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Clinton to blame for intelligence failures

 
 
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 07:01 am
Yes, "everyone" is to blame for 9/11. "Everyone" is also to blame for the outrageous, silly and counterproductive nonsense coming out of the 9/11 commission's quest to assign blame.

Let's take the second point first. Bush made a strategic blunder by essentially insisting he would not do anything differently if he could relive the pre-9/11 months over again. This is not only obvious nonsense, it's politically dumb.

The Bush campaign wants to run on its post-9/11 leadership not its pre-9/11 leadership. But by refusing to acknowledge, even rhetorically, the obvious fact that the government failed when the terrorists succeeded, they created the perfect incentives for political posturing, moral preening and partisan grandstanding from the 9/11 commission, the media, a tiny number of "9/11 families," the Democrats and, yes, the public.

An example: The New York Times editorialized this week, "No reasonable American blames Mr. Bush for the terrorist attacks, but that's a long way from thinking there was no other conceivable action he could have taken to prevent them."

"Conceivable"? Yes, there were all sorts of conceivable actions the president could have taken. He could have interned Muslim-Americans like FDR did with the Japanese. He could have grounded the airlines. He could have declared war on Afghanistan. All of these thing were "conceivable." But since when is "conceivable" the standard for governmental conduct, even in hindsight? The fair - or at least fairer - question is, did Bush take every reasonable action to prevent the 9/11 attacks?

The Times went on to offer some "conceivable" actions the president might have taken after receiving that notorious Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing, namely he should have flown back to D.C. and demanded that airlines start "screening passengers" to fit their "threat profiles."

Considering that it'd been reported in Time magazine in 1998 that government officials believed Osama bin Laden was determined to attack inside the United States, I'm not sure the president should have raced back to Washington from his ranch in August 2001.

But I am 100 percent sure that the folks at The New York Times editorial board would have snapped their pencils in rage if the president had suggested increased "profiling" of passengers in August 2001, let alone proposed the Patriot Act - which the Times detests - and never mind doing everything "conceivable."

This blame game stuff is counterproductive and dangerous when Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq. But if that's the game we're stuck with, it's an indisputable scandal that the Clinton Administration is getting off scot-free.

From the day George W. Bush was elected president, he reinstituted the policy of having daily meetings with the head of the CIA, a tradition Bill Clinton canceled. Indeed, Clinton never met privately at all with his first CIA Director James Woolsey after the initial job interview. When a plane crashed on the White House lawn in 1994, the joke in Washington was that it was Woolsey trying to get an appointment.

According to a New Yorker article, FBI Director Louis Freeh considered Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, to be a "public relations hack, interested in how something would play in the press."

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton despised Freeh and could barely stomach talking to him. Whoever was to blame for the sour relationship is irrelevant. Clinton was to blame for letting a spat get in the way of national security.

As we've heard from so many witnesses, throughout the 1990s the CIA, FBI and Justice Department were actively - not passively - impaired in their work to a scandalous extent. The CIA was told that it couldn't work with individuals with dubious "human rights" records. Unfortunately, people with ties to terrorists are not captains of their Mormon bowling leagues.

And, of course, there was Clinton's string of underwhelming, ineffectual and largely counterproductive responses to a string of attacks on America, starting with the first World Trade Center bombing.

The one recurring theme in the 9/11 hearings is the unanimous agreement that the "wall" between intelligence gathering and criminal prosecutions was too high and too thick, and that this was the single most obvious explanation for our failure to stop the 9/11 attacks.

Well, as we learned from John Ashcroft's testimony, the Clinton Administration took its trowel and cemented a new layer of bricks to that wall of separation. In 1995, the FBI was instructed that intelligence and criminal investigations had to be separated even further than "what is legally required" to avoid "the unwarranted appearance" that our intelligence operatives were - shriek! - sharing their information with prosecutors, and vice versa.

The author of this directive? Clinton's Deputy Attorney General (and Al Gore confidant) Jamie Gorelick, who now sits in self-righteous judgment on the 9/11 commission - when she should be called before it to explain herself.

The Bush team may not have done everything it could have prior to 9/11. But, for the previous team, not doing everything they could was policy.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,733 • Replies: 25
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Deecups36
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 07:24 am
Clinton's been out of office 4 years so your attention should really be focused on Bush.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 08:11 am
There is no statute of limitations on blame that I am aware of. we should be focusing on what caused 9/11 to happen, not just on how we can make Bush out to be the sole bearer of responsibility. If something was done during the previous that impacted the events of 9/11 it would be crazy to not investigate what could have\should have been done differently.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 09:51 am
Especially when it was Janet Reno who installed that 'wall' that made it virtually impossible for the intelligence community to share information. I believe her motives were pure--her intention was to prevent leaks and compromising in criminal investigations. In retrospect, unintended consequences show that policy was a mistake. So is she responsible for 9/11? No she isn't.

