April 07, 2004


Urgent threat? What urgent threat?

The final policy paper on national security that President Clinton submitted to Congress -- 45,000 words long -- makes no mention of al Qaeda and refers to Osama bin Laden by name just four times.

The scarce references to bin Laden and his terror network undercut claims by former White House terrorism analyst Richard A. Clarke that the Clinton administration considered al Qaeda an "urgent" threat, while President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, "ignored" it.

The Clinton document, titled "A National Security Strategy for a Global Age," is dated December 2000 and is the final official assessment of national security policy and strategy by the Clinton team. The document is publicly available, though no U.S. media outlets have examined it in the context of Mr. Clarke's testimony and new book.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 7, 2004 02:10 AM

While AQ was not an urgent threat, I think this could be, via Rantburg:

Thieves have stolen 660kg (1400lb) of dynamite from an unstaffed storage depot in Norway, say police. Around 5,000 detonators were also stolen, raising fears of a terrorist attack, officials told state radio.
The missing dynamite was more than six times the amount used for the bomb attacks on trains in Madrid nearly a month ago. Last May, a taped message attributed to al-Qaeda's second-in-command urged Muslim militants to hit Norway. In the message, a man identified as al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri advocated attacks on the embassies and interests of the United States, Britain, Australia and Norway, to drive them from Muslim countries.
The NRK state radio network reported that the storage depot, on the outskirts of the remote town of Gol, had a fence and heavy doors - but no alarm system....

Posted by: Sandy P. at April 7, 2004 at 02:28 AM

Although Clinton was WAY to soft on terrorism, I don't believe he had bad intentions, just horrible judgement.

As for Bush, I'm sure he could have done more in his first months in retrospect. I'm sure Iraq was at least as high a priority as al Qaeda before 9/11 and I feel that's justified even though it turned out to be a bad call.

Clarke however I feel is a lying, immoral, greedy drama queen. His blatant grudge against Bush is obvious and he's using his position to slam him while obscuring the truth about what happened. Not to mention his playing on an emotional topic to sell some books. The man disgusts me. He should die of gonorrhea.

Posted by: Dash at April 7, 2004 at 03:42 AM

I'll second Dash on that. Sure, Bush could have done more, Clinton could have done more, but that's more a miscalculation in retrospect than derilection of duty.

Posted by: John Nowak at April 7, 2004 at 04:00 AM

Come on, read between the lines people.

Oh, alright then don't.


If Clarke really wanted to stick the boot in to the current administration, he could have at least cleaned up his paper trail! Don't they teach you kids about how to orchestrate conspiracies anymore...sheesh...

Posted by: Quentin George at April 7, 2004 at 08:26 AM

Clinton and Bush might have done more to prevent 9/11, perhaps. But hindsight is always a depressing 20/20. "What might of been" thinking goes nowhere unless you learn from it.

And that is where Clinton and Bush differ.

The Clinton administration witnessed multiple terrorist attacks in an 8 year period, including one in the United States. His response? Shoot some cruise missiles at random into Africa and Afghanistan, engage in diplomacy, and ignore the threats. Them's the facts.

The Bush administration had a shorter window, and a more massive terrorist attack -- 9/11. I don't know that Bush might have toddled along like Clinton did, or might have been far more agressive than Clinton. But that doesn't matter, either.

Because Bush did not sit on his duff and pass memos around after the attack. He recognized the attack for what it was -- a long over due wake up call. He learned from it.

And that is what gives me hope -- we have a leader who learns from mistakes, his and others. Not a perfect human being, but someone willing to seize the moment, and move forward.

I really don't care about Bush's military record, his accent, or his grade point in college. Results are what count, not polish and charm.

Posted by: JeffS at April 7, 2004 at 11:06 AM