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Richard Clarke Defends Bush Administration

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In early August, 2002, Fox News was present at a briefing before the media in which Richard Clark Defended the Bush Administration’s handling of the pre-9/11 terror situation. Fox News posted the transcript today on its Foxnews.com website.

Lets be clear here, everything said in this transcript not only flies in the face of Clarke’s claims from his book, but the claims Clinton Administration officials made JUST YESTERDAY in front of the 9/11 commission. This whole issue is going to hurt Democrats way more than it ever could have helped them.

Here is a piece of the transcript for your review with a link to the full transcript:

QUESTION: What is your response to the suggestion in the [Aug. 12, 2002] Time [magazine] article that the Bush administration was unwilling to take on board the suggestions made in the Clinton administration because of animus against the — general animus against the foreign policy?

CLARKE: I think if there was a general animus that clouded their vision, they might not have kept the same guy dealing with terrorism issue. This is the one issue where the National Security Council leadership decided continuity was important and kept the same guy around, the same team in place. That doesn’t sound like animus against uh the previous team to me.

JIM ANGLE: You’re saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that’s correct.

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About David

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    Cool, except for the part where you say it flies in the face of his claims.

    How does that excerpt get the administration, particularly Rumsfeld, off the hook for using 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq?

    Unilaterally invading Iraq did have nothing to do with the so-called war on terror and did, in fact take scarce resources from that war, not to mention all the harm it has done.

    (I don’t believe that the current administration could have necessarily prevented 9/11, though, as some seem to be saying.)

  • http://www.viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    How does that excerpt get the administration, particularly Rumsfeld, off the hook for using 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq?

    Clinton Administration officials, as far as I know, did not address the removal of Saddam in their remarks to the 9/11 commission yesterday. I could be wrong on this, but the basic tone of their comments, as leaked to the NY Times and reported on by the media yesterday, was to point the finger at the Bush Administration for not heeding their warnings about the growing terror threat.

    Richard Clarke’s briefing in 2002 refutes this claim in that Clarke asserted that 1) the Bush administration took their suggestions seriously, 2) they kept the same anti-terrorism task force in place that had been in place during the Clinton administration and, 3) increased the intelligence budget five-fold in an attempt to get a better handle on the seriousness of the threat.

    Thanks.

    David

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    You’re arguing a different issue than I am.

    Using 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq is still unconscionable, whatever else they may or may not have done.
    Using the tragedy to advance their ideologically-driven goals instead of pursuing terrorist is despicable in my view.

    And I do believe that besides having nothing to do with the war on terrorism, invading Iraq did take resources away from that war, while increasing the level of danger in the world.

  • http://naproom.mu.nu Tom

    You liberals are totally idiotic. You say Bush should have known 9/11 was coming, and should have preemptively acted.

    So he does act in a preemptive manner in regards to Iraq, and you scream bloody murder?

    Wha’ Happened?

    Installing democracy in Iraq, the heart of Islamofacism, will in the long run make the whole middle east a safer place.

  • Roland

    David

    This briefing does not change the fact that some of Clarke’s claims have been confirmed through other sources. It certainly casts some doubt on his judgement against the Bush White House’s handling of Afghanistan and Al Quaeda.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks An Apparently Idiotic Liberal

    You liberals are totally idiotic

    didn’t anybody ever tell you that if you make a face like that it might get stuck that way forever?

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    “You say Bush should have known 9/11 was coming, and should have preemptively acted.”

    Who here said that? C’mon, let me at ‘im!

    Hey, you – quit hiding and get out here now, damn it!

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    The guy was working for the Bush administration back then and I’m sure there were Bush flacks in the room with him. He wasn’t going to say, “Yes, they fueked up.”

    Same thing with his resignation letter. It is standard protocol to praise your boss on the way out.

    Seems to me the book is closer to the truth than spin for reporters or a resignation letter.

    Clarke also said he is a Republican. He worked for Reagan and both Bushs and says he won’t work for Kerry.

    And at least he appeared in public under oath which is more than you can say for Rice or Bush.

  • mike

    This just shows how the Clarke thing has the White House firing desperately on all fronts. If you need a lame rationale for Bush behavior, just call Flanagan. He’s your man.

    The effect of the 9/11 commission will most likely be a wash. Both parties will be blamed, and then everyone will go home.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    I don’t normally watch CNN’s Larry King show, but will in 45 minutes tonight.

    It’s going to have right-wing anchor Bob Schieffer and Richard Clarke on tonight.

    Should be fun.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    Schieffer didn’t make it. Too bad.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    To Steve:

    “The guy was working for the Bush administration back then and I’m sure there were Bush flacks in the room with him. He wasn’t going to say, “Yes, they fueked up.”

