Bush administration officials also didn't deploy the military against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or cells elsewhere, saying they were waiting to formulate a more comprehensive strategy rather than "swatting flies."
The commission has concluded that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and his team appeared to have given little thought to Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Pentagon's outgoing assistant secretary for counter-terrorism never briefed Rumsfeld, and his position was left open during the entire seven months preceding the attacks, the commission report said.
The Pentagon's lower-level counter-terrorism officials "told us that they thought the new team was focused on other issues and was not especially interested in their counter-terrorism agenda," it concluded.
Rumsfeld "said that DOD, before 9/11, was not organized or trained adequately to deal with asymmetric threats" like Al Qaeda, the report said.
Nevertheless, Rumsfeld told the commission staff, "He did not recall any particular counter-terrorism issue that engaged his attention before 9/11, other than the development of the Predator unmanned aircraft system for possible use against Bin Laden."
Clarke's plan ultimately formed the framework of the Al Qaeda strategy that the Bush administration implemented after the Sept. 11 attacks.