As the Clinton administration drew to a close, Clarke and his staff developed a policy paper of their own, the first such comprehensive effort since the Delenda plan of 1998.The resulting paper, entitled “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al Qida: Status and Prospects,” reviewed the threat and the record to date, incorporated the CIA’s new ideas from the Blue Sky memo, and posed several near-term policy options.Then on page 201:
Within the first few days after Bush’s inauguration, Clarke approached Rice in an effort to get her—and the new President—to give terrorism very high priority and to act on the agenda that he had pushed during the last few months of the previous administration. After Rice requested that all senior staff identify desirable major policy reviews or initiatives, Clarke submitted an elaborate memorandum on January 25, 2001. He attached to it his 1998 Delenda Plan and the December 2000 strategy paper. “We urgently need . . . a Principals level review on the al Qida network,” Clarke wrote.So there was a plan that was delivered to the new Bush administration, and it was comprehensive, whether or not it was comprehensive enough for Dr. Rice. So don’t tell us you didn’t receive a plan. That is just plainly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission Report.
What seems to me to be a likely explanation for what occurred in early 2001 is this:
Some counterterrorism officials think the new administration responds slowly simply because Clarke’s proposal originally came from the Clinton administration. [Time, 8/4/2002] For instance, Thomas Maertenson, on the National Security Council in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, says, “They really believed their campaign rhetoric about the Clinton administration. So anything [that administration] did was bad, and the Bushies were not going to repeat it.” [New York Times, 3/24/2004; Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), 3/25/2004]If that is true, then that is truly regrettable. The new Bush administration appeared to be more concerned about playing petty politics than is was about protecting our country. I might argue that their approach has not changed in 5+ years.
9/11, terrorism, Democrats, Republicans, Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Clarke, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, al Qaeda, 9/11 Commission, news, politics,
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