Just As I Thought

Be careful what you wish for

In the continuing barrage of personal character attacks on Richard Clarke, the GOP is now calling for the release of classified testimony by Clarke from 2002. They say that testimony was at odds with what he has said publicly this week, and want to portray him as a liar:

In a blistering speech from the Senate floor, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said Clarke “has told two entirely different stories under oath” — first in private before Congress’s joint intelligence committee in July 2002, then this week before cameras at a hearing conducted by the commission looking into the same topic, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Frist offered no specific contradictions other than to say that Clarke was “effusive in his praise” of the Bush administration’s handling of terrorism matters in his 2002 testimony but was sharply critical this week.

“If he lied under oath to the United States Congress, it is a far more serious matter” than being inconsistent with reporters, another Republican charge aimed at Clarke, who served in the White House under four presidents.

Some Democratic lawmakers who heard Clarke’s testimony in both settings said they found no inconsistencies. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who was co-chairman of the joint intelligence inquiry, said in a statement, “To the best of my recollection, there is nothing inconsistent or contradictory in that testimony [from 2002] and what Mr. Clarke has said this week.” He said Clarke’s 2002 testimony should be declassified “in its entirety,” not in selected ways to favor the White House.

Wouldn’t it be funny if the testimony was released, Clarke was heard praising the Bush response in 2002, and then it was discovered that he was ordered to lie to Congress by the administration back then when he was a part of it? Doesn’t it seem like that could almost be fated to happen? This administration tends to push and push, then not think about the long-term consequences of their actions. They’re not very wise and deliberative, that’s for sure; and strangely, that’s one of the things they are proudest of!

Two other interesting quotes from Frist:

He said that “the only common denominator” in 10 years of unanswered terrorist attacks against Americans “was Mr. Clarke himself, a consideration that is clearly driving his effort to point fingers and shift blame.”

I submit to you, gentle reader, that if Clarke was the weak link in White House counterterrorism, then the blame still lies higher up with the presidents who kept him in the job through 4 different administrations. If the Bush White House thought he was not worthy of being ‘in the loop,” as they say, why did they keep him on staff?

“There is not a single public record of Mr. Clarke making any objection whatsoever in the period leading up to or following the 9/11 attacks. . . . If Mr. Clarke held his tongue because he was ‘loyal,’ then shame on him for putting politics above principle. But if he has manufactured these charges for profit and political gain, he is a shame to this government.”

Frist should look to the campaign commercials produced by the leader of his party for an example of politics above principle; for a perfect illustration of profit and political gain.

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