Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Rice tells of Bush row after 9/11

Condoleezza Rice revealed she had a heated exchange with President Bush following 9/11

Condoleezza Rice ordered George Bush not to return to Washington after the 9/11 attacks before hanging up the phone, the former national security adviser has revealed in a documentary interview.

In a heated exchange, Ms Rice had to argue with the US President in Florida not to return to the White House because it was a potential terrorist target.

She told the Channel 4 documentary: "The President got on the phone and he said: 'I'm coming back'.

"I said: 'You cannot come back here. The United States of America is under attack, you have to go to safety. We don't know what is going on here'. He said: 'I'm coming back'. I said: 'You can't'.

"I said to him in a raised voice, and I had never raised my voice to the president before, I said: 'You cannot come back here'. I hung up.

"The president was quite annoyed with me to say the least.

"I've known the president a long time and I knew that he wanted nothing more than to be there at the helm of the ship."

Ms Rice also revealed that the bunker beneath the White House where she was sheltering with vice-president Dick Cheney began to run out of air.

She said: "There were so many people in the bunker that the oxygen levels started dropping and the secret service came in and said we've got to get some people out of here. They literally went around telling people that they weren't essential and they had to leave."

The documentary, 9/11: State of Emergency, which also features interviews with military leaders, air traffic controllers, and ordinary people caught up in the attacks, will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Saturday September 11 at 9pm.

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