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Facts About The Bill Clinton Anti-Terror Myths

From the Republican National Committee:

The Bill Clinton Anti-Terror Myth Fact

Monday, September 25, 2006

MYTH: President Clinton Said He Was Besieged By "Conservative Republicans" Who Thought He Was "Too Obsessed" With Osama Bin Laden:

Former President Bill Clinton: "I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Conservative Republicans Praised President Clinton For Going After Bin Laden:

FLASHBACK 1998: "President Clinton Won Warm Support For Ordering Anti-Terrorist Bombing Attacks In Afghanistan And Sudan … From Many Of The Same Lawmakers Who Have Criticized Him Harshly As A Leader Critically Weakened By Poor Judgment And Reckless Behavior In The Monica S. Lewinsky Scandal." (Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin, "Tough Response Appeals To Critics Of President," The Washington Post, 8/21/98)

* "[M]ost Lawmakers From Both Parties Were Quick To Rally Behind Clinton In A Deluge Of Public Statements And Appearances … A Marked Contrast To The Relatively Sparse And Chilly Reception That Greeted His … Statement On The Lewinsky Matter." (Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin, "Tough Response Appeals To Critics Of President," The Washington Post, 8/21/98)

* Then-Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich (R-GA): "I think the President did exactly the right thing … By doing this we’re sending the signal there are no sanctuaries for terrorists. … Anyone who watched the film of the bombings, anyone who saw the coffins come home knows better than to question this timing … It was done as early as possible to send a message to terrorists across the globe that killing Americans has a cost. It has no relationship with any other activity of any kind." (Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin, "Tough Response Appeals To Critics Of President," The Washington Post, 8/21/98)

* Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Senate Majority Leader: "[The attacks are] appropriate and just." (Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin, "Tough Response Appeals To Clinton Critics," The Washington Post, 8/21/98)

"On The Other Hand…There’s The Mainstream Media. The Conservative Media Research Council Noted That ‘Every Network Did Raise The "Wag The Dog" Scenario.’ And Indeed, According To The MRC Story … CBS ABC And NBC All Raised The Notion …" (Jake Tapper, "The Truth About Clinton And ‘Wag The Dog’," ABC News, 9/24/06)

MYTH: President Clinton Said Osama Bin Laden And Al Qaeda Had Nothing "To Do With Black Hawk Down":

Former President Bill Clinton: "There is not a living soul in the world who thought Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down …" (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Experts Agree, Black Hawk Down Was Osama Bin Laden And Al Qaeda’s "First Victory" Against The U.S.:

Osama Bin Laden Considered Black Hawk Down His First Victory Against The U.S. "The international community turned away from the country after a 1993 battle that killed 18 U.S. troops the basis for the ‘Black Hawk Down’ book and movie and a U.N. peacekeeping mission ended in failure in 1995. Osama bin Laden considered the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia his first victory against America." (Nick Wadhams, "New U.S.-Organized Group Lends Support To Somalia’s Weak Interim Government," The Associated Press, 6/15/06)

* Mark Bowden, Author Of Black Hawk Down: "The lesson our retreat taught the world’s terrorists and despots is that killing a few American soldiers, even at a cost of more than 500 of your own fighters, is enough to spook Uncle Sam." (Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down, 1999, p. 355)

Gregory Alonso Pirio, President Of Empowering Communications, And Hrach Gregorian, President Of Institute Of World Affairs: "[The dangerous jihadist organization, Al Itihaad Al Islamiya] has actively worked with al-Qaida since 1993 to carry out acts of aggression against the United States, including the ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident in Mogadishu and the bombing of the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya." (Gregory Alonso Pirio and Hrach Gregorian, Op-Ed, "Jihadist Threat In Africa," United Press International, 7/8/06)

* Pirio And Gregorian: "Osama bin Laden and some of the Al Itihaad leaders have apparently known each other from their Afghan mujahidin days. Al-Qaida and Al Itihaad became closely allied in opposing the U.S.-led humanitarian intervention in Somalia known as Operation Restore Hope." (Gregory Alonso Pirio and Hrach Gregorian, Op-Ed, "Jihadist Threat In Africa," United Press International, 7/8/06)

