Compassionate
Nominees
Moral Clarity
aka Honesty
A Promise Made is
A Promise Kept
Compassionate
Policy
Compassionate Media,
Uncompassionate Voices
Using Compassion
Con credits
About CG/
Acknowledgements
Search CG

UNIVERSITY OF COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM (what is this?) 

You have selected

COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM 215*
*Bush administration's lies and deception moral clarity, honesty and integrity 
in response to Richard Clarke's statements

In this course you will learn about the abundant lies, deception or intent to deceive or smear or slime moral clarity, honesty and integrity displayed by President George W. Bush (and his administration/campaign) - in response to Richard Clarke. [To see their abject dishonesty, fakery and fraud compassionate conservatism on other topics, click on one of the following: Election 2000, the Economy, Iraq.]

Please note that the statements made by Bush or his spokespersons/administration3 - as cited in column 3 of the tables below - are by default extracted from one or more of the links shown in column 4. If the source of the statements is different from the link(s) in column 4, then a URL is explicitly provided in column 3. For feedback and corrections, please go here.

I would like to acknowledge the following sites where I get the vast majority of my links from: Atrios/Eschaton, Buzzflash, Daily Howler, Center for American Progress

A special thanks to Buzzflash for disseminating the information on this page!
Also, a special thanks to Tim Dunlop of the Road to Surfdom for his link to this page. 
(Visit Tim's website to enjoy passages from Richard Clarke's book "Against All Enemies"!)

Total Compassion Con credits 2 available from this course to date = 43

Last Update: April 13, 2004

Once you are done with this course, you may choose another course by picking one of the options below

 

PREFACE (bold text is my emphasis)

New York Times review of Clarke's book: "...Given the howling political firestorm over Richard A. Clarke’s new book, “Against All Enemies,” it is surprising how familiar many of his assertions sound, his recitation of pre-9/11 antiterrorism missteps by the Bush and Clinton administrations echoing earlier books and old newspaper and magazine articles…Many of its most debated charges about the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terrorism have been leveled before. Some have been corroborated or openly acknowledged by other members of the administration..."

Washington Post: "...the broad outline of Clarke's criticism has been corroborated by a number of other former officials, congressional and commission investigators, and by Bush's admission in the 2003 Bob Woodward book "Bush at War" that he "didn't feel that sense of urgency" about Osama bin Laden before the attacks occurred. In addition, a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made..."

Compassion Con credits total = 43

# Pres. Bush or his representative's Compassionate statement Some Uncompassionate Facts Compassion Con Credits
1 Rice for Bush

"...Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists...."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed this week that Rice had asked, in her private meetings with the commission, to revise a statement she made publicly that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center . . . that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." Rice told the commission that she misspoke; the commission has received information that prior to Sept. 11, U.S. intelligence agencies and Clarke had talked about terrorists using airplanes as missiles. .."

David Johnston and Eric Schmitt (New York Times):
"...A Congressional inquiry into intelligence activities before Sept. 11 found 12 reports over a seven-year period suggesting that terrorists might use airplanes as weapons..."

Scott Paltrow (Wall Street Journal) via Cooperative Research:
"...
Despite official assertions that the U.S. had little reason to suspect before Sept. 11 that airliners would be used as weapons, there is new evidence that the federal government had on several earlier occasions taken elaborate, secret measures to protect special events from just such an attack.
The events that were protected included the 1996 Olympics and President Bush's inauguration in 2001. Planning for similar special protection for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah was under way at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials say
...
In the aftermath of those attacks, Bush administration officials have said they received no intelligence warning of such a tactic. "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile," National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said in a May 2002 news briefing.
Yet on several occasions starting in the mid-1990s, U.S. intelligence agencies had passed on information concerning such a possibility, including early plans by al Qaeda officials to use passenger jets as kamikaze weapons, according to records and current and former government officials...
In addition, the plan was used for Mr. Clinton's second inauguration in 1997, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 50th anniversary celebration in Washington in 1999, the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2000 and the Bush inauguration in 2001...
...a stream of intelligence beginning in 1995, which reached the White House, did indicate that terrorists were plotting attacks using hijacked jets...
John F. Lehman, a Republican on the 9/11 Commission and a former secretary of the Navy, agreed that the idea of using aircraft as weapons by crashing them into something wasn't new on Sept. 11. "You can't say that the idea of using them as kamikazes is not something people should have been worried about," Mr. Lehman says in an interview. "The fact is that kamikazes were first used in 1944, so it's not exactly a new concept."
Warning Signs
A look at some intelligence reports in the 1990s that warned of terrorist attacks with airliners: 1994 Eiffel Tower threat: "Algerian Armed Islamic Group terrorists hijacked an Air France flight.and threatened to crash it into the Eiffel Tower." 1995 Bojinka Plot to blow up American jets over the Pacific: "An accomplice of Ramzi Yousef told police in the Philippines [and the FBI] that a variant of the plot involved flying a plane on a suicide mission into CIA headquarters." 1996 Iranian plot to crash Japanese jet in Israel: "A passenger would board the plane in the Far East, commandeer the aircraft, order it to fly over Tel Aviv, and crash the plane into the city." 1998 Alleged plan by al Qaeda-linked terrorists to crash plane into World Trade Center: ".A group, since linked to al-Qa'ida, planned to fly an explosives-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center." Alleged Osama bin Laden plot to crash plane into a U.S. airport: ".Bin Ladin's next operation might involve flying an explosives-laden aircraft into a U.S. airport." 1999 Federal Research Division Report on terrorism: "Suicide bomber(s). could crash-land an aircraft.into the Pentagon.or the White House."..."

Atrios:
"...
This echoes her previous statement about this:
I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people…would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.
They may not have had specific intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack using airplanes as missiles. But, she switches mid-sentence between "evidence" and "speculation," implying that no analysts had even "speculated" that hijacked planes could be used as weapons, which is of course completely false. Bob Somerby reminds us:
WOODWARD AND EGGEN: But a 1999 report prepared for the National Intelligence Council, an affiliate of the CIA, warned that terrorists associated with bin Laden might hijack an airplane and crash it into the Pentagon, White House or CIA headquarters.
The report recounts well-known case studies of similar plots, including a 1995 plan by al Qaeda operatives to hijack and crash a dozen U.S. airliners in the South Pacific and pilot a light aircraft into Langley.
“Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House,” the September 1999 report said
..."

Eric Boehlert (Salon.com):
"...A former FBI wiretap translator with top-secret security clearance, who has been called "very credible" by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has told Salon she recently testified to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that the FBI had detailed information prior to Sept. 11, 2001, that a terrorist attack involving airplanes was being plotted. Referring to the Homeland Security Department's color-coded warnings instituted in the wake of 9/11, the former translator, Sibel Edmonds, told Salon, "We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available." Edmonds is offended by the Bush White House claim that it lacked foreknowledge of the kind of attacks made by al-Qaida on 9/11. "Especially after reading National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice [Washington Post Op-Ed on March 22] where she said, we had no specific information whatsoever of domestic threat or that they might use airplanes. That's an outrageous lie. And documents can prove it's a lie."...
Edmonds, who is Turkish-American, is a 10-year U.S. citizen who has passed a polygraph examination conducted by FBI investigators. She speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Turkish and worked part-time for the FBI...
"President Bush said they had no specific information about Sept. 11, and that's accurate," says Edmonds. "But there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should've alerted the people to the threat we're facing."
Edmonds testified before 9/11 commission staffers in February for more than three hours, providing detailed information about FBI investigations, documents and dates.
.."

Also see: Barry Ritholtz (The Big Picture) commenting on Altercation; Scott Paltrow (Wall Street Journal) via Big Picture

1

(being very very very very compassionate here)

2 Bush

"...Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to strike America, to attack us, I would have used every resource, every asset, every power of this government to protect the American people..."

Geraldine Sealey (Salon.com):
"...
CAP quickly found previous reports that the president was told of the possibility that al-Qaida was exploring the use of airliners as terror weapons, including against U.S. targets:
FACT: On August 6, 2001, President Bush personally "received a one-and-a-half page briefing advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the US, and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane."
-- Dateline NBC, 9/10/02 (Transcript in Nexis)
FACT: U.S. and Italian officials were warned in July 2001 that Islamic terrorists had considered "crashing an airliner into the Genoa summit of industrialized nations."
-- LA Times, 9/27/01.
FACT: A 1999 report prepared by the Library of Congress for the National Intelligence Council "warned that Osama bin Laden's terrorists could hijack an airliner and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon." The report specifically said, "Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives … into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."
-- CBS News, 5/17/02.
CAP also found this nugget, showing that the State Department under Bush downplayed the importance of the threat of Osama bin Laden in its annual terrorism report in early 2001.
"The State Department officially released its annual terrorism report just a little more than an hour ago, but unlike last year, there's no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. A senior State Department official tells CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden and 'personalizing terrorism.'"
-- CNN, 4/30/2001
..."

Sen. Gary Hart interviewed on Salon.com:
"...Hart was co-chair (with former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H.) of the U.S. Commission on National Security, a bipartisan panel that conducted the most thorough investigation of U.S. security challenges since World War II. After completing the report, which warned that a devastating terrorist attack on America was imminent and called for the immediate creation of a Cabinet-level national security agency, and delivering it to President Bush on January 31, 2001, Hart and Rudman personally briefed Rice, Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. But, according to Hart, the Bush administration never followed up on the commission's urgent recommendations, even after he repeated them in a private White House meeting with Rice just days before 9/11...
[Sen. Hart:]...
I met with Rice not long after the president was in Crawford and being briefed by CIA officials on the possible use of aircraft against American targets. This was all happening in the weeks before 9/11. So I think it's terribly disingenuous for the president of the United States to say, "If somebody had told us they were going to use aircraft against the World Trade Center, we would of course have taken action." I think it's just ridiculous to say, "We're not going to do anything until someone tells us where, when and how."..."

Also see item ABOVE this one.

1
3 Rice for Bush

"...[Rice] said administration officials felt, as a precaution, they could not rule out an attack in the United States, but that if Clarke had any specific information suggesting attacks in the United States, "he never communicated that to anyone."..."

Center for American Progress:
"...For instance, the President received a CIA warning on August 6th, 2001, headlined, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." noting the "plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane."
..."
See above
4 Hadley for Bush

"...All the chatter [before 9/11] was of an attack, a potential al Qaeda attack overseas..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Page 204 of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 noted that "In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States" to "carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives." The report "was included in an intelligence report for senior government officials in August [2001]." In the same month, the Pentagon "acquired and shared with other elements of the Intelligence Community information suggesting that seven persons associated with Bin Laden had departed various locations for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States." [Joint Congressional Report, 12/02]..."
1
5 Rice for Bush

"...In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas...We adopted several of these ideas. We committed more funding to counterterrorism and intelligence efforts..."

Rice for Bush

"...on NBC Nightly News, [claimed] that the "the president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold" before 9/11..."

Center for American Progress:
"...But the real story is far different, as the following internal Department of Justice (DoJ) documents obtained by the Center for American Progress demonstrate. The Bush Administration actually reversed the Clinton Administration's strong emphasis on counterterrorism and counterintelligence. Attorney General John Ashcroft not only moved aggressively to reduce DoJ's anti-terrorist budget but also shift DoJ's mission in spirit to emphasize its role as a domestic police force and anti-drug force. These changes in mission were just as critical as the budget changes, with Ashcroft, in effect, guiding the day to day decisions made by field officers and agents. And all of this while the Administration was receiving repeated warnings about potential terrorist attacks..."
[Read the entire post to see how anti-terrorism budgets were proposed to be cut before and after 9/11, among other things.]

