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Pres. Clinton Answers Charges That He Didn't Do Enough To Capture Bin Laden...

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Today, President Bill Clinton taped an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday. He was told the interview would focus on his nonpartisan efforts to raise over $7 billion to combat the world’s biggest problems.

Early in the interview, Wallace attempted to smear Clinton with the same kind of misinformation contained in ABC’s Path to 9/11. Clinton was having none of it.

ThinkProgress has obtained a transcript of the interview. Here are some highlights –

Wallace repeats Path to 9/11 misinformation, Clinton fights back:

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.

CLINTON: OK..

WALLACE: …may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20/20.

CLINTON: No let’s talk about…

WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of which this arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network…ABC just had a right wing conservative on the Path to 9/11 falsely claim that it was based on the 9/11 Commission report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people.

Clinton takes on Fox News bias:

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.

WALLACE: Right…

CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s 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 didn’t…I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, ####### Clarke… So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..

WALLACE: Now wait a minute sir…

CLINTON:…

WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked: Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked: Why did you fire ####### Clarke? I want to know…

WALLACE: We asked…

CLINTON:…

WALLACE: Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday sir?

CLINTON: I don’t believe you ask them that.

WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…

CLINTON: You didn’t ask that did you? Tell the truth.

WALLACE: About the USS Cole?

CLINTON: Tell the truth.

WALLACE: I…with Iraq and Afghanistan there’s plenty of stuff to ask.

CLINTON: Did you ever ask that? You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch is going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers for supporting my work on climate change. And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about…

WALLACE: [laughs]

CLINTON: You said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7 billion dollars plus over three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.

Clinton on his priorities and the Bush administration priorities:

CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…

WALLACE: [Laughs]

CLINTON: I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get Bin Laden. I regret it but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending special forces into Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that’s strange.

http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/22/clinton-fox/

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and WOW!!!

Clinton can string a few intelligent sentences together without long embarrassing pauses, umms or errrs, or lost looks to his advisors and scriptwriters unlike that idiotic #### - BUSH.

yup, ol bill clinton sure could let the BS fly from his mouth, couldn't he...."i did not have sex with that woman...."

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Like a true liberal:

  • Will never ever say he was wrong or made a mistake.
  • Automatically blame someone else for a problem
  • Never ever take any real responsibility..

Now lets contrast these points to George W Bush and his actions...

You know when I hear liberals speak it can of reminds me of corrupt unions and dictators. That is, they basically tell you what you want to hear.

I.E E.G One minute liberals say the war on terror is a lot bigger than Osama, Next minute their saying I would send 20,000 troops to find and kill him..

Ok Wise guy, How would you get those troops into Pakistan????

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....it was a quick ####### not full penetrating sex!!

and Bush is a ex?? Coke Sniffing Drunkard now pretending to be Allshitey GOD?

Like a true liberal:
  • Will never ever say he was wrong or made a mistake.
  • Automatically blame someone else for a problem
  • Never ever take any real responsibility..

Now lets contrast these points to George W Bush and his actions...

You know when I hear liberals speak it can of reminds me of corrupt unions and dictators. That is, they basically tell you what you want to hear.

I.E E.G One minute liberals say the war on terror is a lot bigger than Osama, Next minute their saying I would send 20,000 troops to find and kill him..

Ok Wise guy, How would you get those troops into Pakistan????

Osama in Pakistan?? because BUSH Warned him to get out of Afganistan before attacking. BUSH is corrupt always was always will be.

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....it was a quick ####### not full penetrating sex!!

And what??? That's okay? Geez louise!!!

Clinton was a joke. So he could string some intelligent sentances together. Woopie. He was still a lying rat ####### that brought shame to the oval orfice.

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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/..._on_bin_la.html

Clinton's Artless Equivocation on 'The Path to 9/11'

By Dennis Byrne

If the worst criticism of President Bush is that he lied to us about Iraq, then we just got a whopping reminder of Bill Clinton's extraordinary talents for deception.