* Pirio And Gregorian: "Bin Laden has claimed that al-Qaida operatives helped orchestrate the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident – the downing of a U.S. army helicopter in Mogadishu and the subsequent loss of life of 18 American soldiers. There is now substantial evidence to back up bin Laden’s claim." (Gregory Alonso Pirio and Hrach Gregorian, Op-Ed, "Jihadist Threat In Africa," United Press International, 7/8/06)

MYTH: President Clinton Said No One Knew Of Al Qaeda In 1993:

Former President Bill Clinton: "[No one] even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of ’93." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Osama Bin Laden And Al Qaeda Were Well Known By The Time Clinton Was Inaugurated:

Richard Miniter, Author Of Losing Bin Laden: "One of the big myths about the Clinton years is that no one knew about bin Laden until Sept. 11, 2001." ("Clinton’s Loss," National Review Online, 9/11/03)

* Miniter: "In fact, the bin Laden threat was recognized at the highest levels of the Clinton administration as early as 1993. What’s more, bin Laden’s attacks kept escalating throughout the Clinton administration; all told bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of 59 Americans on Clinton’s watch." ("Clinton’s Loss," National Review Online, 9/11/03)

* Miniter: "President Clinton learned about bin Laden within months of being sworn into office. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake told me that he first heard the name Osama bin Laden in 1993 in relation to the World Trade Center attack. Lake briefed the president about bin Laden that same year." ("Clinton’s Loss," National Review Online, 9/11/03)

* Miniter: "In addition, starting in 1993, Rep. Bill McCollum (R., Fla.) repeatedly wrote to President Clinton and warned him and other administration officials about bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. McCollum was the founder and chairman of the House Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and had developed a wealth of contacts among the mujihedeen in Afghanistan. Those sources, who regularly visited McCollum, informed him about bin Laden’s training camps and evil ambitions." ("Clinton’s Loss," National Review Online, 9/11/03)

MYTH: President Clinton Said His Foes Wanted To Cut-And-Run From Somalia:

Former President Bill Clinton: "All the people who now criticize me wanted to leave [Somalia] the next day." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Many Republican Leaders Wanted To Finish The Job Done In Somalia, Not Cut-And-Run:

"’Foreign Policy Will Drift And Get Sloppy In Execution If The President Doesn’t Pay Attention To These Things,’ Said Sen. Richard Lugar Of Indiana, A Ranking Republican On The Foreign Relations Committee Who Lined Up With Clinton In Opposing A Precipitous Withdrawal From Somalia." (Leo Rennert, "Deadly Ambush Casts A Pall On Clinton’s Domestic Focus," The Modesto Bee, 10/9/93)

* Sen. Lugar: "It would be a disgrace to cut and run in a way in which we lost more lives and put more people in jeopardy simply because we went into a national panic." (Tom Raum, "Clinton Says U.S. Must ‘Conclude Our Role’ In Somalia," The Associated Press, 10/6/93)

Then-Speaker Gingrich: "If Clinton is determined to protect the people of Somalia and defeat General Aidid, we should use overwhelming power and get the job done. If not, we should admit the limitations of power and withdraw." ("The Furor Over Somalia Voices," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/7/93)

MYTH: President Clinton Said Al Qaeda Was Not Active In Somalia:

Former President Bill Clinton: "[In Somalia] there was no Al Qaeda …" (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: President Clinton’s Own Adviser Worried Somalia Was Haven For Al Qaeda:

According To "A Report By The Crisis Group Africa, A Regional Crisis-Monitoring Group … Some Operatives With Links To The World’s Most Deadly Terror Cells Have Been To Kenya From Their Bases In Somalia." (Kamau Ngotho, Op-Ed, "The Terrorist Next Door," Africa News, 7/31/05)

"The US Has Long Kept A Watchful Eye On Somalia As A Potential Haven For Terrorists, Including The Al-Qaeda Network." (Kamau Ngotho, Op-Ed, "The Terrorist Next Door," Africa News, 7/31/05)

* "As Early As 1998 When The (Bill) Clinton Administration Launched Cruise Missiles At Terrorist Training Camps In Afghanistan, The Head Of The Counter-Terrorism Group, Richard Clarke, Became Concerned That Osama Bin Laden Was Planning To Adapt Somalia As An Alternate Refuge …" ("The Terrorist Next Door," Africa News, 7/31/05)

