Rice responds

NY Post:

" National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice yesterday responded fiercely to Richard Clarke's charges that fighting terror was not a top priority for President Bush - noting that the former White House aide's allegations are contradicted by his own earlier words.

"She also called his remarks about her 'arrogant at its extreme.'

" 'He needs to get his stories straight,' Rice said.

"To knock down Clarke's story, Rice revealed that in an e-mail to her on Sept. 15, 2001, Clarke detailed meetings from June and July of that year about preparations being made to prepare for the possibility of a 'spectacular al Qaeda terrorist attack.'

" 'Thus, the White House did insure that domestic law-enforcement . . . knew that [his office] believed that a major al Qaeda attack was coming and it could be in the U.S.,' Clarke's e-mail said.

...

" It was important to note such meetings had taken place, he added in another e-mail released by Rice:

" 'When the era of national unity begins to crack in the near future, it is possible that some will start asking questions, like did the White House do a good job of making sure that intelligence about terrorist threats got to the FAA and other domestic law-enforcement authorities.'

"Rice also blasted Clarke for suggesting she hadn't heard of al Qaeda when he mentioned the terrorist network to her in early 2001."

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