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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

FAA’s 52 Warnings: Why the President has to re-explain the PDB

Not just the Presidential Daily Briefing [PDB], and also many other things.

If you recall in the wake of 9-11, there were many questions about the PDB: What was in it, why the President didn’t do anything. For the most part, the President has explained away the 06 Aug 2001 PDB as being too vague.

The FAA recently reported that there were 52 warnings before 9-11, between April and August 2001. The New York Times reports that these 52 warnings were approximately half [50%] of the FAA warnings at that time.

It appears as though the FAA’s 52 alerts did in fact flow directly into the Presidents hands via the PDB; and the analysts working on the PDB had full access to the intelligence going into the FAA.

The PDB needs to be re-examined. We were initially told that the PDB was just a vague document. But in light of the 52 warnings, several questions arise.

  • What method was used to convert the NOTAMs [Notices to Airmen] from the FAA into actionable intelligence summarized in the PDB?

  • Were the 52 FAA alerts used in any way as an input to the PDB; if not, why not?

  • What was the relationship between the analysts who prepared the PDB and their access to the FAA alerts; why were analysts representing themselves as experts from the CIA, but we are asked to believe they had not access to the 52 FAA warnings?

    Unfortunately, with the revelations the FAA was told 52 times that there was a problem, the President’s credibility and continued public confidence further weakens.

    Leadership depends on translating information and leading the country to its objectives. The revelation that the President had access to the PDB was problematic. Now, to find the President had access to 52 FAA alerts, but chose to do nothing remains far more troubling.

    Either the President was in charge and failed to act on the information; or he failed to ensure that the FAA’s warnings translated into policy at all levels.

    They fixed the wrong problem. Rest assured, the President’s men are creating new excuses and diversions.

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