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March 22, 2004
Power Line on Richard Clarke

I wanted to write a detailed debunking of Richard Clarke, but I found Power Line's Hindrocket has already written the best one I've seen -- much better than I could have written. Here's a taste of Rocket Man's in-depth expose:

But let's pursue a little further the question, who exactly is Richard Clarke? What do we know about him?

First, we know that before September 11, he was professionally committed to the idea that al Qaeda represented a new form of "stateless terrorism" that could never cooperate with a country like Iraq:

Prior to 9/11, the dominant view within the IC was that al Qaida represented a new form of stateless terrorism. That was also the view promoted by the Clinton White House, above all terrorism czar, Richard Clarke. To acknowledge that Iraqi intelligence worked with al Qaida is tantamount to acknowledging that all these people made a tremendous blunder--and they are just not going to do it.

We now know that this dogma was false, and Iraq did in fact support and collaborate with al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. But there is no one as resistant to new information as a bureaucrat who has staked his career on a theory.

Second, we know that Richard Clarke was very willing to justify pre-emptive attack, on the basis of imperfect intelligence, when the attacker was Bill Clinton:

I would like to speak about a specific case that has been the object of some controversy in the last month -- the U.S. bombing of the chemical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger wrote an article for the op-ed page of today's Washington Times about that bombing, providing the clearest rationale to date for what the United States did. He asks the following questions: What if you were the president of the United States and you were told four facts based on reliable intelligence. The facts were: Usama bin Ladin had attacked the United States and blown up two of its embassies; he was seeking chemical weapons; he had invested in Sudan's military-industrial complex; and Sudan's military-industrial complex was making VX nerve gas at a chemical plant called al-Shifa? Sandy Berger asks: What would you have done? What would Congress and the American people have said to the president if the United States had not blown up the factory, knowing those four facts?

Is it really a crazy idea that terrorists could get chemical or biological weapons?

Well, no, it's anything but a crazy idea. But Clarke seems to have gotten a very different attitude toward that possibility once a Republican became President.

Read the whole thing -- and ask yourself this question (again): if the outgoing Clinton administration had all of this information about al-Qaeda, why didn't they ever do anything about it? Sounds a lot like retroactive CYA to me.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 22, 2004 6:13 AM

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