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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Friday, March 26, 2004
Now I'm not for a minute suggesting that they did send that
email. I can't believe that they'd be that stupid. But it does say something because their media is state-run.

As Lileks put it: "Let's just be blunt: The North Koreans would love to see John Kerry win the election. The mullahs of Iran would love it. The Syrian Ba'athists would sigh with relief. Every enemy of America would take great satisfaction if the electorate rejects the Bush doctrine and scuttles back to hide under the U.N. Security Council's table. It's a hard question, but the right one: Which candidate does our enemy want to lose? George W. Bush."

To review:
Iran's state media: likes Kerry.
North Korea's state media: likes Kerry.
The dictator of Venezuela: likes Kerry.
The former prime minister of Malaysia: likes Kerry.
Noam Chomsky: likes Kerry.

posted by Rachel 3/26/2004
. . .
Let's all pour out a 40 this weekend for K.C. kitty. The best kitty friend you could ever want.

posted by Rachel 3/26/2004
. . .
Notice that pointing out
inconsistencies like this and this and this and this is almost always presented as petty partisan counter attacks. It's not partisan and it's not an attack to say "You said this under oath and you said that under oath. These two things factually contradict each other. Which is correct?"

"STAHL (exp): {By June, 2001, there still hadn't been a cabinet-level meeting on terrorism, even though the US intelligence community was picking up an unprecedented level of ominous chatter. The CIA Director warned the White House.}

CLARKE: George Tenet was saying to the White House, saying to the President cause he briefed him every morning, a major al Qaeda attack is going to happen against the United States, somewhere in the world in the weeks and months ahead. He said that in June, July, August.

STAHL (exp): {The last time the CIA had picked up a similar level of intelligence chatter was back in December 1999 when Clarke was the Terrorism Czar in the Clinton White House. Clarke says that President Clinton ordered his cabinet to go to battle stations, meaning they were on high alert, holding meetings nearly every day. That, Clarke says, helped thwart a major attack on Los Angeles Int'l airport when this al Qaeda operative was stopped at the border with Canada driving a car full of explosives. Clarke harshly criticizes President Bush for not going to battle stations when the CIA warned him of a comparable threat in the months before 9/11.}

CLARKE: He never thought it was important enough for *him* [Clarke's emphasis] to hold a meeting on the subject, or for him to order his National Security Advisor to hold a cabinet-level meeting on the subject.

STAHL: Why would having a meeting make a difference?

CLARKE: If you compare December 1999 to June and July of 2001, in December '99, every day or every other day, the head of the FBI, the head of the CIA, the Attorney General had to go to the White House and sit in a meeting and report on all the things that they personally had done to stop the al Qaeda attack, so they were going back every ?night to their departments and shaking the trees personally and finding out all the information. If that had happened in July of 2001, we might have found out in the White House, the Attorney General might have found out that there were al Qaeda operatives in the United States. FBI, at lower levels, knew -- never told me, never told the highest levels in the FBI.

STAHL (exp): {The FBI and the CIA knew that these two al Qaeda operatives [pictures displayed onscreen] both among the 9/11 hijackers, had been living in the United States since 2000, yet neither agency passed that information up the chain of command or told Dick Clarke, the White House Terrorism Coordinator.}

CLARKE: And here I am in the White House saying, something's about to happen. Tell me -- if a sparrow falls from the tree, I want to know, if anything unusual's going on, because we're about to be hit.

STAHL: No one told you. No one told you.

CLARKE: Leslie, if we had put their picture on the CBS Evening News, if we had put their picture on Dan Rather, on USA Today, we could have caught those guys and then we might have been able to pull that thread and get more of the conspiracy. I'm not saying we could have stopped 9/11, but we could have at least had a chance.

STAHL (exp): {But as we all know, the al Qaeda sleeper cell was left free to plan the 9/11 attack while Dick Clarke kept agitating for the high-level White House meeting he had been seeking.}

STAHL: You finally did get your cabinet-level meeting. Finally. When did that meeting take place?