In a letter to ABC's chief Bob Iger, Clinton's attorney, Bruce Lindsey, alleges that the network's program, The Path to 9/11 is "factually and incontrovertibly" inaccurate in suggesting that the Clinton administration let Osama Bin Laden slip through its fingers. Clinton's defenders, from their high horses, arrogantly have demand that the program be edited to their satisfaction, or be pulled entirely.

Bristling at evidence that Clinton and his administration were wavering and indecisive, the letter asserted that the president aggressively tried to "take a shot at Bin Laden." It cites the 9/11 Commission Report for supposedly giving credit to Clinton for approving "every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

This is close enough to the truth to make the "I-didn't-inhale" and "I-didn't-have-sex-with-that-woman" Clinton think he can get away with it. But it is far enough away from the truth to be classified as, if not a bold lie, an artless equivocation.

As usual, Clinton figures that the rest of us are too stupid or lazy to look it up for ourselves. And having read the complete report when it came out more than two years ago, I think it is an inescapable fact that a vacillating, equivocating administration had more than one opportunity to take out terrorist mastermind Bin Laden, but blew it.

A good place to look is the report's "Chapter 4: Responses to Al Qaeda's initial assaults," Section 4.5, "Searching for Fresh Options." There you have details of how Bin Laden was ready to be plucked, but someone in the administration either ignored or nixed it. Or put it on an endless "you-decide, not-me" merry-go-round.

For example, the report said the CIA was receiving "reliable" reports that Bin Laden would be in the Sheikh Ali hunting camp in the Afghan desert south of Kandahar until at least midmorning of Feb. 11, 1999. The military was targeting him for a hit with cruise missiles, and only needed a green light. Yet, no missiles were launched, to the disappointment of field agents and the CIA's "Bin Laden" unit. By Feb. 12, Bin Laden had moved on, and the golden opportunity passed.

Still, the CIA hoped that Bin Laden would return to the popular camp, but Richard Clarke, the nation's counterterrorism chief, may have blown it by calling the United Arab Emirate to express his concern about the their officials associating with Bin Laden at the hunting camp. Being no fools, the terrorists within a week had "hurriedly dismantled" and deserted the camp, the report said.

In May, 1999, the report said, the administration may have missed the best and last opportunity to hit Bin Laden with cruise missiles as he was moving in and around Kandahar. "It was a fat pitch, a home run," a senior military official told the commission, confident of the intelligence and the possibility of minimal "collateral damage." The report picks up the story:

"He expected the missiles to fly. When the decision came back that they should stand down, not shoot, the officer said, 'We all just slumped.' He told [the commission] he knew of no one at the Pentagon or the CIA who thought it was a bad game. Bin Laden 'should have been a dead man' that night, he said."

From there, the story gets cloudy. Some told the commission that former CIA Director George Tenet nixed the strike, believing the chance of the intelligence being accurate was only 50-50. (He may have been the only one who thought the odds were that bad.) Tenet told the commission he didn't remember the details. Berger's memory at this historic moment also turned sketchy. "Berger remembered only that in all such cases, the call had been Tenet's. Berger felt sure that Tenet was eager to get Bin Laden. In his view, Tenet did his job responsibly," the report said. It quoted Berger: "George would call and say, 'We just don't have it.'"

Judge for yourself, but to me this sounds like Berger tying to "pin the tail on Tenet."

The report added this tidbit about the administration's inaction: "Replying to a frustrated colleague in the field, the [CIA's] Bin Ladin unit chief wrote: '...having a chance to get [bin Laden] three times in 36 hours, and foregoing the chance each time has made me a bit angry.'" [Emphasis added.] The field officer opined that it was Tenet who was pushing for an attack, but was standing alone, with Berger adopting the cover-your-@ss attitude that it was Tenet's decision, and "we'd go along" with whatever it was.

