Play it as it lies, take 2

The New York Post carries a reported editorial including comments from Secretary Rice on Bill Clinton’s bloviations with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday:

The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there..is just flatly false,” the former national security adviser told The Post’s editorial board yesterday. “What we did in eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding [eight] years,”

Firing Clarke? Far from it, she noted: He “was the counter-terrorism czar when 9/11 happened, and he left [in 2003] when he did not become deputy director of homeland security,” as he wanted.

That’s a critical point.

Clinton insisted that his version is backed both by Clarke’s book and public testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

In fact, Clarke told the commission a very different story during hours of private testimony behind closed doors – one that jibed with a 2002 background briefing he gave to reporters.

Back then, he said: “There was no plan on al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. . . . [a] plan, strategy – there was no, nothing new.”

Indeed, Clarke said, the Bush team in 2001 “changed the [Clinton] strategy from one of rollback [of] al Qaeda over five years to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.”

Bush, he added, took action on several “issues that had been on the table for a couple of years,” such as instituting a new policy in Pakistan that convinced Islamabad “to break away from the Taliban” and boosting “CIA resources…for covert action five-fold to go after al Qaeda.”

In fact, a 1999 Clarke after-action memo – the one top Clinton aide Sandy Berger later stole from the National Archives – identified national-security weaknesses so “glaring” that only sheer “luck” prevented a cataclysmic attack back then.

Courtesy of Lucianne.

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