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US missed three chances to seize Bin Laden
The Sunday Times (U.K.) ^ | 01/06/2002

Posted on 01/05/2002 3:11:41 PM PST by Pokey78

PRESIDENT Bill Clinton turned down at least three offers involving foreign governments to help to seize Osama Bin Laden after he was identified as a terrorist who was threatening America, according to sources in Washington and the Middle East.

Clinton himself, according to one Washington source, has described the refusal to accept the first of the offers as "the biggest mistake" of his presidency.

The main reasons were legal: there was no evidence that could be brought against Bin Laden in an American court. But former senior intelligence sources accuse the administration of a lack of commitment to the fight against terrorism.

When Sudanese officials claimed late last year that Washington had spurned Bin Laden's secret extradition from Khartoum in 1996, former White House officials said they had no recollection of the offer. Senior sources in the former administration now confirm that it was true.

An Insight investigation has revealed that far from being an isolated incident this was the first in a series of missed opportunities right up to Clinton's last year in office. One of these involved a Gulf state; another would have relied on the assistance of Saudi Arabia.

In early 1996 America was putting strong pressure on Sudan's Islamic government to expel Bin Laden, who had been living there since 1991. Sources now reveal that Khartoum sent a former intelligence officer with Central Intelligence Agency connections to Washington with an offer to hand over Bin Laden — just as it had put another terrorist, Carlos the Jackal, into French hands in 1994.

At the time the State Department was describing Bin Laden as "the greatest single financier of terrorist projects in the world" and was accusing Sudan of harbouring terrorists. The extradition offer was turned down, however. A former senior White House source said: "There simply was not the evidence to prosecute Osama Bin Laden. He could not be indicted, so it would serve no purpose for him to have been brought into US custody."

A former figure in American counterterrorist intelligence claims, however, that there was "clear and convincing" proof of Bin Laden's conspiracy against America.

In May, 1996, American diplomats were informed in a Sudanese government fax that Bin Laden was about to be expelled — giving Washington another chance to seize him. The decision not to do so went to the very top of the White House, according to former administration sources.

They say that the clear focus of American policy was to discourage the state sponsorship of terrorism. So persuading Khartoum to expel Bin Laden was in itself counted as a clear victory. The administration was "delighted".

Bin Laden took off from Khartoum on May 18 in a chartered C-130 plane with 150 of his followers, including his wives. He was bound for Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. On the way the plane refuelled in the Gulf state of Qatar, which has friendly relations with Washington, but he was allowed to proceed unhindered.

Barely a month later, on June 25, a 5,000lb truck bomb ripped apart the front of Khobar Towers, a US military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The explosion killed 19 American servicemen. Bin Laden was immediately suspected.

Clinton is reported to have admitted how things went wrong in Sudan at a private dinner at a Manhattan restaurant shortly after September 11 last year. According to a witness, Clinton told a dinner companion that the decision to let Bin Laden go was probably "the biggest mistake of my presidency".

Clinton could not be reached for comment yesterday, but a
former senior White House official acknowledged that the Sudan episode had been a "screw-up".

A second offer to get Bin Laden came unofficially from Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American millionaire who was a donor to Clinton's election campaign in 1996. On July 6, 2000, he visited John Podesta, then the president's chief of staff, to say that intelligence officers from a Gulf state were offering to help to extract Bin Laden.

Details of the meeting are confirmed in an exchange of e-mails between the White House and Ijaz, which have been seen by The Sunday Times. According to Ijaz, the offer involved setting up an Islamic relief fund to aid Afghanistan in return for the Taliban handing over Bin Laden to the Gulf state. America could then extract Bin Laden from there.

The Sunday Times has established that after a fierce internal row about the sincerity of the offer, the White House responded by sending Richard Clarke, Clinton's most senior counterterrorism adviser, to meet the rulers of the United Arab Emirates. They denied there was any such offer. Ijaz, however, maintained that the White House had thereby destroyed the deal, which was to have been arranged only through unofficial channels. Ijaz said that weeks later on a return trip to the Gulf he was taken on a late-night ride into the desert by his contact who told him that Clarke's front-door approach had upset a delicate internal balance and blown the deal. "Your government has missed a major opportunity," he recalls being told.