To be sure, the administration's approach was hesitant, if not overly cautious. Why? They were reflecting Clinton's policy, put into writing in several Memoranda of Notification that he wanted Bin Laden captured and treated humanely, but not killed, unless it was in the process of capture. He even personally edited one memorandum, making it more "ambiguous," the report said. "...t is possible to understand how the former White House officials and the CIA officials might disagree as to whether the CIA was ever authorized by the President to kill Bin Laden."

There should be no disagreement on this: Lindsey's letter to ABC is mere word play. It is couched in equivocations such as Clinton "authorized the use of force" and that the president and Berger had authorized Tenet to "get" Bin Laden. None of it means that Tenet was ordered to kill Bin Laden when he had a chance.

Ahmed Shah Massoud, an Afghanistan Northern Alliance commander who offered to kill Bin Laden for the United States, put the capture-not-kill-decision more succinctly: "You guys are crazy." Lt. Gen William Boykin, a founding member of the elite Delta Force, told the commission, "...opportunities were missed because of an unwillingness to take risks and a lack of vision and understanding."

If they weren't describing the Clinton administration, then who?

A full reading of the report makes clear that the Clinton administration understood the seriousness of the Bin Laden threat, but failed to act decisively. In this, when ABC said "general indecisiveness" allowed the 9/11 attacks, it was correct to include the Clinton administration.

And why the indecisiveness? Rack it up to the idea that he need to prosecute, not kill, terrorists; that someone who has literally declared war on us should be tried with all the rights of American citizens. Maybe we should have tried negotiations instead.

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This is close enough to the truth to make the "I-didn't-inhale" and "I-didn't-have-sex-with-that-woman" Clinton think he can get away with it. But it is far enough away from the truth to be classified as, if not a bold lie, an artless equivocation

COKE SNIFFER BUSH

First he refused to confirm or deny it. Later he would say only that "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Next he said that the issue wasn't relevant. Then he said that he wouldn't address "rumors." Then he said that he could pass a standard security check dating back seven years. Finally, he said that he could've passed the security check in his father's White House -- fifteen years. Though he had to think before specifying whether he could've passed it then or now. Now, no matter what he says, the issue seems destined to dog him until the day he comes clean.

Texas Governor and Republican presidential frontrunner George W. Bush, Jr. has a cocaine problem.

Under normal circumstances, an individual's past drug use, especially if that use occurred in the distant past, should not be relevant to their qualifications for present employment. But in the race for the United States Presidency, it is relevant on two counts. In fact, in Governor Bush's case, it is relevant on three.

As governor of Texas, George W. Bush, Jr. supported and signed legislation increasing penalties for drug possession in that state. In one instance, Governor Bush signed legislation mandating jail time for people caught with less than a single gram of cocaine. As a candidate, Bush's handling of the cocaine question offers clues as to how he deals with embarrassing mistakes -- admit them and move on, or obfuscate and side-step. As President, Governor Bush would preside over a national drug policy that is increasingly punitive, the driving force behind the nation's ascendancy to the title of world's most prolific incarcerator.

In 1992, Republicans asked whether Democratic candidate Bill Clinton could summon the moral authority to send young people to war, given the fact that he had successfully avoided military service during his youth. Today, Governor Bush must be asked whether he can summon the moral authority to send young people to prison, given the fact that he had avoided the DEA in his youth.

It is becoming increasingly clear that George Junior most likely did toot a line or two back in his halcyon days. The relevant question, then, is whether or not he believes that five or ten years in prison would have been the appropriate societal response to that use. And if not, why he believes that such treatment is appropriate for the children of fathers who were not Ambassadors to China, Directors of the CIA, Vice Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief.

