"Counterterrorism czar" Richard Clarke spent nearly 30 years in government service, including eight years in that capacity during the Clinton administration and briefly retained by the current Bush administration.
Now comes Clarke's book, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," in which he accuses the Bush administration of ignoring the terror threat, yet claims that President Clinton gave terrorism the highest priority.
But during Bill Clinton's administration, when Clarke served during the entire time as "counterterrorism czar," Clinton failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Indeed, on Clinton's watch, numerous extremist Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks occurred: 1993 attack on the World Trade Center; attempted assassination of President George H.W. Bush while visiting Kuwait in 1993; bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, as well as the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
Whatever failures for terrorism attributed to the pre-9/11 Bush administration, the president deserves credit for changing the approach of bin Laden from that of law enforcement to that of a military response, a response worthy of an act of war.
But the Clinton-bashers immediately hoisted Richard Clarke on their shoulders making him this year's Anita Hill. Turn on the TV set, anyone watching any of the general news/cable TV news programs would be hard-pressed not to find Richard Clarke stating his case.
Contrast Clarke's rave television reception to the virtual silence experienced by former FBI agent Gary Aldrich. Aldrich, in 1998, wrote "Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House," in which he criticized Bill Clinton for his inattention to national security. Aldrich, like Clarke, spent 30 years with government. I recently interviewed Aldrich, and we discussed Clarke's accusations, the media's reaction to his book, and the virtual shutout Aldrich experienced when he attempted to promote his book.
Elder: . . . Who in the White House referred to your book as a "book of lies"?
Aldrich: Well, Hillary Clinton . . . said that it was a "pack of lies," political fabrication that could not be believed . . . and Bill Clinton said he had no idea who I was or what I was saying, but it couldn't be true. Then George Stephanopoulous was the lead character who . . . came on ABC News and declared to the nation that I was a pathological liar. . . .
Elder: You write in your book that Clinton expressed an almost indifference toward national security. . . .