Senior former government sources said that Ijaz's offer had been treated in good faith but, with the denial of the UAE government, there was nothing to suggest it had credibility.

A third more mysterious offer to help came from the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, then led by Prince Turki al-Faisal, according to Washington sources. Details of the offer are still unclear although, by one account, Turki offered to help to place a tracking device in the luggage of Bin Laden's mother, who was seeking to make a trip to Afghanistan to see her son. The CIA did not take up the offer.

Richard Shelby, the leading Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, said he was aware of a Saudi offer to help although, under rules protecting classified information, he was unable to discuss the details of any offer. Commenting generally, he said: "I don't believe that the fight against terrorism was the number one goal of the Clinton administration. I believe there were some lost opportunities."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: clarke
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1 posted on 01/05/2002 3:11:41 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: summer, JohnHuang2; Sabertooth; Howlin
Ping.
2 posted on 01/05/2002 3:14:51 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: ipaq2000, lent, veronica, sabramerican, beowolf, nachum, benf, monkeyshine,angelo, boston_liberty
bttttttttttttttttttt
3 posted on 01/05/2002 3:17:52 PM PST by dennisw
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To: Pokey78; Amelia; Miss Marple; deport; PhiKapMom
They got it out a little early; apparently Andrew Sullivan heard a "good" rumor!
4 posted on 01/05/2002 3:18:03 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Pokey78
Sorry but I don't trust anything that isn't in the NY Times, the Washington Post, or on one of the three major network newscasts. They say that everyone else is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy and I have no reason to doubt their honesty.

And, Bill Clinton was a GREAT President. We're not likely to see his type again.




/sarcasm

5 posted on 01/05/2002 3:19:53 PM PST by RobFromGa
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To: Pokey78; Victoria Delsoul; harpseal; Travis McGee; susangirl; Snow Bunny; veronica; onyx...
(((ping))))


6 posted on 01/05/2002 3:20:05 PM PST by Sabertooth
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To: dennisw
I'm sure you realize that I think That Awful Man is the worst thing America ever allowed to be done to herself.

No matter how low you go with either of the clintons, or their pack of enablers, there is always yet another depth to be sunk to....

There's no bottom there--

7 posted on 01/05/2002 3:21:22 PM PST by backhoe
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To: Pokey78
Lost opportunities. There's a euphemism for you. But was it incompetence or blackmail...?
8 posted on 01/05/2002 3:21:23 PM PST by mewzilla
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To: backhoe
I saw GWBush's speech tonite. It's so refreshing when you can watch your president on TV without feeling sick and fearful for this nation! The White House is now a TRAITOR FREE ZONE!
9 posted on 01/05/2002 3:24:15 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw; McGavin999; JeanS; RedBloodedAmerican
It WAS nice, wasn't it?
10 posted on 01/05/2002 3:25:05 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Pokey78
Lost opportunities, lost lives, means nothing to Clinton and his supporters. How could anybody expect him to worry about a little thing like Osama when he had really important business to take care of, he was booked solid with fundraisers.
11 posted on 01/05/2002 3:26:40 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: Sabertooth
Clinton was too busy arranging how to get his next hummer to take time out to arrange the elimination of the world's worst terrorist.
12 posted on 01/05/2002 3:27:23 PM PST by True Capitalist
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To: Pokey78
bump
13 posted on 01/05/2002 3:27:26 PM PST by dstalley
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To: Pokey78
So all this was just a "screw up"? I used to think that LBJ was the worst president we've ever had for his ability to lie to congress to widen a war he never intended to win - thereby sending tens of thousands of American boys to their deaths. Now we see the blood of the nearly 3,000 on on 9/11 appears to be on the hands of the former president. He's fast becoming my first choice for worst ever in our history.
14 posted on 01/05/2002 3:27:28 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Howlin
YES! What a difference a year makes. With a new fresh bold Prez and traitor42xClinton kicked to the curb!
15 posted on 01/05/2002 3:28:01 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw, Sabertooth, John Huang2
"White House is now a TRAITOR-FREE-ZONE!" Yeah, dennisw!

