RUSH: All right, let’s move on to the Richard Clarke aspect of all this. Richard Clarke seems to be the single source authority for Bill Clinton’s version of his unwavering and tireless efforts to get Osama bin Laden and to fight terrorism in general, efforts that caused criticism, he says, from Republicans that he was obsessed. Well, we’ve blown that one out of the water. Here is Wallace’s question: “The 9/11 Commission. This is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said. They said about you and President Bush, and I quote, ‘US government took the threat seriously but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second, or even third rank.'”
CLINTON: Do you think Mr. Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden? He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me and he was loyal to me, he worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation. [sic] Read his book and read his factual assertions. Not opinions, assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies, we probably nearly got bin Laden. The CIA was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said he did a good job, setting up all these counter terrorism things. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.
RUSH: Well, we’re getting close here to Clinton and the famous (impression), “Ha-ha-ha! What do you mean the buck stops here? The buck never got here! I mean, look at Janet Reno, that Waco thing was her deal.” It’s classic with Bill Clinton: the buck never got here. (summarized) “So George Tenet did this, wouldn’t do that. I authorized all this, but those guys wouldn’t go get him, what am I supposed to do? They didn’t have the guts to do it I’m sitting there and I’m saying, well, did everything I can, tried hard. At least I tried. Maybe I failed, but I tried. They didn’t even try.” Here’s an account from Richard Clarke’s book. You interpret this for yourself.
“Because of the intensity of the political opposition that Clinton engendered, he had always been heavily criticized for bombing Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, for engaging in Wag the Dog tactics to divert attention from a scandal about his personal life. For similar reasons he could not fire the recalcitrant FBI director who had failed to fix the bureau or to uncover terrorists in the US. He had given the CIA unprecedented authority to go after bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, but had not taken steps when they did little or nothing because Clinton was criticized as a Vietnam War opponent without a military record, he was limited in his ability to direct the military to engage in anti-terrorist commando operations they didn’t want to conduct.
“He had tried that in Somalia. The military had made mistakes and blamed him. In the absence of a bigger provocation from Al-Qaeda to silence his critics, Clinton thought he couldn’t do anymore.” During 1996 he was really popular, even during the Lewinsky business, and the so-called pro-Clinton Richard Clarke here even makes the claim that Clinton was unwilling to use whatever powers he had at president to go after this because of limitations he himself imposed on his own past.
That’s why character in a president matters.
RUSH: I checked the e-mail, and I knew this was going to happen, and I know that most of the people writing this complaint are Clintonoids, can’t you let go of it? You wouldn’t have a show if it weren’t for Bill Clinton. Why do you have to keep harping on all this? Even though those questions do come from Clintonoids, let me explain something to you, folks. Why is this important? Let’s take a look at Somalia. Let’s review what we’ve already heard from President Clinton on our sound bites today from the interview yesterday. He essentially said hey, don’t blame Somalia on me. I mean, nobody ever heard of bin Laden in ’93, nobody heard of Al-Qaeda, nobody thought they were behind all that. Why, why, there’s not a person in the world that made that association. Don’t blame that on me.
Well, the bottom line is, that two years and three years later we did because that’s when Jon Miller had interviews with bin Laden, and bin Laden, on ABC, was on the network telling the world and everybody (summary): “We saw that behavior, that cut-and-run out of Somalia. American people can’t take casualties. That inspired us. It motivated us and taught us a lot.” The reason that’s important is because the Democrats are trying the same strategy in Iraq, folks. If given power, they will create another Somalia situation in Iraq.
The John Murthas, the John Kerrys, the whole Democratic Party or that bunch of them that wants to pull out of Iraq, if you think Somalia led to bad things, if we pull out of Iraq, it’s just going to embolden them even further. You know, history is always a great teacher, and this goes beyond Clinton. You know, the problem with Clinton is that all this only concerns him and his legacy and his narcissistic self-absorption. But this really is about the country. It’s the way we fight the war on terror and the way we’re going to come together on it, the way we did come together all through the nineties when Clinton was launching these attacks. By the way, he only did one, and we talk about all this wag the dog stuff. He only did one.
It’s not as though he had a lifetime of attacking terrorists. He did one! He launched these missile attacks that turned out to be an aspirin factory in the Sudan, and these missiles in Afghan camps where bin Laden was supposedly hiding out. He only did it once. I mean, it’s not as though there was a presidential policy about this, but the even back then as we documented already in the first hour today, Republicans were wholly supportive. Clinton lied blatantly on television yesterday saying Republicans were mad at him and saying he was obsessed with bin Laden, why didn’t he get on to other things. We’re now discussing his constant references, 11 times in this interview, to Richard Clarke as the sole authority, Richard Clarke had it right, and go read his book. So here is audio sound bite four again from the top.
CLINTON: Do you think Mr. Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden? He worked for Ronald Reagan, he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush, he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation. Read his book and read his factual assertions, not opinions, assertions.
RUSH: All right, stop, stop, stop. I’m trying to here, but I can’t get through a whole bite without stopping this stuff. All right, vigorous attitude about bin Laden, worked for Reagan, blah, blah, they downgraded him and the terrorist operation. Read his book, read his factual assertions, not opinions, assertions. Well, we did. The name of Clarke’s book is “Against All Enemies,” and if you turn to page 234 of Richard Clarke’s book, you can read this, which sort of contradicts Clintons claim that you just heard that Richard Clarke had been demoted and then later fired. Here’s Clarke writing: “I had completed the review of the organizational options for homeland defense and critical infrastructure protection that Secretary Rice had asked me to conduct.
