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Classified Pre-Sept. 11 Memo Released - 2004-04-11


The White House has released a classified intelligence briefing, prepared for President Bush one month before the September 11th attacks, that warned al-Qaida might be planning an attack on U.S. soil.

At the request of the commission probing the attacks, the administration released the document, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States" late Saturday.

The memo warns that Osama bin Laden told followers as early as 1998 that he wanted to take the fight to U.S. soil, specifically mentioning retaliating in the nation's capital. It says the terrorist organization was planning to exploit al-Qaida operatives' access to the United States to mount a terrorist attack.

The now de-classified document says FBI information at the time indicated patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijackings.

The White House says the memo contained no specific warnings of the September 11th attacks, and mostly contained information that was already known.

The memo says the millennium plot to blow up Los Angeles International airport may have been Bin Laden's first attempt to strike in the United States. It goes on to say that although that attempt did not succeed, the embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania demonstrate that Bin Laden prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks.

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