And Bush and his administration are not responsible for 9/11 purely because they were not good at reading crystal balls and didn't have good enough psychics on staff to foresee it.

I still think people of intelligence and honor will focus their anger and blame on the terrorists who do unspeakable evil instead of demonizing the president just because he isn't the one they voted for.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:02 am
McGentrix are you and foxfyre engaged?
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:04 am
Who's to blame for the intelligence failures on this thread? I don't think they can be blamed on Clinton...
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:10 am
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
McGentrix are you and foxfyre engaged?


At least pretend to stick to the topic.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:16 am
Quote:
Who's to blame for the intelligence failures on this thread? I don't think they can be blamed on Clinton...


Clinton had eight years to reform and retool the intelligence agencies of the country. He didn't get it done. GWB had eight months.

Neither are to blame for the intelligence failure however. Both inherited huge bureaucracies that move at a snail's pace in this high speed electronic age. Every credible person of the FBI, CIA, Clinton administration, Bush administration speaking from their own experience have agreed that the chance of hitting on intelligence that would have pinpointed and allowed us to stop what happened on 9/11 is a billion to one.

I suppose however, that those who so desperately want GWB to be the villain here don't care about the evidence or the testimony or the facts. They want him to be responsible. And the truth be damned.
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Dartagnan
 
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Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:26 am
The title of this thread was a statement, not a question, re Clinton being to blame for intelligence failures.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:30 am
Good point D'artagnan. And I agree with you. I just wish the 'anybody but Bush' crowd could see that the villains are the al Qaida and other terrorist groups. I don't understand those who give the terrorists a pass and want so desperately to pin the blame on GWB.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:37 am
I agree with you, Foxfyre, to an extent. I don't think anyone really excuses the terrorists. It's just that it's hard to make them answer for their sins at the moment, try though we might. Our leaders (past and present) are more readily at hand...
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Deecups36
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 10:41 am
Maybe McGentrix and foxfyre are doppelgangers? God only know we saw a lot of that on Abuzz.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 11:15 am
perhaps you've noticed this isn't abuzz...
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 11:18 am
I wouldn't lump McG and Foxfyre together. While I tend to disagree with both to varying extents (one much more than the other), I don't have a hard time believing that there are two separate conservatives posting on the same thread.

What fun would it be if we all agreed all the time?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 11:34 am
McG: Haven't you heard? Everything bad that has happened since January 20, 2001 has been Clinton's fault. Didn't you get the memo?
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 11:41 am
joe writes:
Quote:
McG: Haven't you heard? Everything bad that has happened since January 20, 2001 has been Clinton's fault. Didn't you get the memo?


I don't see anybody here blaming Clinton for anything related to the war on terrorism/war in Iraq. It is so easy to play the woulda, coulda, shoulda game after the fact. Sure Clinton could have put policies in effect that would have intercepted those terrorists at the airport. So could have Bush. Both would have been crucified had they done so then or if they did so now after the fact. Look how many say the Patriot Act goes too far. But anybody who tries to tell me that ANYBODY other than the terrorists knew what was going down on 9/11 will be told by me that they are dead wrong.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 12:17 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
McG: Haven't you heard? Everything bad that has happened since January 20, 2001 has been Clinton's fault. Didn't you get the memo?


Your sarcasm is noted.

To lay the blame for 9/11 at the feet of the Bush administration is foolish at best.
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 12:29 pm
I blame the Illuminati, it's as valid a theory as any others proposed here.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 12:35 pm
McGent's quote, "To lay the blame for 9/11 at the feet of the Bush administration is foolish at best." Why? Because it happened on Bush's watch? If Clinton should have known, than Bush had a greater responsibility to make sure the American People were protected from all sources of threat. What we've heard so far from this administration is that "we didn't have details." duh........
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 01:27 pm
If Bush continued to keep the same policies that Clinton handed down after 9/11 then I would agree that the administration was at fault and would blame them for further inaction.

I also have never said the Bush administration was blameless either. But, I refuse to let the previous administration take zero blame when they had 8 years to deal with the problems that had arisen on 9/11 while laying the full blame on an administration who had 8 months to deal wth those problems.

If you, or any other poster here, or anywhere can't see that, then it is hopeless to try to get you to understand.
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