CLARKE: The cabinet meeting I asked for right after the inauguration took place one week prior to 9/11.

STAHL (exp): {When Clarke finally got his meeting on September 4th, he proposed a plan to bomb al Qaeda sanctuaries in Afghanistan and to kill Osama bin Laden. It's the same plan he had tried to persuade the Clinton administration to adopt, to no avail. When we come back, Clarke's view of the President's actions after 9/11, and the White House view of Clarke.}

CLARKE: He ignored terrorism for months when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know.
STAHL: You think he risked American lives?

CLARKE: I think the way he has responded to al Qaeda, both before 9/11 by doing nothing and by what he's done after 9/11 has made us less safe. Absolutely.

STAHL: Don't you think he handled himself and hit all the right notes after 9/11, showed strength, got us through it, you don't give him credit for that?

CLARKE: He gave a really good speech right after 9/11.

STAHL: You don't give him credit for anything. Nothing.

CLARKE: I think he's done a terrible job on the war against terrorism."
"Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.
...the Bush administration decided then, you know, in late January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we've now made public to some extent.

And the point is, while this big review was going on, there were still in effect, the lethal findings were still in effect. The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.

So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.

The sixth point, the newly-appointed deputies - and you had to remember, the deputies didn't get into office until late March, early April. The deputies then tasked the development of the implementation details, uh, of these new decisions that they were endorsing, and sending out to the principals.

Over the course of the summer - last point - they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.

And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.
JIM ANGLE: You're saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that's correct.
QUESTION: Are you saying now that there was not only a plan per se, presented by the transition team, but that it was nothing proactive that they had suggested?

CLARKE: Well, what I'm saying is, there are two things presented. 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 um, any new conclusions, um, from '98 on.

QUESTION: Was all of that from '98 on or was some of it ...

CLARKE: All of those issues were on the table from '98 on.

ANGLE: When in '98 were those presented?

CLARKE: In October of '98.

QUESTION: In response to the Embassy bombing?

CLARKE: Right, which was in September.

QUESTION: Were all of those issues part of alleged plan that was late December and the Clinton team decided not to pursue because it was too close to ...

CLARKE: There was never a plan, Andrea. 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.

QUESTION: So there was nothing that developed, no documents or no new plan of any sort?

CLARKE: There was no new plan.

QUESTION: No new strategy - I mean, I don't want to get into a semantics ...

CLARKE: Plan, strategy - there was no, nothing new.

QUESTION: 'Til late December, developing ...

CLARKE: What happened at the end of December was that the Clinton administration NSC principals committee met and once again looked at the strategy, and once again looked at the issues that they had brought, decided in the past to add to the strategy. But they did not at that point make any recommendations.

QUESTIONS: Had those issues evolved at all from October of '98 'til December of 2000?

CLARKE: Had they evolved? Um, not appreciably.

ANGLE: What was the problem? Why was it so difficult for the Clinton administration to make decisions on those issues?

CLARKE: Because they were tough issues. You know, take, for example, aiding the Northern Alliance. Um, people in the Northern Alliance had a, sort of bad track record. There were questions about the government, there were questions about drug-running, there was questions about whether or not in fact they would use the additional aid to go after Al Qaeda or not. Uh, and how would you stage a major new push in Uzbekistan or somebody else or Pakistan to cooperate?

One of the big problems was that Pakistan at the time was aiding the other side, was aiding the Taliban. And so, this would put, if we started aiding the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, this would have put us directly in opposition to the Pakistani government. These are not easy decisions.

ANGLE: And none of that really changed until we were attacked and then it was ...

