What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The 9/11 Commission Report

The 9/11 Commission's final report is out, and is worth a read as it dispels some of the right-wing lies and misinformation about the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorism.  You can download the report from the 9/11 Commission web site.

Let's examine some of the claims that have been made about the Clinton Administration, and what the report says.

Claim #1: Bill Clinton was offered Bin Ladin on a "silver platter" by the Sudanese government, and refused him.

This claim has been made by people like Sean Hannity many, many times.  The supposed arrangement was brokered by Mansoor Ijaz, who was working as a freelance diplomat.  What does the 9/11 Commission Report have to say about this?

From page 110:
Sudan's minister of defense, Faith Erwa, has claimed that Sudan had offered to hand over Bin Laden to the United States.  The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so.  U.S. Ambassador Timothy Carney had instructions only to push the Sudanese to expel Bin Ladin.  Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask for more from the Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment outstanding.

Mansoor Ijaz isn't even mentioned in the report.  I wonder why?

Claim #2: The Clinton Administration took no actions against Bin Ladin.
Not so.  Pages 115-117 describe how, in 1998, following the embassy bombings in Africa, a plan was drafted to attack Bin Ladin in Afghanistan.

Debate about what to do settled on one option: Tomahawk cruise the early hours of the morning of August 20, President Clinton and all his principal advisors had agreed to strike Bin Ladin camps in Afghanistan near Khowst, as well as hitting al Shifa...later on August 20, Navy vessels in the Arabian sea fired their cruise missiles.  Though most of them hit their intended targets, neither Bin Ladin nor any other terrorist leaders were killed...the strikes...probably missed Bin Ladin by a few hours.
So the Clinton administration had a plan in place to take out Bin Ladin, and we attacked where we thought Bin Ladin would be.  Which clearly contradicts the right-wing claims that Clinton did nothing about Bin Ladin.  Contrary to those claims, the Clinton administration was heavily involved in attempts to capture Bin Ladin.  Chapter 4 of the report, Responses to Al Qaeda's Initial Assaults, highlights the numerous efforts to capture Bin Ladin.  The Clinton Administration was not "asleep at the wheel" in its efforts.

Tomorrow: The Clinton Administration is "obsessed" with capturing Bin Ladin.


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