Mickey Kaus catches the NY Times vaguely misrepresenting the contents of Bush's famous Presidential Daily Brief of Aug 6, 2001 but he missed Michael Duffy of TIME committing the same offense more egregiously. From the Wednesday Times, second paragraph:
In unusually blunt terms, Senator Clinton questioned the current administration’s response to an intelligence briefing President Bush received about a month before the 9/11 attacks. It mentioned that Al Qaeda was intent on striking the United States using hijacked planes.
"Intent on striking the United States using hijacked planes" sounds a lot like the intent was to literally strike a building or something. Of course, since most of have only seen one Presidential Daily Brief in our lives, we remember that the memo referred to a conventional hijacking for hostages scenario. The key phrase:
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ... (redacted portion) ... service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar 'Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
(Sidebar - the 2001 brief recycled some stale reporting from 1998; per the 9/11 report the NY airports were put on alert for about eight weeks but nothing happened. In that sense Hillary is absolutely correct - when the news was fresh, her husband acted. Here is Chapter Four of the 9/11 Report; hint - search on "hijack").
Let's see how Michael Duffy of TIME mangles this - unlike the Times, he does not even cover himself with ambiguous language:
Sen. Clinton said her husband would not have sat on his hands if he had seen, as Bush did, an intelligence estimate in August 2001 suggesting that bin Laden might try to run some jetliners into skyscrapers.
Well, we don't need to speculate about what Mr. Clinton might have done with his hands in the summer of 1998. The fact is, the 2001 memo said nothing about a plan to "run some jetliners into skyscrapers".
MORE: What did Hillary say, anyway, that froze the minds of the media?
"I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S.’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team.”
MORE GUFF FROM DUFFY: Michael Duffy really does not seem to be familiar with the material:
I think that clean accounting helps explain why Rice, who is now Secretary of State, jumped into this slapfest on Monday. That's when she charged that Clinton failed to leave behind a "comprehensive" strategy for dealing with bin Laden. If by that she means a plan to invade Afghanistan, she's partly right — Clinton's terror advisers presented a plan that stopped short of invasion. But even if invasion had been included, such a plan would have gone nowhere. Everyone knows the first thing the Bush team did was reflexively throw out anything that had Clinton's scent, much less his name, on it.
The first thing they did was throw it out? Clarke presented a proposal that had not been vetted by any of the relevant departments, including State, Defense, and Treasury. That process took time. But here is Clarke himself speaking to the 9/11 Commission:
Clarke told the 9/11 Commission, "there's a lot of debate about whether it's a plan or a strategy or a series of options -- but all of the things we recommended back in January were those things on the table in September. They were done. They were done after September 11th. They were all done. I didn't really understand why they couldn't have been done in February."
For an experienced bureaucrat like Clarke to wonder why a plan, parts of which had been kicking around since the embassy bombings in 1998, couldn't be adopted in the first full month of a new administration is a bit disingenuous.