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March 23, 2004

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Patrick R. Sullivan

How about a Clarke Motto Lotto contest. My entries are from:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16192-2004Mar22.html

"a penchant for self-promotion"

"earned...many enemies over the years"

"ammunition to his critics"

"certainly did infuriate a lot of his interagency colleagues"

"He broke a lot of crockery"

"Strong opinions are the norm"

"A 30-year veteran bureaucrat"

"managed to anger numerous colleagues with his brusque style and bursts of temper"

"demands from colleagues that Clarke be fired"

"Clarke's brash manner is on full display"

"portrays himself as a kind of unheeded Paul Revere"

"frequently ignored or marginalized"

"left the Bush administration last year after a public demotion"

"well aware of the firestorm he would cause"

"very abrasive and aggressive and pushes his point of view very hard."

fishkite

"He wasn't in the loop" and "he clearly missed a lot of what was going on" - Cheney

"a bitter, discredited bureaucrat" - Powerlineblog

a "seething" and "angry man" - New York Times editorial

"flagrant effort to avoid responsibility for his own failures." - unnamed official quoted by Cal Thomas

HH

Unfortunately there is no link (yet) but there is an Oct. 2000 interview with Condi Rice out there by David Newman of WJR that puts the lie to Clarke's claim about her...

Jeff

That Lowry piece was the worst pile of nonsense I've read in months (and trust me, I'm like a pig on a truffle hunt when it comes to rooting through nonsense). There's a point at which rhetorical defenses look so desperate that they wrap-around and become indictments.

TM

Speech by Clarke, Policy Conference at Lansdowne Conference Center
October 16, 1998

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/pubs/lansdowne/clarke.htm

TRANSCRIPT: RENO, SHALALA, CLARKE 1/22 BRIEFING ON TERRORISM

Note - the first question is planted by Paul Wolfowitz - or George Bush.

http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/hyper/WF990122/epf505.htm

EXCERPTS: RICHARD CLARKE ON INFORMATION WARFARE THREAT - Electronic Pearl Harbor 12/09/98

http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/hyper/WF981209/epf304.htm

HH

TM - Lowry was probably the weakest piece... link to Ijaz and Geraghty when you get the chance.

Eric Scheie

The real threat -- even after 9-11 -- was WiFi:

http://wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,56742,00.html

Cecil Turner

Clarke's complaints about an Iraq fixation are not credible and suggest political motivation. Of course Iraq would be a suspect, after proven involvement in the 1993 WTC bomb plot. And it's worth remembering Iraq was a prime suspect in the post-9/11 anthrax attacks. From the Dec, 2001 hearings:

"The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the subsequent anthrax incidents have focused renewed attention on the threat of biological weapons."--Dr Harris

"The first potential source is countries that are both state sponsors
of international terrorism and that have an indigenous biological weapons program.

Dr. Spertzel has mentioned Iraq. That is one country which fits into this category, but there are others as well--North Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya. All of these countries have been identified by U.S. Government officials as both terrorism and proliferation concerns.

A second potential source [. . . ] comes from the past U.S. and former Soviet biological weapons programs. And the third and final possibility is, of course, that of a purely homegrown effort."--Dr Harris

"My analysis shows that this product was not obtained using either American or Russian production techniques."--Dr Alibeck

"Now, having said all that, I then said I could name several possible sources, but clearly number one on my list would be Iraq."--Dr Spertzel

In any event, since we invaded Afghanistan within a month, the Iraq fixation obviously wasn't that much of a distraction.

Sean Paden

In Clark's own words, the solution to international terrorism was as follows:

First, "Where possible and appropriate, the United States will bring the terrorists back to this country and put them on trial." As proof, he sites that the perpetrators of the numerous Clinton era attacks are now behind bars (though not the masterminds).
-- Put them on trial!? Where possible and appropriate!?!?!? Does this sound like a man who was screaming at everyone who would listen that we have to stop Al Queda?

Second, "for the first time since the 1960s, a serious program of preparedness against weapons of mass destruction in the United States" and "preventing the terrorists from obtaining these weapons."
-- Playing defense appeared to be Mr. Clark's real strategy. And playing defense is the surest way to guarantee we will eventually get hit (no defense system is foolproof).

Third, "to develop, for the first time in history, a national cyber defense plan to prevent people from invading U.S. computer systems and turning off telephones and lights and crashing stock markets.
-- Again, does this strike you as someone who yelled to everyone who would listen that we had to do more against Al Queda?

bushgirlsgonewild

Roger Cressey, Clark’s deputy at the time, said Monday that he remembered being in the room when Bush pulled Clark aside to put the pressure on.

“The impression was pretty straightforward: that the president — his first thought was to take a look at Iraqi culpability,” said Cressey, who is now a consultant for NBC News.

I GUESS HE'S LYING TOO

TM

Cressey lying? That was our favorite exculpatory bit.

