First things first, the now infamous 'interview' Fox News' Chris Wallace did with Bill Clinton. I use the term 'interview' with all intended snarcasm, because first it's Clinton on Fox News. Second, it's Chris Wallace (R-Tool). Third, he was supposed to be there talking about the environment and global warming, then came the typical Fox News style ambush on Clinton, in the form of bin Laden. According to Wallace:
"I was stunned by this kind of conspiratorial view of all this. All I did was ask him a question, and I think it was a legitimate news question. I was surprised that he would conjure up that this was a hit job."
No, what really surprised you, Chris, was that he got hip to you on the spot - then
bitchslapped you like the bitch you really are. Want to venture a guess at whether or not this sorry bastard ever asked any Bush Administration officials the same kinds of questions about their
pre-9/11 efforts to combat terrorism in interviews past? Of course not, but see for yourself.
Bill 'Slick Willie' Clinton, the Democrat who'll kick your ass, has a perfect memory and analytic tools far beyond most people. Clinton immediately offered names, dates and places in response to Wallace's rhetorical windbaggery, Wallace was left with his mouth hanging open. It was apparent that he had not read the 9/11 Commission Report, had not read Richard Clarke's book, and had lied to get the interview. Bill Clinton been the scapegoat/whipping boy for all US failures in the eyes of Conservatives since the 90's, remember that. Think in terms of pretext and subtext. I personally worked on BOTH Clinton/Gore campaigns, I canvassed my ass off, and given a few exceptions (DOMA, Don't Ask/Don't Tell, and the estimated $1+ Billion proposed on anti-terror measures from the onset being the standouts) I believe that Bill Clinton
has been the best President this country has seen in my lifetime, flaws and all.
So watch the interview for yourself, then consider a few things. I have MUCH
to say on this subject.
"Whenever you hear some ass say, "Clinton didn't do enough to get bin Laden," the fastest way to shut them up is to ask him to list the steps Bush took to get bin Laden from January 2001 to September, 2001.
They did nothing - never held a meeting, never even spoke his name. But after 9-11, they said, "Clinton should've done more," when they did nothing.
"George Bush entered office "knowing" that Clinton supposedly didn't do enough after the WTC attacks in 1993, eight years before, so why didn't Bush do something? Bush "knew" in January of 2001 that supposedly Bill Clinton didn't do enough following the embassy attacks in 1998, 3 years before, so why didn't Bush do something? Clinton
had 3 months in office following the attack on the Cole and he didn't invade Afghanistan. Yet Bush had nearly nine months in office before 9-11 and he didn't invade. Why is that?"
- John Aravosis
I received a phone call from a high-placed member of a US intelligence agency. He tells me that while there's always been constraints on investigating Saudis, under George Bush it's gotten much worse. After the elections, the agencies were told to "back off" investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi royals, and that angered agents. I'm told that since 9-11 the policy has been reversed. The FBI told us they could not comment on our findings. A spokesman said: "There are lots of things that only the intelligence community knows and that no-one else ought to know."
- Greg Palast
Consider first the obvious - that his wife, a Senator who could likely run in '08 has just made nice with Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, so there is a remote possibility that it might be safer now to enter those waters as a failsafe interviewee instead of the usual Liberal chum that walks into that godforsaken hellhole of a studio. This was my boy's first mistake, perhaps thinking that making nice with the missus would pave the way for bigger and better things - or maybe I underestimate him, clearly he knew what he could be walking into and this was all Murdoch's evil plan gone horribly awry. Consider that this comes on the heels of ABC's pathetic pack of lies disguised as a 'docudrama', all designed to lay the ultimate responsibility for 9/11 on the Clinton Administration - and ol' boy (as well as all of the cabinet members, etc., smeared in this 6-hour nut-filled turd of a movie) are pretty damned pissed off about the way they've been lied about and lied on. Consider that it's politics, we're right around 6 weeks away from the midterm elections and the Republicans are scared shitless - and rightfully so - that the Dems are going to take back our government. So here's the thing that gets conveniently thrown out the MINUTE
the hacks at FN get Clinton on the set. They actively tried to bait him, make no mistake about that, goad him into losing his shit and getting uppity. Here's the beautiful thing about it, though - the thing they're too fucking stupid to have anticipated in forethought - Call him what you will, Bill Clinton is not a stupid man. Unlucky for Chris Wallace, he 'misunderestimated' 'ol Slick Willie, and Slick Willie fed him his own ass for the entire world to see.
