Monday, March 22, 2004

Just so we're clear here, this is Scotty Mac's defense of the administration's pre-9/11 record on terrorism:

Q Let me just clarify one thing. When did the administration begin its work on the comprehensive strategy to eliminate al Qaeda?

MR. McCLELLAN: We began very early on. I think it was actually the NSC deputies had met -- they met frequently between March and September of 2001 to decide and talk about many of the complex issues that were involved in the development of that strategy. And contrary to his assertion that he wasn't able to brief senior officials until late April, the first deputy level's meeting on al Qaeda was held on March 7th. And that's -- and Dick Clarke was the one who conducted the briefing. And the deputies agreed that the national security policy directive should be prepared at that point. And it was just less than six months later when the strategy was ready to go, on September 4th.

So under Clinton, Clarke had a Cabinet-level position and briefed the Cabinet directly.

Under Li'l Bushie, Clarke was given one meeting with the deputy department heads, who then took almost six months to formulate their response -- all while the intelligence community was reporting an activity spike, and an imminent attack.

Yeah, I can't imagine why Clarke would think they weren't serious about terrorism...

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