CLARKE: No, that's not true. In the spring, the Bush administration changed - began to change Pakistani policy, um, by a dialogue that said we would be willing to lift sanctions. So we began to offer carrots, which made it possible for the Pakistanis, I think, to begin to realize that they could go down another path, which was to join us and to break away from the Taliban. So that's really how it started.
ANGLE: So, just to finish up if we could then, so what you're saying is that there was no - one, there was no plan; two, there was no delay; and that actually the first changes since October of '98 were made in the spring months just after the administration came into office?

CLARKE: You got it. That's right.

QUESTION: It was not put into an action plan until September 4, signed off by the principals?

CLARKE: That's right.
CLARKE: No, it came up in April and it was approved in principle and then went through the summer. And you know, the other thing to bear in mind is the shift from the rollback strategy to the elimination strategy. When President Bush told us in March to stop swatting at flies and just solve this problem, then that was the strategic direction that changed the NSPD from one of rollback to one of elimination.

QUESTION: Well can you clarify something? I've been told that he gave that direction at the end of May. Is that not correct?

CLARKE: No, it was March."
When asked to explain the apparent contradiction Clarke said:
"When you are special assistant to the president and you're asked to explain something that is potentially embarrassing to the administration, because the administration didn't do enough or didn't do it in a timely manner and is taking political heat for it, as was the case there, you have a choice," he said.

One "choice that one has is to put the best face you can for the administration on the facts as they were, and that is what I did."
Do you begin to see that the media are not objective?

Do you also wonder why the fact that he may be involved with the Kerry campaign hasn't gotten any airtime?
"But is Clarke only a bitter ex-bureaucrat, or is there more to his attack on President Bush? Let's consider both Clarke's personal history and his current employment. Clarke now teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; here is his Kennedy School bio, which notes that the capstone of his career in the State Department was his service as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

Another professor at the Kennedy School is Rand Beers, who is evidently an old friend and colleague of Clarke's, as Beers' Kennedy School bio says that "[d]uring most of his career he served in the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs."

So Clarke and Beers, old friends and colleagues, have continued their association at the Kennedy School. Indeed, they even teach a course together. And, by the most astonishing coincidence, their course relates directly to the subject matter of Clarke's attack on the Bush administration: "Post-Cold War Security: Terrorism, Security, and Failed States" is the name of the course. Here is its syllabus:

Between them Rand Beers and Richard Clarke spent over 20 years in the White House on the National Security Council and over 60 years in national security departments and agencies. They helped to shape the transition from Cold War security issues to the challenges of terrorism, international crime, and failed states...Case studies will include Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, Colombia, and Afghanistan. Challenges of counter-terrorism and homeland security will also be addressed.

Why do we find this particularly significant? Because Rand Beers' bio says:

He resigned [his State Department position] in March 2003 and retired in April.? He began work on John Kerry's Presidential campaign in May 2003 as National Security/Homeland Security Issue Coordinator.

There you have it: Richard Clarke is a bitter, discredited bureaucrat who was an integral part of the Clinton administration's failed approach to terrorism, was demoted by President Bush, and is now an adjunct to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Thanks to the indefatigable Dafydd ab Hugh for noting the connections between Clarke and Beers."

It's true.
"Most pertinent, Rand Beers, the official who succeeded Clarke after he left the White House in February 2003, resigned in protest just one month later - five days before the Iraqi war started - for precisely the same reason that Clarke quit. In June, he told the Washington Post, "The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terror. They're making us less secure, not more." And: "The difficult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged, and generally underfunded." (For more about Beers, including his association with Clarke and whether there's anything pertinent about his current position as a volunteer national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign, click here.)
And here's more.
"When he finally decided to quit, he drove to a friend's house in Arlington. Clarke, his old counterterrorism pal, took one look at the haggard man on his stoop and opened a bottle of Russian River Pinot Noir. Then he opened another bottle. Clarke toasted Beers, saying: You can still fight the fight.

