A reader's guide to Bob Woodward's State of Denial.

How to read juicy books.
Oct. 4 2006 11:59 PM

Woodward and You

A reader's guide to State of Denial.

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Page 80: After the 9/11 attacks, the 41st president called Bandar and asked him to check up on his son. "He's having a bad time, help him out."

Pages 114-15: At the Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington, Barbara Bush reached out to an old family friend, David Boren, the Democratic former senator from Oklahoma. Was an invasion of Iraq a bad idea? Boren said yes. The former first lady reported that her husband was losing sleep over the idea but wouldn't bring it up with his son.

Condi Rice Before 9/11

Pages 49–52: On July 10, 2001, George Tenet and his top terrorism expert, Cofer Black, visited Condi Rice and warned that a major terrorist attack was coming. "It's my sixth sense, but I feel it coming," said Tenet. "This could be the big one." They felt like the then-national security adviser blew them off.

Page 79: "Rice could have gotten through to Bush on the bin Laden threat, but she just didn't get there in time, Tenet thought. He felt he had done his job, laid it on the line very directly about the threat, but Rice had not moved quickly. He felt she wasn't organized and didn't push people as he tried to do at the CIA." Rice has said the July meeting was not as dramatic as Tenet remembers. Woodward quotes Cofer Black: "The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head."

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Saddam's Rules of Leadership

Page 88: Prince Bandar told Bush stories about how Saddam kept people loyal. He required his bodyguards to do two things to prove themselves: kill somebody else from within their own tribe and kill somebody from another tribe. This created a double vendetta. "If I want to trust you with my life," Bandar explained, "I want to make sure nowhere else you are safe except with me."

Iraq Plans Baked in the Cake

Page 89: Four months before the bombing started in Iraq, while Bush was still talking about a diplomatic solution to Iraq, George Tenet told one of his CIA colleagues: "You bet your ass. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when. This president is going to war. Make plans. We're going." (He did not use any basketball metaphors.)

If They'd Only Listened to George Tenet

Page 90: Tenet told CIA veteran John Brennan that in his gut, he didn't think invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Bush and the others were just really naive, thinking they would just be able to go into Iraq and overturn the government. "This is a mistake," Tenet finally said.

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