Monday, March 29, 2004
On Richard Clarke (again):
If any of you are still at a loss as to why Dick Clarke (hereafter referred to as “Tiny”) was not named to a higher post than the one to which he had need look no further than his comical appearance on Meet The Press. You can find a copy of the transcript here.
Tiny is in a increasingly deeper hole and he just keeps on digging. His testimony before the 9/11 Commission has been shredded by so many people I can’t take time here to name them all. Every time he comes up with an accusation, the White House fires back with briefing transcripts and other material created by Tiny that refutes the accusation he just got finished making.
Tiny went on Meet the Press yesterday and continued to dig his hole. He defended his shredded testimony and then went on to challenge W’s people to declassify and produce memoranda, emails, and other communications between him and Dr. Condoleeza Rice. Dr. Rice is W’s very capable National Security Advisor. Here’s what Tiny said:
MR. RUSSERT: Is there any inconsistency between your sworn testimony before the September 11 Commission last week and two years ago before the congressional committee?
MR. CLARKE: No, there isn't. And I would welcome it being declassified, but not just a little line here or there. Let's declassify all six hours of my testimony.
MR. RUSSERT: You would request this morning that it all be declassified?
MR. CLARKE: And I want more declassified. I want Dr. Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission declassified, and I want the thing that the 9-11 Commission talked about in its staff report this week declassified, because there's been an issue about whether or not a strategy or a plan or something useful was given to Dr. Rice in early January. And she says it wasn't. So we now have the staff report of the 9-11 Commission, and it says, "On January 25th, Clarke forwarded his December strategy paper to the new national security adviser, and it proposed covert action to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, significantly increasing CIA funding, retaliating for the USS Cole, arming the Predator aircraft, going after terrorist fund raising."
Now, Dr. Rice has characterized this as not a plan, not a strategy, not a series of decisions which could be made right away, but warmed-over Clinton material. Let's declassify that memo I sent on January 25th and let's declassify the national security directive that Dr. Rice's committee approved nine months later on September 4th, and let's see if there's any difference between those two, because there isn't. And what we'll see when we declassify what they were given on January 25th and what they finally agreed to on September 4th, is that they're basically the same thing and they wasted months when we could have had some action.
MR. RUSSERT: But to be clear, Mr. Clarke, you would urge Congress, the intelligence committees, to declassify your sworn testimony before the congressional inquiry two years ago as well as your testimony before the September 11th Commission?
MR. CLARKE: Yes, and those documents I just referred to and Dr. Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission because the victims' families have no idea what Dr. Rice has said. There weren't in those closed hearings where she testified before the 9-11 Commission. They want to know. So let's take her testimony before the 9-11 Commission and make it part of the package of what gets declassified along with the national security decision directive of September 4 and along with my memo of January 25.
In fact, Tim, let's go further. The White House is selectively now finding my e-mails, which I would have assumed were covered by some privacy regulations, and selectively leaking them to the press. Let's take all of my e-mails and all of the memos that I've sent to the national security adviser and her deputy from January 20 to September 11 and let's declassify all of it.
MR. RUSSERT: As well as her responses?
MR. CLARKE: As well as her responses.
Tiny knows full well this will never happen. Conversations and communications between the National Security Advisor and the head of Counterterrorism are privilidged, private, and above all classified at no doubt a very high level. Sure, they’ll be declassified and no doubt published – in about 50 years when my grandchildren are doing their doctoral dissertations.
There is a reason for the classification of these conversations and communications. It’s the way government works, especially in times of war and conflict. I personally don’t want White House memoranda on the front page of the Washington Post.
Tiny goes on to complain about the way he’s being attacked by the White House and the Republican National Committee. Why he expected to publish incendiary lies without consequence. There is a very real possibility his testimony will be declassified and compared with statements and memoranda he made while employed at the White House. And, if there exists conflict between what he did at the White House and his sworn testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Tiny has a problem.
And if Tiny doesn’t think that’s a problem, maybe he should ask Bubba Clinton.
Here endeth the lesson.
PS. Memo to Leslie Stalh of CBS’s 60 Minutes – I don’t know where you learned to lie straight faced, but you need to go back. Your explanation of your failure to mention that Tiny’s book is being published by a publisher owned by CBS/Viacom was laughable. Despite the fact that, when your interview with Tiny was taped he had not yet selected a publisher does not get you off the hook for failing to mention this fact prior to the interview airing. “Oversight” does not cover it. Sorry Leslie.
Memo to Ed Bradley of CBS’s 60 Minutes:
Your treatment of National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice was, at best, unprofessional for a journalist of your stature. It was painfully obvious that you disagree with Dr. Rice’s political persuasion. In this country you are free to harbor such feelings, misguided as they are. However, you owe it to your audience, and really to the American people to leave that bias at the door – or at the very least, temper it somewhat. Your questioning of Dr. Rice was childishly arrogant. Tell me something, Ed – are you ever going to ask Bubba Clinton if he will apologize to the families of the September 11th victims and heroes for failing to act against Binny Laden and Al-Qeda when he had the chance?
I didn’t think so.
Go pound sand, Ed.