Rice for Bush on NBC:
"...the problem was that we were, as a country, somewhat blind to what was happening inside the country.  Because we had had a very big wall between domestic intelligence, domestic collection and — information and what the CIA did.  It was only after September 11th that the country came to terms with the fact that the FBI and the CIA needed to be able to coordinate on collection and on sharing of intelligence in a way that would let us know what was going on in the country..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Meanwhile, the Administration "downgraded terrorism as a priority" and ended such key counterterrorism efforts as the "highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States." Among the victims of the Administration's "downgrading of terrorism as a priority" was "a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States," which the White House suspended in the months leading up to 9/11...
As the WP reports on the new documents released by American Progress, "in the early days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI." When congressional Democrats sponsored amendments to substantially increase this funding, the President threatened to veto them, and they were voted down."

Center for American Progress:
"...In reality, the Bush Administration was preparing a FY2003 budget (the first budget fully authored by the new Administration) that proposed serious cuts to key counterterrorism programs. As the 2/28/02 NYT reported, the Bush White House "did not endorse F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators" and "proposed a $65 million cut for the program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants." Newsweek noted the Administration "vetoed a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism." See a display of Rice's dishonesty in this American Progress video clip...."

Also see Uggabugga and Atrios

1
6 Rice for Bush

"...In the same article, Rice belittled Clarke's proposals by writing: "The president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or 'roll back' the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to 'eliminate' the al Qaeda network." Rice asserted that while Clarke and others provided ideas, "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration." That same day, she said most of Clarke's ideas "had been already tried or rejected in the Clinton administration."..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...But in her interview with NBC two days later, Rice appeared to take a different view of Clarke's proposals. "He sent us a set of ideas that would perhaps help to roll back al Qaeda over a three- to five-year period; we acted on those ideas very quickly. And what's very interesting is that . . . Dick Clarke now says that we ignored his ideas or we didn't follow them up." ..."

Condi Rice to 9/11 Commission:
"...Dick Clarke is a very, very fine counterterrorism expert -- and that's why I kept him on...He had some very good ideas. We acted on them...Dick Clarke -- let me just step back for a second and say we had a very -- we had a very good relationship...
He also had attached the Delenda plan, which is my understanding was developed in 1998, never adopted and, in fact, had some ideas. I said, "Dick, take the ideas that you've put in this think piece, take the ideas that were there in the Delenda plan, put it together into a strategy, not to roll back al Qaeda" -- which had been the goal of the Clinton -- of what Dick Clarke wrote to us -- "but rather to eliminate this threat." And he was to put that strategy together.
But by no means did he ask me to act on a plan. He gave us a series of ideas. We acted on those.
.."
Compassiongate note: See how Condi phrases it - he did not ask me to "act on a plan"! In other words, he did give her a [Delenda] plan by her own statement.

Center for American Progress:
"...Rice claimed this week that "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration." But the 9/11 Commission reported, "On January 25th, 2001, Richard Clarke forwarded his December 2000 strategy paper and a copy of his 1998 Delenda plan to the new national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice."..."

Frank Rich (New York Times):
"...Last Sunday on "60 Minutes" Ed Bradley dipped a toe into it by noting that there were fewer attacks in the 30-month period leading up to 9/11 than there have been in "the 30 months afterward when you had this war against it."..."

1
7 Rice for Bush

"...Dick Clarke was counterterrorism czar for a long time with a lot of attacks on the United States. What he was doing was--what they were doing apparently was not working. We wanted to do something different..."

Condi Rice to 9/11 Commission:
"...Dick Clarke is a very, very fine counterterrorism expert -- and that's why I kept him on...He had some very good ideas. We acted on them...Dick Clarke -- let me just step back for a second and say we had a very -- we had a very good relationship."

Ryan Lizza (TNR):
"...She didn't get a chance to explain how this statement comports with Hadley's insistence that "one of the decisions we made was to keep Mr. Clarke and his counter-terrorism group intact" because "we wanted an experienced team to try and identify the risk, take actions to disrupt the terrorists."..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...She criticized Clarke for being the architect of failed Clinton administration policies, but also said she retained Clarke so the Bush administration could continue to pursue Clinton's terrorism policies...
Rice implicitly criticized Clarke on CNN on Monday, saying that "he was the counterterrorism czar for a period of the '90s when al Qaeda was strengthening and when the plots that ended up September 11 were being hatched." But in a White House briefing two days later, she said she kept Clarke on the job because "I wanted somebody experienced in that area precisely to carry on the Clinton administration policy." ... "

David Johnston and Eric Schmitt (New York Times):
"...Mr. Clarke was in charge of responding to immediate threats, one senior official said. He had been counterterrorism chief in the Clinton administration, and Ms. Rice had decided to keep him in the job because she wanted continuity. "It was because everyone respected Dick Clarke and knew he was a pile driver," the official said..."

Rice for Bush:
"...In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas...We adopted several of these ideas. We committed more funding to counterterrorism and intelligence efforts..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...On a more substantive note compare Wilkinson's description of Clarke's pitiful proposal to this one from an August 4th, 2002 article in Time. Note particularly the comment from the "senior Bush administration official" at the end ...
Berger had left the room by the time Clarke, using a Powerpoint presentation, outlined his thinking to Rice. A senior Bush Administration official denies being handed a formal plan to take the offensive against al-Qaeda, and says Clarke's materials merely dealt with whether the new Administration should take "a more active approach" to the terrorist group. (Rice declined to comment, but through a spokeswoman said she recalled no briefing at which Berger was present.) Other senior officials from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, however, say that Clarke had a set of proposals to "roll back" al-Qaeda. In fact, the heading on Slide 14 of the Powerpoint presentation reads, "Response to al Qaeda: Roll back." Clarke's proposals called for the "breakup" of al-Qaeda cells and the arrest of their personnel. The financial support for its terrorist activities would be systematically attacked, its assets frozen, its funding from fake charities stopped. Nations where al-Qaeda was causing trouble-Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Yemen-would be given aid to fight the terrorists. Most important, Clarke wanted to see a dramatic increase in covert action in Afghanistan to "eliminate the sanctuary" where al-Qaeda had its terrorist training camps and bin Laden was being protected by the radical Islamic Taliban regime. The Taliban had come to power in 1996, bringing a sort of order to a nation that had been driven by bloody feuds between ethnic warlords since the Soviets had pulled out. Clarke supported a substantial increase in American support for the Northern Alliance, the last remaining resistance to the Taliban. That way, terrorists graduating from the training camps would have been forced to stay in Afghanistan, fighting (and dying) for the Taliban on the front lines. At the same time, the U.S. military would start planning for air strikes on the camps and for the introduction of special-operations forces into Afghanistan. The plan was estimated to cost "several hundreds of millions of dollars." In the words of a senior Bush Administration official, the proposals amounted to "everything we've done since 9/11."
..."

1
8 Wilkinson for Bush

"...I want to make a very point here, that all of his ideas he presented were not a strategy. This is a president who wanted a comprehensive strategy to go after al Qaeda where it lives, where it hides, where it plots, where it raises money. All the ideas that -- except for one -- that Dick Clarke submitted, this administration did..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...On a more substantive note compare Wilkinson's description of Clarke's pitiful proposal to this one from an August 4th, 2002 article in Time. Note particularly the comment from the "senior Bush administration official" at the end ...
Berger had left the room by the time Clarke, using a Powerpoint presentation, outlined his thinking to Rice. A senior Bush Administration official denies being handed a formal plan to take the offensive against al-Qaeda, and says Clarke's materials merely dealt with whether the new Administration should take "a more active approach" to the terrorist group. (Rice declined to comment, but through a spokeswoman said she recalled no briefing at which Berger was present.) Other senior officials from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, however, say that Clarke had a set of proposals to "roll back" al-Qaeda. In fact, the heading on Slide 14 of the Powerpoint presentation reads, "Response to al Qaeda: Roll back." Clarke's proposals called for the "breakup" of al-Qaeda cells and the arrest of their personnel. The financial support for its terrorist activities would be systematically attacked, its assets frozen, its funding from fake charities stopped. Nations where al-Qaeda was causing trouble-Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Yemen-would be given aid to fight the terrorists. Most important, Clarke wanted to see a dramatic increase in covert action in Afghanistan to "eliminate the sanctuary" where al-Qaeda had its terrorist training camps and bin Laden was being protected by the radical Islamic Taliban regime. The Taliban had come to power in 1996, bringing a sort of order to a nation that had been driven by bloody feuds between ethnic warlords since the Soviets had pulled out. Clarke supported a substantial increase in American support for the Northern Alliance, the last remaining resistance to the Taliban. That way, terrorists graduating from the training camps would have been forced to stay in Afghanistan, fighting (and dying) for the Taliban on the front lines. At the same time, the U.S. military would start planning for air strikes on the camps and for the introduction of special-operations forces into Afghanistan. The plan was estimated to cost "several hundreds of millions of dollars." In the words of a senior Bush Administration official, the proposals amounted to "everything we've done since 9/11."
..."
None assigned for compassionate reasons
9 Rice for Bush

"...what's very interesting is that, of course, Dick Clarke was the counterterrorism czar in 1998 when the embassies were bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar in 2000 when the Cole was bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar for a period of the '90s when al Qaeda was strengthening and when the plots that ended up in September 11 were being hatched..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Vice President Cheney echoed the very same criticism on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Rice and Cheney conveniently ignored the President's own "buck stops here" declaration and desire for a "culture of personal responsibility": Both refused to mention that they were Clarke's bosses in the lead up to 9/11, and that they ignored Clarke's repeated efforts to get the Administration to take terrorism more seriously. They also failed to elucidate why, if Clarke's record was so terrible, they called him an "outstanding public servant" and decided to keep him on board at the White House...."

Condi Rice to 9/11 Commission:
"...Dick Clarke is a very, very fine counterterrorism expert -- and that's why I kept him on...He had some very good ideas. We acted on them...Dick Clarke -- let me just step back for a second and say we had a very -- we had a very good relationship."

None assigned --- for compassionate reasons
10 Cheney for Bush

"...As I say, he was the head of counterterrorism for several years there in the '90s, and I didn't notice that they had any great success dealing with the terrorist threat..."

Clarke on Salon.com:
"...It's possible that the vice president has spent so little time studying the terrorist phenomenon that he doesn't know about the successes in the 1990s. There were many. The Clinton administration stopped Iraqi terrorism against the United States, through military intervention. It stopped Iranian terrorism against the United States, through covert action. It stopped the al-Qaida attempt to have a dominant influence in Bosnia. It stopped the terrorist attacks at the millennium. It stopped many other terrorist attacks, including on the U.S. embassy in Albania. And it began a lethal covert action program against al-Qaida; it also launched military strikes against al-Qaida. Maybe the vice president was so busy running Halliburton at the time that he didn't notice..."

Clarke on CNN:
"...Well, a great deal was done. The administration stopped the al Qaeda attacks in the United States and around the world at the millennium period, they stopped al Qaeda in Bosnia, they stopped al Qaeda from blowing up embassies around the world, they authorized covert lethal action by the CIA against al Qaeda, they retaliated with cruise missile strikes into Afghanistan, they got sanctions against Afghanistan from the United Nations. There was a great deal the administration did, even though at the time, prior to 9/11, al Qaeda had arguably not done a great deal to the United States.
If you look at the eight years of the Clinton administration, al Qaeda was responsible for the deaths of fewer than 50 Americans over those eight years. Contrast that with Ronald Reagan, where 300 Americans were killed in Lebanon and there was no retaliation. Contrast that with the first Bush administration where 260 Americans were killed on Pan-Am 103 and there was no retaliation.
I would argue that for what had actually happened prior to 9/11, the Clinton administration was doing a great deal. In fact, so much that when the Bush people came into office they thought I was a little crazy, a little obsessed with this "little terrorist" [Osama] bin Laden. Why wasn't I focused on Iraqi-sponsored terrorism..."

