Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his opposite number George W. Bush about the 9/11 terror attacks two days before they took place, an ex-spy has claimed.
Former CIA agent George Beebe allegedly mentioned the Russian hardman's warning in a recent book called "The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe".
The senior Bush-era operative is believed to have written that Putin warned the former US president 48-hours before two planes crashed into the World Trade Centre.
Russia Today quotes an extract from the book: "Putin had telephoned President Bush two days before the attacks to warn that Russian intelligence has detected signs of an incipient terrorist campaign, 'something long in preparation,' coming out of Afghanistan."
There is no record of Putin claiming that he warned the US about a threat coming from Afghanistan prior to the attack.
On June 18, 2004, Putin did claim Russian intelligence had received news that Saddam Hussein was planning an attack following 9/11.
He said: "After September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services repeatedly received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the US military and other interests."
But the president added an important caveat: "It's one thing to have information that Saddam's regime is preparing terrorist attacks, (but) we didn't have information that it was involved in any known terrorist attacks."
Since 9/11 it has become widely accepted that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Bush's admission that the dictator had no role in the plot came after US and UK forces failed to find weapons of mass destruction following the invasion of Iraq.
During a 2006 TV broadcast, Bush said: "I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
"The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat.”
He added: “The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.”
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