Thursday, August 18, 2005

 

Yet More Clintonian Spin

The Permanent Revisionist

Bill Clinton:
I also wish,” he continues, “I desperately wish, that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early. I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11, but it certainly would have complicated it...I always thought that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did.
The New York Magazine article is here.

Does his timing have anything to do recent revelations about Able Danger? Or is it this:
State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam "well beyond the Middle East," but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show.
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In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that "his prolonged stay in Afghanistan - where hundreds of 'Arab mujahedeen' receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate - could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum," in Sudan.

The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times, shed light on a murky and controversial chapter in Mr. bin Laden's history: his relocation from Sudan to Afghanistan as the Clinton administration was striving to understand the threat he posed and explore ways of confronting him.
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The newly declassified documents do not directly address the question of whether Sudan ever offered to turn over Mr. bin Laden. But the documents go well beyond previous news and historical accounts in detailing the Clinton administration's active monitoring of Mr. bin Laden's movements and the realization that his move to Afghanistan could make him an even greater national security threat.

Several former senior officials in the Clinton administration did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on the newly declassified documents.
In the Bullpen comments on Clinton's claim:
That’s laughable to an extent, but very sad that Clinton would say such a thing. The 9/11 Commission report details four chances in which Clinton had the chance to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden, but pulled out at the last moment. Author Richard Minter of Losing Bin Laden details twelve (12!) chances Clinton missed the mark.

This isn’t just playing Monday morning quarterback, this is outright revising history and trying to minimize his ineffectiveness to kill or capture Bin Laden. It is true that up until 1995 or 1996 no one thought of Bin Laden as anything more than a financier, but they quickly learned who he was and still shied away from attemps due to legal issues and not wanting to support Afghan tribes to find and capture him because there might be innocents who died. Well, over 20,000 people have died as a result.
As does Captain Ed:
Clinton's insistence on "proof" refers to a legal certainty that demonstrates his continuing fecklessness on the war that Islamists had declared on the West years earlier. In fact, he already had "proof" that al-Qaeda and bin Laden had masterminded earlier attacks on US interests, especially the twin Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998. One reason that the FBI knew of Khallad was because they had established Khallad as one of the terrorists who helped plan and execute those attacks.

Besides, take a second look at the wording used by the consummate lawyer in his assertion to Jennifer Senior. He would have "launched an attack". That is what he did after the embassy bombings; in the words of his successor, Clinton launched a two-million dollar missile at a ten-dollar tent and hit a camel in the butt. Did it disrupt anything else that al-Qaeda had planned? Not at all.

The long record of gross ineffectiveness based on the faulty premise that terrorism required indictments and civil trials created the Clinton legacy on al-Qaeda, not a lack of opportunities. Clinton's whine about "proof" demonstrates that very clearly. He had all the "proof" he needed to order military action in November 2000 to retaliate against bin Laden and the Taliban for sheltering him and chose not to do so. His attempt now to recast himself as a terrorism hawk who had the misfortune of bad timing makes him even more pathetic than ever.
Bryan Preston comments, wondering (scroll to next post) why former members of the Clinton administration have been silent recently:
This has been a very interesting couple of weeks, culminating in what amounts to a docu-dump today. Lt Col Shaffer is now front and center risking his career on this story, and Rep. Weldon has been hinting that more officers may come forward to shed yet more light on Able Danger. We've had the State Dept's 1996 warning about al Qaeda come out on the same day that Mary Jo White's second Gorelick Wall memo surfaced, both of which point at the various reasons al Qaeda survived the 1990s with sufficient strength to attack us on 9-11. Those reasons turn out to be, unsurprisingly, that the Clinton administration created an atmosphere of legalese that hindered the prosecution of what should have been a war all along, and that the chief architect of that atmosphere was none other than 9-11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick. Foolishly violent prosecution at Waco and its fallout seem to have played their role in all of this too--the Pentagon's posse comitatus fears seem to have had more to do with Waco hangover than the Wall. And in the midst of all of this, we had Clinton's incredible statement that he wished the Cole bombers would have been identified on his watch so he could have had the satisfaction of striking at bin Laden himself. As though it wasn't obvious from the get-go that the Cole was an al Qaeda operation...? As though Clinton hadn't already bombed that factory in Sudan on much flimsier reasoning...? As though Clinton himself hadn't declared war on al Qaeda long before he even left office, only to do next to nothing about the actual problem...? Clinton's latest lie doesn't pass the laugh test. He's losing his touch.

Clinton knows his legacy is going up in flames. The rest of his former administration are running for cover--where have Sandy Berger and Jamie Gorelick been lately, anyway? Shouldn't they be talking to some sympathetic reporter by now, if only to defend their reputations?

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