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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Continuing Mushroom Cloud Condi Watch....

By now everyone on the planet is aware of “the interview”. That would, of course, be the Bill Clinton interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. In the interview, Clinton insisted that he had made efforts to thwart Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida. He said that, even though he had tried and failed in stopping them, he had at least tried - which was more than the incoming Bush Administration could claim in the first eight months in office. He said this was despite the fact that his administration had provided the Bush team with a comprehensive plan for disrupting the Al Qaida threat. Enter “Mushroom Cloud” Condi Rice and the New York Post.

On Tuesday (9/26/06) Condi gave an interview to the Rupert Murdoch owned rag in which she disputed the information that President Clinton had leveled Wallace with on Sunday. In the article, she says, ” The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false — and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," she said. Rice also took exception to Clinton's statement that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for incoming officials when he left office. "We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaida," she told the newspaper, which is owned by News Corp., the same company that owns Fox News Channel.

So what is the real story here? Well thanks to Rachel Maddow over at Air America, we are directed to pages 196 and 197 of the very 9/11 Commission report that “Mushroom Cloud” Condi refers to. Note: Emphasis in BOLD is mine TLS


Page 196
In late 2000, the CIA and the NSC staff began thinking about the counterterrorism policy agenda they would present to the new administration. The Counterterrorist Center put down its best ideas for the future, assuming it was free of any prior policy or financial constraints. The paper was therefore informally referred to as the “Blue Sky” memo; it was sent to (Counter Terrorism Czar, Richard) Clarke on December 29.The memo proposed:

• A major effort to support the Northern Alliance through intelligence sharing and increased funding so that it could stave off the Taliban army and tie down al Qaeda fighters. This effort was not intended to remove the Taliban from power, a goal that was judged impractical and too expensive for the CIA alone to attain.

• Increased support to the Uzbeks to strengthen their ability to fight terrorism and assist the United States in doing so.

• Assistance to anti-Taliban groups and proxies who might be encouraged to passively resist the Taliban.

The CIA memo noted that there was “no single ‘silver bullet’ available to deal with the growing problems in Afghanistan. “A multifaceted strategy would be needed to produce change. (Footnote 153) No action was taken on these ideas in the few remaining weeks of the Clinton administration. (National Security Advisor, Sandy) Berger did not recall seeing or being briefed on the Blue Sky memo. Nor was the memo discussed during the transition with incoming top Bush administration officials. Tenet and his deputy told us they pressed these ideas as options after the new team took office. (Footnote 154)

Page 197
As the Clinton administration drew to a close, Clarke and his staff developed a policy paper of their own, the first such comprehensive effort since the Delenda plan of 1998.The resulting paper, entitled “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al Qida: Status and Prospects,” reviewed the threat and the record to date, incorporated the CIA’s new ideas from the Blue Sky memo, and posed several near-term policy options.

Clarke and his staff proposed a goal to “roll back” al Qaeda over a period of three to five years. Over time, the policy should try to weaken and eliminate the network’s infrastructure in order to reduce it to a “rump group” like other formerly feared but now largely defunct terrorist organizations of the 1980s. “Continued anti-al Qida operations at the current level will prevent some attacks,” Clarke’s office wrote, “but will not seriously attrit their ability to plan and conduct attacks.” The paper backed covert aid to the Northern Alliance, covert aid to Uzbekistan, and renewed Predator flights in March 2001. A sentence called for military action to destroy al Qaeda command-and control targets and infrastructure and Taliban military and command assets. The paper also expressed concern about the presence of al Qaeda operatives in the United States. (Footnote 155)


The fact that both Richard Clarke and George Tenet stayed in their respective positions during the first eight months of the incoming Bush Administration and they were the primary advocates for pursuing a robust offense against Al Qaida and the Taliban would suggest that Condi either has an unfortunate case of ADD or she has a significant problem with the truth.

Oh wait; this is “Mushroom Cloud” Condi we are talking about.

Chad (The Left) Shue

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