Seems former President Clinton is still steaming about the ABC docudrama "The Path to 9/11" that portrayed his Administration as being incapable of following through in efforts to get bin Laden. Clinton's latest attempt to spin history reminds us of his earlier achievements at damage control while he was in office.
Fox News Sunday has an interview with former President Bill Clinton. If you haven't seen the video teaser, here it is. Watch the body language as Clinton leans toward interviewer Chris Wallace and begins wagging his finger.
Remind you of anything? How about this classic:
In his latest interview Bill Clinton says:"I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him." Ah, well perhaps we need to take a closer look at that statement. Clinton "authorized" the CIA got get groups together. But did he ever give the actual kill order?
Isn't that the whole point "The Path to 9/11" was making? Earlier this month we linked to the 9/11 Commission Report analysis by Texas Rainmaker who highlights sections of chapter four showing just how Clinton "failed" to kill bin Laden. And Sparks from the Anvil previously discussed the book by Buzz Patterson, the White House Military Aide who was in the room and witnessed at least one of these events where President Clinton's Administration broke down in their primary duty to protect the American people.
Here's additional perspective courtesy of the Washington Post:
• This report was adapted from "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001," The Penguin Press (New York: 2004), by Washington Post managing editor Steve Coll, who discussed the book online. (Read the discussion transcript).
Legal Disputes Over Hunt Paralyzed Clinton's Aides
By Steve Coll
Sunday, February 22, 2004; Page A17
Between 1998 and 2000, the CIA and President Bill Clinton's national security team were caught up in paralyzing policy disputes as they secretly debated the legal permissions for covert operations against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
The debates left both White House counterterrorism analysts and CIA career operators frustrated and at times confused about what kinds of operations could be carried out, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials and lawyers who were directly involved.
There was little question that under U.S. law it was permissible to kill bin Laden and his top aides....
Clinton had demonstrated his willingness to kill bin Laden, without any pretense of seeking his arrest, when he ordered the cruise missile strikes on an eastern Afghan camp in August 1998, after the CIA obtained intelligence that bin Laden might be there for a meeting of al Qaeda leaders.
Yet the secret legal authorizations Clinton signed after this failed missile strike required the CIA to make a good faith effort to capture bin Laden for trial, not kill him outright.
Beginning in the summer of 1998, Clinton signed a series of top secret memos authorizing the CIA or its agents to use lethal force, if necessary, in an attempt to capture bin Laden and several top lieutenants and return them to the United States to face trial.
From Director George J. Tenet on down, the CIA's senior managers wanted the White House lawyers to be crystal clear about what was permissible in the field. They were conditioned by history -- the CIA assassination scandals of the 1970s, the Iran-contra affair of the 1980s -- to be cautious about legal permissions emanating from the White House.
Some CIA managers chafed at the White House instructions. The CIA received "no written word nor verbal order to conduct a lethal action" against bin Laden before Sept. 11, one official involved recalled. "The objective was to render this guy to law enforcement." In these operations, the CIA had to recruit agents "to grab [bin Laden] and bring him to a secure place where we can turn him over to the FBI. . . . If they had said 'lethal action' it would have been a whole different kettle of fish, and much easier."
Berger later recalled his frustration about this hidden debate. Referring to the military option in the two-track policy, he said at a 2002 congressional hearing: "It was no question, the cruise missiles were not trying to capture him. They were not law enforcement techniques."
Thanks to Hot Air for pointing to this excellent article.
Clinton: I Was Going to Invade Afghanistan Too!
In his interview with Fox News, Bill Clinton didn't stop with the claim that he tried to kill bin Laden. He also claimed he was set to go with an invasion of Afghanistan:
Reuters: "Now if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan -- which we got after 9/11," Clinton said.If you read the Washington Post story above, you'll see how the CIA feared being blamed by Clinton for any backlash against plans to kill bin Laden. And so here comes Clinton blaming the CIA for his inability to act against the Taliban.
The former president complained at the time the CIA and FBI refused to certify bin Laden was responsible for the USS Cole attack.
"While I was there, they refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in helicopters, refuel at night," he said.
QandO reminds us that in August 2005 Bill Clinton said:
"I desperately wish, that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early."
QandO gives us the background of multiple points where the U.S. government and the Clinton Administration knew very well that Al Queda was responsible for attacks against the United States, including the USS Cole. For more, see: page 193 of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Mike's America's conclusion:
- The over-lawyered Clinton Administration, led from the top, was incapable of taking the actions which might have saved American lives.