See Clarke’s Memo for Yourself

[revised] The National Security Archive has put Richard Clarke's prophetic memo about Al Qaeda and terrorism (January 25, 2001) (pdf) online. Also note the very important attachments.

The significance of these memos is that they contradict the claim made by Dr. Condoleezza Rice and others, that the Clinton administration did not leave a plan behind to confront Al Qaeda…although you do have to wonder why they waited so long themselves.

Note that the memo itself is addressed to….Condoleezza Rice.

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3 Responses to See Clarke’s Memo for Yourself

  1. pgl says:

    Thanks for the links to the memo and Tab A. Tab B – the Delenda plan – is something I do hope we can read in the near future. We know from Bob Kerrey that it was this plan that the Bush White House finally dusted off only in September 2001, which became the basis for Tommy Franks very successful campaign. Had it been implemented in the spring of 2001 rather than late in 2001, who only know whether we could have avoided 9/11. But we do know this – the Bush White House lied to the 9/11 commission.

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  3. Codrus says:

    Clarke’s book goes into great detail on the Clinton years (and thus far the 9/11 commission and other released paperwork has matched what Clarke said in his book)

    It has been a while since I read it, but the broad strokes version was that a good chunk of the mid 90s was understanding al-Qida. Once they understood what and who they were looking at, Clinton signed a number of authorities, but there was significant CIA and military resistance to taking covert action. Most of the actions that were taken were based more on law enforcement around the Millenium.

    Also, keep in mind that so much of the political spectrum of the times was “who did Clinton diddle when?” — constant attacks by the Republican congress. When he did take action, he was accused of it being a “Wag the Dog” scenario, inventing enemies to distract the nation from Monicagate.

    One of the things that 9/11 did was really establish a political atmosphere that would allow the President — any president — to clearly take action. While there had been significant events in the — that Clarke was reporting to the principals committee in the Clinton administration was unusual and showed that they did take it seriously — none of them were a smoking gun capable of really reaching into the American consciousness in a way that demanded action.

    My read was that the Bush administration’s feet dragging on terrorism significantly contributed to 9/11, but more of it was government bureaucracy and resistance in the various agencies. At the same time as Clark’s January memo, a 3 year bi-partisan committee released a number of other recommendations on what was wrong with National Security…much of the Homeland security suggestions were developed by that Committee well before Bush took office.

    In short, read Clarke’s book. I’ve yet to see any serious rebuttal to it (on the contrary, it is well supported by publicly released documents and the 9/11 commission), and it really does talk about how the terrorist threat grew across four different Administrations.


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