The truth is that George Junior was never in much danger of being treated like less fortunate Americans who get sucked into our runaway criminal justice system. As the rich son of a powerful man, it is unlikely that he would have been pulled over, searched, or busted in a street sweep. Rich people don't buy their coke on the street, in quarter gram increments. And if by some strange confluence of events he had been caught and arrested -- rather than sent on his way with a wave of his ID -- he would have certainly had an expensive attorney, and a spot waiting for him at the Betty Ford Clinic. The judge would likely have wished him well in his recovery. It would've taken an act of God or else an act of monumental stupidity on his own part for George Junior to have ever seen the inside of an American prison for drug possession.

But now he's running for president. And the questions keep coming. And his answers keep changing. And try as he might to create a statute of limitations for questions about his personal life, there is no such statute for hypocrisy.

Sending people to prison, increasing their sentences by the stroke of his pen for the very behavior that he now claims is irrelevant in his own history, does not speak well for the honor or the conscience of the man. George W. Bush Jr. has a cocaine problem. But he's got a big lead in the polls, and more than thirty million dollars in the bank. He'll suffer an awful long time before he hits bottom. Right now, pathetic as it is to watch, his evasive machinations in the face of confrontation can only mean one thing. He's still in denial.

George W. Bush. It might not be fair to characterize GWB as a coke fiend. He was more of an aficionado. If George W. Bush's drug laws were in place while George W. Bush was using illegal drugs, he would have been locked up for life. Interestingly, George W. Bush's corporate responsibility laws would have no effect on George W. Bush's business career.

Least Clinton only brought shame to the Oval Office. Bush has brought shame on the whole USA - election fraud, lies for wars and oil money, purveyor of religious hatred......

Edited by godsavethequeen

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CNN anchor Bill Hemmer spoke Tuesday with Clarke, who also says Bush asked him on September 12, 2001, to look for links between al Qaeda and Iraq.

HEMMER: You paint a picture of a White House obsessed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Why do you believe that was the case?

CLARKE: Because I was there and I saw it. You know, the White House is papering over facts, such as, in the weeks immediately after 9/11, the president signed a national security directive instructing the Pentagon to prepare for the invasion of Iraq. Even though they knew at the time from me, from the FBI, from the CIA that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

HEMMER: The White House says that before they even arrived at the White House, the previous administration was obsessed with nothing. I want you to look at a picture that we saw last week from NBC News -- an Al Qaeda terrorist training camp outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan. They allege, at the time, why wasn't anything done to take al Qaeda out. This was August of 2000.

CLARKE: Well, a great deal was done. The administration stopped the al Qaeda attacks in the United States and around the world at the millennium period, they stopped al Qaeda in Bosnia, they stopped al Qaeda from blowing up embassies around the world, they authorized covert lethal action by the CIA against al Qaeda, they retaliated with cruise missile strikes into Afghanistan, they got sanctions against Afghanistan from the United Nations. There was a great deal the administration did, even though at the time, prior to 9/11, al Qaeda had arguably not done a great deal to the United States.

If you look at the eight years of the Clinton administration, al Qaeda was responsible for the deaths of fewer than 50 Americans over those eight years. Contrast that with Ronald Reagan, where 300 Americans were killed in Lebanon and there was no retaliation. Contrast that with the first Bush administration where 260 Americans were killed on Pan-Am 103 and there was no retaliation.

I would argue that for what had actually happened prior to 9/11, the Clinton administration was doing a great deal. In fact, so much that when the Bush people came into office they thought I was a little crazy, a little obsessed with this "little terrorist" [Osama] bin Laden. Why wasn't I focused on Iraqi-sponsored terrorism.

HEMMER: It seems like this could go for pit for pat, almost a ping-pong match. [i'd like to] show you a couple of images of the USS Cole bombing in October 2000, a few weeks before the election that saw George Bush take the White House. Prior to that, August 1998 in Tanzania and Kenya, the U.S. Embassy bombings there. If you want to go back to Beirut, Lebanon, the early 1980's, the White House is now saying go back to 1998, back to the fall of 2000.

