The administration's claim that terrorists crashing planes into buildings was not foreseeable is contradicted by numerous sources:
The CIA Director had warned congress shortly before 9/11 "that there could be an attack, an imminent attack, on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected" according to a broadcast on National Public Radio
In 1994, the government received information that international terrorists "had seriously considered the use of airplanes as a means of carrying out terrorist attacks" (see also this article).
In 1998, U.S. officials received reports concerning a "Bin Laden plot involving aircraft in the New York and Washington, areas." Officials received reports that al Qaeda was trying to establish an operative cell in the United States and that bin Laden was attempting to recruit a group of five to seven young men from the United States to travel to the Middle East for training in conjunction with his plans to strike U.S. domestic targets. Indeed, the report concluded that "a group of unidentified Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane . . . into the World Trade Center".
A 1999 report for the National Intelligence Council warned that fanatics loyal to bin Laden might try to hijack a jetliner and fly it into the Pentagon..
In July 2001, a briefing prepared for senior government officials warned of "a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties ... (it) will occur with little or no warning.".
(more after the jump..)
FBI agents recommended to FBI headquarters, in July 2001, an urgent nationwide review of flight schools regarding terrorism, and mentioned Bin Laden by name.
President Bush was told in August 2001 that supporters of Bin Laden planned an attack within the U.S. with explosives and that they wanted to hijack airplanes.
A month before 9/11, the CIA sent a message to the Federal Aviation Administration warning of a possible hijacking "or an act of sabotage against a commercial airliner".
The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief was entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US".
U.S. intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks that Bin Laden's terrorist network might try to hijack American planes, and that information prompted administration officials to issue a private warning to transportation officials and national security agencies.
9/11 Commissioner Ben-Veniste said the following to Condoleezza Rice the following question during her appearance before the 9/11 Commission:
"The extraordinary high terrorist attack threat level in the summer of 2001 is well documented, and Richard Clarke's testimony about the possibility of an attack against the United States homeland was repeatedly discussed from May to August within the intelligence community, and that is well documented. You acknowledged that Richard Clarke told you that Al-Qaeda cells were in the United States.
(or watch the video).
Newsweek stated "On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns" (pay-per-view; cached version of article here)
An employee who worked in the south tower stated "How could they let this happen? They knew this building was a target. Over the past few weeks we'd been evacuated a number of times, which is unusual. I think they had an inkling something was going on"
And a guard who worked in the world trade center stated that "officials had recently taken steps to secure the towers against aerial attacks"
More importantly, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the military air defense agency responsible for protecting the U.S. mainland, had run drills for several years of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, and "numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft". In other words, drills using REAL AIRCRAFT simulating terrorist attacks crashing jets into buildings, including the twin towers, were run.
And the military had conducted numerous drills of planes crashing into the Pentagon. For example, see this official military website showing a military drill conducted in 2000 using miniatures; this article concerning a May 2001 exercise of a plane crashing into the Pentagon (see also this article and this one); and this article about yet another drill of a plane hitting the Pentagon from August 2001.
Indeed, many of the drills appear to have included warning alarms and evacuation of the building.
The military had also run war games involving multiple, simultaneous hijackings (first paragraph), so this aspect of 9/11 was not as overwhelming as we have been led to believe.
See this short excerpt of a Peter Jennings newscast on 9/11 (excuse the music and subtitles)