I think Hadley tripped over his own spin with his suggestion that the White House has no record of that conversation having taken place. I think it took place, and I think Condi Rice is quite clear on this point:

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the president, like all Americans, wanted to know who was responsible. It would have been irresponsible not to ask a question about all possible links, including to Iraq -- a nation that had supported terrorism and had tried to kill a former president. Once advised that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11, the president told his National Security Council on Sept. 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda and that the initial U.S. response to Sept. 11 would be to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Is it really Clarke's considered opinion that one day after the event it was so clearly established that al Qaeda and only al Qaeda was involved, that Bush was reckless or irresponsible in suggesting that other possibilities be examined?

HH

Er... except that Cressey told the NY Times that he saw it merely as a "request" and would not call it "intimidation" as Clarke interpreted it.

bushgirlsgonewild

PREVIOUSLY STATED: “Once advised that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11, the president told his National Security Council on Sept. 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda and that the initial U.S. response to Sept. 11 would be to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

BULL! According to the 1/12/03 Washington Post (which quotes senior Administration officials) "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2½-page document marked 'TOP SECRET'" that "directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq." This is corroborated by 9/4/02 CBS News report that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq."

Other options are perusable, BUT Dubya didn’t have the expertise to consider other parties, but the longest serving public official and leading terrorist expert in the government did make the conclusion that al-Qaeda was responsible and he was right.

Furthermore, once Mr. Bush stated, "Never did anybody's thought process about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil-doers would fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets - never." [NATO, 9/16/01]

Of course he was WRONG again; In March 1999, US intelligence learned that a US citizen who was involved in al-Qaeda planned to fly an explosives-laden hang glider into the Egyptian Presidential Palace in Cairo. There were problems in testing the glider in Afghanistan, and he was eventually arrested before the plot was carried out. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] Later that year, an Egyptian pilot intentionally flew a passenger airliner into the ocean, killing everyone on board. [AP, 1/21/00, Atlantic Monthly, 11/01, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 3/25/02] In August 2001, US intelligence learned of a plot to either bomb the US embassy in Nairobi from an airplane or crash an airplane into it. Two people who were reportedly acting on instructions from bin Laden met in October 2000 to discuss this plot. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02]
In July 2001, Bush attended the G-8 Summit in Genoa, Italy. The Egyptian government warned that al-Qaeda planned to assassinate Bush and other heads of state using "an airplane stuffed with explosives." [New York Times, 9/26/01] US intelligence also learned of this from Russia and other sources. [CNN, 3/02] The Italian government surrounded the summit with antiaircraft guns, kept fighters in the air, and closed off local airspace to all planes.[Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01] The reports were taken so seriously that Bush stayed overnight on an aircraft carrier offshore. [CNN, 7/18/01] The plot was reported in the media before the summit began, so, not surprisingly, the attack was called off. [Los Angeles Times, 9/27/01] Some media reports even mentioned that the plan was to attack Bush on the ground from al-Qaeda-controlled aircraft. [BBC, 7/18/01]

Numerous foreign governments warned the US that it was likely to be attacked by airplanes used as weapons. In 1999, the British warned that al-Qaeda had plans to use "commercial aircraft" in "unconventional ways, possibly as flying bombs."�[Sunday Times, 6/9/02] In early August 2001, Britain gave a categorical warning that the US should expect multiple airline hijackings. This warning was passed on to Bush a short time later. [Sunday Herald, 5/19/02] In June 2001, Germany warned that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons to attack "American and Israeli symbols, which stand out." [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/14/01, Fox News, 5/17/02] In August, Russian President Putin warned the US that suicide pilots were training for attacks on US targets. [Fox News, 5/17/02]

BUSH and his ‘experts’ BLEW IT, just face it.

Cecil Turner

BGGW,

Are you claiming the "initial U.S. response to Sept. 11" was not "to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan"? Or that someone predicted Al Qaeda would: "fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets"?

The problem with this type of wild claim is that it obscures any real point you might have.

jb

HH writes:

"Unfortunately there is no link (yet) but there is an Oct. 2000 interview with Condi Rice out there by David Newman of WJR that puts the lie to Clarke's claim about her..."

Certainly Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the usual crowd of cretins think so, but the WJR interview actually supports Clarke's impression, because Rice *never mentions Al Qaeda*. She mentions Osama bin Laden, but *everyone* knew who OBL was, as Clarke assumed when he explained to Rice that Al Qaeda was OBL's network when she appeared never to have heard of them.

Sheesh.

jb

TM asks

"Is it really Clarke's considered opinion that one day after the event it was so clearly established that al Qaeda and only al Qaeda was involved, that Bush was reckless or irresponsible in suggesting that other possibilities be examined?"

Bush wanted a report showing it was Iraq. A report was produced showing it wasn't Iraq. It was bounced back and they were told to do it over. They did it over with the same conclusion. It's not clear Bush even saw it, since it didn't say what he wanted said. Reckless and irresponsible is an understatement.

Cecil Turner

"She mentions Osama bin Laden, but *everyone* knew who OBL was, as Clarke assumed when he explained to Rice that Al Qaeda was OBL's network when she appeared never to have heard of them."

"Bush wanted a report showing it was Iraq."

The problem with both of these observations is the mind-reading required. Rice's facial expression could just as easily have meant: "I understand it's a threat, but what do you plan to do about it?" or "You've been touting this dumb-a**ed plan for months now--when can I expect you and your oversized staff to come up with a new proposal?"