Now of course, the usual band of Freepers & GOP loyalists are going to cry foul, just like they always do
, and throw up a bunch of Lewinsky bullshit to cover up what they know to be true - that being that the Clinton Administration performed leaps and bounds over the current reign of Der Chimpehfuhrer and his rubberstamping band of loyalist flying monkeys. Get it? Monkey? Anyway, moving on, I have found one pleasant surprise in Debra J. Saunders (think Ann Coulter, only uglier and frumpier and in actual clothes), writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, of whom I am NO fan. In a recent column
mostly smearing Clinton, she asserts:
Let me be clear. I in no way blame Clinton for 9/11. Before 9/11, neither Clinton nor Bush could have garnered the domestic or international support they would have needed to defeat al Qaeda.
Besides, if Clinton emboldened al Qaeda by pulling U.S. troops out of Somalia after the death of 18 U.S. soldiers, his actions were no worse than those of the first President Bush (who ended the Persian Gulf War prematurely) or Ronald Reagan who cut and ran after terrorists killed 241 Marines troops in Lebanon.
Clinton also was right to point out that in 1993 no one knew al Qaeda was paying attention to Somalia. Ditto his point that few of today's critics were pushing for him to risk a war by bombing those suspected in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa or the destroyer Cole.
Clinton complained that the right accused him of waging a "wag the dog" foreign policy -- as if he had nothing to do with his credibility problems. I believed the threats against America were real, but suspected Clinton's martial responses were timed to deflect attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Some on the left thought so, too. So what? Surely Clinton would not argue that he could not fight Osama bin Laden, lest he be criticized.
Well, in a word, yeah
. This was a time when Clinton's own marital indescretions aided by the frothing of Ken Starr would have had anything he'd done criticized for all of the wrong reasons. Yes he lied, yes he fucked up BIGTIME in his marriage, yes his actions (particularly in the wake of his DOMA efforts, for which I'd personally smack the shit out of him on the lone charge of hypocrisy) shook the country in a way that hadn't happened in decades, but his choices and fuck-ups didn't result in the death of innocents, a war costing $11 per hour, or the biggest failure of an Administration possibly ever, and I'm including Nixon. It should have been a private matter between a man and his wife, but the conservatives wanted his head and every drop of blood they could get. It was more than a single pound of flesh, and it has spanned years culminating the righteous anger you saw in the Wallace interview. They asked for it, it was waiting to happen, and frankly it was high time a power Democrat laid the proverbial smack down. So there's that.
Back to the ABC P-O-S "The Path To 9/11":
Leaving aside the wretched truth that the far right is once again using September 11 to score political points, the facts regarding the still-lingering effort to blame the Clinton administration for the attacks must be brought to the fore.
Cyrus Nowrasteh (writer/producer of the movie), at several points in his miniseries, rolls out a number of oft-debunked allegations that Clinton allowed Osama bin Laden to remain alive and free before the attacks.
Roger Cressy, National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism in the period 1999-2001, responded to these allegations in an article for the Washington Times in 2003. "Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda," wrote Cressy. "As President Bush well knows, bin Laden was and remains very good at staying hidden. The current administration faces many of the same challenges. Confusing the American people with misinformation and distortions will not generate the support we need to come together as a nation and defeat our terrorist enemies."