“There was agreement to create a separate senior White House position for critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity outside the NSC staff. Condi Rice and Steve Hadley assumed that I would continue on the NSC, focusing on terrorism and asked whom I had in mind for the new job that would be created outside the NSC. This is basically Internet. I requested that I be given that assignment, to the apparent surprise of Condi Rice and Steve Hadley.” Now, Clinton has asked us to look at the Richard Clarke book, not the 9/11 report. The 9/11 Commission report, which was used as a primary source for the Path to 9/11, portrayed Clarke getting called in and being summarily demoted by Condoleezza Rice.
That is why Clinton thinks it happened because he read the report and he probably did watch the movie. Yet he cites to us Clarke’s book as the foremost authority, cites the book 11 times, says go read Richard Clarke. They fired him and they demoted him. Well, we now know that Richard Clarke was not demoted, he asked to be transferred, his own admission — and the 9/11 movie got this wrong, apparently, if Clarke is right. If Clarke’s book is right, that whole scene where Condi brings him in and tells him, we’re doing a new thing here, Dick, and we’re sending you over here to this new Internet thing we’ve got, to study terrorism and Clarke looked dumbfounded, couldn’t believe he was being moved. In his own book, let me read it to you again: “There was agreement to create a separate senior White House position for critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity, outside the NSC staff where Clarke was currently working.
“Condi Rice and Steve Hadley assume that I would continue on the NSC, focusing on terrorism, and asked whom I had in mind for the new job that would be created outside the NSC. I requested that I be given that assignment, to the apparent surprise of Condi Rice and Steve Hadley.” So if he was demoted, he requested it! Now, Clinton also implied in what you just heard that Clarke was demoted prior to 9/11, and so did the movie, The Path to 9/11. But if you go to page 239 of Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, you’ll read the following. “Roger Cressey, my deputy at the NSC staff, came to me in early October,” that would be after September, “after the time I had intended to switch from the terrorism job to critical–” After the time I had intended.
He wasn’t demoted, he wasn’t shoved out of the way. He asked to go there, and he was getting ready to go there in October, after 9/11. But he says I couldn’t make the move because the switch had been delayed by September 11th. So the Bush administration kept Clark at the NSC, according to Clarke, beyond the period he had planned on being there. Did I stop this or is there more? Okay, well, let’s hear the rest of it.
CLINTON: — took vigorous action after the African embassies. We probably nearly got bin Laden. The CIA was run by George Tenet that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to. He said he did a good job, setting up all these counterterrorism things. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.
RUSH: That’s just… We didn’t have anything ’til Clinton got there. We didn’t have a good economy. We didn’t have right tax policy. Nobody had health care. Do you realize, folks, this country was just a bunch of savages roaming the plains before Clinton got there? We didn’t have anything in place. He launched one attack, one attack, and the most comprehensive terror policy we’ve ever had, Bush administration. Yeah, he’s probably telling me to wipe that smirk off my face. That wasn’t a “smirk,” Mr. President, that was a look of total incredulity by Chris Wallace who couldn’t believe the behavior he was seeing in a former president. One more bite here. Again I’m going to do my best to get through this without stopping it. I haven’t managed to pull that off yet today, but I’m going to keep on. In this bite, Clinton goes off on this tangent about how he drew up plans to go into Afghanistan, but everybody stopped him. I mean, he really wanted, but everybody out there stopped him.
CLINTON: If you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this. After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to —
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait! I’m sorry. So Bush did something right? We needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, Clinton couldn’t do that, but Bush was able to after 9/11. Now, we’d been hit long before 9/11. Clinton couldn’t get basing rights in Uzbekistan, but Bush could, and yet Bush is the incompetent here?
CLINTON: To certify that bin Laden was —
RUSH: Stop the tape. Stop the tape. What he’s saying here is the CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there.
CLINTON: — while I was there, they refused to certify. So that meant I would have to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters, refuel at night. Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too. All I’m asking is, anybody that wants to say I didn’t enough, you read Richard Clarke —
RUSH: Well, we’ve done that, too, and it doesn’t bear you out, Mr. President. We try not to gloat here over the implosion of political enemies, and I’m trying not to the that, but once again, you know, CIA, FBI, refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there? Bin Laden declared war on us in 1996. You said you were obsessed with bin Laden. How in the world does this play? You were obsessed with bin Laden, but you couldn’t get the CIA or FBI to certify that bin Laden was responsible?
Why were you upset with bin Laden, then, if nobody could certify that he was involved? Do you understand how convoluted and pathological this is? “They refused to certify, so that meant that I would have had to send a few hundred Special Forces, helicopters, refuel at night, even the 9/11 Commission didn’t recommend that.” What did Richard Clarke recommend, Mr. President? Seems to me the foremost authority is with you! Here again what we have, the buck never got there. “Hey, you can’t blame me! I mean, I tried, but I — I — I — I just couldn’t, and they didn’t certify, so I couldn’t do it.” Mansour Ijaz, Los Angeles Times, has written of the attempts that Sudan made to offer bin Laden to Clinton. The idea that nobody would certify this is just pathological.
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