Shortly after that, Beers joined the Kerry campaign. He had briefly considered a think tank or an academic job but realized that he "never felt so strongly about something in my life" than he did about changing current U.S. policies. Of the Democratic candidates, Kerry offered the greatest expertise in foreign affairs and security issues, he decided. Like Beers, Kerry had served in Vietnam. As a civil servant, Beers liked Kerry's emphasis on national service."
Don't you think the public might be interested in these kind of connections? Why is it that bloggers always seem to have to point these things out?

Oh and let's not overlook the fact that the man was demoted and then quit. Hmm.
"When Clarke worked for Mr. Clinton, he was known as the terrorism czar. When Mr. Bush came into office, though remaining at the White House, Clarke was stripped of his Cabinet-level rank.

Stahl said to Clarke, "They demoted you. Aren't you open to charges that this is all sour grapes, because they demoted you and reduced your leverage, your power in the White House?"

Clarke's answer: "Frankly, if I had been so upset that the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism had been downgraded from a Cabinet level position to a staff level position, if that had bothered me enough, I would have quit. I didn't quit."

Until two years later, after 30 years in government service.

A senior White House official told 60 Minutes he thinks the Clarke book is an audition for a job in the Kerry campaign.

"I'm an independent. I'm not working for the Kerry campaign," says Clarke. "I have worked for Ronald Reagan. I have worked for George Bush the first, I have worked for George Bush the second. I'm not participating in this campaign, but I am putting facts out that I think people ought to know."
But that doesn't quite square with this:
"Former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke insists his attacks on President George W. Bush have nothing to do with politics, but an Insight check of Federal Election Commission (FEC) records shows that his only political contributions in the last decade have gone to Democrats.

Clarke is suspected of using his former post in the Bush White House as a weapon with which to slash and wound the president during his re-election campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). The Kerry campaign's coordinator for national security issues, Rand Beers, has described Clarke as his "best friend." According to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where Clarke and Beers are adjunct lecturers, they teach a course together about terrorism. Clarke's detailed Harvard biography specifically mentions his service under President Ronald Reagan and the elder President Bush, but says nothing about his eight years working for President Bill Clinton.

During the 9/11 commission hearings this week, Clarke denied any partisan leanings. "Let me talk about partisanship here, since you raised it," he told Commissioner John Lehman, pointing out that he, like Lehman, had served in the Reagan administration. "The White House has said that my book is an audition for a high-level position in the Kerry campaign," he said. "So let me say here, as I am under oath, that I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration, should there be one." He said he was a registered Republican in 2000.

But what about this presidential election year? According to FEC records, Clarke has been giving his money to Democratic friends -- not Republicans -- running for national office.

In 2002, while still on the Bush National Security Council (NSC), Clarke gave the legal maximum limit of $2,000 to a Democratic candidate for Congress, Steve Andreasen, who tried to unseat Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota. Andreason had been director for defense policy and arms control on the Clinton NSC. In making his donations of $1,000 on July 22 and another $1,000 on Nov. 7, 2002, Clarke listed his occupation as "U.S. Government/Civil Servant," according to FEC records indexed with the Center for Responsive Politics.

Clarke maxed out again in the 2004 election cycle, donating $2,000 to another Clinton White House veteran, Jamie Metzl, who is running as a Democrat for Congress from Missouri. Metzl was a staffer on the Clinton NSC and worked for Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) as deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With that donation, made on Sept. 15, 2003, after his resignation from the Bush NSC, Clarke listed his occupation as "Self-Employed/Consultant."

FEC records show that Clarke reported no political contributions when he worked in the Clinton administration in the electoral cycles of the 1990s and 2000, when he said he was a Republican."
The worst part is that if anyone ever tries to prosecute him for lying under oath it'll be called revenge. I'm sure my writing this would be called character assassination and a smear.

posted by Rachel 3/26/2004
. . .

posted by Rachel 3/26/2004
. . .
Well this pretty much the whole
Clarke fiasco laid out. I repeat, he's either an incredibly stupid unprincipled man or he's still on the payroll.

posted by Rachel 3/26/2004
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