Skip to comments.Harry Smith Taken Aback as CBS Analyst Blames Clinton for bin Laden Failures
Posted on 09/25/2006 11:27:07 AM PDT by Republican Red
Despite Bill Clinton's angry protestations, the bulk of the blame for America's failure to catch or kill Osama bin Laden lies squarely on the Clinton administration, at least according to terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer.
Scheuer's words, delivered on today's edition of CBS's "Early Show," must have come as a shock for co-host Harry Smith since the liberal media's usual refrain on bin Laden is to blame Bush for the failure to kill him back in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign.
That just isn't the case, Scheuer argued, implicitly criticizing the press.
"The former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him," he said.
Video clip (1:34): Real (2.56 MB at 225 kbps) or Windows Media (2.91 MB at 256 kbps), plus MP3 audio (443 KB). Read on for transcript of the segment.
On Monday's "Early Show", co-host Harry Smith talked with Scheuer about the war in Iraq and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Smith was shocked when Scheuer laid the blame at the feet of the Clinton administration, and attempted to put the focus back on failures of the Bush Administration. Smith highlighted president Clinton's defense of his administration:
"Let's talk about what President Clinton had to say on Fox yesterday. He basically laid blame at the feet of the CIA and the FBI for not being able to certify or verify that Osama bin Laden was responsible for a number of different attacks. Does that ring true to you?"
Scheuer refuted Smiths portrayal of Clinton:
"No, sir, I don't think so. The president seems to be able, the former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men and women who risk their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden."
Smith couldnt let these facts tarnish the Clinton legacy, so he attempted to change the subject back to the Bush Administration:
"All right, is the Bush administration any less responsible for not finishing the job in Tora Bora?"
Scheuer acknowledged that there is plenty of blame to go around for not getting bin Laden, but asserted that Clinton bears most of it:
"Oh, I think there's plenty of blame to go around, sir, but the fact of the matter is that the Bush Administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton Administration had eight to ten chances that they refused to try..."
Scheuer continued his response and accused President Clinton of lying to the American people:
"...But it's just, it's an incredible kind of situation for the American people over the weekend to hear their former president mislead them."
Scheuers points may have hit at Clinton too hard for Smith, as Smith used his final word to assert that President Bush is responsible too:
"And, and, and with this also further revelation that, in fact, the war in Iraq has only exacerbated the terrorist situation."
Scheuers facts about the failures of the Clinton administration in catching bin Laden are largely ignored by the media, but keep them in mind the next time a reporter starts hammering the Bush administration because Osama bin Laden is still at large.
Transcript of the relevant portion of the interview follows:
Harry Smith: "Elizabeth Palmer live in Pakistan this morning, thank you. I'm going to go back now to Michael Scheuer once again. Let's talk about what President Clinton had to say on Fox yesterday. He basically laid blame at the feet of the CIA and the FBI for not being able to certify or verify that Osama bin Laden was responsible for a number of different attacks. Does that ring true to you?"
Michael Scheuer: "No, sir, I don't think so. The president seems to be able, the former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men and women who risk their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden."
Harry Smith: "Alright, is the Bush administration any less responsible for not finishing the job in Tora Bora?"
Michael Scheuer: "Oh, I think there's plenty of blame to go around, sir, but the fact of the matter is that the Bush Administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton Administration had eight to ten chances that they refused to try. At least at Tora Bora our forces were on the ground. We didn't push the point. But it's just, it's an incredible kind of situation for the American people over the weekend to hear their former president mislead them."
Harry Smith: "And, and, and with this also further revelation that, in fact, the war in Iraq has only exacerbated the terrorist situation. Michael Scheurer, we thank you so much for your time this morning."
As for Harry, don't ask a question when you don't know the answer. lolol
Harry Smith. Honestly, I didn't think Harry was this much of a leftist robot.
Look, if you knock over an anthill, the ants are gonna get angry. Same thing with terrorists. They didn't think we'd chase them home! We did.
As for Mr. Scheuer and his comments about Mr. Clinton's failure to take out OBL. Mr. Scheuer is correct.
