Bush Lies vs Facts
3-28-04 Lies: While on NBC Nightly News Condi rice claimed that the "the president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold" before 9/11. White House spokesman Scott McClellan, echoing similar comments from top Administration officials, said that "this Administration made going after Al Qaida a top priority from very early on" in the face of increased terror warnings before 9/11.
Fact: In reality, the Bush Administration was preparing their FY2003 budget (the first budget fully authored by the new Administration) that proposed serious cuts to key counterterrorism programs. As the 2/28/02 NYT reported, the Bush White House "did not endorse F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators" and "proposed a $65 million cut for the program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants." Newsweek noted the Administration "vetoed a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism.
But, according to the public record, the Administration made counterterrorism such a "top priority" that it never once convened its task force on counterterrorism before 9/11, attempted to downgrade counterterrorism at the Justice Department, and held only two out of more than one hundred national security meetings on the issue of terrorism.
Meanwhile, the White House was cutting key counterterrorism programs -- Bush himself admitted that he "didn't feel the sense of urgency" about terrorism before 9/11.
According to the Washington Post, President Bush and Vice President Cheney never once convened the counterterrorism task force that was established in May 2001 -- despite repeated warnings that Al Qaida could be planning to hijack airplanes and use them as missiles.
This came at roughly the same time that the Vice President held at least 10 meetings of his Energy Task Force and attended at least six meetings with Enron executives.
Similarly, Newsweek reported that internal government documents show that, before 9/11, the Bush Administration moved to "de-emphasize" counterterrorism. When the "FBI officials sought to add hundreds more counterintelligence agents" to deal with the problem, "they got shot down" by the White House.
Additionally, the Associated Press reported in 2002 that "President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions." This is consistent with evidence Clarke has presented showing that his January 2001 "urgent" memo asking for a meeting of top officials on the imminent Al Qaida threat was rejected for almost eight months. At the time, the White House said that they simply "did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat".
Finally, the White House threatened to veto efforts putting more money into counterterrorism, tried to cut funding for counterterrorism grants, delayed arming the unmanned airplanes that had spotted bin Laden in Afghanistan, and terminated "a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaida suspects in the United States.
3-27-04 Lies: Right after the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks and in earlier comments this week, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials stressed that intelligence officials were focused primarily on threats to U.S. interests overseas.
"I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people…would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile"
"Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists"
Condoleezza Rice (Quotes from 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004)
Facts: Published on Saturday, May 18, 2002 in the Washington Post
August (8-6-01) Memo Focused On Attacks in U.S.
By Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen
The top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush on Aug. 6 carried the headline, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," and was primarily focused on recounting al Qaeda's past efforts to attack and infiltrate the United States, senior administration officials said.
The document, known as the (PDB) President's Daily Briefing, underscored that Osama bin Laden and his followers hoped to "bring the fight to America," in part as retaliation for U.S. missile strikes on al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998 and the 1991 Gulf War, according to knowledgeable sources.
In fact, a 1999 report prepared for the National Intelligence Council, an affiliate of the CIA, warned that terrorists associated with bin Laden might hijack an airplane and crash it into the Pentagon, White House or CIA headquarters. The report recounts well-known case studies of similar plots, including a 1995 plan by al Qaeda operatives to hijack and crash a dozen U.S. airliners in the South Pacific and pilot a light aircraft into Langley.
“Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House,” the September 1999 report said"
3-26-04 Lies: President Bush and His Entire Administration Claim Richard Clarke is a Liar and That They Did Not Ignore Terrorism Before 9-11-01
Fact: Gary Hart (D) And Warren Rudman (R) of The January 2001 Hart/Rudman Terrorism Report Disagree With President Bush.
Sept. 12, 2001 -- WASHINGTON -- They went to great pains not to sound as though they were telling the president "We told you so."
But on Wednesday, two former senators, the bipartisan co-chairs of a Defense Department-chartered commission on national security, spoke with something between frustration and regret about how White House officials failed to embrace any of the recommendations to prevent acts of domestic terrorism delivered earlier this year.
Bush administration officials told former Sens. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and Warren Rudman, R-N.H., that they preferred instead to put aside the recommendations issued in the January report by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. Instead, the White House announced in May that it would have Vice President Dick Cheney study the potential problem of domestic terrorism -- which the bipartisan group had already spent two and a half years studying -- while assigning responsibility for dealing with the issue to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by former Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.
Before the White House decided to go in its own direction, Congress seemed to be taking the commission's suggestions seriously, according to Hart and Rudman. "Frankly, the White House shut it down," Hart says. "The president said 'Please wait, we're going to turn this over to the vice president. We believe FEMA is competent to coordinate this effort.' And so Congress moved on to other things, like tax cuts and the issue of the day."
The bipartisan 14-member panel was put together in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton., to make sweeping strategic recommendations on how the United States could ensure its security in the 21st century.
In its Jan. 31 report, seven Democrats and seven Republicans unanimously approved 50 recommendations. Many of them addressed the point that, in the words of the commission's executive summary, "the combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack."
Hart spent 90 minutes with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and an hour with Secretary of State Colin Powell lobbying for the White House to devote more attention to the imminent dangers of terrorism and their specific, detailed recommendations for a major change in the way the federal government approaches terrorism. He and Rudman briefed National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on the commission's findings.
NOTE: All of this is exactly what Richard Clarke said in the 9-11 commission hearings, and in his book.
Congress seemed interested in enacting many of the commission's recommendations. "We had a very good response from the Hill," Rudman says.
In March 2001, members of Congress talked about the issue, and these and others began drafting legislation to enact some of the recommendations into law.
But in May, Bush announced his plan almost as if the Hart-Rudman Commission never existed, as if it hadn't spent millions of dollars, "consulting with experts, visiting 25 countries worldwide, really deliberating long and hard," as Hart describes it. Bush said in a statement that "numerous federal departments and agencies have programs to deal with the consequences of a potential use of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapon in the United States. But to maximize their effectiveness, these efforts need to be seamlessly integrated, harmonious and comprehensive." That, according to the president, should be done through FEMA, headed by Allbaugh, formerly Bush's gubernatorial chief of staff.
Bush also directed Cheney -- a man with a full plate, including supervision of the administration's energy plans and its dealings with Congress -- to supervise the development of a national counter-terrorism plan. Bush announced that Cheney and Allbaugh would review the issues and have recommendations for him by Oct. 1. The commission's report was seemingly put on the shelf.
Remember that the Hart/Rudman report was given to Bush on 1-31-01 (11 Days after he Took Office). Yet he ignored the report and ignored terrorism until after the 9-11 attacks. This report is proof Richard Clarke is telling the truth when he says Bush ignored terrorism until after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Instead of admitting any of this, the Bush administration has launched the biggest smear campaign in years against Richard Clarke. This is what he gets for telling the truth, he should get a medal, not a smear campaign from the Bush administration.