Skip to comments.Montreal man linked to Clark controversy - Presidential candidate claims pressure
Posted on 09/18/2003 12:25:15 PM PDT by areafiftyone
WASHINGTONA Montreal man has emerged as the key figure in a controversy that has dogged Democratic presidential aspirant Wesley Clark during the summer months.
Questions have swirled since June when the former NATO commander alleged on national television that he was pressured to link the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in a mystery phone call he received.
Clark first implied the call, not long after the attacks, might have come from White House, then later said it came from a Middle Eastern think tank in Canada. He has never identified the caller.
As Clark kicked off his campaign yesterday in Little Rock, Ark., Thomas Hecht, founder of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, told the Star he placed the call to Clark and drew his attention to a potential link between Saddam and the Al Qaeda suicide hijackers.
But Hecht said he did not pressure the former army general, who became a CNN commentator after retiring from the military, to make the link and said the matter was raised in a phone call inviting Clark to come to Montreal for a speech.
Clark's original claim and its subsequent variations had drawn much press and Internet attention in the United States as it became increasingly clear he was set to become the 10th candidate for the Democratic nomination.
Clark told the widely watched NBC show Meet the Press June 15 that the pressure to make the link "came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over.
"I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, `You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.'"
Clark, in the interview, said he asked for evidence of the link and received none and still hasn't seen any evidence.
As he prepared for his presidential bid, Clark backed away from his comment, denying he was drawing a link to the White House, telling Fox News in July: "I personally got a call from a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank who gets inside intelligence information. He called me on 9/11."
Later in July, in another television interview, he said: The call came from "a man from a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium. He's very well connected to Israeli intelligence and he follows Middle Eastern events very closely."
Hecht said his sister, who lives in Brussels, knows Clark socially.
One columnist, George Will of the Washington Post, took Clark to task because, he said, there was no Middle East think tank in Canada.
The Begin-Sadat Centre has its headquarters in Israel and its only office elsewhere is the one Hecht established in Montreal. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is on its board, but strictly in a ceremonial role, Hecht said.
Hecht said he called Clark either Sept. 12 or Sept. 13 not the morning of the attacks, as the former general said but he merely passed on information he had received from Israel which drew a purported link.
Hecht said Clark called him in Montreal Sept. 7 this year to clarify the conversation the two men had, perhaps in anticipation of the question being raised again as part of his campaign.
"I told him the Begin-Sadat Centre is a center for strategic studies in Israel and has made various studies on the Iraqi threat to the state of Israel and therefore we have carried out analyses of what connection there could be between Saddam Hussein and other militant Islamic groups," Hecht said.
"I don't know why I would be confused with the White House. I don't even have white paint on my house," he added. "I saw those comments he made and I just chuckled."
The Clark campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Howie's friends in the media begin to to pick Wes apart...hehehehe!
Which is exactly what this article confirms.
This article seems to confirm what I've been saying all along. In addition, I've provided you with the transcript from MSNBC's web site regarding Clark's exact words to Tim Russert.
You can try to spin it any way you wish, but Clark has lied repeatedly about this matter.
Lemme ask you somethin'.
If YOU had this conversation on 9 / 11, wouldn't you remember what day it was?
No, Clark first SAID the call came from the White House - there was no "implied" involved.
Typical revisionists already at work.
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