Skip to comments.Did Clinton Really Give Bush A “Comprehensive Anti-Terror Strategy?”
Posted on 09/26/2006 6:33:07 AM PDT by Quilla
The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came to office, former president Bill Clinton told Fox News on Sunday. I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy.
We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda, says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a new interview with the New York Post. The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didnt [fight al Qaeda] is just flatly false.
Well, which is it? The argument over whether, in January 2001, the Clinton administration left the incoming Bush administration a blueprint to destroy Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda has been going on for years now. Long before the Clinton Fox interview, it came to a boil in the late summer of 2002, on the eve of the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, when Time magazine published a 10,400-word story, They Had A Plan, blaming the Bush administration for not following the Clinton newly developed administrations strategy.
The Clinton plan, Time reported, was drawn up after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. In the wake of that bombing, Time said, White House anti-terror chief Richard Clarke put together an aggressive plan to take the fight to al-Qaeda. Clarke reportedly wanted to break up al Qaeda cells, cut off their funding, destroy their sanctuaries, and give major support to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. In addition, Time reported, the U.S. military would start planning for air strikes on the camps and for the introduction of special-operations forces into Afghanistan. It was, in the words of a senior Bush administration official quoted by Time, everything weve done since 9/11.
Time said Clarke presented the strategy paper to national-security adviser Sandy Berger on December 20, 2000, but Berger decided not to act on it. We would be handing [the Bush administration] a war when they took office, Time quoted an unnamed former Clinton aide saying. That wasnt going to happen. Instead, Berger who is portrayed as a tough-talking hardliner on terrorism urged Rice, the incoming national-security adviser, to take action. But the new administration didnt follow that good advice. The Clinton proposals, Time reported, became a victim of the transition process, turf wars and time spent on the pet policies of new top officials.
The Time account was explosive. Or at least it seemed to be explosive until we heard more of the story.
After the article appeared, National Review talked to Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, who was then a member of the House, chairing the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Chambliss was perplexed. Ive had Dick Clarke testify before our committee several times, and weve invited Samuel Berger several times, Chambliss told NR, and this is the first Ive ever heard of that plan. If it was such a big deal, Chambliss wondered, why didnt anyone mention it?
Sources at the White House were just as baffled. At the time, they were carefully avoiding picking public fights with the previous administration over the terrorism issue. But privately, they told NR that the Time report was way off base. There was no new plan to topple al Qaeda, one source said flatly. No new plan. When asked if there was, perhaps, an old plan to topple al Qaeda, which might have been confused in the Time story, the source said simply, No.
Finally, Richard Clarke himself debunked the story in a background briefing with reporters. He said he presented two things to the incoming Bush administration: One, what the existing strategy had been. And two, a series of issues like aiding the Northern Alliance, changing Pakistan policy, changing Uzbek policy that they had been unable to come to any new conclusions from 98 on.
A reporter asked: Were all of those issues part of an alleged plan that was late December and the Clinton team decided not to pursue because it was too close to
There was never a plan, Andrea, Clarke answered. What there was was these two things: One, a description of the existing strategy, which included a description of the threat. And two, those things which had been looked at over the course of two years, and which were still on the table.
So there was nothing that developed, no documents or no new plan of any sort?
There was no new plan.
No new strategy? I mean, I mean, I dont want to get into a semantics
Plan, strategy there was no, nothing new.
Had those issues evolved at all from October of 98 until December of 2000?
Had they evolved? Not appreciably.
Amid all the controversy, some former Clinton-administration officials began to pull back on their story. One of them who asked not to be named told NR that Time didnt have it quite right. There were certainly ongoing efforts throughout the eight years of the Clinton administration to fight terrorism, the official said. It was certainly not a formal war plan. We wouldnt have characterized it as a formal war plan. The Bush administration was briefed on the Clinton administrations ongoing efforts and threat assessments. That, of course, was pretty much what the Bush White House said had had happened all along.
But now, the story is back in the news. At least I tried [to destroy al Qaeda], Clinton told Fox. Thats the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didnt
I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy
Perhaps the former president hoped to put an end to the questions about his record on terrorism. Instead, he just brought the issue back to public scrutiny.
So what else is new?
"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."
Its so obvious Clinton lied...but guess what...the MSM won't cover it...and if you on the left..you won't see it...
As Byron posted on The Corner ... that all depends on what the meaning of the words "Comprehensive" "Anti-terror" and "Strategy" are.
Maybe that "comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy" was buried in the Rose Hill Law Firm billing records
RICHARD CLARKE: There was no plan on al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration ... In January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. [They] decided to ... vigorously pursue the existing policy [and] ... initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years.
In their first meeting [the principles] changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding [for covert action against al Qaeda] five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance. [They] then changed the strategy from one of rollback with al Qaeda ... to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda.
Correct me if I am wrong but I recall some conversation that Clinton turned over a 4,000 page "turn-over" document to the Bush administration and did not mention OBL at all in that report.
Well if Clinton did have a plan, which I doubt, it got lost in the transisition. And why was that? Because Al Gore had to contest the election results for 6 weeks. There was no transisition.
You're very close. Please see bold text in post 3 above.
How many times did Al Qaeda make the National Intelligence Estimate prior to 9/11?
Bill Clinton:A Consumate Liar.Hillary Clinton;A Congenital Liar.Now,we're getting somewhere!
MEGA DITTOS TO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
He's also a psychopath
And Berger stole the evidence in his socks.
Well, it is still early here in Southern California.
Thanks for the reference.
Clinton didn't even leave Bush any silverware, much less an anti-terror strategy.
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