Attorney General John Ashcroft never received the President's Daily Brief memos before 9/11, as in previous administrations, so he never saw the much-discussed PDB from Aug. 6, 2001, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," until it was declassified in the last several days, he told the 9/11 commission today. Instead of getting the PDB, Ashcroft was one of the senior officials who received a watered down document that excluded updated threat information.
That changed on Sept. 11, 2001 -- now, Ashcroft gets the PDB. That the attorney general wasn't considered in-the-loop enough for the daily brief until disaster struck says a lot about how the highest levels of the Bush administration handled the heightened terrorism threat in the weeks and months before 9/11.
Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.