loading the gun.
John Podesta is the president and chief executive officer of the Center for American Progress. He served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.