Friday, March 19, 2004

Ah, it's been a busy, busy day. So, I only have two useful tidbits to pass along for the moment.

Leslie Stahl interviews former White House terrorism expert Richard Clarke on 60 minutes this Sunday. From (of all places) Drudge Report:
Former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke tells Lesley Stahl that on September 11, 2001 and the day after - when it was clear Al Qaeda had carried out the terrorist attacks - the Bush administration was considering bombing Iraq in retaliation. Clarke's exclusive interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday March 21 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Clarke was surprised that the attention of administration officials was turning toward Iraq when he expected the focus to be on Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. "They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12," says Clarke.

The top counter-terrorism advisor, Clarke was briefing the highest government officials, including President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in the aftermath of 9/11. "Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq....We all said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan," recounts Clarke, "and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.' I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with [the 9/11 attacks],'" he tells Stahl.

Clarke goes on to explain what he believes was the reason for the focus on Iraq. "I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection [between Iraq and Al Qaeda] but the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection,'" says Clarke.

Hmmmm. Is Rummy being set up as the fall guy for BushCo? As Matt Drudge would say...developing...

Here's the other one that you won't want to miss. Crank up the speakers.

Donald Rumsfeld caught lying through his teeth.

More over the weekend...

UPDATE... Well, it seems as if the Clarke story is really getting some legs. If the 60 Minutes piece is half as strong as the publicity teaser quotes for it, you can bet the BushCo spin machine is working overtime tonight trying to figure out an angle to play on this one. Here's a snippet:
Clarke acknowledges that, "there's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too." He said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on Jan. 24, 2001, asking "urgently" for a Cabinet-level meeting "to deal with the impending al-Qaida attack." Months later, in April, Clarke met with deputy cabinet secretaries, and the conversation turned to Iraq.

"I'm sure I'll be criticized for lots of things, and I'm sure they'll launch their dogs on me," Clarke said. "But frankly I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something."

Schnikes! Think the Rovians are losing some sleep tonight?