Bush may well have wanted to know if Iraq was involved before ordering the invasion of Afghanistan. Clarke's responses are both non-responsive and inaccurate. (E.g., notice anything missing from the sponsor list: "Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen.")

jb

"The problem with both of these observations is the mind-reading required."

No, the problem is the right wingnut lie that Rice's WJR interview contradicts Clarke.

jb

"The problem with both of these observations is the mind-reading required."

It's not mind reading that Bush wanted a report showing it was Iraq, it's inference based on a large body of information.

jb

> Rice's facial expression could just as easily have meant:

Only in the sense that you could just as easily win the lottery as not.

> "I understand it's a threat, but what do you plan to do about it?"

When Clarke explained to the blank looking Rice that Al Qaeda was OBL's network, she didn't indignantly say "I know that". If she had, she'd be trumpeting it all over the media.

> or "You've been touting this dumb-a**ed plan for months now--when can I expect you and your oversized staff to come up with a new proposal?"

Talk about dumb-assed ... you don't *anything* about this, do you? Go read Clarke's book.

bushgirlsgonewild

CECIEL: "Are you claiming the "initial U.S. response to Sept. 11" was not "to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan"? Or that someone predicted Al Qaeda would: "fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious US targets"?

YES, and WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE HOW MANY (1 OR 4)???? IT WAS APPARENT IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. We use the same measures post 9/11 to prevent 1 as we do 4, don't we???

bushgirlsgonewild

"Bush may well have wanted to know if Iraq was involved before ordering the invasion of Afghanistan."

THERE should be very little doubt in any ones mind by now that Bush not only wanted to know if Iraq was involved, but also that he WANTED them to be involved and began immediately looking for ways to implicate Saddam in 9/11. And they did implicate Saddam (although Powell and others later admitted there was no connection).

Today, the Washington Post reports on a telling speech never given -- a Condoleezza Rice address on Bush Administration policy scheduled to be delivered on September 11, 2001, which "mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States...

The text of Rice's Sept. 11 speech, which was never delivered, broadly reflects Bush administration foreign policy pronouncements during the eight months leading to the attacks..."

TM

THERE should be very little doubt in any ones mind by now that Bush not only wanted to know if Iraq was involved, but also that he WANTED them to be involved and began immediately looking for ways to implicate Saddam in 9/11.

I am a broken record on this point, but in his Oct 2002 Senate floor speech, Kerry says would have supported an effort against Saddam immediately after 9/11.

Cecil Turner

JB,
When Clarke testified before the 9/11 commission, I could tell by his facial expression he was lying. Convincing, huh? And I read enough of his book to understand he was a 60's war protester who hasn't the first bloody clue on how to use military force. His proposals reflect that, and obviously wouldn't have stopped 9/11 . . . just as he admitted to Sen Gorton.

Cecil Turner

"THERE should be very little doubt in any ones mind by now that Bush not only wanted to know if Iraq was involved, but also that he WANTED them to be involved and began immediately looking for ways to implicate Saddam in 9/11."

It was US policy to depose Saddam since the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. The President didn't need to prove anything. If he'd WANTED them to be implicated, he could easily have had some of the boys in the dirty tricks department gin up some evidence. (It's been done before.)

bushgirlsgonewild

First, I wish I could tell by someone’s facial expressions whether they were lying or not. Sounds like the kind of evidence people use to give in Salem witch trials.
Second, you must be reading the wrong book – you’re not seriously stating that Clarke was a Vietnam War protester?

And Bush probably tried to get some people to pull some dirty tricks and that's why
so many people in the state department and military have resigned since his invasion.

Cecil Turner

First, I wish I could tell by someone’s facial expressions whether they were lying or not. Sounds like the kind of evidence people use to give in Salem witch trials.

I agree. I also wish I could tell by facial expressions whether they had ever heard of Al Qaeda.

Second, you must be reading the wrong book – you’re not seriously stating that Clarke was a Vietnam War protester?

You're not seriously claiming you read it, are you?

bushgirlsgonewild

No, I haven't read it, even though I'm a speed reader, I can't keep up with all the anti-Bush books being released.

And I think there is a vast difference between being able to tell from another's facial expression whether they are lying or simply puzzled.

Cecil Turner

"No, I haven't read it, even though I'm a speed reader, I can't keep up with all the anti-Bush books being released."

I suspected you hadn't. If you had, you'd know Clarke talks about one of his contacts and being war protesters together. You'd also know he'd essentially pitched the same "delenda" plan since '98, after being told several times it wasn't feasible.

"And I think there is a vast difference between being able to tell from another's facial expression whether they are lying or simply puzzled."

It's that part where he claims to know why she's puzzled that's hard to credit. Especially since the discussion is on a subject where they have a sharp difference of opinion: Condi, like the President, sees state sponsorship as the main issue and the Taliban as the main target--Clarke thinks Al Qaeda can be "rolled back" independently. (And the 2000 interview shows she's clearly well acquainted with the issue--whether she calls it "Osama bin Laden's organization" or "Al Qaeda" doesn't seem terribly critical.)

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