Madame "Mushroom Cloud" Challenges Clinton's Credibility
Condi is out defending her soul mate’s record of ignoring Al Qaeda. In a pretty lame and risky pushback against Clinton’s claims during the Fox interview, Rice told the friendly nonchallenging New York Post that the Bush Administration did at least as much as the Clinton Administration did in pursuing Al Qaeda, and that the incoming administration was not left a plan to fight Al Qaeda. Furthermore, Rice said that this discussion isn’t productive because the 9/11 Commission already is the authority here and documented that the Bush Administration did something. She may want to back away from that defense.
On August 6, 2001, the Bush administration received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.” Here’s how the Bush administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:
"[President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so.[p. 260]"
"We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]"
Rice acknowledged that the 9/11 Commission report is the authoratative source on this debate: “I think this is not a very fruitful discussion. We’ve been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said."
By the time Bush received the August 6, 2001 PDB titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US”, it was the 36th time Bin Laden or Al Qaeda were referenced in a PDB since Bush took office. Yet the first Principals Committee meeting to discuss an overall strategy was put off until after Bush returned from vacation. The Commission found no evidence of any additional discussion or action inside the Bush Administration in response to the August 6, 2001 PDB before the 9/11 attacks (p. 262). Although Clarke told Rice in January that there was an Al Qaeda presence inside the United States, the Commission noted that “the domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction, and did not have a plan to institute.” (p. 265)
Furthermore, pages 199-205 of the Commission report make it clear that the Bush Administration received a strategy for going after Al Qaeda from Richard Clarke, dawdled for five months, and then issued a draft strategy that was almost exactly the same as the document given to Rice by Clarke five months earlier. The first principals meeting to discuss this strategy was put off until September 4th, over seven months since Clarke gave Rice the first strategy document.
Condi, don't go down this road.