Clarke's transformation

Robert Novak:


"Until the past week, Clarke was best known inside Washington as one of the most skilled manipulators ever of the national security bureaucracy. He is the hero of journalist Richard Miniter's 2003 book, 'Losing Bin Laden,' a scathing exposure of Clinton's anti-terrorism failings. Clarke was described as 'blunt, tough and unrelenting' in pursuing terrorist Ramzi Yousef, sought in the first World Trade Center bombing. 'Imagine what he could have accomplished if Clinton had publicly endorsed his efforts,' Miniter wrote.

"Clarke was not only the hero but also obviously a prime source of 'Losing Bin Laden.' Miniter for the first time revealed, directly quoting Clarke, the meeting of 'principals' (Cabinet-level officials) on Oct. 12, 2000, after the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. The vote was 7 to 1 against an attack on Osama bin Laden. Only Clarke wanted action.

"In his own book, Clarke quickly brushes off the Cole meeting that he described in detail to Miniter. Instead of complaining about Clinton's failure to come to grips with al Qaeda and bin Laden, Clarke recites what sounds like Democratic talking points...."


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