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April 08, 2004

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Tom Bowler

In today's WSJ Mr. Kerrey had this to say:

"Mr. Clarke's views on Iraq notwithstanding, after 9/11 we could not afford either to run the risk that Saddam Hussein would be deterred by our military efforts to contain him or that these military deployments would become attractive targets for further acts of terrorism. I supported President Bush's efforts to persuade the United Nations Security Council to change a 10-year-old resolution that authorized force to contain Saddam Hussein to one that authorized force to replace his dictatorship. And I believe the president did the right thing to press ahead even without the Security Council's support."

Comes as a surprise to me considering his confrontational tone toward "Dr. Clarke" in the hearing today.

TM

Hmm, very consistent of him. Matt Yglesias has a very funny description of Kerrey, which I would repeatif I had even a minute.

Apropros of nothing, but some links on Clinton's fo-po vision, Dec 2000

General stuff, including some Taliban
http://usembassy.state.gov/islamabad/wwwhpa00.html

The speech, Dec 100, 2000 Kearney, Nebraska
http://usembassy.state.gov/islamabad/wwwh00121101.html

bushgirlsgonewild

My summary of Condi's testimony: 233 excuses.

Media Hound

"bushgirlsgonewild" writes:

  "My summary of Condi's testimony: 233 excuses."

Hmmm, one wonders how many "excuses" Clinton came
up with in his secret testimony today -- 2,920 excuses
for 8 years of inaction...

Ben

Look, the only person who NEEDS an excuse is Usama bin Ladan. He and his organization is the ones that perpetrated 9-11. And obviously neither administration did enough to stop him, as in fact the attack happened.

But many of the things we are now doing to prevent another 9-11 could not happen without 9-11. If Ashcroft had come up with the loosening of restrictions about sharing information between the CIA nd the FBI, back in January of 2001, many of us would be up in arms and rightly upset about it. Now we see the necessity, the fact that the government cannot do its job without our intelligence and law enforcement agencies sharing data. But before 9-11, there was no popular nor political will in either party to take such steps.

It should also be pointed out that the hijackers were trained here in the US. They came to the US and were welcomed here. We are a pretty decent and tolerant and friendly people. And these bastards used our hospitality and our friendliness against us. Heck, if prior to 9-11 anyone had suggested that maybe we don't want to give flight training to Arabs because they might be terrorists, he would have been called a racist or worse.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Speaking of being called a racist, why isn't Kerrey being hammered for his patronizing of Condi, essentially telling her she's a credit to her race.

And then, after wasting 2-3 minutes of his allotted 10 criticizing the Bush Administration over the recent unpleasantness in Iraq, he starts whining when she starts to answer his questions.

TexasToast

I would think Kerrey's support for the iraq war would make him more credible to you - not less. Besides, isn't THIS the important Kerrey stuff?

"KERREY: Actually it won't be a question.

In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.

That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August.

RICE: And that was checked out and steps were taken through FAA circulars to warn of hijackings.

But when you cannot tell people where a hijacking might occur, under what circumstances -- I can tell you that I think the best antidote to what happened in that regard would have been many years before to think about what you could do for instance to harden cockpits.

That would have made a difference. We weren't going to harden cockpits in the three months that we had a threat spike."

The question is not about hardening cockpits - its about FBI warnings of a hijacking threat in a PDB entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S"

How does a "systemic problem" explain away a rather specific warning in an atmosphere of heightened alert? Why did this warning not go down the chain with a bit more emphasis?

TM

Why did this warning not go down the chain with a bit more emphasis?

The party line is, the PDB also said the FBI was working on this;

the other party's line is, why so passive in the White House?

I can't think of a great reason for her *not* to call folks from the FBI and the CIA together for a chat. The idea that she was waiting, in a disciplined fashion, for problems to be brought to her doesn't really turn me on.

Not that I am feeling any sympathy for Clarke, mind you...

jt007

You are conveniently ignoring another statement made by Dr. Rice in which she noted that directives regarding this specific threat of highjackings were given to 70 field offices of the FBI. Jamie Gorelick told Dr. Rice that there was no evidence of these directives having been issued, however, I understand that the White House is going to provide the committee with appropriate evidence. Therefore, Rice and the NSC did pass the information down. I don't think she should be blamed for an operational failure much farther down the ladder anynore than Clinton should be blamed for allowing Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al Shehi to enter the U.S. in the summer of 2000, and the INS's failure to keep tabs on their whereabouts. Obviously the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the FBI, FAA, INS, CIA, etc. are culpable at least as much as the policy makers in the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

Also, it amazes me that Gorelick, a former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration with responsibility for the law enforcement end of Clinton's counter terrorism strategy, is on the 9/11 commission. I think that her previous position constitutes a serious conflict of interest.

TM

Re: Gorelick - funny you should mention that.

And I don't think Ben-Veniste was really trying to educate the public when he tried to have Condi Rice give him the title of the Aug 6 PDB without describing its contents.

Maybe that was payback for Slade Groton's question to Clarke - roughly, "would your Jan plan have foiled 9/11", "No", "Thanks". Clarke has argued that a summertime fire-drill might have foiled 9/11, a point that got lost in thatexchange.

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