Months before 9/11, French intelligence warned the CIA that al-Qaida was planning an attack involving airplanes, according to classified documents and former French intelligence officials. The information was vague and possibly misleading, but it speaks to the intelligence community’s inability to coalesce fragmentary warnings into something concrete and comprehensive.
AP via Yahoo!:
Nine months before al-Qaida slammed airliners into the World Trade Center, French intelligence suspected the terror network was plotting a hijacking—possibly involving a U.S. airline—and warned the CIA, former French intelligence officials said Monday.
But the French warning hinted at a plot in Europe, not the United States, and there was no suggestion of suicide attacks or multiple planes. One former official said al-Qaida may have leaked misinformation to divert intelligence agencies from the bigger, deadlier plot to come on Sept. 11, 2001.
The warning was another example of how intelligence agents sensed al-Qaida was hard at work in the months leading up to Sept. 11 but were unable to piece together fragmented warnings into a coherent plot.