At the end of the conversation, another member of the panel, Mike Barnicle said:
Barnicle: Forget the legal niceties of legal or illegal. If he's the only one you have in your hand, then there's something seriously wrong with your intelligence capabilities. If you only have one guy who can give you that information?Interesting point, and one that Dick Cheney has begun to make and one he said in his interview Sunday with Bob Schieffer and Monday afternoon with Niel Cavutto. "We didn't know very much about al Qaeda."
Cheney: Exactly. That's exactly right. You know, Mike, that's a really important point, because that's where we were on Sept. 12, we didn't know anything about Al Qaeda -- well, I shouldn't say "anything." We didn't know very much about Al Qaeda.
Hello? Can we all say bullshit? Al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. They bombed two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, and bombed the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. Because of the danger of al Qaeda, the Clinton Administration developed a detailed report on international terrorism, al Qaeda specifically, and a plan to deal with them. With 1 month to go before Bush took office, they decided not to take action against al Qaeda, but instead provide this report and detailed briefings to the incoming national security team.
According to Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Advisor, he was so concerned with how little help they were given as they came in by the previous administration, he decided to hold a series of 10 briefings on the subject for his successor and her deputy. As reported in TIME, Berger reports that he attended only 1 briefing, the 1 about al Qaeda (Condoleeza Rice denies his attendance at any of the briefings) and Richard Clark, the expert on al Qaeda presented a detailed report that included a plan for,
"the "breakup" of al-Qaeda cells and the arrest of their personnel. The financial support for its terrorist activities would be systematically attacked, its assets frozen, its funding from fake charities stopped. Nations where al-Qaeda was causing trouble—Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Yemen—would be given aid to fight the terrorists. Most important, Clarke wanted to see a dramatic increase in covert action in Afghanistan to "eliminate the sanctuary" where al-Qaeda had its terrorist training camps and bin Laden was being protected by the radical Islamic Taliban regime."According to Rice and others in the Bush Administration, no such report was provided and they say that they were told (regarding al Qaeda) only that they should take a "more active approach." I remember seeing Richard Clark on several news programs after 9/11 discussing this report, and would highly recommend his book, "Against All Enemies: America's War on Terror" to read more about it. I can state from my own memory and from documents in the National Security Archive which you can read here that it is Rice that is not being honest. The actual memo from Clark to Rice regarding this briefing is here.
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