Harry Smith is a p***y.
Catch this one!
The Clinton legacy is secure. And the Rodham campaign might want to lower the life boats...
What's the matter, Harry? Cat got your tongue??
Rush played the clip on his show today. This guy Michael Scheuer is a very partisan liberal who just a few weeks ago said on CBS that we were losing the War on Terror. I'm sure Harry Smith booked the guy believing full well he would have a fun Bush bash session.
I guess Scheuer didn't like his former employer, the CIA, being maligned by Clinton.
Clinton is many things but dumb aint' one of them. He got mad on purpose - to rally the left-wingnut fringe and to try to intimindate the few media outlets who would dare question him or point out his shortcomings. Wallace stood tough, now Scheuer brings reinforcement. Don't let Bubba keep repeating lies until they are accepted as truth!
How do you become a "terrorism analyst."??? Sounds like easy work to me. Read the newspapers and bloviate.
Boy, he slipped that talking point in at the last second without allowing for any rebuttal.
Or good people he knew and worked with. This is another example of how neoliberal bs is wearing thin on reasonable people.
Just say goodbye, Harry. Stop the propaganda!
And I suppose it would only be fair to also say that FDR's war against the Japanese empire exasperated the kamikaze situation in the Pacific, right, Harry?
Pugnacity meets impunity.
"Pugnacity meets impunity."
And, not having used a condom, can it be held responsible for the result?
Thank You this is as good as the Wallace/Clinton face off!!!
Who is responsible in that case?
Will I get banned if I say it? From his
From NRO Corner: http://corner.nationalreview.com/
Re: Michael Scheuer [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Keep in mind that he hates Richard Clarke
Just to refresh your recolletion, Scheuer was the CIA HQ Chief of the "Bin Laden" desk. He viewed Clarke as an amatuer poseur who really knew nothing of significance about counter-terrorism, and was simply an obstacle at the White House who gave Sandy Berger cover from making hard decisions.
Scheuer has always been highly critical of Clarke's book as revisionist history taking for himself many of the accolades that really belonged to the work and intuition of John O'Neill. So, to see Clinton glom onto Clarke's book as a basis to defend his performance was just too much for Scheuer to take, especially given the way O'Neill was thrown under the bus by the Clinton Administration in Yemen.
I am amazed Smith even had Schuer on in the first place. He is consistent in his blame on Clinton. You will see him less and less in the future, unfortunately. FoxNews had the actor Vince Curatola on today, who plays "Johnny Sack" on the Sopranos. He and his wife were close friends of John O'Neill, the FBI guy and Bin Laden expert, God rest his soul. Curatola said whever he and O'Neill would be out for a drink, or dinner, O'Neill would rail on about how "I tell them to get bin Laden, but HE won't listen", or
"I can't get HIM to do a damned thing about Bin Laden", etc. Curatola said in every single case the "HE" O'Neill was angry about was BILL CLINTON. Needless to say the Hillary staffer on the panel was not pleased, and tried toi quickly divert the conversation to Richard Clarke.
I've listened to both sides of the 'Clinton got mad on purpose' argument and after watching the video many times, I do not think this was planned at all.
Oh, I think Clinton had planned to make some stronger points about HIS "obsession" to kill bin Ladin, but I really believe that he let his inner insecurity take over his mouth.
He seemed to almost rise out of his inner space when he turned purple. And I think Clinton knows instinctively that political independants in the US almost never accept a politician leaning over and pointing a finger menacingly inches from a reporters face, especially one so unassuming and polite as Chris Wallace. Maybe someone like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, but not Chris Wallace.
Also consider that Clinton's 'manager' or press-agent or whatever he is was just off camera trying desparately to get Fox to stop the interview, or at least to change the subject to Clinton's effort to raise money for charity.
Bottom Line: I think Clinton went bonkers, and on the whole, will wish he never brought up the subject of his administration's (non) effort to stop terror.
Surprised a Black Screen didn't pop up?? Harry may not get invited to HilaryCare's next party!
Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.