JH2 -- quote of the day by dennisw.?

16 posted on 01/05/2002 3:28:02 PM PST by onyx
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To: Pokey78
A former senior White House source said: "There simply was not the evidence to prosecute Osama Bin Laden. He could not be indicted, so it would serve no purpose for him to have been brought into US custody.

Tell that to the families who lost loved ones on 09-11.

17 posted on 01/05/2002 3:28:24 PM PST by mware
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To: RobFromGa
Yea, and HE has the blood of over 3000 people on his hands.
18 posted on 01/05/2002 3:28:54 PM PST by SolitaryMan
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To: Pokey78
They say that the clear focus of American policy was to discourage the state sponsorship of terrorism. So persuading Khartoum to expel Bin Laden was in itself counted as a clear victory. The administration was "delighted".

This has to be THE dumbest thing I've ever read. What kind of "victory" is it to have made the liver-lipped bastard pick up and move to another country? Did it hurt his terrorist operations? Or did it just send him to a country that, unlike Sudan, wouldn't monitor him and wouldn't offer his sorry ass to the U.S.?

Clinton is reported to have admitted how things went wrong in Sudan at a private dinner at a Manhattan restaurant shortly after September 11 last year. According to a witness, Clinton told a dinner companion that the decision to let Bin Laden go was probably "the biggest mistake of my presidency".

Once again, it's all about him. Clinton is perhaps the only person in this country to look at the devastation of 9/11 and be upset that there was no way to manipulate it to burnish his "legacy."

19 posted on 01/05/2002 3:30:34 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: Pokey78
bttt
20 posted on 01/05/2002 3:31:43 PM PST by summer
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To: Pokey78
It seems someone did not attend the legacy building meeting in Harlem.
21 posted on 01/05/2002 3:33:02 PM PST by Queen of Excelsior
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To: onyx
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
22 posted on 01/05/2002 3:33:22 PM PST by dennisw
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To: mware
What has always bothered me about the Clinton administration's approach to dealing with terrorists is that they seemed to deal with it so dispassionately, as if it were just another armed robbery case on the docket.

I just don't understand the mentality of treating terrorists as common criminals.

23 posted on 01/05/2002 3:34:26 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: dennisw
TRAITOR FREE ZONE

I kinda like that....

24 posted on 01/05/2002 3:35:14 PM PST by backhoe
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To: Pokey78, dennisw
According to Dick Morris Bubba did not want to offend Arab allies, Demo constituancies, etc., by going after Osama.

Ever seen this? A memo that leaked out when the Cole was hit - from Bubba's State Dept.

'The United States State Department believes the "17 or so dead sailors" on the U.S.S. Cole "does not compare to the 100+ Palestinians who have died in recent weeks" in Mideast violence, a stunning government memo reveals.

The Clinton/Gore Administration disapproved a VOICE OF AMERICA broadcast condemning the attack on the Cole. A memo from the Executive Secretariat Staff at the State Department stated:

"The Department of State does not clear on the referenced VOA editorial. The 17 or so dead sailors does not compare to the 100+ Palestinians who have died in recent weeks where we have remained silent. The people that hear this will not see the separation we are trying to make and relate it directly to the violence.

"Either VOA adds something in there to take the edge off and mention the Palestinians or we should kill this editorial until the violence has calmed for a while.'

25 posted on 01/05/2002 3:36:16 PM PST by veronica
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To: Pokey78
Clintoon was way busy at the time what with getting his pipes cleaned and all. Everybody knows its the GOP's fault for hounding Clinton till the end of his presidency.(/sarcasm)
26 posted on 01/05/2002 3:36:24 PM PST by kylaka
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To: NYC GOP Chick
All we need do is look to the way Clinton let the FALN terrorists out of prison, to see how he dealt with terrorism.

