RUSH: The Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came out today and blasted Clinton’s interview on Fox this Sunday, said (summary), ‘This isn’t true. What he was saying isn’t true. Nobody left us a plan, a war plan on Al-Qaeda,’ and Clinton said (impression), I gave one of those plans. I put it together. I presented it and I handed it over to Richard Clarke. I said, ‘You give it to these people. I can’t start a war with these people coming in, but I gave them that plan, and they did nothing for eight months, they did nothing. I tried! I might have failed, but I tried, at least a tried,’ banging this finger, and poor Chris Wallace. You know, it’s a good thing Chris Wallace’s notes were in his lap or who knows where that finger would have landed. Thank God we don’t have to deal with that.
Anyway, Byron York today at National Review Online: ‘Did Clinton Really Give Bush A ‘Comprehensive Anti-Terror Strategy?’ [Clinton] says he did. The record says he didn’t.’ Condoleezza Rice, interview with the New York Post: ‘We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda. The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn’t [fight al Qaeda] is just flatly false.’ But Clintons says he left one. ‘[W]hich is it? The argument over whether, in January 2001, the Clinton administration left the incoming Bush administration a blueprint to destroy Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda has been going on for years now. Long before the Clinton Fox interview, it came to a boil in the late summer of 2002, on the eve of the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, when Time magazine published a 10,400-word story, ‘They Had A Plan,’ blaming the Bush administration for not following the Clinton newly developed administration’s strategy.
‘The Clinton plan, Time reported, was drawn up after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. In the wake of that bombing, Time said, White House anti-terror chief Richard Clarke put together ‘an aggressive plan to take the fight to al-Qaeda.’ Clarke reportedly wanted to break up al Qaeda cells, cut off their funding, destroy their sanctuaries, and give major support to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. In addition, Time reported, ‘the U.S. military would start planning for air strikes on the camps and for the introduction of special-operations forces into Afghanistan.’ It was, in the words of a senior Bush administration official quoted by Time, ‘everything we’ve done since 9/11.’ Time said Clarke presented the ‘strategy paper’ to national-security adviser Sandy Berger on December 20, 2000, but Berger decided not to act on it.
“‘We would be handing [the Bush administration] a war when they took office,’ Time quoted an unnamed former Clinton aide saying. ‘That wasn’t going to happen.’ Instead, Berger ? who is portrayed as a tough-talking hardliner on terrorism ? urged Rice, the incoming national-security adviser, to take action. But the new administration didn?t follow that good advice. The Clinton proposals, Time reported, ‘became a victim of the transition process, turf wars and time spent on the pet policies of new top officials.’ The Time account was explosive. Or at least it seemed to be explosive ? until we heard more of the story. After the article appeared, National Review talked to Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, who was then a member of the House, chairing the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.”
By the way, we documented all this to be false yesterday on this program and it’s still up on the website. We used Clarke’s own book to do it. So the TIME Magazine piece. I’m just going through Byron York’s story here. He’s got some interesting details, but that whole interview was classic Clinton: lie after lie after lie after lie and they’re out there telling him that he “gave us a spinal transplant.” Well, I’ll just say it again: if you need a backbone transplant, it means you don’t have one to start with, and it’s patently obvious. I mean, you know people with good spines, you know people that got backbone, you know people that hang in there, and you know when you run into the backbone of America, and you know when you’re running into people who are pretenders to it. The pretenders to being the backbone of this country are the Democrats today, at least these vocal ones and loud ones elected in Washington plus their kook fringe supporters out there in blogosphere.
“After the [TIME] article appeared, National Review talked to Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, who was then a member of the House, chairing the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Chambliss was perplexed. ‘I?ve had Dick Clarke testify before our committee several times, and we?ve invited Samuel Berger several times,’ Chambliss told NR, ‘and this is the first I?ve ever heard of that plan.’ If it was such a big deal, Chambliss wondered, why didn?t anyone mention it? … Finally, Richard Clarke himself debunked the story in a background briefing with reporters. He said he presented two things to the incoming Bush administration: ‘One, what the existing strategy had been. And two, a series of issues ? like aiding the Northern Alliance, changing Pakistan policy, changing Uzbek policy ? that they had been unable to come to any new conclusions from ?98 on.’ A reporter asked: ‘Were all of those issues part of an alleged plan that was late December and the Clinton team decided not to pursue because it was too close to — ‘
“‘There was never a plan, Andrea,’ Clarke answered. ‘What there was was these two things: One, a description of the existing strategy, which included a description of the threat. And two, those things which had been looked at over the course of two years, and which were still on the table.’
“‘So there was nothing that developed, no documents or no new plan of any sort?
“‘There was no new plan.’
“‘No new strategy? I mean, I mean, I don?t want to get into a semantics ? ‘
“‘Plan, strategy ? there was nothing new.’
“‘Had those issues evolved at all from October of ?98 until December of 2000?’
“‘Had they evolved? Not appreciably.’
“Amid all the controversy, some former Clinton-administration officials began to pull back on their story. One of them ? who asked not to be named ? told NR that Time didn?t have it quite right. ‘There were certainly ongoing efforts throughout the eight years of the Clinton administration to fight terrorism,’ the official said. ‘It was certainly not a formal war plan. We wouldn?t have characterized it as a formal war plan. The Bush administration was briefed on the Clinton administration?s ongoing efforts and threat assessments.’ That, of course, was pretty much what the Bush White House said had had happened all along.
“But now, the story is back in the news. ‘At least I tried [to destroy al Qaeda],’ Clinton told Fox. ‘That?s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn?t?I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy?’ Perhaps the former president hoped to put an end to the questions about his record on terrorism. Instead, he just brought the issue back to public scrutiny.”
That’s why I hope they keep playing this videotape. Look, what was I saying yesterday? In his own book, My Lie, the autobiography (“life,” My Life), the first reference to Al-Qaeda was on page 500 something. The first reference to bin Laden was on page 700 something, in a 995-page book.
RUSH: Mrs. Clinton has weighed in on her husband’s spinal transplant. The Democrat Party (laughing). Sorry. I cannot stop laughing. The moment this show began, USA Today and AP go out and find a bunch of idiots who are upset (two-thirds of them are Democrats) that the gasoline price is falling and think it’s a conspiracy. I marvel at how easy it is for these people in the media to find these idiot people, and now you’ve got The Forehead out there saying Dr. Clinton, good Dr. Clinton gave our party a spine transplant, and now there’s Hillary out there weighing in on this. She had a press conference.
HILLARY: My husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take these attacks. You know, all you have to do is read the 9/11 Commission to know what he and his administration did to protect Americans and prevent terrorist attacks against our country.
RUSH: He didn’t prevent any! He didn’t even quote the 9/11 report. Have you people talked to each other since this happened? He kept quoting the Richard Clarke book. He told us, Hillary, to go out and look at Richard Clarke’s book! You’re telling us to go look at the 9/11 Commission report. You’re telling us he did all this great stuff to protect Americans and prevent terrorist attacks against our country. Shall we go through the list of things that happened in the 1990s? He didn’t prevent any of the ones that happened.
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