None assigned --- for compassionate reasons
11 Cheney for Bush

"...[Bush] wanted a far more effective policy for trying to deal with [terrorism], and that process was in motion throughout the spring..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Over the weekend, the Bush-Cheney campaign issued a statement saying the Administration "changed its policies to address the terrorism problem, even before 9/11" claiming that the Bush team "went from a policy of swatting flies to putting al Qaeda at the top of the list." But a look at the record shows just how dishonest this statement is: In the face of warnings before 9/11, the Administration deemphasized counterterrorism; never once convened its own counterterrorism task force; threatened to veto efforts to divert national missile defense funds into counterterrorism; delayed arming the unmanned Predator drone flying over Afghanistan; terminated "a highly classified program to monitor al Qaeda suspects in the United States"; attacked previous Administrations for focusing too much on Osama bin Laden; rejected security recommendations from the government's bipartisan national security commission; and downgraded the counterterrorism office within the White House. In fact, al Qaeda was so low on this list of priorities, that neither Bush, Vice President Cheney or Rice ever once uttered the terms "al Qaeda" or "Osama bin Laden" between the time the Bush team took office and 9/11. Want to know more? American Progress has compiled an exhaustive, day-by-day overview of the Bush administration's public statements on national security, defense and international issues from January 20, 2001 to September 10, 2001..."

Center for American Progress:
"...The Center for American Progress has compiled an exhaustive, day-by-day overview of the Bush administration's public statements on national security, defense and international issues from Jan. 20 to Sept. 10, 2001...While the Bush administration maintains it was focused extensively on terrorism, our analysis of 557 public statements reveals only one mention of al Qaeda by the administration over the 8-month period. Notably, this single mention of al Qaeda was found in a signed notice from President Bush continuing an executive order – issued by President Clinton – prohibiting transactions with the Taliban. Osama bin Laden was mentioned only 19 times during the same period, 17 of which occurred in the context of press briefings or questions from journalists..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Bush said [in May of 2001] that Cheney would direct a government-wide review on managing the consequences of a domestic attack, and 'I will periodically chair a meeting of the National Security Council to review these efforts.' Neither Cheney's review nor Bush's took place." By comparison, Cheney in 2001 formally convened his Energy Task Force at least 10 separate times, meeting at least 6 times with Enron energy executives.
– Washington Post, 1/20/02 , GAO Report, 8/22/03, AP, 1/8/02..."

Daily Howler:
"...
According to Clarke, the threat of terror wasn’t “urgent” for the Bush Admin before 9/11. In this case, Clarke himself told scribes where to go. Yep! He sent them straight to this passage in Woodward:
WOODWARD (page 39): [Bush] acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. “There was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11. I was not on point…I didn’t have that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.”
Oof! The White House would love to get that one back! Of course, the pundits would have missed it too. But Clarke just keeps bringing it up..."

David Talbot (Salon.com):
"...
Former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado also directly told senior Bush officials loudly and clearly that, in his words, "The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming."
Hart was co-chair (with former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H.) of the U.S. Commission on National Security, a bipartisan panel that conducted the most thorough investigation of U.S. security challenges since World War II. After completing the report, which warned that a devastating terrorist attack on America was imminent and called for the immediate creation of a Cabinet-level national security agency, and delivering it to President Bush on January 31, 2001, Hart and Rudman personally briefed Rice, Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. But, according to Hart, the Bush administration never followed up on the commission's urgent recommendations, even after he repeated them in a private White House meeting with Rice just days before 9/11.
..
[Sen. Hart:]
...George Bush -- and this is often overlooked -- held a press conference or made a public statement on May 5, 2001, calling on Congress not to act and saying he was turning over the whole matter to Dick Cheney. 
So this wasn't just neglect, it was an active position by the administration. He said, "I don't want Congress to do anything until the vice president advises me." We now know from Dick Clarke that Cheney never held a meeting on terrorism, there was never any kind of discussion on the department of homeland security that we had proposed. There was no vice presidential action on this matter. 
In other words, a bipartisan commission of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who had spent two and a half years studying the problem, a group of Americans with a cumulative 300 years in national security affairs, recommended to the president of the United States on a reasonably urgent basis the creation of a Cabinet-level agency to protect our country -- and the president did nothing! 
By the way, when our final report came out in 2001, it did not receive word one in the New York Times. Zero. The Washington Post put it on Page 3 or 4, below the fold.
.."

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek):
"...In fact, the commission staff released a wealth of new details over the past two days that tend to corroborate Clarke’s basic story: that the Bush White House did not treat Al Qaeda as an “urgent” priority in the months before September 11. In one staff report, the commission stated that deputy CIA director John McLaughlin had told the panel there was “great tension” in the summer of 2001 between the Bush administration policymakers and intelligence officials who believed, like him, “that this was a matter of great urgency.” The report added that two CIA analysts who specialized in monitoring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden “were so worried about an impending disaster that one of them told us that they considered resigning and going public with their concerns.” 
Yet the commission’s staff reports suggest the new Bush administration was moving slowly on many fronts: Clarke himself was upbraided in January 2001 when he asked for an immediate “principals” meeting of cabinet chiefs to develop an urgent new anti-Al Qaeda policy and was told to instead work with a committee of “deputy” chiefs. By the summer of 2001, when this committee had finally drawn up recommendations, many of the "principals" had already departed Washington for their annual vacations and the meeting was not held until Sept. 4, a week before the attacks.
At the time, Clarke said, intelligence warnings of a “spectacular” attack were pouring in at a level higher than anything top intelligence officials had ever seen. Yet at the Pentagon, according to another commission report, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had devoted little time to the issue and some of his aides “told us that they thought the new team was focused on other issues”—such as dissolving an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that was impeding the administration’s plans to develop a new Star Wars antimissile defense system. The commission noted that the Defense Department post that traditionally deals most with counterterrorism, an assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, hadn’t even been filled at the time that one of the hijacked airlines slammed into the Pentagon.
Clarke himself was so deeply dismayed with the results of the Bush White House policy review on Al Qaeda—and thought it was so ineffective—that he fired off a memo to national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice just before the Sept. 4 meeting of cabinet chiefs. The memo, according to the commission staff, laid out Clarke’s frustrations with the Pentagon and the CIA for resisting his proposals for immediate,  aggressive actions against bin Laden. In the memo, the commission staff stated, Clarke “urged policymakers to imagine a day after a terrorist attack, with hundreds of American dead at home and abroad, and ask themselves what they could have done.” ..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...On a more substantive note compare Wilkinson's description of Clarke's pitiful proposal to this one from an August 4th, 2002 article in Time. Note particularly the comment from the "senior Bush administration official" at the end ...
Berger had left the room by the time Clarke, using a Powerpoint presentation, outlined his thinking to Rice. A senior Bush Administration official denies being handed a formal plan to take the offensive against al-Qaeda, and says Clarke's materials merely dealt with whether the new Administration should take "a more active approach" to the terrorist group. (Rice declined to comment, but through a spokeswoman said she recalled no briefing at which Berger was present.) Other senior officials from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, however, say that Clarke had a set of proposals to "roll back" al-Qaeda. In fact, the heading on Slide 14 of the Powerpoint presentation reads, "Response to al Qaeda: Roll back." Clarke's proposals called for the "breakup" of al-Qaeda cells and the arrest of their personnel. The financial support for its terrorist activities would be systematically attacked, its assets frozen, its funding from fake charities stopped. Nations where al-Qaeda was causing trouble-Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Yemen-would be given aid to fight the terrorists. Most important, Clarke wanted to see a dramatic increase in covert action in Afghanistan to "eliminate the sanctuary" where al-Qaeda had its terrorist training camps and bin Laden was being protected by the radical Islamic Taliban regime. The Taliban had come to power in 1996, bringing a sort of order to a nation that had been driven by bloody feuds between ethnic warlords since the Soviets had pulled out. Clarke supported a substantial increase in American support for the Northern Alliance, the last remaining resistance to the Taliban. That way, terrorists graduating from the training camps would have been forced to stay in Afghanistan, fighting (and dying) for the Taliban on the front lines. At the same time, the U.S. military would start planning for air strikes on the camps and for the introduction of special-operations forces into Afghanistan. The plan was estimated to cost "several hundreds of millions of dollars." In the words of a senior Bush Administration official, the proposals amounted to "everything we've done since 9/11."
..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
[Outgoing Deputy National Security Advisor Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick], who stayed through the first four months of the Bush administration, said, "candidly speaking, I didn't detect" a strong focus on terrorism. "That's not being derogatory. It's just a fact. I didn't detect any activity but what Dick Clarke and the CSG [the Counterterrorism Strategy Group he chaired] were doing." General Hugh Shelton, whose term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began under Clinton and ended under Bush, concurred. In his view, the Bush administration moved terrorism "farther to the back burner." 
America Unbound, p. 76
Ivo Daalder & James Lindsay
..."

1
12 Rice for Bush

"...Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda -- which was expected to take years. Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets -- taking the fight to the enemy where he lived...."

Spencer Ackerman (TNR):
"...Rice has refused to testify publicly before the 9/11 Commission. In her stead yesterday, the White House sent the gregarious Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. Gorelick confronted him with the difference between what Rice described in her op-ed and NSPD-9:
GORELICK: So I would ask you whether it is true, as Dr. Rice said in The Washington Post, "Our plan called for military options to attack Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets, taking the fight to the enemy, where he lived" ? Was that part of the plan as prior to 9/11?
ARMITAGE: No, I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11.
.."

David Johnston and Eric Schmitt (New York Times):
"...There were also no specific new military plans for attacking Qaeda forces or the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Pentagon's priorities that summer were developing a national missile defense plan and conducting a broad strategy and budget review. Military planners had previously offered a comprehensive plan to incorporate military, economic, diplomatic and political activities to pressure the Taliban to expel Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden. But the plan was never acted on by either the Clinton or Bush administrations..."

1
13 McClellan for Bush

"..."Dr. Rice, early on in the administration started holding daily briefings with the senior directors of the National Security Council, of which he was one. But he refused to attend those meetings, and he was later asked to attend those meetings and he continued to refuse to attend those meetings."...."

Brad Delong:
"...Rice: "To somehow suggest that the attack on 9/11 could have been prevented by a series of meetings--I have to tell you that during the period of time we were at battle stations," Rice said yesterday. McClellan added, "He's been out there talking about whether or not he was participating in certain meetings. So it appears to be more about the process than the actual actions we have taken."..."

Brad Delong:
"...Ms. Rice said, Mr. Clarke was very much involved in the administration's fight against terrorism. "I would not use the word `out of the loop,'... He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism," Ms. Rice said. "All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11."..."

Atrios:
"...
I really just can't even follow all of the Bush admin lies about this stuff. First we have this:
Ms. Rice painted a distinctly different picture of the involvement of Mr. Clarke, who has prompted furious responses since he asserted in a new book and in testimony on Capitol Hill that President Bush did not heed warnings before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism," Ms. Rice said. "All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11."
..."

Atrios:
"...AP 6/28/02 Link:
WASHINGTON - President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions, officials say.
(thanks to ensley)..."

2
14 Rice for Bush

"...Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction and he chose not to..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Clarke sent a memo to Rice principals on 1/24/01 marked "urgent" asking for a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with an impending Al Qaeda attack. The White House acknowledges this, but says "principals did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat." No meeting occurred until one week before 9/11.
– White House Press Release, 3/21/04..."

Kansas City Star:
"...
President Bush's top counterterrorism adviser warned seven days before Sept. 11, 2001, that hundreds of people could die in a strike by al-Qaida.
Richard Clarke also said that the administration was not doing enough to combat the threat, the commission investigating the attacks disclosed Wednesday.
Clarke, who served as a senior White House counterterrorism official under three successive presidents, wrote to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sept. 4, 2001, urging “policy-makers to imagine a day after a terrorist attack, with hundreds of Americans dead at home and abroad, and ask themselves what they could have done earlier,” according to a summary of the letter included in a commission staff report. Clarke cites the same plea in his new book
..."

1
15 Rice for Bush

[asserted] "...that Bush had requested a CIA briefing in the summer of 2001 because of elevated terrorist threats..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...At the same time, some of Rice's rebuttals of Clarke's broadside against Bush, which she delivered in a flurry of media interviews and statements rather than in testimony, contradicted other administration officials and her own previous statements. ...the CIA contradicted Rice's earlier assertion that Bush had requested a CIA briefing in the summer of 2001 because of elevated terrorist threats..."

Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus (Washington Post):
"...
The CIA now says that a controversial August 2001 briefing summarizing potential attacks on the U.S. by al-Qaida was not requested by President Bush, as Rice and others had long claimed. The Aug. 6, 2001, document, known as the President's Daily Brief, has been the focus of intense scrutiny because it reported that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden advocated airplane hijackings, that al-Qaida supporters were in the United States and that the group was planning attacks here.
After the existence of the highly classified document was first revealed in news reports in May 2002, Rice held a news conference in which she suggested that Bush had requested the briefing because of his keen concern about elevated terrorist threat levels that summer. But Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic commission member, disclosed at the hearing yesterday that the CIA informed the panel last week that the author of the briefing does not recall such a request from Bush and that the idea to compile the briefing came from within the CIA
..."

1
16 Rice for Bush

"...KING: Clarke says Mr. Bush pressured him the day after the 9/11 attacks to find evidence blaming Iraq and that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other senior officials also wanted to blame Saddam Hussein. White House aides say Mr. Bush and others did initially suspect Iraq but that in the end they followed the evidence.
RICE: He told me Iraq is to the side. We're going after Afghanistan and we're going to eliminate the Taliban and the al Qaeda base in Afghanistan..."

Rice for Bush

"...Not a single National Security Council principal at that meeting recommended to the president going after Iraq. The president thought about it. The next day he told me Iraq is to the side..."

White House

"...The President then advised his NSC Principals on September 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda, and that the initial US response to 9/11 would be to target al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan.
Dick Clarke did prepare a memo for the President regarding links between Iraq and 9/11. He sent this memo to Dr. Rice on September 18, after the President, based on the advice of his DCI that that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attack, had decided that Iraq would not be a target in our military response for 9/11. Because the President had already made this decision, Steve Hadley returned the memo to Dick Clarke on September 25 asking Clarke to "please update and resubmit," to add any new information that might have appeared. Clarke indicated there was none. So when Clarke sent the memo forward again on September 25, Dr. Rice returned it, not because she did not want the President to read the answer set out in the memo, but because the President had already been provided the answer and had already acted based on it..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...Rice's assertion this week that Bush told her on Sept. 16, 2001, that "Iraq is to the side" appeared to be contradicted by an order signed by Bush on Sept. 17 directing the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq. .."

Center for American Progress:
"...According to the Washington Post, "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2-and-a-half-page document" that "directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq." This is corroborated by a CBS News, which reported on 9/4/02 that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq."  In terms of resources, the Iraq decision had far-reaching effects on the efforts to hunt down Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. As the Boston Globe reported, "the Bush administration is continuing to shift highly specialized intelligence officers from the hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to the Iraq crisis."..."

Daily Howler:
"...
Here are four of Clarke’s “controversial” charges, along with the supporting material from Woodward’s much-loved book:
Rummy’s targets: Pundits found it hard to believe that Rummy really said it! On September 12, Clarke alleged, the wise old owl was prowling the White House, looking for someone to bomb:
CLARKE (page 31): Later in the day, Secretary Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq.
Pundits wondered if this could be true. They should have studied their Woodward—for example, his account of Camp David on 9/15:
WOODWARD (page 84): When the group reconvened, Rumsfeld asked, Is this the time to attack Iraq? He noted that there would be a big build-up of forces in the region, and he was still deeply worried about the availability of good targets in Afghanistan.
In Bush at War, a string of advisers note that Iraq would provide better targets. (Hence the word “still” in the passage above.) Last weekend, Rumsfeld was asked about Clarke’s troubling claim by Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday. Rummy gave two rambling replies; in the course of his non-answer answers, he never denied making the statement which Clarke records in his book...
...read Woodward—same day:
WOODWARD (page 49): Rumsfeld raised the question of Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target in the first round of the war on terrorism.
Not that there was anything wrong with it, but that’s what Woodward records! Indeed, Woodward shows Cheney voicing a similar view:
WOODWARD (page 43): “To the extent we define our task broadly,” Cheney said [at a 9/12 NSC meeting], “including those who support terrorism, then we get at states. And it’s easier to find them than it is to find bin Laden.”
Again, rumination on easier targets...
...[Woodward] records Bush’s view on September 17:
WOODWARD (page 98): Bush said he wanted a plan to stabilize Pakistan and protect it against the consequences of supporting the U.S.
As for Saddam Hussein, the president ended the debate. “I believe Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now. I don’t have the evidence at this point.”
In fact, he didn’t have the evidence, but according to Woodward, he asserted belief..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Britain's former ambassador to the United States is now confirming that nine days after 9/11, President Bush asked for Prime Minister Tony Blair's support in confronting – and potentially attacking – Iraq. The White House has denied that President Bush was focused on Iraq after 9/11, despite the Washington Post confirming the President signed a directive in the days after the attacks ordering the Pentagon to begin drawing up Iraq invasion plans. The British ambassador's charges have already been corroborated by former Bush counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke and former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. And Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) confirms that the result of the President's focus on Iraq after 9/11 was a loss of focus on the hunt for al Qaeda: Graham said that on a visit to MacDill Air Force Base in February 2002, a senior commander of Central Command told him, "Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq."..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Despite all evidence pointing to al Qaeda and bin Laden as behind the 9/11 attacks, just as Dick Clarke asserted, the Administration immediately discussed invading Iraq. Powell testified that on September 15, 2001, "Iraq was discussed, and Secretary Wolfowitz raised the issue of whether or not Iraq should be considered for action during this time." According to Powell, the President said, "first things first...we'll start with Afghanistan." Powell could not rule out the possibility that Wolfowitz suggested attacking Iraq "instead of Afghanistan."..."

2

(1 for lying compassion about Bush's position and 1 for lying compassion  about other "National Security Council principal's" positions)

17 Rice for Bush

"...The president returned to the White House and called me in and said, I've learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11..."

Daily Howler:
"...
Clarke’s “controversial” charges, along with the supporting material from Woodward’s much-loved book...
...[Woodward] records Bush’s view on September 17:
WOODWARD (page 98): Bush said he wanted a plan to stabilize Pakistan and protect it against the consequences of supporting the U.S.
As for Saddam Hussein, the president ended the debate. “I believe Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now. I don’t have the evidence at this point.”
In fact, he didn’t have the evidence, but according to Woodward, he asserted belief..."

Center for American Progress:
"...If this is true, then why did the President and Vice President repeatedly claim Saddam Hussein was directly connected to 9/11? President Bush sent a letter to Congress on 3/19/03 saying that the Iraq war was permitted specifically under legislation that authorized force against "nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11." Similarly, Vice President Cheney said on 9/14/03 that "It is not surprising that people make that connection" between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, and said "we don't know" if there is a connection...."

1
18 Rice for Bush

"...I don't know what a sense of urgency any greater than the one we had would have caused us to do anything differently. I don't know how...we could have done more. I would like very much to know what more could have been done?..."

Center for American Progress:
"...There are many more things that could have been done: first and foremost, the Administration could have desisted from de-emphasizing and cutting funding for counterterrorism in the months before 9/11. It could have held more meetings of top principals to get the directors of the CIA and FBI to share information, especially considering the major intelligence spike occurring in the summer of 2001. As 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick said on ABC this morning, the lack of focus and meetings meant agencies were not talking to each other, and key evidence was overlooked. For instance, with better focus and more urgency, the FBI's discovery of Islamic radicals training at flight schools might have raised red flags. Similarly, the fact that "months before Sept. 11, the CIA knew two of the al-Qaeda hijackers were in the United States" could have spurred a nationwide manhunt. But because there was no focus or urgency, "No nationwide manhunt was undertaken," said Gorelick. "The State Department watch list was not given to the FAA. If you brought people together, perhaps key connections could have been made."..."

Robin Wright (Washington Post):
"...
On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals. The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text. .."

Center for American Progress:
"...new evidence has surfaced that the Bush Administration was asleep at the wheel before 9/11. The NYT reports that in the summer of 2001, warnings became "more dire and more specific" and "were communicated repeatedly to the highest levels within the White House." Nevertheless, the Administration's "priorities that summer were developing a national missile defense plan" (evidenced by Rice's plan to make missile defense the national security centerpiece in a speech on 9/11) while "money for fighting terrorism had to be justified against an array of other priorities," including tax cuts. In one instance, the White House threatened to veto an effort to shift $800 million from missile defense into critical counterterrorism programs. Rice's "own focus until Sept. 11 was usually fixed on matters other than terrorism" despite Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger (and others) imploring her to focus on terrorism...."

Center for American Progress:
"...According to Daniel Benjamin's "The Age of Sacred Terror," the Bush White House before 9/11 halted previous multilateral efforts to press various countries to strengthen banking regulations which terrorist networks were abusing...."

Gail Sheehy (New York Observer):
"...
[Rumsfeld] said that on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he was "hosting a meeting for some of the members of Congress."
"Ironically, in the course of the conversation, I stressed how important it was for our country to be adequately prepared for the unexpected," he said.
It is still incredible to the moms that their Secretary of Defense continued to sit in his private dining room at the Pentagon while their husbands were being incinerated in the towers of the World Trade Center. They know this from an account posted on Sept. 11 on the Web site of Christopher Cox, a Republican Congressman from Orange County who is chairman of the House Policy Committee.
"Ironically," Mr. Cox wrote, "just moments before the Department of Defense was hit by a suicide hijacker, Secretary Rumsfeld was describing to me why … Congress has got to give the President the tools he needs to move forward with a defense of America against ballistic missiles."
..."

Center for American Progress:
"...President Bush yesterday claimed that "Prior to September the 11th, we thought oceans could protect us." That is a troubling statement from a President, considering that in January of 2001, the U.S. Government's Commission on National Security gave the White House a bipartisan report that warned of an attack on the homeland and urged the new Administration to implement its specific "recommendations to prevent acts of domestic terrorism" (an intelligence warning of a domestic attack was also given to the White House in May of 2001).  Unfortunately, according to Sens. Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Gary Hart (D-CO), the Administration rejected the Commission's report, "preferring to put aside the recommendations." Instead, the White House said it would have Vice President Cheney head up a task force to analyze the threat himself. The Administration then waited five months to officially create the task force, and then failed to convene a single meeting of the task force in the four months before 9/11...."

1
19 Rice for Bush

"...The president launched an aggressive response after 9/11..."

Center for American Progress:
"...In the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI, an internal administration budget document shows. The papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks."
– Washington Post, 3/22/04..."
1
20 Rice for Bush

"...so far has refused to provide testimony under oath to the commission that could possibly resolve the contradictions. On Wednesday night, she told reporters, "I would like nothing better in a sense than to be able to go up and do this, but I have a responsibility to maintain what is a long-standing constitutional separation between the executive and the legislative branch." ..."

Rice for Bush

"...Nothing would be better from my point of view than to be able to testify, but there is an important principle involved here it is a longstanding principle that sitting national security advisors do not testify before the Congress..."

Compassiongate:
There are 5 problems with Rice's statements.
(a) The 9/11 Commission is appointed by the President and is not Congress. So, separation of powers is not an issue.
(b) She changed her story from advisers to national security advisers over a period of days 
(c) She is willing to talk to every media outlet she has time for, in effect making public statements (not under oath) which the 9/11 Commission can note and use as information
(d) If she is willing to testify in private, then that breaks the so-called separation of powers principle anyway
(e) There is enough history of Presidential advisers testifying before

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...Other presidential aides have waived their immunity; President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, did, as did President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger..."