    If he really thought that, he should have resigned.

    “Same thing with his resignation letter. It is standard protocol to praise your boss on the way out.”

    Yep. Lie in order to get a letter of recommendation. Sounds ethical to me…

    “Seems to me the book is closer to the truth than spin for reporters or a resignation letter.”

    If by “truth” you mean “what I wanna hear.”

    “Clarke also said he is a Republican. He worked for Reagan and both Bushs and says he won’t work for Kerry.”

    That’s nice. Not that Kerry would have him…

    “And at least he appeared in public under oath which is more than you can say for Rice or Bush.”

    Rice testified for the Commission, just not in public. The public stuff we just watched on CNN or FOXNEWS was merely for grandstanding purposes. The real info came during closed-door meetings.

    As for Bush not testifying, I don’t recall either Clinton testifying in public. Why should Bush?

  • http://www.commondreams.org Kane Mcbride

    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 to have been a voice in the neo-con wilderness of Saddam obsession, not 9-11 terrorist obsession. Cut out of the loop, his warnings went nowhere and were
    ignored. That, too, is pretty damning of the administration.
    There is one overriding fact that is inescapable for Bush: Clarke’s counter-terrorism office was a cabinet-level position until Bush became president. The fact that the position was downgraded by Bush tells any thinking person all they need to know about where terrorism stood on the Bush priority list prior to 9/11. This can’t be denied, spun, twisted, or wished away.

  • Shark

    MORE LIES:

    The White House claimed it was applying pressure to the Taliban in 2001.

    In May of 2001, the Administration pushed for $43 million in aid to the Taliban because of their announced campaign against poppy growers.

    IN MAY OF 2001!

    [the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan] “are a decidedly odd choice for an outright gift of $43 million from the Bush Administration. This is the same government against which the United Nation imposes sanctions, at the behest of the United States, for refusing to turn over the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.” —Newsday, 5/29/01

    BUSH ADMINISTRATION = PATHOLOGICAL LIARS

  • Shark

    PRESIDENT LIAR: “Had my administration had any information that terrorists were going to attack New York City on September the 11th, we would have acted.”

    Even though there was no information as to an exact time or locale, Bush’s statement tries to cover over the fact that he received repeated warnings before 9/11 that an Al Qaeda attack was imminent.

    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.”

    The White House was warned in July of 2001 that Al Qaeda had considered using hijacked airliners as missiles.

    Vice President Cheney said on 9/16/01 that “there had been information coming in that a big operation was planned”.

    Meanwhile PRIOR TO 9/11, the Administration never once convened its own counterterrorism task force.

    The Administration threatened to veto bills diverting national missile defense funds into counterterrorism.

    The Administration delayed arming the unmanned Predator drone flying over Afghanistan.

    The Administration terminated “a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States.”

    And as if that wasn’t enough, the Administration downgraded Clarke’s counterterrorism office within the White House.

  • Shark

    Scott McClellan, when asked about Clarke’s charges that “the President was directing the Pentagon to prepare plans for the invasion of Iraq,” responded:

    “That’s part of his revisionist history.”

    The reporter then asked, “Are you saying it’s not true?”

    McClellan: “Yes, that’s right. I am. That’s just his revisionist history to make suggestions like that.”

    SO WHO IS DOING REVISIONIST HISTORY? The pathological liars, of course.

    According to the 1/12/03 Washington Post (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.”

    CBS News also 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.”

    Scott McClellan, when asked about Clarke’s charges that “the President was directing the Pentagon to prepare plans for the invasion of Iraq,” responded:

    “That’s part of his revisionist history.”

    The reporter then asked, “Are you saying it’s not true?”

    McClellan: “Yes, that’s right. I am. That’s just his revisionist history to make suggestions like that.”

    According to the 1/12/03 Washington Post (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.”

    CBS News also 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.”

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    “Rice testified for the Commission, just not in public. The public stuff we just watched on CNN or FOXNEWS was merely for grandstanding purposes. The real info came during closed-door meetings.”

    That “merely” reminds me of the reporter who asked Mrs. Lincoln: “Aside from that, what did you think of the play?”

    Condi appears afraid of being forced into a choice between telling the truth and perjuring herself because she would be testifying under oath.

    Dance, Condi, dance …

  • Roland

    The closed door stuff is by definition closed door. We have no idea what was said. It would seem though, at least according to Bob Kerrey, that the plan that Rice and Company came up with was inadequate. He ridiculed the plan in open session, stating something like “they are lucky that the plan remains confidential. There’s nothing in it.” This is a remarkable claim.

    I don’t think that Rice would testify to anything new. From watching a number of her extemporaneous encounters with questioners, my impression is that she is a serious PR liability.