September 15, 2001: On Bush's first chance to seriously strategize after 9/11, CIA Director Tenet briefs him "with a briefcase stuffed with top-secret documents and plans, in many respects the culmination of more than four years of work on Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda network and worldwide terrorism." In his briefing, Tenet advocates "a strategy to create 'a northern front, closing the safe haven [of Afghanistan].' His idea [is] that Afghan opposition forces, aided by the United States, would move first against the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, try to break the Taliban's grip on that city and open up the border with Uzbekistan. From there the campaign could move to other cities in the north..." He also explains that CIA had begun working with a number of tribal leaders to stir up resistance in the south the previous year. In other words, the military strategy that in fact exactly transpired had been prepared by the CIA over the past four years. Tenet then turns to a top secret document called the "Worldwide Attack Matrix," which describes covert operations in 80 countries that are either underway or now recommended. The actions range from routine propaganda to lethal covert action in preparation for military attacks. So plans to wipe out al-Qaeda have also been waiting for such a moment to arise. In comparison, the military, which is the normal planner of military campaigns, is caught relatively unprepared and defers to the CIA plans. [Washington Post, 1/31/02]
From the Complete 9-11 Timeline by Paul Thompson. A vital online resource for anyone wanting to investigate 911 and the war on terror.
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