DailyKos:
"...Rice keeps digging that hole deeper and deeper. NBC doesn't even bother to couch its language diplomatically:
Although Condoleezza Rice says she must refuse to testify in public because of executive privilege, congressional studies have found 20 cases in which White House advisers did so anyway. NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Republican Commission John F. Lehman, who served as Navy Secretary under President Reagan said on ABC this morning that "This is not testimony before a tribunal of the Congress…There are plenty of precedents for appearing in public and answering questions…There are plenty of precedents the White House could use if they wanted to do this."  9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick agreed, saying "Our commission is sui generis…the Chairman has been appointed by the President. We are distinguishable from Congress." Rice's remarks on 60 Minutes that the principle is limited to "sitting national security advisers" is also a departure from her statements earlier this week, when she said the "principle" applied to all presidential advisers. She was forced to change this claim for 60 Minutes after 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste "cited examples of non-Cabinet presidential advisers who have testified publicly to Congress." Finally, the White House is reportedly moving to declassify congressional testimony then-White House adviser Richard Clarke gave in 2002. By declassifying this testimony, the White House is breaking the very same "principle" of barring White House adviser's testimony from being made public that Rice is using to avoid appearing publicly before the 9/11 commission..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Condoleezza Rice, despite discussing the issue repeatedly on all 5 morning talk shows, refuses to testify publicly before the committee about the Administration's terrorism policy. She claims that presidential advisers can't appear before Congress because of separation-of-powers concerns. But her argument does not withstand scrutiny. First, the 9/11 commission is not a congressional committee, but an independent committee, signed into law by the stroke of the President's pen. But even setting that aside, according to commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, a 4/5/02 Congressional Research Service report shows there are "many precedents involving presidential advisers" testifying before congressional committees. The report reveals that Lloyd Cutler, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samuel Berger and even American Progress CEO John Podesta appeared before congressional committees while serving as advisors to Presidents...."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
A couple hours after Clarke testified Rice headed over to the mikes and called his charges "scurrilous."
"This story has so many twists and turns, he needs to get his story straight," she said.
Rice truly has the best of all worlds. She hangs back at the White House shooting spit balls at Clarke and the rest of them. But she doesn't have to back anything up because she doesn't have to testify under oath or get questioned.
Needless to say, Rice rather undermines her arguments about the constitutional importance of maintaining the privacy of her advice to the president since she's sharing all sorts of information on the Post op-ed page and more or less every TV show in the universe.
When she went down to the White House press room to make the statements above, she also read from a previously classifed email Clarke had written to her just after 9/11. Needless to say, it was declassifed so she could try to use it to damage Clarke. Or to put it another way, it was declassified for narrowly political purposes -- taking advantage of the fact that the NSC, which Rice runs, is in charge of that process of declassification.
Evidently there are very few classes of confidential information Rice is not willing to publicize. She just doesn't want to get questioned.
Now, perhaps you'll say, following the White House line, that she'd love to testify but a constitutional principle is at stake and she has, as she puts it, a "responsibility to maintain what is a longstanding separation -- constitutional separation between the executive and the legislative branch."
Now, there is a constitutional issue involved. But Rice is trying to get people to think that members of the White House staff never testify. And that's not even close to true. In my hand I have a 2002 Congressional Research Service study that lists a whole slew of presidential aides and advisors who've testified in the past.
Indeed, it lists two of Rice's predecessors as National Security Advisor who've given public testimony: Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1980 and Sandy Berger in 1997
..."

Matthew Yglesias (TAPPED):
"...The White House announced late Thursday that Ms. Rice was willing to appear before the panel again, but only in private and not under oath..."

5
21 Cheney for Bush

"..."[Clarke] was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things. That is, he was given the new assignment at some point there. I don't recall the exact time frame..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
Cheney frequently gets a pass for what his aides later portray as unintentional misstatements of fact. But there are two or three levels of dishonesty involved in this response. The key one is timing. It's convenient that Cheney doesn't "recall the exact time frame" since the time frame puts the lie to his entire point. 
Clarke was put in charge of cyberterrorism (a pet interest of his); but that was after 9/11.
He's saying that Clarke wasn't really so central to the terrorism big picture prior to 9/11 because he was tasked with dealing with cyberterrorism (which Cheney describes as something like a glorified version of Norton AntiVirus). But, as noted, this happened after 9/11. That's after the period in which Clarke claims the White House wasn't paying attention to the terrorism issue.

If there's any question that's the period Cheney is talking about it becomes more clear as the conversation continues..."

Ryan Lizza (TNR):
"...Who could be expected to keep track of such minor details as how long Clarke was kept as counterterrorism czar? Maybe some scenes from Clarke's book would jog the vice president's memory. Clarke was the guy standing in Cheney's office on the morning of 9/11 with Rice in the minutes after the first attack. He's the guy that Condi turned to and asked, "Okay, Dick, you're the crisis manager, what do you recommend?" Later in the day he was also the guy standing in between Rice and Cheney in the White House Situation Room. He was the one whose shoulder Cheney placed his hand on when he asked, "Are you getting everything you need, everybody doing what you want?" Cheney might also remember Clarke as the guy who asked Cheney to request authorization from Bush to shoot down any hijacked airplanes. He may also recall him as the man who briefed Bush when the president finally arrived back at the White House. In other words, Cheney neglected to inform Limbaugh's audience that Clarke didn't move to cyberterrorism until a month after 9/11..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Dick Clarke continued, in the Bush Administration, to be the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and the President's principle counterterrorism expert. He was expected to organize and attend all meetings of Principals and Deputies on terrorism. And he did."
– White House Press Release, 3/21/04..."

Fred Kaplan (MSN/Slate) via Atrios:
"...Cheney's elaboration of his dismissal is blatantly misleading. "He was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things ... attacks on computer systems and, you know, sophisticated information technology," Cheney scoffed. Limbaugh replied, "Well, now, that explains a lot, that answer right there."
It explains nothing. First, he wasn't "moved out"; he transferred, at his own request, out of frustration with being cut out of the action on broad terrorism policy, to a new NSC office dealing with cyberterrorism. Second, he did so after 9/11. (He left government altogether in February 2003.)..."

Clarke on Salon.com:
"...Before Sept. 11, I was so frustrated with the way they were handling terrorism that I had asked to be reassigned to a different job. And the job I proposed was a job I helped to create -- a job to look at the nation's vulnerability to cyber-attack. So that job was supposed to be one that I went into on Oct. 1 [2001]; the actual transfer was delayed, of course, because Sept. 11 intervened. But it's important to realize that I asked for that transfer out of the counterterrorism job before Sept. 11, out of frustration with the Bush administration's handling of terrorism..."

2
22 Cheney for Bush

"...Well, [Clarke] wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...Rice, in turn, has contradicted Vice President Cheney's assertion that Clarke was "out of the loop" and his intimation that Clarke had been demoted..."

Daily Howler:
"...
ALTERMAN: [T[he ferocity of the argument is odd. Clarke is not really revealing anything we did not already know. So far, I’ve not heard anything—absent insidery detail—that I did not include in my chapter on the subject in The Book on Bush, including for instance, the fact that Cheney’s alleged commission on terrorism never once met. This is not news. I read it in The Washington Post, I believe, which is why I knew it..."

Brad Delong:
"...Ms. Rice said, Mr. Clarke was very much involved in the administration's fight against terrorism. "I would not use the word `out of the loop,'... He was in every meeting that was held on terrorism," Ms. Rice said. "All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11."..."

Brad Delong:
"...STEVEN HADLEY: Dick is very dedicated, very knowledgeable about this issue. When the President came into office, one of the decisions we made was to keep Mr. Clarke and his counter-terrorism group intact, bring them into the new administration--a really unprecedented decision, very unusual when there has been a transition that involves a change of party. We did that because we knew al Qaeda was a priority, that there was a risk that we would be attacked and we wanted an experienced team to try and identify the risk, take actions to disrupt the terrorists--and if an event, an attack were to succeed, to be an experienced crisis management team to support the president..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
Returning to the Wilkinson tirade already in progress, now blame all previous terrorism attacks on Clarke's being a doofus while also managing to step on Cheney's story line by insisting that Clarke was running the show right before 9/11 ...
[WILKINSON FOR BUSH] I would say that, since this president's been here, two-thirds of al Qaeda have been captured or killed. I would say, I would remind you that Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the African embassies were bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the USS Cole was bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy in the time preceding 9/11 when the threat was growing
..."

Center for American Progress:
"...The Government's interagency counterterrorism crisis management forum (the Counterterrorism Security Group, or "CSG") chaired by Dick Clarke met regularly, often daily, during the high threat period."
– White House Press Release, 3/21/04..."

Center for American Progress:
"...Top Bush officials claimed Clarke's criticism was not credible because, as Vice President Cheney said, Clarke "was out of the loop" after the White House counterterrorism office was downgraded from the top position it occupied under previous Administrations. But this attack implicitly acknowledges that counterterrorism was downgraded as a priority at the White House, and thus disproves the Administration's claims that it was taking terrorism seriously before 9/11. And such downgrading is consistent with other internal Administration documents. As columnist Paul Krugman notes, before 9/11 not only did the Administration "completely drop terrorism as a priority — it wasn't even mentioned in his list of seven 'strategic goals' — just one day before 9/11 it proposed a reduction in counterterrorism funds."..."

Moe Blues at Bad Attitudes via Atrios:
"...So Dick Cheney is making the rounds claiming that Clarke was "out of the loop" in the administration's counter-terror efforts. Therefore, Clarke doesn't know what he's talking about and anything he says should be instantly discounted.
It's amazing that Cheney does not seem to realize what he is actually saying: That the Bush administration's top expert on terrorism was not consulted about their counter-terrorism efforts. This presents several unpalatable choices:
1. Cheney is lying for political gain. If the public picks up on this, the backlash could be out of all proportion to the damage Cheney is trying to control.
2. The administration deliberately ignored its in-house expert, with September 11 being the result. This eliminates one more scapegoat, since the White House cannot simultaneously blame Clarke for failing to stop 9/11 while claiming he was "out of the loop" on counter-terrorism.
3. Assuming Cheney speaks the truth, it actually bolsters Clarke's claim to Cassandra-hood. Cut out of the loop, his warnings went nowhere and were ignored. That, too, is pretty damning of the administration...."

Ryan Lizza (TNR):
"...
On "60 Minutes" last weekend, Condoleezza Rice's deputy, Steve Hadley, made this case:
Dick is very dedicated, very knowledgeable about this issue. When the President came into office, one of the decisions we made was to keep Mr. Clarke and his counter-terrorism group intact, bring them into the new administration--a really unprecedented decision, very unusual when there has been a transition that involves a change of party. We did that because we knew al Qaeda was a priority, that there was a risk that we would be attacked and we wanted an experienced team to try and identify the risk, take actions to disrupt the terrorists--and if an event, an attack were to succeed, to be an experienced crisis management team to support the president..."

Fred Kaplan (MSN/Slate) via Atrios:
"...To an unusual degree, the Bush people can't get their story straight. On the one hand, Condi Rice has said that Bush did almost everything that Clarke recommended he do. On the other hand, Vice President Dick Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's show, acted as if Clarke were a lowly, eccentric clerk: "He wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff." This is laughably absurd. Clarke wasn't just in the loop, he was the loop...."

1
23 Wilkinson for Bush

"...it was this president who expedited the deployment of the armed Predator..."

Rice for Bush

"...We pushed hard to arm the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle so we could target terrorists with greater precision. But the Predator was designed to conduct surveillance, not carry weapons. Arming it presented many technical challenges and required extensive testing. Military and intelligence officials agreed that the armed Predator was simply not ready for deployment before the fall of 2001..."

Center for American Progress:
"...But according to Newsweek, it was the Bush Administration which "elected not to relaunch the Predator" and threatened to veto the defense bill if it "diverted $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism" programs like the Predator. As a result, AP reports, "though Predator drones spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times in late 2000, the Bush administration did not fly the unmanned planes over Afghanistan during its first eight months." While "the military successfully tested an armed Predator throughout the first half of 2001," the Bush Administration failed to resolve a bureaucratic "debate over whether the CIA or Pentagon should operate" the system, and it did not get off the ground before 9/11..."