Beverly Kelley, Professor At California Lutheran University: "Gung-ho Americans were caught off guard, however, when a stunning counterattack by Aidid’s militia, armed and trained by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, turned the seemingly simple extraction into an 18-hour bloodbath. The final death toll came in at 18 Americans and 500 Somalis." (Beverly Kelley, "Saddam and ‘Black Hawk Down’," Ventura County [CA] Star, 4/7/03)

MYTH: President Clinton Said Richard Clarke Was Nonpartisan And "Loyal" To All Presidents He Worked For:

Former President Bill Clinton: "[Richard Clarke] has a variety of opinion and loyalties now, but let’s look at the facts: He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Richard Clarke Had Close Ties Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) 2004 Campaign And Was Used By Liberal Groups Trying To Defeat President George W. Bush:

Richard Clarke Repeatedly Praised John Kerry During The Height Of The 2004 Presidential Campaign. "Richard A. Clarke … credits Kerry with having seen beyond the national-security tableau on which most of his colleagues were focused." (Matt Bai, "Kerry’s Undeclared War," The New York Times, 10/10/04)

* Clarke: "He was getting it at the same time that people like Tony Lake were getting it, in the ’93-’94 time frame … And the ‘it’ here was that there was a new nonstate-actor threat, and that nonstate-actor threat was a blended threat that didn’t fit neatly into the box of organized criminal, or neatly into the box of terrorism. What you found were groups that were all of the above." (Matt Bai, "Kerry’s Undeclared War," The New York Times, 10/10/04)

Kerry/Edwards Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor Rand Beers Called Clarke His Best Friend Of 25 Years. CNN’s Judy Woodruff: "At today’s White House briefing secretary Scott McClellan called Rand Beers, quote, ‘Clarke’s best buddy.’ So I guess the first question is are you best friends with Mr. Clarke?" Kerry Adviser Rand Beers: "Dick Clarke and I have been friends for 25 years. And, yes, I think we’re best friends." (CNN’s "Inside Politics," 3/22/04)

* Clarke Confirmed Beers’ Description Of Their Friendship. "'[M]r. Clarke said by telephone from New York … that he had been friends for 25 years with Mr. Beers, ‘and I’m not going to run away from him just because he’s John Kerry’s national security adviser.’" (Elisabeth Bumiller and Judith Miller, "Ex-Bush Aide, Finding Fault, Sets Off Debate As 9/11 Hearing Opens," The New York Times, 3/23/04)

In 2004, MoveOn.Org And Another Liberal Group, America Coming Together, Used Clarke’s Claims To Solicit Campaign Donations:

* 2004 MoveOn.Org Email: "As you may have heard, Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism advisor to Bush… We’re committed to stopping that from happening by making sure that the American public hears Clarke’s extraordinary comments. If we can raise $300,000 in the next few days, we can run a hard-hitting ad nationally that highlights his message." (MoveOn.Org Email, 3/24/04)

* 2004 America Coming Together Email: "If you didn’t see 60 Minutes on Sunday night, I’m sure by now you’ve read about it. Richard Clarke, President Bush’s former top terrorism expert, revealed convincing proof of the administration’s failure to focus on terrorist threats … Please consider giving online to speed your donation to our effort to help elect progressive candidates at the federal, state, and local levels." (America Coming Together Email, 3/24/04)

MYTH: President Clinton’s Said His Record Against Terror Was Made Clear By Richard Clarke’s Book:

Former President Bill Clinton: "All I’m asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Clarke’s Book Riddled With Inaccuracies, His Record Marked By "Glaring" National Security Weaknesses:

The National Journal’s Stuart Taylor: "Richard Clarke served his country for many years with extraordinary dedication. But it is deeply irresponsible for him to create the false impression that if only we had listened to him, this administration could have prevented the September 11 attacks." (Stuart Taylor Jr., "How To Rebut Clarke Without Slinging Mud," The National Journal, 4/3/04)

* Taylor: "Even Mr. Clarke himself admits – very quietly – that immediate adoption of every one of his recommendations would have made no difference." (Stuart Taylor Jr., "How To Rebut Clarke Without Slinging Mud," The National Journal, 4/3/04)

