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McCollum says terror ignored (by Clinton)
THE HILL ^ | November 26, 2003 | Sam Dealey

Posted on 11/29/2003 5:49:28 PM PST by pittsburgh gop guy

McCollum says terror ignored

By Sam Dealey

The former chairman of a congressional task force on terrorism accuses the Clinton administration of repeatedly ignoring detailed warnings of terrorist threats against the United States issued nearly a decade ago.

“It was pretty clear during the Clinton era that they heard our reports but just didn’t care,” said former Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.).

McCollum founded and chaired the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare from 1989 to 1995. The panel produced a number of sensitive reports that were selectively distributed within the congressional leadership and intelligence community. He is now seeking the Republican Senate nomination in a highly contested primary campaign.

At The Hill’s request, McCollum released several of these reports. Although unclassified, many of them have never before been revealed. They identify the threat of global terrorism well before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Culled from open sources, such as Middle Eastern radio and newspaper reports, and from the network of informants the task force nurtured, the reports describe the anti-Western goals of radical Islam around the globe.

On Feb 1, 1993, for example, a report noted a recent spate of seemingly unconnected terrorist acts in the Middle East. “Despite the different circumstances of these incidents, they do not appear to be isolated events,” it concluded. “Rather, they are the first incidents in the escalation of an Islamist Jihad against the ‘Judeo-Christian world order.’ Thus, the climax of this struggle could well be an increase in terrorism throughout the West.”

Less than a month later, on Feb. 26, the World Trade Center was first bombed.

The same report identified key players in an increasingly interconnected terror network who would subsequently become public enemies in America’s national security efforts.

Among them was fundamentalist Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, head of the terrorist Islamic Group. The blind Egyptian cleric was convicted for plotting the initial World Trade Center attack.

Another prominent leader was Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden’s and Al Qaeda’s. Zawahiri was indicted for his alleged involvement in the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and is listed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list. In task force reports, the Sudanese is listed as a principal organizer who brought the disparate terrorist groups together into an umbrella jihad structure.

Most importantly, McCollum’s task force repeatedly warned the Clinton administration of the spread of terrorism from Iranian Shiite groups to those of Sunni Muslims, and their collaboration in plotting attacks against the West. The panel prepared a comprehensive list, ranging from Middle East to Asia to the Horn of Africa.

While much of this is now considered conventional wisdom, the task force’s conclusions were not widely viewed that way at the time. The U.S. intelligence community generally saw the terrorism threat in terms of isolated acts that were confined to regional players.

“McCollum was way ahead of the curve,” said anti-terrorism expert Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project. “By and large, there was no recognition or effort to look at this problem in the global sense or the interconnectedness among these groups.”

Emerson, like McCollum, was among the handful of outsiders who cautioned the government early on about terrorist threats. Their warnings, they say, were largely viewed as those of gadflies and partisans.

“I don’t know if it was pride or if it was the sense that we were the upstart outsider, or that we were viewed as partisans, or what,” said McCollum. “I imagine they looked down on us…. I imagine we were viewed as a rogue outfit producing this.

“It was frustrating,” McCollum continued. “We didn’t feel that people were paying attention. A lot of them were of the thinking that none of this would ever amount to much and that it certainly didn’t pose a threat to America.”

“They couldn’t care less. There were people within the intelligence communities who were alarmed, but not institutionally,” said Yossef Bodansky, a former staffer for the task force and recent author of a bin Laden biography. “Neither us nor they could make enough nose to attract the attention of the White House.”

While the task force’s work spanned both the elder Bush and Clinton administrations, McCollum saved his harshest criticism for the latter period.

“I think it became increasingly frustrating under Clinton because some of these things were compounding and becoming ever more obvious,” McCollum said. “It became pretty clear during the Clinton era that they heard our stuff but they just didn’t care.”

“They didn’t want to know before the World Trade Center; they didn’t want to know after the World Trade Center,” said Bodansky. “They were just simplistic; they just didn’t want to know that the problem existed. Terrorism didn’t exist, and all the problems didn’t exist. It was just an ostrich attitude.”

Elected to the House in 1980, McCollum early on took an active interest in supporting anti-Communist movements. Based on his humanitarian work for El Salvador, in 1985 the U.S. Agency for International Development requested that he develop an aid program for Pakistan. In doing so, McCollum cultivated a network of key players in the mujahadin resistance who passed on reports of coordination among anti-Western elements in the region. In 1989, he created and chaired the terrorism task force, relinquishing that post when he was named to the House intelligence committee in 1995.

In 2000, McCollum ran for the Senate, losing to Bill Nelson (D).

While McCollum’s task force repeatedly warned that a radical Islamic revivalism threatened the West, it also unearthed other key developments in the Middle East.

McCollum himself warned intelligence officials of the rise of bin Laden’s, then a side-player and financier to the united terrorist groups.

In mid-1990, the task force warned of the growing threat of chemical weapons in the Third World, noting especially stockpiles in Libya and Iraq. Saddam Hussein would later deploy chemical attacks to quell ethnic uprisings.

In June 1991, the intelligence community was warned of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. In 1992 and 1993, the task force exposed the illegal trade in nuclear materials from former Soviet states to the Middle East.

“In the Senate race to this day,” said McCollum, “there are people who come up and say, ‘You’re the guy who was chairman of the task force on terrorism.’” Granted, they’re comparatively few, but we did have an impact.”

