(AP) White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Friday he had called the editor of the New York Post to complain about a front-page tabloid headline that said “9/11 bombshell: BUSH KNEW.”
The headline in Thursday’s Post referred to revelations that President Bush had been told in August about a possible hijacking of American airplanes by terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden.
The headline said: “9/11 Bombshell: BUSH KNEW. Prez was warned of possible hijackings before terror attacks.”
Fleischer said he called Post editor-in-chief Col Allan on Thursday “because the headline was inaccurate.”
“I think the headline is wrong and it’s playing off the sorrow of the victim in an incendiary way and it’s deeply regrettable,” he said.
The White House has said that hijackings was one of several scenarios for possible attacks laid out for Bush in an Aug. 6 intelligence briefing. But they said the information was vague and there was no suggestion then that terrorists planned to crash planes into buildings.
Allan said Fleischer claimed the headline suggested that the president knew of the terrorist intentions before the Sept. 11 attacks. “I think the notion is absurd,” Allan said.
“My point to Ari is that you needed to look at the page in its entirety,” said Allan, adding that “for people in New York City, `9/11′ isn’t about a date,” but represents a news event and all of the events surrounding it.”
Allan said he told Fleischer that no American newspaper “has supported with greater vigor the war on terror.”