Turns out my initial thoughts were right. Apparently it wasn't quite such a big deal. As David Ignatius writes,
Bush spoke about four al Qaeda plotters who had planned to use shoe bombs to blow open the cockpit door. But a foreign official with detailed knowledge of the intelligence scoffed at Bush's account, saying that the information obtained
from Khalid Sheik Mohammed and an Indonesian operative known as Hambali was not an operational plan so much as an aspiration to destroy the tallest building on the West Coast. When I asked a former high-level U.S. intelligence official about Bush's comment, he agreed that Bush had overstated the intelligence.
Res ipsa ludificatur. And the problem is all those Republican mouth-breathers who buy this stuff and believe that the world is a safer, better place because of Bush.
Incidentally, if the GWOT is such an enormous thing, and we have this big fat deficit, and you know, we're sort of missing a major city - what on earth are Cheney and Bush doing taking vacations? I know people in my office who've not taken a week off in two years, I haven't taken even a weekend day off in months - and the welfare of millions certainly does not depend on whether we win the contract case that I'm on.