Barton Gellman (Washington Post) via Avedon Carol via Road to Surfdom:
"...Barton Gellman: Not clear if you mean refute or rebut. For the latter, the White House says, for instance, that Clarke is wrong to say Bush delayed use of the armed Predator drone to go after bin Laden. Administration says the drone just wasn't ready until at lease August or early September, so they didn't lose much time before 9/11. My reporting a long time ago (my producer, I think, will post the links) found that it could have flown by early spring, and that Clarke among others pushed hard for that. The administration hadn't decided its terror policy yet, and didn't force resolution to a Pentagon v. CIA dispute on who would be responsible for using and paying for the drone. (Not what you may think -- neither one wanted it.)..."

1
24 McClellan for Bush

"...[Clarke's] right that in October -- in October of 2001, when the President signed this directive, the President was directing the Pentagon to prepare plans for the invasion of Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, that's part -- that's part of his revisionist history.
Q That's not true?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of his revisionist history, that's what I'm saying --
Q Are you saying it's not true?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, that's right. I am..."

Atrios:
"...
From the WaPo, over a year ago:
On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2˝-page document marked "TOP SECRET" that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global campaign against terrorism.
Almost as a footnote, the document also directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq, senior administration officials said.
The previously undisclosed Iraq directive is characteristic of an internal decision-making process that has been obscured from public view. Over the next nine months, the administration would make Iraq the central focus of its war on terrorism without producing a rich paper trail or record of key meetings and events leading to a formal decision to act against President Saddam Hussein, according to a review of administration decision-making based on interviews with more than 20 participants.
Instead, participants said, the decision to confront Hussein at this time emerged in an ad hoc fashion. Often, the process circumvented traditional policymaking channels as longtime advocates of ousting Hussein pushed Iraq to the top of the agenda by connecting their cause to the war on terrorism.

(thanks to Phelix)..."

Center for American Progress:
"...This denial was echoed by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as well. But according to the 1/12/03 WP (which quotes senior Administration officials) "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2-and-a-half-page document marked 'TOP SECRET'" that "directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq." This is corroborated by a CBS News, which reported on 9/4/02  that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq." And it is consistent with the President's thinking. As he said immediately after the attacks, "I believe Iraq was involved" and Iraq "probably was behind this in the end" - despite having no proof and being told that was not the case...."

1
25 Tenet for Bush

"...denied that Mr Bush had under-estimated the threat. "Clearly there was no lack of care or focus in the face of one of the greatest dangers our country has ever faced," he said...."

Brad Delong:
"...From Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 13:
Dale Watson, counterterrorism chief at FBI, was waving at the camera.... "And, Dick, call me in SIOC when you can."... Dale had something he did not want to share with everyone....
Frank Miller took over... I stepped out and called Watson on a secure line. "We got the passenger manifests from the airlines. We recognize some names, Dick. They're Al Qaeda." I was stunned, not that the attack was Al Qaeda but that there were Al Qaeda operatives on board aircraft using names that the FBI knew were Al Qaeda.
"How the fuck did they get on board then?" I demanded.
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger, friend. CIA forgot to tell us about them." Dale Watson was one of the good guys at FBI. He had been trying hard to get the Bureau to go after Al Qaeda in the United States with limited success..."

Robin Wright (Washington Post):
"...On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals. The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text. .."

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek):
"...In fact, the commission staff released a wealth of new details over the past two days that tend to corroborate Clarke’s basic story: that the Bush White House did not treat Al Qaeda as an “urgent” priority in the months before September 11. In one staff report, the commission stated that deputy CIA director John McLaughlin had told the panel there was “great tension” in the summer of 2001 between the Bush administration policymakers and intelligence officials who believed, like him, “that this was a matter of great urgency.” The report added that two CIA analysts who specialized in monitoring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden “were so worried about an impending disaster that one of them told us that they considered resigning and going public with their concerns.” 
Yet the commission’s staff reports suggest the new Bush administration was moving slowly on many fronts: Clarke himself was upbraided in January 2001 when he asked for an immediate “principals” meeting of cabinet chiefs to develop an urgent new anti-Al Qaeda policy and was told to instead work with a committee of “deputy” chiefs. By the summer of 2001, when this committee had finally drawn up recommendations, many of the "principals" had already departed Washington for their annual vacations and the meeting was not held until Sept. 4, a week before the attacks.
At the time, Clarke said, intelligence warnings of a “spectacular” attack were pouring in at a level higher than anything top intelligence officials had ever seen. Yet at the Pentagon, according to another commission report, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had devoted little time to the issue and some of his aides “told us that they thought the new team was focused on other issues”—such as dissolving an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that was impeding the administration’s plans to develop a new Star Wars antimissile defense system. The commission noted that the Defense Department post that traditionally deals most with counterterrorism, an assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, hadn’t even been filled at the time that one of the hijacked airlines slammed into the Pentagon.
Clarke himself was so deeply dismayed with the results of the Bush White House policy review on Al Qaeda—and thought it was so ineffective—that he fired off a memo to national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice just before the Sept. 4 meeting of cabinet chiefs. The memo, according to the commission staff, laid out Clarke’s frustrations with the Pentagon and the CIA for resisting his proposals for immediate,  aggressive actions against bin Laden. In the memo, the commission staff stated, Clarke “urged policymakers to imagine a day after a terrorist attack, with hundreds of American dead at home and abroad, and ask themselves what they could have done.” ..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...[Outgoing Deputy National Security Advisor Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick], who stayed through the first four months of the Bush administration, said, "candidly speaking, I didn't detect" a strong focus on terrorism. "That's not being derogatory. It's just a fact. I didn't detect any activity but what Dick Clarke and the CSG [the Counterterrorism Strategy Group he chaired] were doing." General Hugh Shelton, whose term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began under Clinton and ended under Bush, concurred. In his view, the Bush administration moved terrorism "farther to the back burner." 
America Unbound, p. 76
Ivo Daalder & James Lindsay..."

Center for American Progress:
"...President Bush yesterday claimed that "Prior to September the 11th, we thought oceans could protect us." That is a troubling statement from a President, considering that in January of 2001, the U.S. Government's Commission on National Security gave the White House a bipartisan report that warned of an attack on the homeland and urged the new Administration to implement its specific "recommendations to prevent acts of domestic terrorism" (an intelligence warning of a domestic attack was also given to the White House in May of 2001).  Unfortunately, according to Sens. Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Gary Hart (D-CO), the Administration rejected the Commission's report, "preferring to put aside the recommendations." Instead, the White House said it would have Vice President Cheney head up a task force to analyze the threat himself. The Administration then waited five months to officially create the task force, and then failed to convene a single meeting of the task force in the four months before 9/11...."

Also see TAPPED

1
26 Rice for Bush

"...During the transition, President-elect Bush's national security team was briefed on the Clinton administration's efforts to deal with al Qaeda. The seriousness of the threat was well understood by the president and his national security principals..."

Rice for Bush

"...The fact of the matter is [that] the administration focused on this before 9/11..."

Atrios:
"...From Woodward's book, page 39.
"Until September 11, however, Bush had not put that thinking [that Clinton's response to al Qaeda emboldened bin Laden] into practice, nor had he pressed the issue of bin Laden. Though Rice and others were developing a plan to eliminate al Qaeda, no formal recommendations had ever been presented to the president.
"I know there was a plan in the works. . . . I don't know how mature the plan was," Bush recalled. . . .He acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. There was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11. I was not on point [before that date], but I knew he was a menace, and I knew he was a problem."
(thanks to reader t)..."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
[Outgoing Deputy National Security Advisor Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick], who stayed through the first four months of the Bush administration, said, "candidly speaking, I didn't detect" a strong focus on terrorism. "That's not being derogatory. It's just a fact. I didn't detect any activity but what Dick Clarke and the CSG [the Counterterrorism Strategy Group he chaired] were doing." General Hugh Shelton, whose term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began under Clinton and ended under Bush, concurred. In his view, the Bush administration moved terrorism "farther to the back burner." 
America Unbound, p. 76
Ivo Daalder & James Lindsay
..."

Clarke on CNN:
"...President Bush himself said in a book when he gave an interview to Bob Woodward, he said "I didn't feel a sense of urgency about al Qaeda. It was not my focus, it was the focus of my team." He is saying that. President Bush said that to Bob Woodward. I'm not the first one to say this..."

Center for American Progress:
"...President Bush and Vice President Cheney's counterterrorism task force, which was created in May, never convened one single meeting. The President himself admitted that "I didn't feel the sense of urgency" about terrorism before 9/11..."

Center for American Progress:
"...[Clarke's] claim is substantiated also by the public record: Clarke's January memo marked "urgent" to Condoleezza Rice asking for a top level meeting to prepare for an imminent Al Qaeda attack was ignored for eight months. When one of the commissioners asked Clarke "is that eight-month period unusual?" he noted "It is unusual when you are being told every day that there is an urgent threat."...
Salon.com editor Sidney Blumenthal reports that Clarke's assertions about the Bush Administration's complacency are now being corroborated by another former Bush national security official.  "Gen. Donald Kerrick, who served as deputy national security advisor under Clinton and remained on the NSC for several months into the new Bush administration, wrote his replacement, Stephen Hadley, a two-page memo." Kerrick noted he said in the memo "they needed to pay attention to al-Qaeda and counterterrorism. I said we were going to be struck again. We didn't know where or when. They never once asked me a question nor did I see them having a serious discussion about it. They didn't feel it was an imminent threat the way the Clinton administration did. Hadley did not respond to my memo. I know he had it. I agree with Dick that they saw those problems through an Iraqi prism. But the evidence wasn't there."..."

Also see: Misleader.org; Sen. Gary Hart interviewed on Salon.com

1
27 McClellan for Bush

"...It's important to keep in context we're in the heat of a presidential campaign and all of a sudden he comes out with a book that he is seeking to promote ... and he is making charges that simply did not happen..."

Al Kamen (Washington Post):
"...
the Bush folks are acting as if they just heard last weekend that he had a book coming out. Which is just about true, although the book was physically in the White House months ago.
Clarke, bound by the usual pre-publication review agreement, shipped it to the National Security Council on Nov. 4 for a review that lasted at least a couple of months, the White House said.

Not once, apparently, did the NSC reviewers mention to the communications or political people that they had an election bomb on their hands.

Buzz is that the NSC types apparently felt it would have been inappropriate to do so. What? Once again the Bush White House stubbornly refuses to use the levers of power for political purposes? So maybe there is some legal, moral or ethical constraint. This is Washington, for crying out loud.
Had the political people gotten their hands on the book, they might have rushed the vetting so the book could have come out in December. (This in turn would have strengthened the argument that Clarke put it out now only for sales and political purposes.) Or they could have tried an extended rope-a-dope to delay publication until after the election
..."

Clarke on CNN:
"...I wrote the book as soon as I retired from government. It was finished last fall and it sat in the White House for months, because as a former White House official my book has to be reviewed by the White House for security purposes. This book could have come out a long time ago, months and months ago if the White House hadn't sat on it....
They took months and months to do it. They're saying, why is the book coming out at the beginning of the election? I didn't want it to come out at the beginning of the election. I wanted it to come out last year. They're the reason, because they took so long to clear it..."

Jennifer Loven (AP) via Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
Also, even though the White House argued that Clarke's memoir was released to do the maximum political damage to Bush in a presidential election year, McClellan would not say when the required national security review of the book was completed, allowing its publication to proceed. Publications by administration officials are routinely vetted to make sure that nothing is released that compromises classified information or national security..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post): "...the broad outline of Clarke's criticism has been corroborated by a number of other former officials, congressional and commission investigators, and by Bush's admission in the 2003 Bob Woodward book "Bush at War" that he "didn't feel that sense of urgency" about Osama bin Laden before the attacks occurred. In addition, a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made..."

Jeanne D'Arc via Road to Surfdom:
"...But shouldn't that excuse be laughed out of the arena? Obviously the Bush administration has exploited national security concerns for political purposes all along, but national security isn't a laughing matter, or a matter for bickering. But isn't the whole point of elections to force people running for office to answer questions about what they've done and what they will do? In an election with an incumbent, is there anything more important than accountability? Clarke's charges aren't coming a week before the election. The administration has more than seven months to refute him and argue for the validity of its own vision. If they had any sense whatsoever of how a democracy worked, that's what they'd be doing, not arguing that there's something underhanded about discussing actual issues in an election year..."