* Taylor: "Consider his claim that during a January 2001 briefing on Al Qaeda, Condi Rice’s ‘facial expression gave me the impression she had never heard the term before.’ in fact, she had used the term, quite publicly. He could have looked it up." (Stuart Taylor Jr., "How To Rebut Clarke Without Slinging Mud," The National Journal, 4/3/04)

"Clarke Says In His Book That Bush Asked Him To Look Into A Possible Iraq Connection To 9/11 In An ‘Intimidating’ Way. No. Two Other Witnesses Say There Was Nothing Intimidating About Bush’s Manner." (Editorial, "Clarke’s Self-Immolation," National Review Online, 3/25/04)

"A Senior National Security Official [Franklin Miller] Who Worked Alongside Richard A. Clarke On Sept. 11, 2001, Is Disputing Central Elements Of Mr. Clarke’s Account Of Events In The White House Situation Room That Day, Declaring That It ‘Is A Much Better Screenplay Than Reality Was.’" (David E. Sanger, "Colleague Of Ex-Official Disputes Part Of Account," The New York Times, 3/30/04)

* "In The Book, Mr. Clarke Describes Himself As ‘The Nation’s Crisis Manager’ That Day, Though He Acknowledges Periodically Turning Over His Seat In The Situation Room, In The Basement Of The West Wing, To Mr. Miller." (David E. Sanger, "Colleague Of Ex-Official Disputes Part Of Account," The New York Times, 3/30/04)

* "[M]r. Miller, A Senior Aide To Condoleezza Rice, The National Security Adviser, Suggested That Mr. Clarke’s Version, While It Would ‘Make A Great Movie,’ Was More Melodramatic Than The Events He Recalled." (David E. Sanger, "Colleague Of Ex-Official Disputes Part Of Account," The New York Times, 3/30/04)

Clarke Claimed To Have Seen Sec. Rumsfeld On A Video Conference When A Plane Hit The Pentagon. "The morning of 9/11 was a blur for many Americans and must have been for Clarke, too. But Clarke relates in vivid detail a secure videoconference of the national security team. The World Trade Center had been hit moments earlier. ‘As I entered the Video Center, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty was taking the roll and I could see people rushing into studios around the city: Donald Rumsfeld at Defense and George Tenet at CIA.’ Moments later, according to Clarke, NSC staffer Roger Cressey ‘stepped back in to the video conference and announced: ‘A plane just hit the Pentagon.’" Clarke replied: ‘I can still see Rumsfeld on the screen, so the whole building didn’t get hit.’" ("The Daily Kos, Richard Clarke, And More," The Weekly Standard, 4/12/04)

* "[I]t Didn’t Happen Like That. Rumsfeld Was In His Office When The Plane Hit The Pentagon But Not On Video. He Had Come Directly From A Meeting With Members Of Congress And, After The Attack, In One Of The Most-Chronicled Events Of That Day, Went To The Site Of The Impact To Help Load The Injured Onto Stretchers." ("The Daily Kos, Richard Clarke, And More," The Weekly Standard, 4/12/04)

* Former Deputy Secretary Of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: "[Clarke] has Secretary Rumsfeld attending a critical September 4th meeting that the secretary wasn’t even at. He has the secretary in the Pentagon on a secure videoteleconference, a rather dramatic, memorable moment, when the secretary didn’t turn up until an hour later." (Paul Wolfowitz, Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/20/04)

MYTH: President Clinton Said He Left "Comprehensive Anti-Terror Strategy" For President Bush:

Former President Bill Clinton: "[I] left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy …" (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Clinton And Bush Administration Officials Agree "There Was No War Plan … Turned Over":

Former Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger: "Now, the second question you asked – which comes off the Time Magazine story, I think, was there a plan that we turned over to the Bush administration during the transition. If I could address that. The transition, as you will recall, was condensed by virtue of the election in November. I was very focused on using the time that we had – I had been on the other side of a transition with General Scowcroft in 1992. But we used that time very efficiently to convey to my successor the most important information – what was going on and what situations they faced. Number one among those was terrorism and Al-Qaeda, and I told that to my successor. She has acknowledged that publicly so I’m not violating any pr ivate conversation. We briefed them fully on what we were doing – on what else was under consideration and what the threat was. I personally attended part of that briefing to emphasize how important that was. But there was no war plan that we turned over to the Bush administration during the transition. And the reports of that are just incorrect." (Sandy Berger, Select Committees On Intelligence, U.S. Senate And U.S. House Of Representatives Hearing, 9/18/02)

