24 March 2004

From Bad to Worse

.:American Family Voices:. website weighs in on the .:Richard Clark:. brouhaha with a collection of quotes from devout Bushites that belie their claims, and further indict this administration for mishandling intelligence prior to 9-11-01 and lying about the need to invade Iraq.
"Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction and he chose not to." – Condoleezza Rice, March 22, 2004

In fact, Clarke sent an urgent memo calling for a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss the possibilities of an al Qaeda attack back on January 24, 2001. The meeting was delayed for three months, and was held without the presence of Cabinet-level officials.

Clarke's colleague Thomas Maertens, former National Security Council director for nuclear nonproliferation under both Clinton and Bush, remembers that Clarke "was the guy pushing hardest, saying again and again that something big was going to happen," but that Bush officials weren't responsive to the advice of a Clinton administration holdover.

"Ramzi Yousef [convicted of the attempted WTC bombings in 1993] turned out to be Khalid Shaykh Muhammad's nephew. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad is the guy who came up with the idea of using airliners to strike the World Trade Center in about 1996, we believe, when he first suggested that, and who later supervised the attacks of 9/11." – Cheney, March 22, 2004

Another failed gambit from Cheney during his phone-in appearance on Limbaugh's show. This statement is part of a desperate attempt by the Bush team to pin the blame for 9/11 on the Clinton administration. Of course, as usual, Cheney vastly overstated himself and stuck his foot in his mouth, selling out a colleague in the process. Here's why:

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people…would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." – Rice, May 16, 2002

Cheney's comments directly implied that people (meaning people in the Clinton administration) should have predicted that al Qaeda would use a plane as a missile, because Muhammad's plans stretched back to 1996. In a desperate attempt to free the Bush administration from blame, Rice similarly overstated her case as well. In fact, a 1999 report by the National Intelligence Council did issue an alert about this type of hijacking plan.

"The president returned to the White House and called me in and said, I've learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11." – Rice, March 22, 2004

"But just days later, the President met with his National Security Council; the Director of Central Intelligence informed him that there was no link between the September 11th attacks and Iraq." – McClellan, March 22, 2004

It is embarrassing that the White House would even attempt to make this claim after shamelessly using 9/11 as grounds to invade Iraq. In fact, the Bush team had better hope that Rice and McClellan are lying. Otherwise there's no possible way to explain these comments:

"Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own." – President Bush, 2003 State of the Union Address

"We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s." – Cheney on "Meet the Press," September 14, 2003

And, in a letter to Congress, President Bush argued that an attack on Iraq was justified because force was authorized against "nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11."

The Bush White House has been spinning so many half-truths on this issue for so long that it was inevitable that at some point, they were going to overlap and contradict. That point appears to be now. It was perhaps the most poorly constructed web of deceit in recent memory – it only trapped the spider. ...
More links are here, here, and here.