And what was their crime, to bomb buildings in NYC and plan to bomb other cities.

27 posted on 01/05/2002 3:39:26 PM PST by mware
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To: veronica
Thanks for refreshing my memory on that DOS' VOA controversy! the clintoon administration were such a bunch of mush heads !!!
28 posted on 01/05/2002 3:39:55 PM PST by True Capitalist
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To: Pokey78
According to a witness, Clinton told a dinner companion that the decision to let Bin Laden go was probably "the biggest mistake of my presidency"
Amazing that he is able to pick just one, he could write a series of books based on his mistakes if he put his mind to it.
29 posted on 01/05/2002 3:40:26 PM PST by The Brush
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To: veronica
Is there a link to that memo? I'd LOVE to show it to some people.
30 posted on 01/05/2002 3:40:55 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: mware
Yes, he definitely did NOT take terrorism seriously and for him to now pretend that he did is an insult to those who were murdered on 9/11 and during the 8 years of his incompetent reign.
31 posted on 01/05/2002 3:41:49 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: True Capitalist
A potent reminder that Bubba 'loathed the military.'
32 posted on 01/05/2002 3:42:05 PM PST by veronica
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To: thud
ping
33 posted on 01/05/2002 3:43:12 PM PST by Dark Wing
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To: veronica
'The United States State Department believes the "17 or so dead sailors" on the U.S.S. Cole "does not compare to the 100+ Palestinians who have died in recent weeks" in Mideast violence, a stunning government memo reveals.

As one who watched first-hand what clinton did to the Navy, this is one of the most disgusting, vile pieces of info I have ever seen! Sick! How could anyone loathe our military this much?!?

34 posted on 01/05/2002 3:45:16 PM PST by LiberteeBell
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To: Pokey78
"There simply was not the evidence to prosecute Osama Bin Laden. He could not be indicted, so it would serve no purpose for him to have been brought into US custody."

Exactly the reason why liberals have no business being in charge of national security, from the horses mouth.

When you can't prosecute someone like Bin Laden, you kill him.

Apparently Klinton was only interested in taking out his domestic enemies, like Jim McDougal.

35 posted on 01/05/2002 3:46:08 PM PST by Rome2000
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To: NYC GOP Chick
I got it from the piece DRUDGE did. Link leads to Drudge's piece.

The memo is probably online somewhere. I'll look - if I find it I'll post it here and bump you.

36 posted on 01/05/2002 3:48:06 PM PST by veronica
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: anniegetyourgun; Pokey78

Q ERTY4 + Q ERTY6 = rodham clinton REALITY CHECK!

 
Clinton's failure to grasp the opportunity to unravel increasingly organized extremists, coupled with Berger's assessments of their potential to directly threaten the U.S., represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures in American history

Clinton Let Bin Laden Slip Away and Metastasize

 

 

Bill Clinton may not be the worst president America has had, but surely he is the worst person to be president.*

---GEORGE WILL, Sleaze, the sequel

 

Had George Will written Sleaze, the sequel (the "sequel" is, of course, hillary) after 9-11-01, I suspect that he would have had to forgo the above conceit, as the doubt expressed in the setup phrase was, from that day forward, no longer operational.

Indeed, assessing the clinton presidency an abject failure is not inconsistent with commentary coming from the left, most recently the LA Times: "Clinton Let Bin Laden Slip Away and Metastasize."

When the clintons left office, I predicted that the country would eventually learn--sadly, the hard way--that this depraved, self-absorbed and inept pair had placed America (and the world) in mortal danger. But I was thinking years, not months.

It is very significant that hillary clinton didn't deny clinton culpability for the terrorism. (Meet the Press, 12-09-01), notwithstanding tired tactics (if you can't pass the buck, spread the blame) and chronic self-exclusion. ("I knew nuttin'.")

