It is only March but the 2004 Chutzpah of the Year Award can be safely given out. It goes to Richard Clarke, now making himself famous by blaming the Bush administration for 9/11 -- after Clarke had spent eight years in charge of counterterrorism for a Clinton administration that did nothing.
....Look. George W. Bush did not distinguish himself on terrorism in the first eight months of his presidency. Whatever his failings, however, they pale in comparison to those of his predecessor.
Clinton was in office eight years, not eight months. As Clarke himself said in a 2002 National Security Council briefing, the Clinton administration never made a plan for dealing with al Qaeda and never left one behind for the Bush administration.
Clarke says he pushed very hard for such critical anti-al Qaeda measures as aid to and cooperation with Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan's Northern Alliance. By his own testimony, the Clinton administration then spent more than two years -- October 1998 to December 2000, the very time the 9/11 plot was hatched -- fruitlessly debating this and doing absolutely nothing.
Clarke is clearly an angry man, angry that Condoleezza Rice demoted him, angry that he was denied a coveted bureaucratic job by the Bush administration. Angry and unreliable. He told the commission to disregard what he said in his 2002 briefing because he was, in effect, spinning. ``I've done it for several presidents,'' he said. He's still at it, doing it now for himself.
Friday, March 26, 2004
Charles Krauthammer has an award for Richard Clarke.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:04 AM