San Diego Law Review


Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



From 1994 through as late as August 2001, the United States intelligence community1

received information that terrorists had seriously contemplated using airplanes as instruments for carrying out international terrorist attacks.2

This method of attack was clearly “discussed in terrorist circles,” yet community analysts demonstrated little effort to strategically counter such terrorist groups. Moreover, in 1998, U.S. intelligence received specific information that “a group of unidentified Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center.” In July 2001, senior government officials were warned of “a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks” that would be “spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties . . . with little or no warning.”Two months later, FBI and CIA units containing no more than sixty combined personnel were assigned the specific task of tracking terrorist kingpin Osama bin Laden, an intelligence method later viewed as inadequate with respect to the severity of the destructive threat involved.