WASHINGTON - Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator, accuses the Bush administration of failing to recognize the al-Qaida threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and then manipulating America into war with Iraq with dangerous consequences.
He accuses Bush of doing "a terrible job on the war against terrorism." Clarke, who is expected to testify Tuesday before a federal panel reviewing the attacks, writes in a new book going on sale Monday that Bush and his Cabinet were preoccupied during the early months of his presidency with some of the same Cold War issues that had faced his father's administration.
"It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier," Clarke told CBS for an interview Sunday on its "60 Minutes" program. CBS' corporate parent, Viacom Inc., owns Simon & Schuster, publisher for Clarke's book, "Against All Enemies."
Clarke acknowledges that, "there's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too." He said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) on Jan. 24, 2001, asking "urgently" for a Cabinet-level meeting "to deal with the impending al-Qaida attack." Months later, in April, Clarke met with deputy cabinet secretaries, and the conversation turned to Iraq.
"I'm sure I'll be criticized for lots of things, and I'm sure they'll launch their dogs on me," Clarke said. "But frankly I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something."
The Associated Press first reported in June 2002 that Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions.
The last of those two meetings occurred Sept. 4 as the security council put finishing touches on a proposed national security policy review for the president. That review was finished Sept. 10 and was awaiting Bush's approval when the first plane struck the World Trade Center.
Almost immediately after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Clarke said the president asked him directly to find whether Iraq was involved in the suicide hijackings.
"Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said, 'Iraq did this,'" said Clarke, who told the president that U.S. intelligence agencies had never found a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida.
"He came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection,' and in a very intimidating way," Clarke said.
CBS said it asked Stephen Hadley, Rice's deputy on the national security council, about the incident, and Hadley said: "We cannot find evidence that this conversation between Mr. Clarke and the president ever occurred."
CBS responded to Hadley that it found two people it did not identify who recounted the incident independently, and one of them witnessed the conversation.
"I stand on what I said," Hadley told CBS, "but the point I think we're missing in this is, of course the president wanted to know if there was any evidence linking Iraq to 9-11."
Clarke also harshly criticizes Bush over his decision to invade Iraq, saying it helped brew a new wave of anti-American sentiment among supporters of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).
"Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us."
Clarke retired early in 2003 after 30 years in government service. He was among the longest-serving White House staffers, transferred in from the State Department in 1992 to deal with threats from terrorism and narcotics.
Clarke previously led the government's secretive Counterterrorism and Security Group, made up of senior officials from the FBI (news - web sites), CIA (news - web sites), Justice Department (news - web sites) and armed services, who met several times each week to discuss foreign threats.
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At least that's the name you went by originally. Now you're just two dots which leaves you short of a tre in Dominos. I guess you aren't capable of intelligent original thoughts, so you cut and paste, huh? Why don't you take that crap with you when you leave and make sure to close the door behind you. With an ISP like that, you're probably PETA or Rainbow Push or something else so useless you're afraid to use a real name. At least when Cecil posted politics, he had guts enough to sign his own convictions. I have to respect that about him whereas you are devoid of any social amenities.
Disreguard above posting it's a disgrunteled Democrat post by CECIL and a guy pimping his new book.
If your freinds book does not sell I know some farmers who need manure spreaders and I think you will be perfect for that job.Instead of cut and paste you can shovel and stack.
Under Clinton we had the first attack on the twin towers, two American embassy's bombed and a whole blown in the USS Cole and no serious action was taken or precautions made. BUT Bush was supposed to take charge defend us and take out all the bad guys that Clinton ignored? Clinton had 8 years Bush had 7 months.BUT Bush is the guy who ignored the red flags.....Hmmmmmm
I do not blame Clinton or Bush. I do agree with the Bush policy to go after them at any cost and respect him for making it his top priority, even at the cost of his re-election. Seems to be working we have not had any more 9-11's, Thank God! ( Is it still OK to say God?)
let me join this one, instead of bashing this person, how do you know what he posted isnt true, and if it is do we really need a president in office with his own power hungry, money grabbing agenda thats puts our family and friends in danger while his pals sit back and collect millions in contracts.
if it is false then so be it and put it somewhere else, but just remember that other presidents have been out for themselves and their friends too and not for the real good of america....
Why is that when someone posts something they saw online or in an e-mail and cuts & pastes it here, thats a problem. Just the other day someone posted a letter from some serviceman who was all gung ho about the war, all of you praised the post, but when someone posts something you dont agree with, you jump up and down like a retarded monkey [expletive deleted]ing and moaning the whole time. The original poster is not a reporter for a newspaper or wire service, and did not write the article. Does that mean its not true? When someone cuts and pastes some bible (buy-bull ;-) verse on this site, that must not be true either because they didnt write it, but simply cut & pasted it? Just becasue someone wrote a book about their experiences, why does that mean its all lies? I guess George Roof's book is all lies and untruths too?
Look no name its nice not having to wade threw garbage anymore.Take you and your posts somewhere that they care what you have to say.I will not go any further as kids read these also.After all this is a taxidermy site.Post your email also.
Can you name ANY president to whom your description DIDN'T fit? LOL We both know that every sitting president has been below board in many of his dealings. That's the way the 2-party system works and more reason we should abandon it.
Oh, and "Basement", nothing's wrong with cut and paste as long as you have the kahunas to sign your name and address by it. But then again, that leaves you out too, now, doesn't it?
You know that wasn't my post up there! Like George said I will leave my name if I post anything. Besides, Lent is not over yet! (Actually I will not ever post politics on here again no matter how much Richard wants me to.) LOL Maybe it was you Richard?
Do you think Richard even knows how to cut and paste? LMAO
I think that's out of his league. LMAO
Just having some fun at your expense Richard!
BTW, I got the article through the mail Richard. Interesting stuff.
O.K.,Some of us support Bush,and some of us dont.Some of us like broccoli,and some of us dont.Some of us go to church and some of us dont.Damn,I really thought us taxidermists knew that in a profession,you dont discuss things like this.This is America and I think because you all must be working by yourselves you have not been trained to keep your opinions to yourselves,and quit crap disturbing,and be thankful you are only working for yourselves because if you had a business that thrived and had to hire people to help you,you would be in so many lawsuits [expletive deleted] that you would never make it.Be a loner and complainer on a less professional term.Thanks,Mike B.
for some reason it does not get as heated as it does on here. Some folks easily offend on here and some take things far too seriously. Don't know why but that's what happens on here. I have actually had someone email me and tell me I was going to kill someone by causing them to have a heart attack!
Back to the political site, we have a gentleman that proclaims to be a veteran of two tours of Vietnam and a former governor. Problem is several real vets on there know he is lying and everytime we ask him what unit and when, he was there he does not respond and a moderator deletes our posts. He doesn't know much about how politics works -- so being a former govenor is doubtful too. If there is one thing that really burns me up is people that take credit for something they didn't do. But it is still a far cry from how heated this site gets.