2
28 Roehrkasse/Ridge for Bush

"...In an interview Sunday night, Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the department, denied that Ridge was against the creation of the [Homeland Security] department..."

Billmon:
"...
The problem, of course, is that [it]...is an audacious lie. Creation of the DHS was originally opposed both by Ridge and by the Bush adminstration -- as even a cursory Googling reveals. And, as you may recall, even after the Bushies nominally agreed to the idea, they threatened to veto legislation creating the department unless it stripped employees of their collective bargaining rights and civil service protections. (The second part of Roehrkasse's statement very well may also be a lie, but I'm too busy this morning to run it down.)..."

Also see Talkingpointsmemo

1
29 McClellan for Bush

"...The White House, seeking to cool criticism from a former top anti-terror adviser, said Tuesday that Richard Clarke's resignation letter praised President Bush's "courage, determination, calm and leadership" on Sept. 11, 2001."It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months," said the Jan. 20, 2003, letter from Clarke to Bush. "I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th."...
White House spokesman Scott McClellan suggested Clarke's praise belies his later criticism of Bush's handling of the crisis..."

Jennifer Loven (AP) via Talkingpointsmemo:
"...
But the letter contains no praise of Bush's anti-terror actions before or after the attacks — only on the day of..."

Ryan Lizza (TNR):
"...Somehow the point is supposed to be that the letter contradicts Clarke's criticism of the Bush administration's terrorism policies. But the letter is perfectly consistent with what Clarke writes in Against All Enemies.
Here's the section of the letter the White House and others seem to believe is so damning:
I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th, first on the video link from STRATCOM and later that day in the PEOC and the Situation Room.
Notice how he limits his praise to one specific day. If I were Bush I would have been a little suspicious about how much Clarke really admired me when this landed on my desk. If I received a letter from one of my colleagues at TNR summing up my tenure, and all it said was, "I will always remember your perceptive article on cotton subsidies," I might wonder about her opinion of the rest of my work.
Anyway, in his book Clarke has almost identical praise for Bush's performance on 9/11. He writes:
Immediately following the [Oval Office] address [to the nation], the President met with us in the PEOC [Presidential Emergency Operations Center], a place he had never seen. Unlike in his three television appearances that day, Bush was confident, determined, forceful [emphasis added].
"I want you all to understand that we are at war and we will stay at war until this is done. Nothing else matters. Everything is available for the pursuit of this war. Any barriers in your way, they're gone. Any money you need, you have it. This is our only agenda." The President asked me to focus on identifying what the next attack might be and preventing it.
Clarke's whole point is that despite what Bush said on 9/11, he didn't "stay at war until this is done." The next day he was asking about Iraq. Several weeks later in Afghanistan, Bush didn't send American soldiers to go after bin Laden at Tora Bora. Soon after, intelligence and military assets were being redirected to Iraq. You can say Clarke's criticism is wrong, but there is no inconsistency with praising Bush on 9/11 and condemning his overall approach to terrorism.
Finally, I would never accuse the White House of selectively leaking a document that doesn't tell the whole story, but why didn't Bush's aides also release the letter Bush sent Clarke? Here's what The Washington Post reported in a March 13, 2003 piece about Clarke's retirement:
The present commander-in-chief is said to like Clarke--he sent him a warm, handwritten note and invited him to the Oval Office on Feb. 19 for a goodbye chat ..."

Frank Rich (New York Times):
"...Mr. Clarke pulled a rabbit out of a hat in the form of an adulatory handwritten note from President Bush. This move...checkmated the administration's efforts to belittle Mr. Clarke's government service..."

1
30 McClellan for Bush

"...his assertion that there was something we could have done to prevent the September 11th attacks from happening is deeply irresponsible, it's offensive, and it's flat-out false..."

Clarke on Salon.com:
"...I didn't say it. I said we'll never know, and I've said that over and over again. We will never know. There were certainly some steps that, had they been taken, would have perhaps resulted in the arrest of two of the hijackers. But we'll never know whether that would have led to the arrests of the others..."

CBS News:
"...For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.
"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.
"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."..."

Kirk Semple (New York Times):
"...
he terrorist strikes of Sept. 11, 2001, could have been prevented had the United States government acted sooner to dismantle Al Qaeda and responded more quickly to other terrorist threats, the chairman of the commission investigating the attacks said today, even as the White House sought to dispel the notion that the attacks were avoidable.
Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the commission and former Republican governor of New Jersey, said that had the United States seized early opportunities to kill Osama bin Laden in the years before Sept. 11, "the whole story would've been different."
Mr. Kean's comments on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" echoed statements he made in December and January. But he emphatically declared that additional months of testimony and investigation had not altered his view.
"What we've found now on the commission has not changed that belief because there were so many threads and so many things, individual things, that happened," he said. "And if some of those things hadn't happened the way they happened," the attacks could have been prevented
..."

2

(1 for saying Clarke said something he did not and one for claiming something about 9/11 that itself was false compassionate) 

31 McClellan for Bush

"...There's no record of the President being in the Situation Room on that day that it was alleged to have happened, on the day of September the 12th...
[The President] doesn't have any recollection of it, and, again, it purportedly took place in the Situation Room. There's no record to indicate that happened..."

Hadley for Bush

"...We can not find evidence that this [Situation Room] conversation [about links between Al Qaeda and Iraq] between Mr. Clarke and the President [on September 12, 2001] ever occurred..."

Brad Delong:
"...
White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer -- text and audio. "I'm not here to dispute that there wasn't a conversation and the fact that President Bush didn't ask questions about Iraq, I'm sure he did and I'm glad he did..."
HADLEY: But the point I think we're missing in this is of course the President wanted to know [on September 12] if there was any evidence linking Iraq to 9/11
..."

Daily Kos:
"...This may be somewhat old news by now, but the New York Times article about Richard Clarke by Miller Bumiller and Stevenson (oh my) is really, really bad...
Miller et al just print McClellan's dismissal of Beer's stature, not to mention the shocking fact two consecutive counter-terrorism experts, both known for impartiality and excellent service to Presidents of both parties, have resigned from their posts. Second, there's this:...
One ally, Mr. Clarke's former deputy, Roger Cressey, backed the thrust of one of the most incendiary accusations in the book, about a conversation that Mr. Clarke said he had with Mr. Bush in the White House Situation Room on the night of Sept. 12, 2001...
Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, responded at a White House briefing on Monday that Mr. Bush did not remember having the conversation, and that there were no records that placed the president in the Situation Room at the time.
Mr. Clarke countered in a telephone interview on Monday that he had four witnesses, including Mr. Cressey, who is a partner with Mr. Clarke in a consulting company that advises on cybersecurity issues. In an interview, Mr. Cressey said the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, also witnessed the exchange. Administration officials said Ms. Rice had no recollection of it...
In addition to Mr. Cressey, at least two other former officials with knowledge of what occurred in the Situation Room that day also backed up the thrust of Mr. Clarke's account, though one of the two challenged Mr. Clarke's assertion that Mr. Bush's demeanor and that of other senior White House officials was intimidating.
..
Reading that you may think the Times does a pretty good job of making it clear that at least four people do remember the conversation between Clarke and Bush, and that Bush and Rice don't remember the conversation, but don't say that it didn't happen.  But the Times article is not so clear, since there is a 20 paragraph gap between the last two paragraphs highlighted above.  Between those paragraphs there is the crap about Rand Beers...
In his 60 Minutes interview, Clarke...didn't say the conversation took place in the Situation Room itself:
THe president -- we were in the situation room complex -- the president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people
..."

1
32 Wilkinson for Bush

"...Dick Clarke, on another interview he gave to PBS "Frontline," said that, right after 9/11, all his options were open. He wasn't sure who did it. So, again, we see Mr. Clarke on three sides of a two-sided issue...."

Talkingpointsmemo:
"...Next from Wilkinson, misstate Clarke's statements and then accuse him of Iraq double-talk by again mischaracterizing another statement...
Here's the Frontline passage Wilkinson is referring to...
Question: Because one of the things that surprises a lot of the public, I think, is that immediately after Sept. 11, the administration knew exactly who had done it. Was that why?
Clarke: No. On the day of Sept. 11, then the day or two following, we had a very open mind. CIA and FBI were asked, "See if it's Hezbollah. See if it's Hamas. Don't assume it's Al Qaeda. Don't just assume it's Al Qaeda." Frankly, there was absolutely not a shred of evidence that it was anybody else. The evidence that it was Al Qaeda began just to be massive within days after the attack.
Question: Somebody's quoted as saying that they walked into your office and almost immediately afterwards, the first words out of your mouth was "Al Qaeda."
Clarke: Well, I assumed it was Al Qaeda. No one else had the intention of doing that. No one else that I knew of had the capability of doing that. So yes, as soon as it happened, I assumed it was Al Qaeda..."
1
33 Wilkinson for Bush

"...If you look in [Clarke’s] book you find interesting things such as reported in the Washington Post this morning. He’s talking about how he sits back and visualizes chanting by bin Laden and bin Laden has a mystical mind control over U.S. officials. This is sort of X-Files stuff, and this is a man in charge of terrorism..."

Daily Howler:
"...
Background: In chapter 10 of Richard Clarke’s book, he explains his opposition to the war in Iraq. In detail, he explains why the war plays into Osama bin Laden’s hands. He may be right, or he may be wrong. This passage ends the chapter:
CLARKE (page 246): Nothing America could have done would have provided Al-Qaida and its new generation of cloned groups a better recruitment device than our unprovoked invasion of an oil-rich Arab country. Nothing else could have so well negated all our other positive acts and so closed Muslim eyes and ears to our subsequent calls for reform in their region. It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush, chanting, “Invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq.”
Clarke imagines bin Laden “engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush.” Those familiar with life on this planet will know he was speaking ironically.
But the White House hopes to make a joke of your discourse, and fellows like Blitzer seem eager to help. Bush aides don’t want to discuss Clarke’s ideas—they want to slime and smear the messenger. They want to talk about profiteering. They want to talk about bad motives. According to Blitzer, they want to whisper about “weird aspects” of Clarke’s “personal life.” And they want to find trivial points in the book which they can use to create dumb distortions
..."
1
34 McClellan for Bush

"...Dr. Rice asked for the ideas that Dick Clarke had in mind, or the previous policies of the previous administration. But we wanted to go beyond that. We didn't feel it was sufficient to simply roll back al Qaeda; we pursued a policy to eliminate al Qaeda...."

Rice for Bush

"...The president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or 'roll back' the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to 'eliminate' the al Qaeda network..."

 

Ryan Lizza (TNR):
"...This is an odd statement since Clarke for several years had been calling unambiguously for the complete destruction of bin Laden's organization. In fact, it was Clarke himself who was tasked with writing the new administration plan to deal with Al Qaeda. He pulled out his plan from the Clinton years, and presented it at a deputies meeting. It was the Bushies who flinched at the plan's aggressiveness. Several deputies thought the goal to "eliminate al Qaeda" went too far. They wanted the document to say "significantly erode al Qaeda." Clarke won but it hardly mattered. September 11 happened before Bush ever signed the plan..."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...Rice and others in the administration have said that they implemented much more aggressive policies than those of Clarke and President Bill Clinton. Rice said the Bush team developed "a comprehensive strategy that would not just roll back al Qaeda -- which had been the policy of the Clinton administration -- but we needed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda." But in 2002, Rice's deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, wrote to the joint committee that the new policy was exactly what Rice described as the old one. "The goal was to move beyond the policy of containment, criminal prosecution, and limited retaliation for specific attacks, toward attempting to 'roll back' al Qaeda." ..."