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: clinton; clintondidnothing; clintonlegacy; iraq; mccollum; senate; terror; terrorism; x42
More proof that Clinton did nothing about terrorism. Too bad McCollum can't win the senate seat.
1 posted on 11/29/2003 5:49:29 PM PST by pittsburgh gop guy
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To: ALOHA RONNIE; Alamo-Girl
2 posted on 11/29/2003 5:51:37 PM PST by risk
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
When I think of the Clintons I think of the movie, "The Ten Commandments." When DeMill says, "Let the name Moses be stricken from ever tablet and every oblisk in the kingdom, and never let his name be spoken again", I think of the Clintons and say to myself, "So let it be written. So let it be done!"

I can't fathom a great nation like this having the likes of them representing it.
3 posted on 11/29/2003 5:54:50 PM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
But we must never forget that they did nothing, NOTHING, to combat the spread of terrorism.
4 posted on 11/29/2003 6:04:39 PM PST by pittsburgh gop guy (now serving eastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.......)
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
“It was pretty clear during the Clinton era that they heard our reports but just didn’t care,” said former Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.).

I just can't wait to see this on all the Sunday morning shows!

I just can't wait to see this.

I just can't wait.

Never mind.

Paging...Dan Blather...Yo, skippy - over here.


5 posted on 11/29/2003 6:05:32 PM PST by LasVegasMac (Thunder was his engine and White Lightning was his load....)
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
Sometimes criticism is the best compliment:
The most comprehensive and frightening treatment of Islam as a potential enemy of the United States is found in the work of Yossef Bodansky, former technical editor of Israeli Air Force magazine. Bodansky was staff director of the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, chaired by Rep. Bill McCollum of Florida. The report of the task force [possible text?] viewed Islam as the successor to communism, aiming to "topple the Judaeo-Christian new world order." Bodansky, whom according to McCollum, was the author of this report, wrote a paperback book on the same subject after the World Trade Center bombing of February 1993. The theme of the book is suggested into the author's preface: "Islamic terrorism has embarked on a Holy War, Jihad, against the West, especially the United States, which is being waged primarily through international terrorism."
--Circles of Antognism [against Islam]: Popular Culture

6 posted on 11/29/2003 6:24:41 PM PST by risk
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
If anybody has not yet read "Losing Bin Laden," (Regnery) by Richard Miniter, DO SO. It is a great read, very clear and concise, and it shows plainly that Spot (42) was sleeping on the job and allowed Al Qaeda to terrorize Americans with impunity again, and again, and again.

From the first WTC bombing in 1993, to Blackhawk Down in Mogadishu, to a plot to murder the Pope in the Phillipines, to OBL declaring war on every U.S. citizen, to the attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, to the failed Millennium plot to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole off the coast of Yemen. Yet Spot didn't retaliate.

Clinton punted.

He repeatedly rejected Sudan's offers to hand over Bin Laden, or share a wealth of vital intel on him.

He ignored Mansoor Ijaz, one of his big political fundraisers.

He bombed an empty aspirin factory.

He lobbed a missile at OBL's training camp and then--inexplicably--had the Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman tip off the Pakistani Army's Chief of Staff that a missile was crossing Pakistan's airspace at that moment heading for Osama, who excused himself and warned OBL, who escaped with minutes to spare.

He wouldn't pull the trigger even when we knew OBL's precise whereabouts in Afghanistan, on multiple occasions.
His administration didn't have the political guts and the pair of brass ones to be committed and serious about a real threat to America.
7 posted on 11/29/2003 10:47:46 PM PST by Choose Ye This Day ("The Pinedale Shopping Center has just been bombed by live turkeys!")
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
"Too bad McCollum can't win the senate seat."

I agree, but I don't know if it's too bad. I rooted for him from afar, but he never struck me as very appealing.
8 posted on 11/29/2003 10:54:55 PM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer, identify your enemies, then expose and/or annihilate them, preferably both.)
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To: DoughtyOne
Great post!! But when you have the backing of SATAN (Clintons) It is a tough battle to win. But hear me now it will be won, And so it was written and so it will be done.
9 posted on 11/29/2003 11:15:57 PM PST by Brimack34
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
Let's not forget Clinton's appointment of numerous incompetents and unqualifieds that further guaranteed our inaction, the safety of AQ and the eventuality of 911.

Like putting leftist 20 and 30 somethings on the NSC that were completely not qualified to be in that position.

It's his fault. Period
10 posted on 11/29/2003 11:21:53 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: DoughtyOne
"Less than a month later, on Feb. 26, the World Trade Center was first bombed. "

And C could not be bothered to even visit NYC, while he would go all over the frickin planet for campaign $$$. His answer was to arrest him if we saw him and try him in NYC with all the rights of a US citizen. In other words, he absolved that SOB. To this day, I think C and Bin Laden had some sort of agreement post 911. Nothing else justifies C's behavior., IMO.

I re-read the 911 threads. 20 mins after the attack, FReepers blamed C. Before the AVALANCHE of real evidence added to the anecdotal.

I would love to see every tagline say "The Clintons were an accessory to 911, and we all know it".
11 posted on 11/29/2003 11:30:02 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: LasVegasMac
McCollum was too busy in the 90's justifying WACO and abusively handling eyewitnesses during Congressional hearings.
12 posted on 11/29/2003 11:32:09 PM PST by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: At _War_With_Liberals
You may be right but that was a Clinton/Reno folly!
13 posted on 11/30/2003 5:53:20 AM PST by gunnedah
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To: pittsburgh gop guy
14 posted on 11/30/2003 8:53:53 AM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: Brimack34
True enough. Thanks.
15 posted on 11/30/2003 8:54:53 AM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: At _War_With_Liberals
Yes, I agree.
16 posted on 11/30/2003 8:58:00 AM PST by DoughtyOne
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