(NEW YORK) -- Ten years ago this month, as the 9/11 hijackers were in the final stages of their attack preparations, the White House had vague warnings of an impending attack -- compounded by the fact the CIA was failing to share information with the FBI about the terrorists' travels -- and the country was focused on summer vacation, shark attacks, and a missing Congressional intern.
The following day-by-day countdown to tragedy, which will be updated daily through Sept. 11, provides a maddening chronology of the steps and missteps that would change America forever.
31 Days Before 9/11
August 11, 2001
- "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child is the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100.
- American Pie II is the top movie in box office receipts.
- The major stories of the summer involve shark attacks and a missing intern in Washington, D.C., named Chandra Levy.
- President Bush is on vacation in Crawford, Texas, where five days earlier he had been warned by the CIA of a possible attack in a paper titled: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." The document said al Qaeda members were believed to be in the U.S., and that a caller to the U.S. embassy in the United Arab Emirates said "a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives." According to The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind, the president told the CIA briefing officer, "All right. You've covered your ass now."
- All 19 hijackers are, in fact, already in the U.S. on visas obtained under their actual names.
- On August 11, Hamza al-Ghamdi, who will be one of the hijackers in the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, buys a blue blazer at a Florida men's store.
- Osama bin Laden has approved the targets and is only awaiting final word on which day the attack will occur.
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