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CBS & NBC Hyped How Clinton Gave Bush Anti al-Qaeda Plan (Pure Propaganda!)
Media Research Center ^ | August 6, 2002

Posted on 08/06/2002 3:06:06 PM PDT by Republican_Strategist

CBS and NBC on Monday night jumped on a Time magazine cover story about how the outgoing Clinton administration provided a plan to fight al-Qaeda which the Bush team failed to implement until after the 9-11 attacks. “The battle over history,” Dan Rather teased at the top of the August 5 CBS Evening News before declaring: “Veterans of the Clinton administration say the Bush team didn't take their al-Qaeda warnings and plans seriously enough.”

Rather set up the story by referring to how “controversy is swirling over what did or did not happen concerning terrorism in the early months” of the Bush presidency. Rather ominously intoned: “The controversy centers around serious questions raised by a counter-terrorism expert who worked for Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton.”

Over on the NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Stone Phillips led with the Time-relayed Clinton spin but at least added how the Bush side denies the storyline: "There is a new published report tonight that the outgoing Clinton administration gave the Bush White House a ready-made plan for attacking al-Qaeda that was ignored. Not true, says the Bush camp.”

On both networks the subsequent stories, by Bill Plante on CBS and Andrea Mitchell on NBC, conveyed the Bush team’s denials that they fell down on the job, insistence that the Clinton policy was less a plan than a set of ideas and how the Clinton people never implemented an anti-al Qaeda policy while in office. NBC’s Mitchell, for instance, noted that Bush officials pointed out “that the Clinton White House did nothing for more than two years until it ran out of time and left office.” But that was all in stories which had Bush team fecklessness as their theme.

In contrast, FNC emphasized the lack of a concrete plan or action by the Clinton administration. Jim Angle, anchor of Special Report with Brit Hume, introduced a story by Major Garrett, who was fresh from CNN: “There’s a major new episode in the Washington blame game. A report in Time magazine charges that the Clinton White House presented the incoming Bush administration with a plan for defeating al Qaeda, but that it took the new President and his aides eight months to move on it. But an official deeply involved in counter-terrorism planning during the Clinton years says that is false, that there was no such plan and there was rather a set of proposals the Clinton administration had been studying for two years but had not acted on.”

(Monday morning, of the three broadcast network morning shows, only CBS’s The Early Show devoted an interview segment to the Time story. Jane Clayson interviewed Time reporter Massimo Calabressi and displayed more skepticism than Rather would later in the day toward the Clinton spin. One of her questions: “So if this plan was so extensive and so important to the Clinton administration why didn't they follow through on it themselves?”)

After a piece on Bush having a meeting to look at Iraq options, Dan Rather set up the CBS Evening News story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "The President came to the White House meeting after campaigning for Republicans in Pennsylvania. He is heading for a vacation in Texas. As he does so, controversy is swirling over what did or did not happen concerning terrorism in the early months of his presidency. The controversy centers around serious questions raised by a counter-terrorism expert who worked for Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton. CBS's Bill Plante reports on this from the White House."

Plante explained: "White House officials are fighting back against charges that they dropped the ball after taking office by ignoring Clinton administration plans to roll back the al-Qaeda terrorist network. At issue, a Time Magazine report that Richard Clarke, head of counter-terrorism in the Clinton White House, had a plan for military action against al-Qaeda, which the new Bush administration did not treat as a top priority, but instead buried in the bureaucracy for eight months. The Bush White House says there was no plan, just a series of ideas which had not been implemented by the Clinton administration." Sean McCormack, National Security Council spokesperson: "During the transition, the Clinton administration did not present a comprehensive new plan to topple al-Qaeda." Plante: "A senior administration official involved in counter-terrorism planning says that four days after Mr. Bush's inauguration, his national security advisor asked for a review of counter-terrorism policy, including al-Qaeda. In March, President Bush asked for a comprehensive plan to take down al-Qaeda. The White House claims that was a major turning point in U.S. policy -- eliminating al-Qaeda, not simply rolling it back. On September 4th, senior officials signed off on the plan. On September 10th, it was sitting on the national security advisor's desk. Daniel Benjamin, a former counter-terrorism official in the Clinton administration, argues there was indeed a plan to pursue al-Qaeda but that Bush officials weren't much interested." Daniel Benjamin, former White House Counter-terrorism Official: "A number of initiatives that were under way either lost speed or were side-tracked, and valuable time was lost." Plante: "Benjamin, the author of a book on the rise of religious terrorism, charges the Bush administration failed to understand the new terrorist threat of mass casualties." Benjamin: "And when the Clinton administration officials told the incoming officials this, they met with some, shall we say, skepticism." Plante concluded: "The big question in all this back-and-forth blame game, could 9/11 have been prevented? In the end, both sides agree, probably not. But even the suggestion makes the Bush White House hypersensitive. Dan."

