March 22, 2004

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars? (Stephen Hadley Edition)

Michael Froomkin notes that Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley pretends he "cannot find evidence" for a meeting his immediate boss watched happen:

Discourse.net: Want to Know What's Wrong With US Intelligence?: Here's a little item deep inside Barton Gellman’s story on Richard Clarke that encapsulates so much of what’s wrong with the Bush administration:

On the same broadcast, deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley said, "We cannot find evidence that this conversation between Mr. Clarke and the president ever occurred." In interviews for this story, two people who were present confirmed Clarke’s account. They said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice witnessed the exchange.

So either unless Clarke and two other anonymous witnesses are lying, the folks in charge of our intelligence and national security apparatus are either (A) completely incompetent, or (B) complete liars. Does it really matter which?

Posted by DeLong at March 22, 2004 05:25 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

How about giving us a choice (C) -- both (A) and (B).

Posted by: joe on March 22, 2004 05:37 PM

____

Make that THREE people now who claim to be witnesses of Clarke's meeting with Bush, at least two of whom claim that Condoleeza Rice was present (although both she and Bush still claim that they have no memory of the meeting and that White House records don't show it):

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/23/politics/23CLAR.html?pagewanted=print&position=

The really baffling thing is that two of the three -- including Clarke's deputy Roger Cressey -- say that they don't think Bush was nearly as "intimidating" and "pressuring" during the meeting as Clarke says. So why the hell is the Administration trying to conceal the fact that the meeting even occurred?

In the same article (co-authored by Judith Miller):

"Another ally of Mr. Clarke, Thomas R. Maertens, confirmed the outlines of Mr. Clarke's critique of the White House. Mr. Maertens, who served as National Security Council director for nuclear nonproliferation on both the Clinton and Bush White House staffs, said that Mr. Clarke had repeatedly tried to warn senior officials in the Bush administration about the growing threat of Al Qaeda.

" 'He was the guy pushing hardest, saying again and again that something big was going to happen, including possibly here in the U.S.,' Mr. Maertens said Monday from his home in Minnesota. But Mr. Maertens said that the Bush White House was reluctant to believe a holdover from the previous administration.

" 'They really believed their campaign rhetoric about the Clinton administration,' Mr. Maertens said. 'So anything they did was bad, and the Bushies were not going to repeat it. And it's disgusting to see the administration now putting a full-court smear on Clarke for being right.' "

And, in Todd Purdom's simultaneous NY Times article tonight:

"Morton I. Abramowitz, whom Mr. Clarke served as a deputy when he was assistant secretary of state for intelligence in the Reagan administration, and who later served as the first Bush administration's ambassador to Turkey, said he had always valued Mr. Clarke's advice.

" 'I can only tell you I think Dick has enormous credibility,' Mr. Abramowitz said. 'He's got a first-class intellect. He's very dedicated. He tries to make things happen. He doesn't hesitate to take unpopular stances, and he doesn't hesitate to push the envelope.' He added: 'Dick is a serious player. He's been involved in this business for years. You can't overlook what Dick is saying.' "

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 22, 2004 11:25 PM

____

Hey Bruce

I can overlook it quite easily because he stretches credulity.

1. Clarke says Clinton war room caught prospectice LA airport bomber when it was actually a border guard on no special alert. Clarke trying to make Clinton look good.

2. Clarke says Rice didn't know of Al Qaeda.
Simply nonsense. Clarke trying to make Bush look bad.

3. Clarke says Bush ignored his pleading as he came into office. Bush-bad

4. Clarke says aspirin factory fiasco due to "bad intelligence". That's too much. He has no shame.

Clarke whole argument was that Bush wanted Iraq while excluding Al Qaeda and was trying to intimidate him to provide an unwarranted validation. The fact is the administratin went exclusively after Al Qaeda. Iraq was never attacked on the basis of a link to 9/11. I don't need to fact check Clarke's minutes because the subsequent events simply show he's exaggerating anything that may have happened.

How much was Clarke advice worth. What did he do to thwart Al Qaeda. What did he do in response to Al Qaeda attacks.

It is amusing watching the left parade this horse. They forgot to check his teeth.

Posted by: Brian on March 23, 2004 05:05 AM

____

Brian,

Seems to me you're the one with no shame: Clarke was a Reagan-Bush holdover.

From an ABC news bio, October 9, 2001: "In the elder Bush's administration, Clarke was the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. In that capacity, he coordinated State Department support of Desert Storm and led efforts to create a post-war security architecture. Clarke was appointed to the National Security Council staff in 1992.

"In the Reagan administration, Clarke was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence."

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on March 23, 2004 07:19 AM

____

"The really baffling thing is that two of the three -- including Clarke's deputy Roger Cressey -- say that they don't think Bush was nearly as "intimidating" and "pressuring" during the meeting as Clarke says. So why the hell is the Administration trying to conceal the fact that the meeting even occurred?"

There you go again. No one is trying to "conceal" anything. It is a simple fact that there is no record of the meeting described by Clarke on that particular day. Maybe Clarke is confused about the date--he's certainly confused about what Bush asked him, which was straightforward according to Clarke himself: whether or not Iraq was involved.

" 'He was the guy pushing hardest, saying again and again that something big was going to happen, including possibly here in the U.S.,' Mr. Maertens said Monday from his home in Minnesota. But Mr. Maertens said that the Bush White House was reluctant to believe a holdover from the previous administration. "

Have a clue. George Tenet was a holdover from the previous administration and Bush met with him daily. And Clarke admits Tenet was well informed on Al Qaeda. Plenty of people who knew Clarke well are saying he's a self-absorbed jerk. No wonder he wasn't a player with Bush.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on March 23, 2004 08:34 AM

____

Well now that the White House admits the meeting took place, I guess that Patrick can no longer suggest Clark "misremembered." *I* remember what I did on September 11 and 12; I'd be surprised if the president couldn't recall an extremely important meeting he had after those events. Well, not surprised knowing THIS president.

There are too many things that corroborate Clarke's claims and that's the important thing--not what Clinton did or didn't do--but what this administration did not do. Bush himself told Bob Woodward in 2002 that he hadn't seen bin Laden as a priority.

I don't actually see why there is such a furor over Clark's book because almost all that he said can be verified by what already exists in the public record. These aren't actually "new" allegations.

I'm surprised, however, that if Bush met with Tenet 45 times (it wasn't every day since Bush was on vacation so often), and if Tenet was telling Bush about how important al Qaeda was--enough so that Ashcroft was warned to use government planes--why didn't Bush see the urgency and do something? And why did Bush, right after 9/11, STILL order a plan drafted to invade Iraq despite being told by Tenet and others Iraq was not involved?

Posted by: Cat M. on March 30, 2004 06:10 AM

____

everybody is welcome

Posted by: online casinos on May 31, 2004 07:51 AM

____

[In] mourning, it is better to err on the side of grief than on the side of formality.

Posted by: Rosenthal Marc on June 30, 2004 12:50 PM

____

Cura posterior - A later concern

Posted by: adult anime on July 11, 2004 12:25 PM

____

Post a comment
















__