Dems need more than blustery bill to earn national security voters

Lorie Byrd
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Posted: Sep 29, 2006 12:01 AM
Dems need more than blustery bill to earn national security voters

Prompted by Condoleeza Rice’s reponse to Bill Clinton’s theatrical production on Fox News Sunday over the weekend, Hillary Clinton came out Tuesday in defense of her husband’s record on terrorism in an effort to establish Democrats’ credibility on the issue. She is going to have to come up with something more persuasive if she wants to convince voters that Democrats can be trusted with national security.

“I think my husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take these attacks,” Clinton said. “All you have to do is to read the 9-11 Commission (report) to know what he and his administration did to protect Americans and prevent terrorist attacks against our country… I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S.’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team.”

When I saw a clip of Hillary Clinton making that statement I found myself talking to the television. I told Hillary (well, her television image anyway) that her hubby didn’t need a classified report to tell him that bin Laden was determined to attack inside the U.S. He already knew it because we had already been attacked by al Qaeda on U.S. soil -- at the World Trade Center in 1993.

Bob Owens responded similarly to Hillary Clinton’s statement, but with specifics I’d never heard. Owens described the 1993 World Trade Center attack as the “first-and-to-date only WMD attack in America by al Qaeda and Iraq-affiliated terrorists.”

“Ramzi Yousef, a Kuwaiti-born al Qaeda terrorist using an Iraqi passport, concocted a plan to detonate a large ammonium nitrate bomb in the basement-level parking decks of WTC 1. The primary intent was to have the foundation of Tower 1 compromised, toppling it into WTC 2, bringing both buildings down and killing as many as possible of the 50,000 people who worked there… Yousef was assisted by Iraqi bomb maker Abdul Rahman Yasin…who retreated to Iraq after the attack and lived under Saddam Hussein's protection and with his financial support until the 2003 invasion.”

What Owens detailed, which has not been widely reported, is that Yasin's bomb included a chemical component, cyanide, which was intended to form a poisonous cloud after detonation to travel through the ventilation system in the tower. Although several people were killed in the 1993 attack, the plan failed in its goal to topple the towers and carry out a poisonous chemical attack.

Owens states the fact that Hillary Clinton’s husband hoped to disguise with bluster: “Bill Clinton was President of the United States when lower Manhattan was the victim of an al Qaeda plot executed by an Iraqi bomb-builder who detonated a chemical/conventional weapon under tens of thousands of Americans. President Clinton later knew what the bomb was composed of, knew how it was intended to be used, and what threat al Qaeda posed…Bill Clinton was President for another 7 years, 10 months, 25 days after this attack.”

We know what Bill Clinton did, and didn’t do, to combat terrorism after that attack. As for what a President Hillary or a Democrat-controlled congress would do to fight terrorism, what they refuse to do today, even after 9/11, tells me all I need to know about what they would do if they were in control.

In August a massive terrorist plot was thwarted in the UK in part thanks to information obtained through the use of “sneak and peek” warrants and from U.S. intelligence which provided London authorities with intercepts of the terrorist group's communications.

Although the Democrats’ rhetoric in opposing the NSA surveillance program and the Patriot Act temporarily lessened when it was learned how the UK plot was thwarted, they have consistently opposed those and other tools needed to effectively combat terrorism. Less than a year ago Minority Leader Harry Reid even boasted that "'We killed the Patriot Act.”

Another position which calls into question the Democrats’ judgment on matters of national security is the call by many to abandon the effort in Iraq before the mission has been completed. Many Democrats rushed to embrace the NIE report declassified this week, but chose to ignore passages of the report which indicate that a withdrawal at this time would have a negative effect on the war on terror.

If Democrats want to convince voters they can be trusted with national security they will need to come up with more than a blustery Bill Clinton.