Maybe they are “hypersensitive” because of how enthusiastic the networks are to highlight Clinton team spinning which blames the Bush team for anti-terrorist failures.

Over on the August 5 NBC Nightly News, anchor Stone Phillips asserted: "There is a new published report tonight that the outgoing Clinton administration gave the Bush White House a ready-made plan for attacking al-Qaeda that was ignored. Not true, says the Bush camp. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell with more now on the escalating blame game in the war on terror."

Mitchell began with the Bush denial: "The Bush White House today strongly denies it delayed a Clinton administration plan to attack Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda until it was too late to prevent the September 11th attack because it resented the Clinton team. Today the President again gave himself high marks for combating al-Qaeda." George W. Bush: "Now, we're making good progress in the war against terror. We've hauled in over a couple of thousand of them." Mitchell outlined the Clinton spin relayed by Time: "But in its cover story, Time Magazine repeats allegations first reported by the Washington Post last January that when George Bush took over from Bill Clinton, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice refused to accept her predecessor's anti-terrorist strategy because she considered the Clinton officials quote, 'feckless and naive.' The Clinton options including increasing covert aid to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, enlisting support from Uzbekistan, lifting sanctions against Pakistan, dramatically increasing the intelligence budget. President Bush's advisors did not sign off on similar options until last September 4th. Rice gave them to the President on September 10th, one day before the attacks. Mitchell then countered with the Bush spin: “But tonight a senior Bush official says there was no Clinton plan to attack al-Qaeda, only options developed after the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, and that the Clinton White House did nothing for more than two years until it ran out of time and left office. As the two administrations traded charges tonight, a leading Republican Senator suggested it doesn't help anyone." Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA): "I don't know that it's useful to turn back the clock and blame anybody, but if so, it wouldn't be the Bush administration. It would be the Clinton administration." Mitchell concluded: "Tonight even a Bush official says there were no easy choices for the Clinton team, and none of the strategies would have prevented September 11th.”

Time headlined its story by Michael Elliott: “Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?” The subhead: “Long before the tragic events of September 11th, the White House debated taking the fight to al-Qaeda. It didn't happen and soon it was too late. The saga of a lost chance.”

Online, a headline announced, referring to what Clinton operatives say they left for the Bush team: “They Had a Plan.”

Elliott stressed how the delay caused by the Bush team’s policy review “came at a cost.” Elliott wrote in the August 12 issue: “The winter proposals became a victim of the transition process, turf wars and time spent on the pet policies of new top officials. The Bush Administration chose to institute its own 'policy review process’ on the terrorist threat. [Richard] Clarke told Time that the review moved 'as fast as could be expected.’ And Administration officials insist that by the time the review was endorsed by the Bush principals on Sept. 4, it was more aggressive than anything contemplated the previous winter. The final plan, they say, was designed not to 'roll back’ al-Qaeda but to 'eliminate’ it. But that delay came at a cost. The Northern Alliance was desperate for help but got little of it. And in a bureaucratic squabble that would be farfetched on The West Wing, nobody in Washington could decide whether a Predator drone -- an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the best possible source of real intelligence on what was happening in the terror camps -- should be sent to fly over Afghanistan. So the Predator sat idle from October 2000 until after Sept. 11. No single person was responsible for all this. But 'Washington’ -- that organic compound of officials and politicians, in uniform and out, with faces both familiar and unknown-failed horribly.” “Could al-Qaeda's plot have been foiled if the U.S. had taken the fight to the terrorists in January 2001? Perhaps not. The thrust of the winter plan was to attack al-Qaeda outside the U.S. Yet by the beginning of that year, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, two Arabs who had been leaders of a terrorist cell in Hamburg, Germany, were already living in Florida, honing their skills in flight schools. Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar had been doing the same in Southern California. The hijackers maintained tight security, generally avoided cell phones, rented apartments under false names and used cash-not wire transfers-wherever possible. If every plan to attack al-Qaeda had been executed, and every lead explored, Atta's team might still never have been caught. “But there's another possibility. An aggressive campaign to degrade the terrorist network worldwide -- to shut down the conveyor belt of recruits coming out of the Afghan camps, to attack the financial and logistical support on which the hijackers depended -- just might have rendered it incapable of carrying out the Sept. 11 attacks. Perhaps some of those who had to approve the operation might have been killed, or the money trail to Florida disrupted. We will never know, because we never tried. This is the secret history of that failure.”

