Ex- counter-terrorism head says Bush ignored al-Qaida
The former White House head of counter-terrorism said last night that President George W Bush refused to take al-Qa’eda seriously before the September 11 attacks, preferring to focus on Iraq instead.
Richard Clarke, who resigned a year ago, told CBS television that Mr Bush had “ignored” the terrorist threat in the months before the 2001 attacks despite unprecedented alarm in intelligence circles.
Lord, when an ex-head of counter-terrorism says the President is incompetent and worse, well, this indicates a rather serious split in the ruling elite, doesn’t it?
Predicting, correctly, that Bush loyalists would denounce his claims as sour grapes and partisan politics, Mr Clarke said: “I am sure they will launch their dogs on me. But frankly I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he has done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it; he ignored terrorism for months.”
President Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, “looked skeptical” when she was warned early in 2001 about the threat from al-Qaida and appeared to never have heard of the terrorist organization, according to Bush’s former counterterrorism coordinator.
And why did Bush ignore al-Qaida? Because he wanted to invade Iraq and didn’t care what the facts were, that’s why.
<Clarke> said that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks Bush took him aside, pressing him for information about alleged links between the al-Qaeda terror network, the chief suspect in the strikes, and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, despite reports from the intelligence community that Baghdad was not involved.
“The entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this,” Clarke told 60 Minutes.
PS. John Kerry said “he has asked for copies of a new book in which a former White House counterterrorism coordinator accuses the Bush administration of manipulating America into war with Iraq with dangerous consequences,”