2/11/2005

Clarke Warns, Condi Ignores

From the Herald Sun, in Australia:

Eight months before the September 11 attacks the White House's then counterterrorism adviser urged then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to hold a high-level meeting on the al-Qaeda network, according to a memo made public today.
"We urgently need such a principals-level review on the al-Qaeda network," then White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke wrote in the January 25, 2001 memo.
Mr Clarke, who left the White House in 2003, made headlines in the heat of the US presidential campaign last year when he accused the Bush White House of having ignored al-Qaeda's threats before September 11.
Mr Clarke testified before inquiry panels and in a book that Rice, his boss at the time, had been warned of the threat. Rice is now US Secretary of State.
However, Ms Rice wrote in a March 22, 2004 column in The Washington Post that "No al-Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration".
Mr Clarke told a commission looking into intelligence shortcomings prior to the attacks, "There's a lot of debate about whether it's a plan or a strategy or a series of options - but all of the things we recommended back in January were those things on the table in September. They were all done, but they were done after September 11."
The document was released by the National Security Archive, an independent US group that solicits government documents for public review.
Another document released by the archive said that from April to September 2001, the US Federal Aviation Administration received 52 intelligence reports on al-Qaeda, including five that mentioned hijackings and two that mentioned suicide operations, according to today's New York Times.
The Times quoted a previously undisclosed report by a commission set up to investigate the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
The report criticises the FAA for failing to strengthen security measures in light of the reports and describes as "striking" the false sense of security that appeared to predominate in the civil aviation system before the attacks, the paper said.

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