RealNews

In Few Words, Many Clues to C.I.A.'s Working Method

At fewer than 500 words, the briefing given to President Bush on Aug. 6, 2001, was a terse distillation of what the Central Intelligence Agency had pieced together over four years about the danger of an attack by Al Qaeda inside the United States. And as a window into the world of intelligence, the item from the President’s Daily Brief of that day, declassified by the White House on Saturday, provides a rare glimpse of how the C.I.A. musters its evidence in the digests it drafts for the president. In a hodgepodge not unusual in the intelligence world, the Aug. 6 item about Al Qaeda’s plans cited facts and unverifiable claims as evidence. But the 11 dispassionate paragraphs represented what intelligence officials described on Sunday as a boiled-down version of all the C.I.A. had learned, guessed or been told since 1997 about Osama bin Laden’s intentions for an American strike. Full Story

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