Measures taken by the Clinton administration to thwart international terrorism and bin Laden's network were historic, unprecedented and, sadly, not followed up on. Consider the steps offered by Clinton's 1996 omnibus anti-terror legislation, the pricetag for which stood at $1.097 billion. The following is a partial list of the initiatives offered by the Clinton anti-terrorism bill:
The Clinton administration poured more than a billion dollars into counterterrorism activities across the entire spectrum of the intelligence community, into the protection of critical infrastructure, into massive federal stockpiling of antidotes and vaccines to prepare for a possible bioterror attack, into a reorganization of the intelligence community itself. Within the National Security Council, "threat meetings" were held three times a week to assess looming conspiracies. His National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, prepared a voluminous dossier on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, actively tracking them across the planet. Clinton raised the issue of terrorism in virtually every important speech he gave in the last three years of his tenure.
- Screen Checked Baggage: $91.1 million
- Screen Carry-On Baggage: $37.8 million
- Passenger Profiling: $10 million
- Screener Training: $5.3 million
- Screen Passengers (portals) and Document Scanners: $1 million
- Deploying Existing Technology to Inspect International Air Cargo: $31.4 million
- Provide Additional Air/Counterterrorism Security: $26.6 million
- Explosives Detection Training: $1.8 million
- Augment FAA Security Research: $20 million
- Customs Service: Explosives and Radiation Detection Equipment at Ports: $2.2 million
- Anti-Terrorism Assistance to Foreign Governments: $2 million
- Capacity to Collect and Assemble Explosives Data: $2.1 million
- Improve Domestic Intelligence: $38.9 million
- Critical Incident Response Teams for Post-Blast Deployment: $7.2 million
- Additional Security for Federal Facilities: $6.7 million
- Firefighter/Emergency Services Financial Assistance: $2.7 million
- Public Building and Museum Security: $7.3 million
- Improve Technology to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling: $8 million
- Critical Incident Response Facility: $2 million
- Counter-Terrorism Fund: $35 million
- Explosives Intelligence and Support Systems: $14.2 million
- Office of Emergency Preparedness: $5.8 million
Clinton's dire public warnings about the threat posed by terrorism, and the actions taken to thwart it, went completely unreported by the media, which was far more concerned with stained dresses and baseless Drudge Report rumors. When the administration did act militarily against bin Laden and his terrorist network, the actions were dismissed by partisans within the media and Congress as scandalous "wag the dog" tactics. The news networks actually broadcast clips of the movie "Wag the Dog" while reporting on his warnings, to accentuate the idea that everything the administration said was contrived fakery.
In Congress, Clinton was thwarted by the reactionary conservative majority in virtually every attempt he made to pass legislation that would attack al-Qaeda and terrorism. His 1996 omnibus terror bill, which included many of the anti-terror measures we now take for granted after September 11, was withered almost to the point of uselessness by attacks from the right; Senators Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were openly dismissive of the threats Clinton spoke of.
Specifically, Clinton wanted to attack the financial underpinnings of the al-Qaeda network by banning American companies and individuals from dealing with foreign banks and financial institutions that al-Qaeda was using for its money-laundering operations. Texas Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, gutted the portions of Clinton's bill dealing with this matter, calling them "totalitarian."
In fact, Gramm was compelled to kill the bill because his most devoted patrons, the Enron Corporation and its criminal executives in Houston, were using those same terrorist financial networks to launder their own dirty money and rip off the Enron stockholders. It should also be noted that Gramm's wife, Wendy, sat on the Enron Board of Directors.
Enter Richard Clarke
, who has owned his part in the communication breakdown and subsequent failure, even writing a book on the subject which - had Mr. Wallace actually read prior would have explained in detail why asking Clinton why he didn't do more to get bin Laden would make him one of the bigger assholes at Fox News. Clarke argues a key scene in the movie in the following way:
1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan and saw bin Laden.
2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern Alliance, Masood, was no where near the alleged bin Laden camp and did not see UBL.
3. Contrary to the movie, the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it.
In short, this scene — which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden — never happened. It was completely made up by Nowrasteh.
