(try and that ten times fast, especially with a loose tooth)
This morning the Post notes that, "On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration [foreign] policy that would address 'the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday' -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals." By the world of yesterday, did she mean the Cold War? Nope, she meant the Clinton Administration!
"It mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States." In fact, Rice was to have chided the Clinton Administration for not doing enough about the "real threat" -- long-range missiles.
Meanwhile, Slate's Fred Kaplan noted the overlooked but obvious: "If Clarke is spewing nonsense-- If the president and his national security adviser really did consider Al-Qaeda 'an urgent matter' [CIA Director George] Tenet is the man to say so. It's hard to imagine that the White House hasn't tried to recruit him to do so. Yet so far he hasn't." Also MIA from the attack hounds, Colin Powell.
When asked about Clarke, Powell said the following on PBS' Newshour: "I know Mr. Clarke. I have known him for many, many years. He's a very smart guy. He served his nation very, very well. He's an expert in these matters." His book "is not the complete story," but, Powell added, "I'm not attributing any bad motives to it."
Asked if he had been recruited to join the campaign against Clarke, Powell replied, "I'm not aware of any campaign against Mr. Clarke, and I am not a member." Note, that means that A) Colin Powell is out of the loop and B) he is using a non-denial denial to answer questions about a coordinated campaign to smear Clarke coming from the Commander-in-Chief himself.
Powell said the following about Clarke's charge that the Bush administration didn't see Al-Qaeda as an "urgent threat" is also telling:
- We knew that al-Qaeda was a threat to our country. We knew that the Clinton Administration understood this and was working against al-Qaeda. We did not ignore al-Qaeda. We spent a lot of time thinking about terrorism, what should we do about it...We were working on terrorism and trying to understand it.
Kaplan notes that Tenet and Powell could have said something to despute or refute Clarke's substantive charges, yet they chose not to do so. And their silence speaks volumes.