Richard Clarke on assigning blame for 9/11

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Greg Sargent at TPM has Richard Clarke’s full comments on Disney/ABC’s fictional “Path to 9/11.” Clarke calls it “an egregious distortion that does a deep disservice both to history and to those in both the Clinton and Bush administrations who are depicted.”

There is throughout the screenplay a consistent bias and distortion seeking to portray senior Clinton Administration officials as holding back the hard charging CIA, FBI, and military officers who would otherwise have prevented 9-11.

The exact opposite is true. From the President, to all of his White House team, and NSC Principals (Lake, Berger, Albright, Tenet, Reno) there was a common fixation with terrorism, al qaeda, and bin Ladin. The President approved every counter-terrorism operation presented to him, including many that CIA proved unable or unwilling to implement. He increased counter-terrorism spending by 400% and initiated the first homeland security program in forty years. Even though the US had taken relatively few casualties from al qaeda at the time, the President repeatedly authorized the use of lethal force against bin Ladin and his deputies and personally requested the US military to develop plans for "commando operations" against them. Even though he knew the timing of an attack aimed at killing bin Ladin would be labeled by critics as a political diversion, Clinton decided to follow the advice of his national security team and pay the price politically. [emphasis added]

Clarke then notes that “if history is to know where to assign some of that culpability, it should not be guided by this fictionalization.”

It might better focus on leaders of the FBI who held back John O'Neill, leaders of the CIA's Clandestine Service whose risk aversion prevented the Counter Terrorism Center from doing its job, and senior generals who strongly urged the Commander-in-Chief not to use our military to go after the al qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. Somehow, all of that is missing from this not too subtle televised politicization of history.

This CNN poll shows that Americans are capable of assigning shared blame in a fairly accurate manner, despite media propagandization: 41% blame the Clinton administration a "great deal" or a "moderate amount" for 9/11, while 45% assign the Bush administration the same degree of culpability.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on September 11, 2006 4:36 PM.

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