CLARKE: Right, and what happened after 1998? There was a military retaliation against al Qaeda and the covert action program was launched, the U.N. sanctions were obtained. The administration did an all-out effort compared to what the Bush administration did. The Bush administration did virtually nothing during the first months of the administration, prior to 9/11.

President Bush himself said in a book when he gave an interview to Bob Woodward, he said "I didn't feel a sense of urgency about al Qaeda. It was not my focus, it was the focus of my team." He is saying that. President Bush said that to Bob Woodward. I'm not the first one to say this.

HEMMER: In part, what the White House would come back and say, the reason why they suggest that statement, is because of what was stated yesterday in the Washington Post. [National Security Adviser] Condoleezza Rice wrote in part, "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration." Is she wrong?

CLARKE: Yes, it's counter factual. We presented the plan to her, told her the plan, told her the strategy. We presented it to her before she was even sworn into office. There are lots of witnesses.

It's just, you know, they're trying to divert attention from the truth here. They're trying to get me involved in personal vendettas around all sorts of attacks on my personality and they've got all sorts of people on the taxpayers' rolls going around attacking me and attacking the book and writing talking points and distributing them to radio talk shows and what not around the country.

Now, let's just look at the facts. The administration had done nothing about al Qaeda prior to 9/11, despite the fact that the CIA director was telling them virtually every day that there was a major threat.

HEMMER: I am hearing from some families of the victims from 9/11, they're saying if it was such an urgent matter, if you truly believed the White House botched the war on terror beginning on September 12, why now on such a critical national, international issue do you write the book in March of 2004?

CLARKE: I wrote the book as soon as I retired from government. It was finished last fall and it sat in the White House for months, because as a former White House official my book has to be reviewed by the White House for security purposes. This book could have come out a long time ago, months and months ago if the White House hadn't sat on it.

HEMMER: The White House is saying they only check the facts when it comes to the book itself and whether or not they are sacrificing national security.

CLARKE: They took months and months to do it. They're saying, why is the book coming out at the beginning of the election? I didn't want it to come out at the beginning of the election. I wanted it to come out last year. They're the reason, because they took so long to clear it.

HEMMER: I want to go back to Condoleezza Rice yesterday on CNN's "American Morning." This is how she phrased this alleged conversation [between Clarke and Bush] that happened on September 12, 2001.

START VIDEOTAPE

Rice: I can't recollect such a conversation, but it's not surprising that the president wanted to know if we were going to retaliate, against whom are we going the retaliate. Of course, Iraq, given our history and the fact that they tried to kill a former president was a likely suspect.

END VIDEOTAPE

HEMMER: There are now questions about this conversation, what happened what did not happen. On CBS's "60 minutes" Sunday night, you said, "Well, there's a lot of blame to go around and I probably deserve some blame, too." How do you blame yourself?

CLARKE: Well, I don't blame myself for making up the conversation. I didn't hallucinate it. There are four eyewitnesses to the conversation that the president had with me. It's very convenient that Dr. Rice and the president are now having a memory lapse, a senior moment. The four eyewitnesses recall vividly what happened and agree with my interpretation.

This is not the president saying do everything, look at everybody, look at Iran, look at Hezbollah. This is the president in a very intimidating way, finger in my face saying, I want a paper on Iraq and this attack. Everyone in the room got the same impression and everyone in the room recalls it vividly. So I'm not making it up. I don't have to make it up. It's part of a pattern that this administration -- even before they came into office -- was out to get Iraq even though Iraq was not threatening the United States.

HEMMER: Tomorrow you will be publicly testifying on Capitol Hill before the 9/11 commission. What is your message to them, that we will hear tomorrow?

CLARKE: I think the message is that the United States mechanisms -- the FBI, CIA, DOD, the White House -- failed during both the Clinton administration and during the Bush administration.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/23/clarke/index.html

Edited by Steven_and_Jinky

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