The terrorism commission has announced that it will reconsider Richard Clarke’s testimony that the Clinton administration gave urgent priority to fighting al Qaeda in light of that administration’s final national security report to Congress, which, as we and many other bloggers have pointed out, was virtually silent on the subject of terrorism:
The September 11 commission will look at the discrepancy between the testimony of Richard A. Clarke that the Clinton administration considered the threat of al Qaeda “urgent” and its final national-security report to Congress, which gave the terror organization scant mention.
Al Felzenberg, spokesman for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, said commission members are familiar with an article in yesterday’s editions of The Washington Times, which showed that President Clinton’s final public document on national security never referred to al Qaeda by name and mentioned Osama bin Laden just four times.
Then, of course, there is this:
The Clinton document consistently characterized terrorist attacks against Americans and U.S. interests as “crimes” and outlined how it was using diplomatic and economic pressure to bring the “perpetrators to justice.”
The use of military force “should be selective and limited, reflecting the importance of the interests at stake,” the document said.
Although the Clinton administration pledged in the report to retaliate militarily for the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, no operation was carried out.
Richard Clarke is not one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.