Under-Oath-Clarke vs. Book-Selling-Clarke

Here’s an interesting comparison.

What did the under-oath-before-the-9/11-Commission-former-counterterrorism-czar Richard Clarke think about the possible prevention of September 11 compared to the 60-Minutes-with-Lesley-Stahl-book-promoting-vengeful-former-administration-official Richard Clarke?

When testifying before 9/11 Commission on Wednesday, March 24, Richard Clarke admitted to the world that none of his recommendations would have produced the “remotest chance” of preventing the terrorist attacks of September 11.

From the transcript of the 9/11 Commission hearing:

    Former Sen. Slade Gorton (R.-Wash.): Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25th of 2001, based on Delenda, based on Blue Sky, including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for two and a half years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted say on January 26th, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?

    Clarke: No.

    Gorton: It just would have allowed our response, after 9/11, to be perhaps a little bit faster?

    Clarke: Well, the response would have begun before 9/11.

    Gorton: Yes, but there was no recommendation, on your part or anyone else’s part, that we declare war and attempt to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11?

    Clarke: That’s right.

But Clarke was singing an entirely different tune when he was being interviewed by Lesley Stahl on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, March 21. In fact, his answer to Stahl has been used as the centerpiece of a Bush-is-a-Failure ad, complete with audio sound bites from the interview.

    Lesley Stahl: The president’s new campaign ads highlight his handling of 9/11. He’s making it the centerpiece of his bid for re-election. You’re writing this book in the middle of this campaign. The timing, I’m sure, you will be questioned about and criticized for. Why are you doing it now?

    Clarke: Well, I’m sure I’ll be criticized for lots of things, and I’m sure they’ll launch their dogs on me. But frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he’s done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We’ll never know.

So, which is it, Mr. Clarke? Could Bush have “maybe” prevented September 11? Or, as you admitted under oath, was there not even the “remotest chance” that such prevention was possible, even if all of your recommendations had been implemented?


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