Clinton Aides Plan to Tell Panel of Warning Bush Team on Qaeda
Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation — and how the new administration was slow to act.
They said the warnings were delivered in urgent post-election intelligence briefings in December 2000 and January 2001 for Condoleezza Rice, who became Mr. Bush's national security adviser; Stephen Hadley, now Ms. Rice's deputy; and Philip D. Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team, among others.
One official scheduled to testify, Richard A. Clarke, who was President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism coordinator, said in an interview that the warning about the Qaeda threat could not have been made more bluntly to the incoming Bush officials in intelligence briefings that he led.
At the time of the briefings, there was extensive evidence tying Al Qaeda to the bombing in Yemen two months earlier of an American warship, the Cole, in which 17 sailors were killed.
"It was very explicit," Mr. Clarke said of the warning given to the Bush administration officials. "Rice was briefed, and Hadley was briefed, and Zelikow sat in." Mr. Clarke served as Mr. Bush's counterterrorism chief in the early months of the administration, but after Sept. 11 was given a more limited portfolio as the president's cyberterrorism adviser.
The sworn testimony from the high-ranking Clinton administration officials — including Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Samuel R. Berger, Mr. Clinton's national security adviser — is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Saturday, March 20
Pop The Corn. Ice Up The Beer. Pull Up A Seat
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