(CNSNews.com) - Democrats are pouncing on reports that the Bush administration and others in Congress and various federal agencies may have had advance information on possible terrorist attacks and did not warn Americans about the threat before Sept. 11.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have described the pre-Sept. 11 threats of possible hijackings as general in nature. But on numerous occasions in the months preceding the attacks, the Bush administration did issue public warnings about potential threats.
On several occasions in 2001, the administration took action to guard against terrorist action, although none of the threats was against domestic targets.
American troops were put on high alert in June 2001 in response to worries that Osama bin Laden or operatives sympathetic to him might be planning an attack.
On June 25, ABC News reporter John McWethy reported that the Pentagon was "very nervous, because over the weekend they had still more indications that the threat to US troops in that region is still very much alive," according to a transcript of the program available via Nexis.
McWethy reported U.S. intelligence was "picking up multiple sources from multiple voices in several different countries that the threat is under way, some kind of threat, although American sources say they do not know where or when."
Similarly, NBC News reporter Jim Miklaszewski reported in late June, "officials here at the Pentagon claim they have plenty of evidence that Osama bin Laden is still preparing to attack American targets in the Persian Gulf. They've seen it all before. This terrorist training video was one of the first clues Osama bin Laden was preparing to unleash a new wave of terror," according to a Nexis transcript.
The Washington Post reported June 26, 2001 "the circulation of a bin Laden propaganda video in the Middle East last week, coupled with reports of increased activity by individuals linked to bin Laden, put U.S. forces on the highest state of alert throughout the (Mideast)."
Additional warnings were issued by the Bush administration later in the year as additional information became available.
In early September 2001, the U.S. warned Americans living in Japan and South Korea about a potential terrorist threat.
"We received information about a possible threat to U.S. military facilities or to establishments that are frequented by U.S. military personnel in Japan and Korea," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, who was quoted in the Sept. 8 edition of the Chicago Tribune.
"Boucher did not indicate where the threat came from or who was involved, but a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was Middle East-related," the paper reported.
The following day, the New Straits Times of Malaysia reported, "concerns over Osama's involvement in Indonesia were raised during talks between President Megawati Sukarnoputri and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick."
According to the report, "suspicions that Osama's network had already infiltrated Indonesia were fuelled when the U.S. and Britain tightened security at their embassies in Jakarta. The U.S. embassy subsequently issued a statement warning its citizens in
the country of possible attacks."
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