On Good Morning America, Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed that "[w]e had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama." In fact, while Giuliani and other conservative media figures have recently downplayed the number of attacks on the United States under former President Bush, there were numerous terrorist attacks attempted during the Bush administration, including the September 11, 2001, attacks, the attempted detonation of an explosive device on an airplane by shoe bomber Richard Reid, and the anthrax attacks.
From the January 8 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (co-host): But President Bush said he wanted to close [the detention center at Guantánamo Bay] as well.
RUDY GIULIANI: Well, he did because of the pressure. It isn't that President Bush did everything right. This whole thing is like -- they say, well, you know, President Bush sent people to Yemen. Well, he shouldn't have. He shouldn't have sent people to Yemen. Obviously, now, if he can do it again -- one in five people that have been released from Guantánamo have gotten involved in terrorist activities. At least -- that's what we can measure. Obviously it was a mistake. What he should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama. Number two, he should correct the things that Bush didn't do right. Sending people to Yemen was wrong. Not connecting -- not getting this whole intelligence thing correct is both Bush's responsibility and Obama's.
Several domestic attacks took place under Bush, including 9-11 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks. As CNN noted, “On September 11, 2001, four U.S. planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people in a matter of hours.”
2001 anthrax attacks. A March 2004 State Department report on “Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003” quotes then-Attorney General John Ashcroft saying of the letters containing anthrax mailed to various targets: “When people send anthrax through the mail to hurt people and invoke terror, it's a terrorist act.” Five people were killed as a result of those letters in the autumn of 2001.
2001 shoe bomber attempted attack. In June 2008, then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described Reid's December 2001 attempt “to blow up a trans-Atlantic plane with a shoe bomb” as an attempt to “carry out terrorist operations for Al-Qaeda.”
2002 attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX. In July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport killing two people and wounding four others before being shot dead. A 2004 Justice Department report stated that Hadayet's case had been “officially designated as an act of international terrorism.”
2002 DC-area sniper. The state of Virginia indicted Washington, D.C.-area sniper John Allen Muhammad -- along with his accomplice, a minor at the time -- on “an act of terrorism” for one of the murders he committed during a three-week shooting spree across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Muhammad was convicted, sentenced to death, and subsequently executed for the crime.
2006 UNC SUV attack. In March 2006, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV into an area of campus, striking nine pedestrians. According to reports, Taheri-azar said he acted because he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” Taheri-azar also reportedly stated in a letter: “I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree.”
Giuliani latest conservative to downplay terrorist attacks under Bush
Frederick: All domestic terrorist attacks since 9-11 took place “on Obama's watch.” As Media Matters for America documented, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick wrote in a January 3 column:
If this is what it takes to wake up Obama to the evils of this world, then he learned an easy lesson. But tell that to the personnel who lost their lives to terrorism at Fort Hood.
Then, as now, the Obama administration fails to swiftly acknowledge the threat. They demur in describing our enemy as radical Muslims. They plan to close the offshore prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and transfer the prisoners to the United States. They give the enemy combatants who killed more than 3,000 people on 9/11 the privilege of a civilian federal trial in New York City when a military tribunal is more appropriate. And for three days our president failed to address his people directly on Abdulmutallab's failed effort to blow up a commercial flight over Detroit on Christmas Day. All of this on top of President Obama's noticeable refusal to characterize our struggle as a “war” on “terror.”
In the wake of fierce criticism, Obama now talks tough about keeping America safe. But in the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11 -- both on Obama's watch -- red flags flew aplenty.
Matalin downplays attacks under Bush, falsely claiming “Bush inherited” 9-11 attacks. On the December 27 edition of CNN's State of the Union, Republican strategist Mary Matalin falsely claimed that Bush “inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history.” In fact, the September 11, 2001, attacks occurred eight months into Bush's presidency and more than a month after he had received a Presidential Daily Briefing titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
Perino: “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term.” Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino falsely claimed on the November 24, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity that "[w]e did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."