If leftist pandering keeps the disenfranchized down in perpetuity, clinton pandering,("it's the economy, stupid"), kept the middle and upper classes wilfully ignorant for eight years.

And ironically, both results (leftist social policy and the clinton economy) are equally illusory, fraudulent. It is becoming increasingly clear that clinton assiduously avoided essential actions that would have negatively impacted the economy--the ultimate source of his continued power--actions like, say, going after the terrorists.

It is critically important that hillary clinton fail in her grasp for power; read Peggy Noonan's little book, 'The Case Against Hillary Clinton' and Barbara Olson's two books; it is critical that the West de-clintonize, but that will be automatic once it is understood that the clintons risked civilization itself in order to gain and retain power.

It shouldn't take books, however, to see that a leader is a dangerous, self-absorbed sicko. People should be able to figure that out for themselves. The electorate must be taught to think, to reason. It must be able to spot spin, especially in this age of the electronic demagogue.

I am not hopeful. As Bertrand Russell noted, "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so. "

Mia T, hillary clinton blames hubby for terrorism

(SHE knew nuttin')

Meet the Press, 12-09-01

 

 

*George Will continues: There is reason to believe that he is a rapist ("You better get some ice on that," Juanita Broaddrick says he told her concerning her bit lip), and that he bombed a country to distract attention from legal difficulties arising from his glandular life, and that. ... Furthermore, the bargain that he and his wife call a marriage refutes the axiom that opposites attract. Rather, she, as much as he, perhaps even more so, incarnates Clintonism

Q ERTY3 co-rapist  bump!
 
also:
 
CLINTON-WAS-AN-UTTER-FAILURE Containment Team Scheme Fails Again
Ollie North Laughs Ann Lewis Off Stage

38 posted on 01/05/2002 3:54:47 PM PST by Mia T
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To: Howlin
Gee I dunno. Watching Clinton and wondering if he raped anyone prior to his news conferences was sort of a turn on. < /sarcasm >
39 posted on 01/05/2002 3:55:46 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: veronica
Thanks! If you ever come across an official link to that memo, I'd really appreciate it. I fear that we're only just beginning to see the damage that his 8-year reign has wrought. But hey, we had "8 years of peace and prosperity" while he was in office, right? Sheesh, what a fraud.
40 posted on 01/05/2002 3:56:49 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: Howlin
The decision not to do so went to the very top of the White House, according to former administration sources

So why is Bill getting the blame for this? WE ALL KNOW who was actually running policy in the White House...
41 posted on 01/05/2002 3:59:15 PM PST by Registered
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To: Registered
You can bet your life savings she'll be nowhere to be found for the next couple of weeks.

You know the routine; damaging information you might be asked questions about=drop out of sight until the current news cycle cools down. (I'd love to see a calendar with the WEEKS they've had to mark themselves out of circulation since they left the White House. :-)

42 posted on 01/05/2002 4:01:52 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Pokey78
E-mail from Dick

CLINTON'S PRIORITY: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OVER FIGHTING TERROR

By Dick Morris

Last month, President Bush shut down three U.S.-based "charities" accused of funneling money to Hamas, a terrorist organization that last year alone was responsible for at least 20 bombings, two shootings and a mortar attack that killed 77 people.

These "charities" - The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the Global Relief Foundation and the Benevolence International Foundation - raised $20 million last year alone.

But the information on which Bush largely relied to act against these charities was taped nine years ago, in 1993. FBI electronic eavesdropping had produced compelling evidence that officials of Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation had met to discuss raising funds for Hamas training schools and establishing annuities for suicide bombers' families - pensions for terrorists.

Why didn't Clinton act to shut these people down? In 1995 and 1996, he was advised to do just that. At a White House strategy meeting on April 27, 1995 - two weeks after the Oklahoma City bombing - the president was urged to create a "President's List" of extremist/terrorist groups, their members and donors "to warn the public against well-intentioned donations which might foster terrorism."

