ROEMER: Would it have made any difference if you had mentioned — did you ever mention it, for instance, to the president — your briefing the president from August 6th on?
TENET:: I didn’t see the president. I was not in briefings with him during this time. He was on vacation. I was here.
ROEMER: You didn’t see the president between August 6, 2001, and September 10th?
TENET:: Well, no. Before — saw him after Labor Day, to be sure.
ROEMER: So you saw him September 4th — at the principals’ meeting?
TENET:: It was not at principals’ meeting.
ROEMER: Well, you don’t see him…
TENET:: Condoleezza Rice — Condoleezza — I saw him in this time frame, to be sure.
ROEMER: OK. I’m just confused. You see him on August 6th with the PDB.
TENET:: No, I do not, sir. I’m not there.
ROEMER: OK. You’re not — when do you see him [Bush] in August?
TENET:: I don’t believe I do.
ROEMER: You don’t see the president of the United States once in the month of August?
TENET:: He’s in Texas and I’m either here or on leave for some of that time, so I’m not here.
ROEMER: So who’s briefing him on the PDBs?
TENET:: The briefer, himself. We have a presidential briefer.
ROEMER: But you never get on the phone or in any kind of conference with him to talk at this level of high chatter and huge warnings during the spring and summer to talk to him through the whole month of August?
TENET:: We talked to him directly throughout the spring and early summer almost every day.
ROEMER: But not in August?
TENET:: In this time period, I’m not talking to him, no.
Here’s Bush, on Tuesday:
And of course, that concerns me. All those reports concern me. As a matter of fact, I was dealing with terrorism a lot as the President when George Tenet came in to brief me. I mean, that’s where I got my information. I changed the way that — the relationship between the President and the CIA Director. And I wanted Tenet in the Oval Office all the time. And we had briefings about terrorist threats. This was a summary.
… The way my administration worked, Ed, is that I met with Tenet all the time, obviously met with my principals a lot. We talked about threats that had emerged. We had a counterterrorism group meeting on a regular basis to analyze the threats that came in. Had there been a threat that required action by anybody in the government, I would have dealt with it. In other words, had they come up and said, this is where we see something happening, you can rest assured that the people of this government would have responded, and responded in a forceful way.
I guess Bush meant to add, “except, of course, when I’m on vacation.” But, “with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer,” it didn’t “pop into [his] head.”