Urbin Report

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

From the Washington Times, the words of Richard Clarke:

"If President Bush had followed every last letter of Richard Clarke's recommendations starting Inauguration Day, it still would not have prevented 9/11," the Wall Street Journal says.
"How do we know this? Richard Clarke says so," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Here's how the disgruntled National Security Council adviser put it last week in an exchange with Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission and former Washington senator:
"Mr. Gorton: 'Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25 of 2001 ... including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for 2½ years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted, say, on January 26, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?
"Mr. Clarke: 'No.'
"Mr. Gorton: 'It just would have allowed our response after 9/11 to be perhaps a little bit faster?'
"Mr. Clarke: 'Well, the response would have begun before 9/11.'
"Mr. Gorton: 'But — yes, but we weren't going to — there was no recommendation on your part or anyone else's part that we declare war and attempt to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11?'
"Mr. Clarke: 'That's right.'
"This startling exchange got almost no media attention last week. Mr. Clarke has rocketed to national fame over the past 10 days by alleging the Bush administration was negligently inattentive to the al Qaeda threat. He took it upon himself to 'apologize' on behalf of 'your government' to the families of 9/11 victims, as if there had been policy options on the table — perhaps offered by him — that might have prevented their deaths.
"But when pressed on that point under oath, Mr. Clarke was forced to concede that the impression he'd created, the very reason anyone was paying any attention to him, was false. As long as Mr. Clarke is in the apology business, can we have one for wasting a week of the administration's precious antiterror time?"