Spencer Ackerman (TNR):
"...Rollback" is not the same thing as "containment," as Powell claimed; and "rollback" is, by any reasonable definition, a synonym for "elimination." Yet Powell repeatedly tried to muddy these definitions. "Our goal was to eliminate Al Qaeda," he said yesterday. "It was no longer to roll it back or reduce its effectiveness. Our goal was to destroy it. ... [The September 2001] NSPD did not speak of the rollback or the erosion of Al Qaeda as the previous policy had elaborated; rather it spoke of the elimination of Al Qaeda." This is audacious. "Rollback" and "elimination" are the same thing. Just listen to how senior Bush administration officials talked about "rollback" before they hatched this new rhetorical gambit. Last week on "Meet The Press," Rice lamented that when the United States considered how to deal with terrorists before September 11, "we believed for a long time that law enforcement would get this done, that we did not have to roll them back in terms of territory." More to the point, take Rice's deputy Hadley--who, in written testimony given to the 2002 joint inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into September 11, described the Bush White House policy on Al Qaeda. He issues the same misleading description of Clinton's efforts as Powell--but he also, inconveniently for the administration in retrospect, defines Bush's goal as rollback:
From the first days of the Bush administration through September 2001, it conducted a comprehensive, senior-level review of policy for dealing with Al Qaeda. The goal was to move beyond the policy of containment, criminal prosecution and limited retaliation for specific attacks, toward attempting to 'roll back' Al Qaeda [emphasis added]..."

Also see Brad Delong

1
35 Wolfowitz for Bush

"...According to Clarke, Wolfowitz said, "Who cares about a little terrorist in Afghanistan?" The real threat, Wolfowitz insisted, was state-sponsored terrorism orchestrated by Saddam. In the meeting, says Clarke, Wolfowitz cited the writings of Laurie Mylroie, a controversial academic who had written a book advancing an elaborate conspiracy theory that Saddam was behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Clarke says he tried to refute Wolfowitz. "We've investigated that five ways to Friday, and nobody [in the government] believes that," Clarke recalls saying. "It was Al Qaeda. It wasn't Saddam." A spokesman for Wolfowitz described Clarke's account as a "fabrication." Wolfowitz always regarded Al Qaeda as "a major threat," said this official...."

Matthew Yglesias (TAPPED):
"...Now I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened, but these defenses of Wolfowitz don't seem very plausible to me. Josh Marshall did a little Nexis work and found precisely zero instances of Wolfowitz stating that al-Qaeda was an important threat. He did find time to contribute to a 1997 book called The Future of Iraq. According to the Foreign Affairs review:
Nine authors handle the usual subjects, including the impact of sanctions, oil and general economic prospects, and Iraq's regional policies in the 1990s, plus they give descriptions of Iraqi political culture with an eye to what the future might hold. As for U.S. policy recommendations, Paul Wolfowitz prefers getting rid of the Iraqi regime using not just military pressure but "a political strategy that makes clear not only our opposition to Saddam, but also our willingness to support an alternative."
Back in 1994 he penned a 5,800 word essay for Foreign Affairs on the Clinton foreign policy where, like every other Bush official I can find, he does not so much as mention terrorism. Here's his description of threats to American security:
The dangers do not come from Somalia or Haiti, but rather, in the near to medium term, they come from what National Security Adviser Anthony Lake has called "backlash states" like Iran and Iraq, particularly if those states acquire nuclear weapons. In the longer term, much greater threats could emerge if the United States fails to maintain the broad peace and stability that has been achieved in the great power centers of Europe and Asia.
This is consistent with everything we know about the rest of the Bush national security team: Their priorities were on removing Saddam Hussein from power, constructing a national missile defense system, and managing great power relations with Russia and China -- terrorism simply wasn't on the agenda.
It seems particularly noteworthy to me that Wolfowitz's spokesman offered this non-denial denial of the charge that he was hyping Laurie Mylroie's theory that Saddam was behind anti-American terrorism. Here's what Peter Bergen had to say on the subject in his Mylroie profile for The Washington Monthly:
And it appears that Paul Wolfowitz himself was instrumental in the genesis of Study of Revenge: His then-wife is credited with having "fundamentally shaped the book," while of Wolfowitz, she says: "At critical times, he provided crucial support for a project that is inherently difficult." . . . According to Bob Woodward's book Bush at War, immediately after 9/11 Wolfowitz told the cabinet: "There was a 10 to 50 per cent chance Saddam was involved." A few days later, President Bush told his top aides: "I believe that Iraq was involved, but I'm not going to strike them now." However, the most comprehensive criminal investigation in history--involving chasing down 500,000 leads and interviewing 175,000 people--has turned up no evidence of Iraq's involvement, while the occupation of Iraq by a substantial American army has also uncovered no such link. . . . Wolfowitz gushingly blurbed Study of Revenge: "[Her] provocative and disturbing book argues that…Ramzi Yousef, was in fact an agent of Iraqi intelligence. If so, what would that tell us about the extent of Saddam Hussein's ambitions? How would it change our view of Iraq's continuing efforts to retain weapons of mass destruction and to acquire new ones? How would it affect our judgments about the collapse of U.S. policy toward Iraq and the need for a fundamentally new policy?"
Digby has more on Mylroie and her connections to Bush administration figures. The administration's defenders are trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, they want to rebut assertions that they ignored al-Qaeda in favor of Iraq. On the other hand, the reason they ignored al-Qaeda in favor of Iraq is that they genuinely believed Iraq was a more pressing threat and they want to defend that assessment, too. But it's either one or the other..."

Daily Howler:
"...
Here are four of Clarke’s “controversial” charges, along with the supporting material from Woodward’s much-loved book...
...read Woodward—same day:
WOODWARD (page 49): Rumsfeld raised the question of Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target in the first round of the war on terrorism.
Not that there was anything wrong with it, but that’s what Woodward records! Indeed, Woodward shows Cheney voicing a similar view:
WOODWARD (page 43): “To the extent we define our task broadly,” Cheney said [at a 9/12 NSC meeting], “including those who support terrorism, then we get at states. And it’s easier to find them than it is to find bin Laden.”
Again, rumination on easier targets..."

Also see: Digby, Digby, Kevin Drum (Washington Monthly)

1
36 Wolfowitz for Bush

"...Given what George Tenet and Colin Powell have said publicly about Iraqi links to al Qaeda, I just find it hard to understand how Dick Clarke can be so dismissive of the possibility that there were links between them..."

MSNBC:
"...Secretary of State Colin Powell reversed a year of administration policy, acknowledging Thursday that he had seen no “smoking gun [or] concrete evidence” of ties between former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida..."
1
37 Frist for Bush

"...Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath..."

"...[Clarke] may have lied under oath..."

Pandagon:
"...Of course, he apparently told reporters a different story:
 
Frist disclosed the effort to declassify Clarke's testimony in remarks on the Senate floor, then talked with reporter. He said he personally didn't know whether there were any discrepancies between Clarke's two appearances.
Yes, the man accusing someone else of telling two different stories told two different stories in the process. Amazing."

Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank (Washington Post):
"...The most sweeping challenge to Clarke's account has come from two Bush allies, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Fred F. Fielding, a member of the investigative panel. They have suggested that sworn testimony Clarke gave in 2002 to a joint congressional committee that probed intelligence failures was at odds with his sworn testimony last month. Frist said Clarke may have "lied under oath to the United States Congress." ...a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made. ..The joint committee's declassified report, released last July, contains dozens of quotations and references to Clarke's testimony, and none appears to contradict the former White House counterterrorism chief's testimony last month..."

1
38 Frist for Bush

"...I am troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their service as a government insider with access to our nation's most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on Sept. 11, 2001..."

Joe Conason (Salon.com):
"...
Frist displayed no such qualms when he published his own little tome on bioterrorism in March 2002, titled "When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism From the Senate's Only Doctor." During the anthrax mail attacks that followed Sept. 11, he showed up almost daily on television news programs to discuss the threat. That allowed him to reap further publicity and royalties from public fears by tapping out the "essential manual" that promised to save the lives of readers and their families in the event of a bioterror assault (for only $29.90 retail). Perhaps the government ought to inform and protect citizens against bioterror, but Frist immediately recognized a promising privatization opportunity.
Republicans like Frist certainly aren't complaining about Karen Hughes, the once and future Bush advisor and ghostwriter whose new book, "Ten Minutes from Normal," will debut tonight on ABC's "20/20."...
Were Frist truly concerned about profiteering from government service and wartime agony, he might have raised his smooth voice about those former Bush administration officials now seeking their fortunes in Iraq. The best-known is Joe Allbaugh, who managed the Bush-Cheney campaign four years ago, served as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a few years, and then abruptly quit to form a new company in March 2003, just as our troops were speeding toward Baghdad. New Bridges, his Houston-based firm, is blatantly oriented toward exploiting Allbaugh's crony connections to help "companies engaging the U.S. Government process to develop post war opportunities." In plain English, that means obtaining a chunk of those billions in federal contracts, for a nice fat fee...
"

Frank Rich (New York Times):
"...Soon administration emissaries went on full-court press to chastise Mr. Clarke for promoting a self-serving book at the height of election season. The only problem with that strategy is that one of its creators, Mr. Bush's once and future communications czar, Karen Hughes, was just days from starting her current nonstop TV tour to hype her own self-serving book about her White House tenure (9/11 included). Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, went even further, attacking Mr. Clarke's book as an attempt to profiteer on his inside access and "highly classified information." Apparently Mr. Frist did not know that the White House itself had vetted Mr. Clarke's book for possible security transgressions and approved it. Nor did the senator seem to remember that he had written his own, far cheesier post-9/11 cash-in book, "When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism from the Senate's Only Doctor." (I know it sounds like a parody, but that's the real title.)..."

Also see Counterspin

1
39 Wolfowitz for Bush

"...By the way, I know of at least one other instance of Mr. Clark's creative memory. Shortly after September 11th, as part of his assertion that he had vigorously pursued the possibility of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, he wrote in a memo that, and I am quoting here, "When the bombing happened, he focused on Iraq as the possible culprit because of Iraqi involvement in the attempted assassination of President Bush in Kuwait the same month," unquote. In fact, the attempted assassination of President Bush happened two months later. It just seems to be another instance where Mr. Clarke's memory is playing tricks..."

Spencer Ackerman (TNR):
"...The second point he made is demonstrably untrue. Wolfowitz attempted to cast doubt on Clarke's credibility by saying that Clarke, in the aftermath of the 1993 Trade Center bombing, himself believed the theory that Iraq was responsible, because Iraq had tried to assassinate the first President Bush. Well, Wolfowitz smugly noted, the assassination attempt occurred a few months after the bombing. So, he implied--and the implication hung in the air--Clarke can't even get his story straight.
Only that's not even close to what Clarke wrote. Clarke never bought the theory of Iraqi responsibility for the 1993 bombing, nor does he ever suggest that he does. The closest that he comes is in this sentence, on page 96: "More than anyone, I wanted the World Trade Center attack to be an Iraqi operation so we could justify reopening the war with Iraq--but there was no good evidence leading to Baghdad's culpability." And he never, ever writes that he contemporaneously connected the World Trade Center bombing with Saddam due to the attempted hit on Bush 41. He writes clearly that bombing took place in February 1993 ("Within two weeks of the bombing ... Muhammad Salahme was arrested while seeking his deposit at the Ryder office on March 4," p.78) and that "one Sunday in April" [p.80, my emphasis] Clarke took note of a report of the attempted assassination. He never for a moment suggests that the latter event influenced his thinking on the former..."
None assigned. It is not clear that Ackerman is clearly rebutting what Wolfowitz said, but I am holding on to this pending more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1. Now some of you might wonder where this University is located - so, it is appropriate to make it clear right here that this is not a real University - it is only a hypothetical institute of lower higher learning.

2. I sometimes prefer to truncate the words Compassionate Conservative to Compassion Con. There is no intent here to imply anything significant by this (at least anything more than is commonly understood). I reserve all moral clarity rights to the use of this term. One Compassion Con credit is assigned to every instance of compassion (i.e., misleading, deceptive or inaccurate statement or outright lie/mendacity).

3. Note that Compassionate statements made by Mr. Bush's spokespersons, advisers or appointees - speaking clearly on behalf of Mr. Bush - are considered as being supported by Mr. Bush, absent a public statement to the contrary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hit Counter