Doesn’t anyone at the White House read? Or have they been using the Lacuna device?
Former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke went on “60 Minutes” last night and described the Bush response to 9/11 as “botched”. In his efforts to discredit Clarke, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan questioned why Clarke is only now bringing the matter up, asking
“If Dick Clarke had such grave concerns, why wait so long?”
I know Ari Fleischer was the press secretary in the summer of 2002, but McClellan must have been living in a political hole to have missed “Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?”. It was just the COVER STORY IN TIME MAGAZINE for August 4, 2002, less than a year after the attacks. It’s full of stories about Clarke’s attempts to clue the Administration to the problem, like this one describing a meeting a couple of months after Bush took office:
By now, Clarke’s famously short fuse was giving off sparks. A participant at one of the meetings paraphrases Clarke’s attitude this way: “These people are trying to kill us. I could give a f___ if Musharraf was democratically elected. What I do care about is Pakistan’s support for the Taliban and turning a blind eye to this terrorist cancer growing in their neighbor’s backyard.”
Vice President Dick Cheney told Rush Limbaugh (also referenced in the CNN article) that Clarke doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he “wasn’t in the loop” on major decisions. Let’s examine that for a second. Either Cheney’s telling a lie in an effort to deflect Clarke’s rather damning accusations, or he’s telling the truth, and the adminstration was making their decisions on how to combat terrorism without consulting their counterterrorism chief. Not a good set of options.