The actual history is quite different. According to the 9/11 Commission Report (pg. 199), then-CIA Director George Tenet had the authority from President Clinton to kill Bin Laden. Roger Cressy, former NSC director for counterterrorism, has written, “Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”
Now let's talk about the scramble to assign blame by the Bush Administration on everyone but themselves. First, Condoleezza Rice and her nerve to challenge Clinton. I quote
: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud".
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice challenged former President Bill Clinton's claim that he did more than many of his conservative critics to pursue al Qaeda, saying in an interview published Tuesday that the Bush administration aggressively pursued the group even before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice said during a meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Post.
Funny, but that's not what the Washington Post concluded in a devastating analysis
of the Bush administration's utter failure to take on Osama and Al Qaeda in the months preceding 9/11.
Condi and her boss knew that there were Al Qaeda sleeper cells operating in the U.S. back in 2001. Condi's boss got a briefing from the CIA on August 6, 2001 titled "Bin Ladin determined to strike in U.S."
Condi's boss stayed on vacation. That would not have been Bill Clinton's response.
, with Hillary weighing in also.ThinkProgress provides us with the damning details
of how Rice and her boss George Bush ignored Al Qaeda right before they killed 3,000 Americans:
The 9/11 Commission Report contradicts Rice’s claims. On December 4, 1998, for example, the Clinton administration received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks.” Here’s how the Clinton administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:
The same day, [Counterterrorism Czar Richard] Clarke convened a meeting of his CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group] to discuss both the hijacking concern and the antiaircraft missile threat. To address the hijacking warning, the group agreed that New York airports should go to maximum security starting that weekend. They agreed to boost security at other East coast airports. The CIA agreed to distribute versions of the report to the FBI and FAA to pass to the New York Police Department and the airlines. The FAA issued a security directive on December 8, with specific requirements for more intensive air carrier screening of passengers and more oversight of the screening process, at all three New York area airports. [pg. 128-30]
On August 6, 2001, the Bush administration received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.” Here’s how the Bush administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:
[President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so.[p. 260]
We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]
Rice acknowledged that the 9/11 Commission report is the authoratative source on this debate: “I think this is not a very fruitful discussion. We’ve been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said.”
Right - everyone including the people who sat on their fucking hands and let it all happen.
Examples of evidence of possible terrorist activity the government had before the Sept. 11 attacks:
[More Clinton-era blaming of the FBI/CIA by Ashcroft, etc...]
- A July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix warned that Islamic extremists might be training at flight schools and urged a nationwide probe.
- The August 2001 arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui on immigration charges in Minneapolis, where his behavior at a flight training school had aroused suspicions. He remains the only person charged in the U.S. in connection with the attacks.
- Information that al-Qaida members had traveled freely to and from the U.S. for years and maintained a support network here.
- Signs of surveillance directed against federal buildings in New York and information from Ahmed Ressam, awaiting sentencing in a failed 1999 plot to bomb Los Angeles' airport, that at least one senior al-Qaida lieutenant encouraged the 9/11 plan.
- CIA information in late August 2001 that two of the soon-to-be hijackers had entered the U.S. and lived for a time in San Diego.
- An FBI conclusion of “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings,” and intelligence indicating al-Qaida’s interest in using hijackings to free jailed comrades.
So where's the difference when Bush gets called on the carpet because a dog from his OWN kennel bit him in the ass, where's the fervor over HIS tantrum? I give you Exhibit A:
Bush refused to accept Gregory’s question which is very relevant to the discussion about Article III.
I'll let the last word go to Keith Olbermann
Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years.
He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.
"At least I tried," he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. "That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."
Thus in his supposed emeritus years has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by any one, in these last five long years.
The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden before 9/11.
The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.
The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."
The Bush Administration did not try.
So the next time you have someone impugning Clinton's record and anti-terrorism actions as if he's the real one responsible for the lead-up to 9/11, remember those 9 months between January & September 2001 where there were many opportunities handed to our current Administration by the previous one, the one with a record of actions taken, and not only
was nothing done about it, but they've consistently blamed everyone except themselves for it. If that's not enough, you link them here.