For Time’s lengthy cover story:

"If Bill Clinton really had a plan to nail Al Qaeda, would Time Magazine be the first to say it? Bill Clinton would have called a press conference on September 12th, and that would have been the news." -Rush Limbaugh

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: clintonlegacy; liberalmedia; propaganda
The Liberal Media really has some galls. Dan Blather is jumping all over this one. If the Clinton toadies weren’t too busy having orgasms over the Time Magazine article, then perhaps they would have caught the news that Clarke has already refuted the notion that his 10 minute or so power point presentation was really an elaborate plan that Bubba developed while Monica was under his desk giving him a blow job.

To see the Associated Press story about Clinton refusing to green light an operation after Bin Laden had been located and Sandy Berger admitted it was one of many times, go Clinton rejected military strike on bin Laden

Only did enough digging to report that Time Magazine left out Clinton refusing to take out Bin Laden right before he left office. Time Forgot: Clinton Personally Nixed Plans to Get Bin Laden

Al Qaeda Threat Acted on ASAP (Foxnews Knocks Another Liberal Media Myth Out of the Park!)

And PLEASE visit Clinton's Bin Laden-gate
1 posted on 08/06/2002 3:06:06 PM PDT by Republican_Strategist
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To: Republican_Strategist
LOL - If it was such a great plan, why didn't they implement it themselves? It would have been a good one for the legacy. And isn't this the same Clinton Administration that would not talk after Florida, nor release the transition funds?
2 posted on 08/06/2002 3:41:01 PM PDT by Ingtar
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To: Ingtar
NBC? CBS? What are these things?
3 posted on 08/06/2002 3:42:10 PM PDT by Petronski
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To: Ingtar
Are you surprised that none of these ACE reporters have mentioned the ugly delay in the transition, because Clinton would not authorize the funds or the facility, and Vice-President Cheney had to rent premises in Virginia, and ask for donations to operate it.
4 posted on 08/06/2002 5:10:00 PM PDT by maica
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To: Ingtar
Why would they develop a plan that they knew they wouldn't be able to implement due to time constraints.
5 posted on 08/06/2002 7:09:50 PM PDT by marajade
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To: Republican_Strategist
The latter days of the impeached *Crinton administration consisted of pardons for money, filling the moving van with stolen booty, defacing walls, destroying keyboards, erasing hard drives, cutting phone lines, and holding back transition funds for the incoming administration.

They hardly had time for anything else...

6 posted on 08/06/2002 8:08:45 PM PDT by Libloather
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To: Republican_Strategist
“Veterans of the Clinton administration say the Bush team didn't take their al-Qaeda warnings and plans seriously enough.”

apparently, neither did clinton.

7 posted on 08/06/2002 8:39:51 PM PDT by mlocher
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To: Ingtar
From Rush's site

I told you that this Time magazine story - or more accurately, the transcript of the latest Clinton-Gore legacy revisionist strategy printed in the guise of a news story - would be the focus of every news outlet for the next few days. I was right. I've linked to my refutations of Monday at the bottom of this page, and also given you what I've added, because some things have come out since then. Condi Rice, for example, is denying receiving this imaginary report from the Clintons.The transition period is the focus of the article. But didn't Clinton refuse to help Bush during that transition? He did. Didn't Cheney have to set up his own offices because Clinton wouldn't give him the budget? Yup. So you tell me how in hell it can be that the Clinton administration passed all this on when they wouldn't even participate in the transition? To further illustrate my point, we rolled audio of the man who took the dictation for this piece (he's listed as the "author," but clearly this was just taking dictation), Massimo Calabresi in Stop The Tape! Dictation Taker.

