Five-and-a-half years after al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four U.S. airliners, crashing them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, Democrats find themselves evenly divided as to whether President George Bush knew in advance the attacks were coming.

According to a national telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by Rasmussen Reports from April 30 to May 1, 2007, 35 percent of Democrats believe Bush knew, 39 percent believe he didn’t and 26 percent say they aren’t sure.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks spawned numerous conspiracy theories from the beginning: 4,000 Jews had supposedly been warned to stay home from the World Trade Center that day; Flight 93 had been shot down over Pennsylvania by the U.S. military; George W. Bush’s delay in ending his visit with elementary school students when told of the World Trade Center attacks signaled that perhaps he had prior knowledge of the events; a missile, not an airliner, hit the Pentagon; and others.

In time, the theories fueled the alternative analyses of the “9/11 truth” movement, with many claiming the worst domestic terror attack in U.S. history was an “inside job.”

Last August, WND reported the publication of a book by the Presbyterian Church USA that claimed George Bush, not Osama bin Laden, orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

According to Christianity Today, David Ray Griffin, author of “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action,” argues in his new book that the Bush administration planned the events of Sept. 11, 2001, so they could provide justification for going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I became more convinced that if the truth about 9/11 was going to be exposed, the churches were probably going to have to be involved,” Griffin told the magazine. “If we become convinced that the so-called war on terror is simply a pretext for enlarging the American empire, we have every reason as Christians to try and expose the truth behind 9/11.”

In March, Rosie O’Donnell advanced the inside-job theory further, arguing the attacks on the World Trade Center were designed to protect Enron by eliminating records of government investigations into corporate fraud.

Two weeks earlier, the co-hostess of ABC’s “The View,” came to the defense of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, suggesting the government elicited a false confession from the 9/11 mastermind by using torture, robbing him of his humanity and treating him like an animal.

An earlier Scripps Howard poll indicated the conspiracy theorists had found a market among Americans, with more than a third believing the U.S. government somehow assisted in the terrorist attacks, or else took no steps to stop them from occurring, so the Bush administration could launch a war in the Middle East.

Now, Rasmussen has parsed those beliefs along partisan lines.

While 61 percent of Democrats either believed or weren’t sure 9/11 occurred with the administration’s foreknowledge, Republicans rejected the theory of passive complicity by a 7-to-1 margin. For those with no major party affiliation, the idea Bush knew was held by only 18 percent. Fifty-seven percent rejected it.

Overall, 22 percent of voters believe the president knew in advance.

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