Friday, September 29, 2006

9/11 Report evidence that the President was warned about Bin Ladin's desire to hijack airplanes puts Senator Clinton's statement in a new perspective

The following evidence from the 9/11 commission report puts Hillary Clinton's defense of her husband in a new perspective. From section 4.4 which directly cites a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB):
SUBJECT: Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks

1. Reporting [-] suggests Bin Ladin and his allies are preparing for attacks in the US, including an aircraft hijacking to obtain the release of Shaykh 'Umar 'Abd al-Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, and Muhammad Sadiq 'Awda...

To the average reader, that sure looks like the President was alerted to the possibility that "Bin Ladin [is/was] Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft".

We'll pause for a moment here to let the defenders of the President attempt to make an argument against the contents of the PDB..................................That should be enough...wait...a few people need more time to really let that settle in.................................

O.K., even the most ardent defenders of the President can clearly read that he was warned about possible plane hijackings.

Which makes the following statement from Senator Clinton all the more interesting (emphasis added):
"I think my husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take these attacks. I'm certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled 'Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States' he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team."
Anything strike you as ironic (at a minimum) about this defense? Ms. Clinton is referring to the PDB referenced in the 9/11 Commission report, Chapter 8, 'The Calm Before the Storm', 'Bin Ladin Determined To Attack Inside the United States'. That PDB was the 36th briefing received by President Bush in 2001.

Have you found the irony yet? For those of you playing the home game, Senator Clinton is one of two New York Senators at the time of the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center (and the Pentagon, lest we forget). It's reasonable to expect that a Senator so personally affected by the attacks would have read the 9/11 report in its entirety. It's a good bet that Ms. Clinton did not read the whole report, else she would not be offering such a defense.

How can one be so certain? Well, the first PDB above, 'Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks', was President Bill Clinton's briefing back on December 4, 1998. And as Ms. Clinton points out to us, her husband takes such classified reports "...more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team". Yeah...right!

Update: More evidence that Clinton 'seriousness' on Bin Ladin should be questioned: transcript of interview with Michael Scheuer, CBS New Analyst and former leader of the CIA's Bin Landen unit.

Update 2: BizzyBlog's Weekend Question 2: When Will The 527 Media Report Hillary’s Inconvenient Untruth about Her Husband Being Warned about OBL? puts the December 4, 1998 PDB into the historical context of an impending impeachment.

Update 3: Michael Scheuer on Fox New Sunday (emphasis added):
SCHEUER: Mr. Wallace, my opinion is not all that important. I went to a little Jesuit school in Buffalo called Canicius, and the priests taught us never to lie, but if you had to lie, never lie about facts. Mr. Richard Clarke, Mr. Sandy Berger, President Clinton are lying about the opportunities they had to kill Usama bin Laden. That's the plain truth, the exact truth.

Men and women at the CIA risked their lives to provide occasions to kill a man we knew had declared war and had attacked America four or five times before 1998. We had plans that had been approved by the Joint Operations Command at Fort Bragg. We had opportunities, many opportunities to kill him.

But that's the president's decision. That's absolutely the case. It's not a simple, dumb bureaucrat like me; that's not my decision. It's his. But for him to get on the television and say to the American people he did all he could is a flat lie, sir.

Big Time HT: James Taranto's Best of the Web


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