Richard Clarke In 2002: "[T]here was no plan on al-Qaida that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration." (Richard Tomkins, "WH Throws Own Words Back At Clarke," United Press International, 3/24/04)

* "[T]here Was A Strategy In Place Dating From 1998 That The Clinton Administration Had Not Acted On." (Richard Tomkins, "WH Throws Own Words Back At Clarke," United Press International, 3/24/04)

Unnamed Former Clinton Administration NSC Official: "There were certainly ongoing efforts throughout the eight years of the Clinton administration to fight terrorism … It was certainly not a formal war plan. It was certainly not a formal war plan. We wouldn’t have characterized it as a formal war plan. The Bush administration was briefed on the Clinton administration’s ongoing efforts and threat assessments." (Byron York, "Clinton The Anti-Terrorist," National Review, 9/2/02)

"A Senior Bush Administration Official Denies Being Handed A Formal Plan To Take The Offensive Against Al-Qaeda, And Says Clarke’s Materials Merely Dealt With Whether The New Administration Should Take ‘A More Active Approach’ To The Terrorist Group." (Michael Elliott, "They Had A Plan," Time, 8/12/02)

MYTH: President Clinton Said He "Worked Hard" To Go After Bin Laden:

Former President Bill Clinton: "I worked hard to try to kill [bin Laden]. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since." (Fox News’ "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Clinton Administration Repeatedly Missed Opportunities To Stop Bin Laden:

9/11 Commission Report: "[Former CIA Director George] Tenet told us that given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, he alone had decided to ‘turn off’ the operation [to capture Bin Laden in Afghanistan]. He had simply informed [Sandy] Berger, who had not pushed back. Berger’s recollection was similar. He said the plan was never presented to the White House for a decision." (National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States, "The 9/11 Commission Report," 7/24/04, p. 114)

2000: "Clinton Spurned Sudan’s Offer To Hand Over Bin Laden Because The United States Lacked Enough Evidence To Indict Him In Earlier Attacks In Somalia, Yemen And At The World Trade Center In 1993. (So Clinton Let The Sudanese Send Bin Laden To Afghanistan …" (Dick Polman, "Sept. 11 May Taint Clinton’s Legacy," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/14/02)

* 9/11 Commission Report: "In early May 1996, the CIA received intelligence that Bin Ladin might be leaving Sudan. Though this reporting was described as ‘very spotty,’ it would have been passed along to the DCI’s office because of high concern about Bin Ladin at the time. But it did not lead to plans for a U.S. operation to snatch Bin Ladin, because there was no indictment against him." (National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States, "The 9/11 Commission Report," 7/24/04, p. 479)

* Former President Clinton: "At the time, in 1996, he had committed no crimes against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America." (Robert Sam Anson, "Bill And His Shadow," Vanity Fair, 6/04)

After 1998 Embassy Bombings In Africa, Clinton Administration Launched Failed Missile Strikes That Ignored Osama Bin Laden. "[There is] some evidence that at least some of the missiles may have missed their targets, and according to Pakistan, it says one missile landed on its soil killing six people." (CNN’s "Newsday," 8/21/98)

* "U.S. Officials Also Indicated That Bin Laden Himself Was ‘Not Specifically Targeted’ In The Attacks And Apparently Was Not Present At Any Of The Sites." (Art Pine, "U.S. Targets Heart Of Terror," Los Angeles Times, 8/21/98)

* "It’s Also True That Clinton Looked Weak In 1998 By Firing A Cruise Missile At Bin Laden In Afghanistan, Missing Him (Narrowly, It Appears), And Failing To Follow Up." (Dick Polman, "Sept. 11 May Taint Clinton’s Legacy," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/14/02)

Yes, this is information from the Republican National Committee. Which is why you will never see or hear any of it in our one party media.

Unlike the missives the Democrat National Committee that you see presented as headline news on the front page above the fold every day.

Another way in which the RNC releases differ from those from the DNC. They actual substantiate their claims with documentation.

The DNC (like their puppet, Bill Clinton) simply wag their finger and lie make preposterous unsubstantiated assertions.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 25th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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