Why doesn't Time go back to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center? Clinton didn't even bother to visit the site! Why don't they go back to all the columns Dick Morris has written about how little Clinton cared about terrorism, having only two meetings in eight years with his CIA chief? Why doesn't Time go back and look at what Osama bin Laden said he learned from the Somali nation-building episode initiated by Clinton. After all, the disgraced president has raised the specter of Black Hawk Down.

There's a great editorial in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about that dreadfully botched act in Mogadishu. Eighteen Rangers and special forces soldiers were killed and something like 73 wounded. They wanted to stay and finish the job, and Clinton cut tail and dodged the war. Whatever Clinton did or didn't do about Al-Qaeda, you might be able to make a case that he sent a signal that we were weak. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that it was Islamic terrorists who did this. They're the ones responsible, not the previous administration for any signals they sent.

John Podhoretz asks a few good questions in Tuesday's New York Post that prove how uninterested the Clinton administration was by their own admission. They say all of this was on PowerPoint slide #14 - well why isn't it on #1? Good question. And why did some low-level plebe meet with Dr. Rice, instead of someone at the very top? And let's not forget: Bill Clinton rejected three separate offers by the Sudanese government to turn over Osama bin Laden. He didn't do anything in response to the USS Cole, the Saudi barracks or our two African embassies.

When he finally acted, it was against an innocent aspirin factory - and it was only done to distract from Monica Lewinsky. We covered an entire Boston Globe piece titled, "Clinton Aides Regret Letting bin Laden Off," from September 20th, 2001 that quotes Clinton as saying he would kick the terrorists hard - and then talks about how miserably he failed to live up to his rhetoric. The bottom line on this Time story is still obvious: as the Democrats are struggling for an issue to invent, do you think they'd have sat on a genuine issue if it were true? It just doesn't have one trace of credibility to it - zilch, zero, nada.

8 posted on 08/06/2002 9:23:46 PM PDT by Bommer
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To: Republican_Strategist
Note again, the infamous picture of the binoculars with the lens caps on.
9 posted on 08/06/2002 9:58:39 PM PDT by DuncanWaring
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To: Bommer; Republican_Strategist
1. Why isn't there a class action lawsuit going against Clinton for gross criminal incompetence (at the least) during his term in office re: his refusal to be interested in removing Bin Laden and Al Quaida as threats and for the massive efforts to prevent the Bush adminisration from having all the facts re: the dangers to this country posed by these terrorists rather than some idea on slide 14 of a powerpoint presentation presented to the Bush team not by the Sec of Defense or the SEc of State or the National Security team by Clinton - (that is a joke in and of itself - there WAS NO NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM - IT WAS A CLINTON SECURITY TEAM)?

2. Why is Time Magazine not being sued for slander by an assortment of people? 3. Why did Clinton do this: Put at risk our nation by his nonaction against Ben Laden led terrorists who struck American interests over and over and over again during those eight years?

Ah - get number 3 answered - and we have not just a lawsuit but an arrest ready to happen.

10 posted on 08/07/2002 4:12:52 AM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt
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To: Republican_Strategist
More material for Ann Coulter's paperback edition of Slander. Evidence of liberal bias in the media keeps accumulating every day.
11 posted on 08/07/2002 4:20:59 AM PDT by goldstategop
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To: Bommer
All of Clinton's historic-revisionism requires all of us to review the textbooks being selected by our states.

Reject any book that gives credence to the lies of Friends Of Bill.

12 posted on 08/07/2002 5:28:33 PM PDT by weegee
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To: All
I have been trying to find the interview with Berger or somebody from teh Clinton administration that said Clinton never even bothered to have meetings about terrorism. Does anybody know where this is?
13 posted on 08/07/2002 5:29:38 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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