On April 1, 1996, he was again advised to "prohibit fund-raising by terrorists and identify terrorist organizations," specifically mentioning the Hamas. Inexplicably, Clinton ignored these recommendations. Why? FBI agents have stated that they were prevented from opening either criminal or national-security cases because of a fear that it would be seen as "profiling" Islamic charities.

While Clinton was politically correct, the Hamas flourished. Clinton did seize any bank accounts of the terrorist groups themselves, but his order netted no money since neither al Qaeda nor bin Laden were obliging enough to open accounts in their own names.

Liberals felt that the civil rights of suspected terrorists were more important than cutting off their funds.

George Stephanopoulos, the ankle bracelet that kept Clinton on the liberal reservation, explains in his memoir "All Too Human" that he opposed the proposal to "publish the names of suspected terrorists in the newspapers" with a "civil liberties argument" and by pointing out that Attorney General Janet Reno would object. So five years later - after millions have been given to terrorist groups through U.S. fronts - the government is finally blocking the flow of cash. Political correctness also doomed a separate recommendation to require that drivers' licenses and visas for noncitizens expire simultaneously so that illegal aliens pulled over in traffic stops could be identified and (if appropriate) deported. Stephanopoulos cited "potential abuse and political harm to the president's Hispanic base," and said that he'd killed the idea by raising "the practical grounds of prohibitive cost."

Had Clinton adopted this recommendation, Mohammed Atta might have been deported after he was stopped for driving without a license three months before be piloted an American Airlines jet into the World Trade Center.

Nothing so illustrates the low priority of terrorism in Clinton's first term than the short shrift he gave the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the first terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Six people were killed and 1,042 injured; 750 firefighters worked for one month to contain the damage. But Clinton never visited the site. Several days after the explosion, speaking in New Jersey, he actually "discouraged Americans from overacting" to the Trade Center bombing.

Why this de-emphasis of the threat? In Sunday's New York Times, Stephanopoulos explains that the 1993 attack "wasn't a successful bombing. . . . It wasn't the kind of thing where you walked into a staff meeting and people asked, what are we doing today in the war against terrorism?"

In sharp contrast, U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Duffy, who presided over the WTC- bombing trial, noted that the attack caused "more hospital casualties than any other event in domestic American history other than the Civil War."

But Stephanopoulos was just the hired help. Clinton was the president and commander- in-chief. For all of his willingness to act courageously and decisively - against the advice of his liberal staff - on issues like deficit reduction and welfare reform, he was passive and almost inert on terrorism in his first term. > > It wasn't until 1998 that Clinton finally got around to setting up a post of Counter Terrorism Coordinator in the National Security Council. Everything was more important than fighting terrorism.

Political correctness, civil liberties concerns, fear of offending the administration's supporters, Janet Reno's objections, considerations of cost, worries about racial profiling and, in the second term, surviving impeachment, all came before fighting terrorism.

43 posted on 01/05/2002 4:03:49 PM PST by lonestar
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To: Howlin
Well, Clinton doesn't have to worry about his legacy anymore, it's already being written.
44 posted on 01/05/2002 4:04:57 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
At least I'm not the only one who often had the same thoughts...
45 posted on 01/05/2002 4:04:57 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Yikes. Yes, but what was our motive. heh
46 posted on 01/05/2002 4:05:38 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
I don't know about you, but I was usually wondering if he'd just raped someone or merely committed adultery before hectoring us about something or other. ;-D
47 posted on 01/05/2002 4:07:36 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: McGavin999
I believe that is the problem. Har!
48 posted on 01/05/2002 4:08:49 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Howlin
I just pinged you to another thread. Long read but worth it. Read the whole thing.
49 posted on 01/05/2002 4:12:22 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: RobFromGa
We're not likely to see his type again.

God willing.

50 posted on 01/05/2002 4:12:28 PM PST by hellinahandcart
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