What Did Bush Know, When Did He Know It and Why Did He Withhold It?

On this morning's Today, NBC's Kevin Corke wondered how long the administration knew about the averted bombing plot and why they would withhold that information, asking: "If the administration has known about this potential plot what was the hold up in getting the word out, especially domestically?" Either this is a case of the media being overly-skeptical or just being clueless. Clearly the administration wouldn't want to release any information before any arrests were made so as not to tip off any suspects in the U.S. or Britain. The following is the full exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and Corke.

Ann Curry: "And British Prime Minister Tony Blair briefed the President overnight about this plot. Well NBC's Kevin Corke is in Crawford, Texas at the President's ranch this morning. Kevin, good morning. Any word from the President?"

Kevin Corke: "Ann, good morning to you. The President was thoroughly briefed overnight though not directly by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. We've sort have been getting conflicting reports. The White House is saying it was a thorough briefing. British authorities saying Blair reaching out but certainly the two gentlemen have spoken several times over the last several days. We know that at this hour President Bush has just landed in Marine One, in fact he has now boarded Air Force One en route to a trip to, to Wisconsin. The President this morning, Ann, is not expected to make comment on the latest development, the uncovering of that alleged terror plot, however he could make comments later today but we did hear from White House press secretary Tony Snow when he said, among other things he said, 'look this was a serious threat to our country and the UK and we will continue to evaluate the nature of the threat and adjust our measures.' It is fairly common, Ann, for the President to receive a daily briefing which will include an intelligence briefing, a national security briefing and a Homeland Security briefing. That was certainly the case this week, in particular on Tuesday. And you may recall on Sunday, President Bush, in fact the White House released a photo of President Bush along with National Security adviser Stephen Hadley having a video teleconference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The two gentlemen, as you pointed out, had been in constant contact throughout this ongoing investigation, Ann."

Curry: "But Kevin it's really interesting to notice that Scotland Yard is reporting that they have been or telling the press that they actually have been investigating for several months this, this plot to blow up these airlines and it's interesting to wonder, you know, to ask how long have U.S. authorities known and how long has the President known and it sounds as though we're gonna have to wait before we really get an indication about that."

Corke: "Yeah well said because a lot of people here are going to be asking the question, not only today but in the days to come, if, if the administration has known about this potential plot what was the hold up in getting the word out, especially domestically? Now right now they're saying, Ann, that there's no expectation that there will be domestic arrests related to this particular terror plot but still it does beg the question how long ago did they know of this and why are we just hearing about it right now?"

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.