Donald Lambro
Recommend this article

WASHINGTON -- Former President Clinton's angry, finger-pointing attempt to defend and revise his abysmal pre-9/11 record on terrorism is coming under increasing scrutiny.

That's because he made a number of unsubstantiated claims last week during his theatrical temper-tantrum response to Fox News reporter Chris Wallace's questions about what Clinton did, or didn't do, to combat the terrorist threat in his eight years in office.

Stung by the harshly critical ABC network dramatization (which admittedly included some fictional scenes) of what led to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States which blamed his administration for not going after Osama bin Laden when it had the chance, Clinton came to the Fox interview ready to rumble.

Perhaps no one else in modern American politics is better than Clinton at the counterattack, and he gave a boffo performance that met with rave reviews from his party's angry leftist road warriors in the blogosphere.

But it turns out the man who looked the American people straight in the eye and told them "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky" once again was playing fast and loose with the truth with his blame-shifting arguments. Here are two examples:

In the aftermath of the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, Clinton told Wallace, "I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan."

But there were no full-scale military plans in the works at that time to drive the Taliban terrorists out of their sanctuaries and training camps, as President Bush did later.

Here's what reporter Peter Baker of the Washington Post, no fan of the Bush administration, reported last week:

"The Sept. 11 commission, though, found no plans for an invasion of Afghanistan or for an operation to topple the Taliban, just more limited options such as plans for attacks with cruise missiles or Special Forces. And nothing in the panel's report indicated that a lack of basing rights in Uzbekistan prevented a military response."

One of the biggest whoppers Clinton threw at the Bush administration charged that it did not hold "a single meeting about bin Laden for the nine months after I left office."

Actually, one of the first actions Bush began as soon as he took office was to begin a full-scale review of the terrorist threat and to draw up plans for dealing with it. Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the key figures in this initiative and there were meetings at numerous levels, including the very highest level, on this very issue.

Here again, Baker shoots down Clinton's allegation:

Recommend this article

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.