Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Clinton Let Bin Laden Slip Away and Metastasize
Clinton Let Bin Laden Slip Away and Metastasize -LA TIMES December 5, 2001 - MANSOOR IJAZ :
President Clinton and his national security team ignored several opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden and his terrorist associates, including one as late as last year. I know because I negotiated more than one of the opportunities.
From 1996 to 1998, I opened unofficial channels between Sudan and the Clinton administration. I met with officials in both countries, including Clinton, U.S. National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger and Sudan's president and intelligence chief. President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who wanted terrorism sanctions against Sudan lifted, offered the arrest and extradition of Bin Laden and detailed intelligence data about the global networks constructed by Egypt's Islamic Jihad, Iran's Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.
Among those in the networks were the two hijackers who piloted commercial airliners into the World Trade Center.
The silence of the Clinton administration in responding to these offers was deafening.As an American Muslim and a political supporter of Clinton, I feel now, as I argued with Clinton and Berger then, that their counter-terrorism policies fueled the rise of Bin Laden from an ordinary man to a Hydra-like monster.Realizing the growing problem with Bin Laden, Bashir sent key intelligence officials to the U.S. in February 1996.The Sudanese offered to arrest Bin Laden and extradite him to Saudi Arabia or, barring that, to "baby-sit" him--monitoring all his activities and associates.
But Saudi officials didn't want their home-grown terrorist back where he might plot to overthrow them.In May 1996, the Sudanese capitulated to U.S. pressure and asked Bin Laden to leave, despite their feeling that he could be monitored better in Sudan than elsewhere.Bin Laden left for Afghanistan, taking with him Ayman Zawahiri, considered by the U.S. to be the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks; Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, who traveled frequently to Germany to obtain electronic equipment for Al Qaeda; Wadih El-Hage, Bin Laden's personal secretary and roving emissary, now serving a life sentence in the U.S. for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya; and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Saif Adel, also accused of carrying out the embassy attacks.
Some of these men are now among the FBI's 22 most-wanted terrorists.The two men who allegedly piloted the planes into the twin towers, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, prayed in the same Hamburg mosque as did Salim and Mamoun Darkazanli, a Syrian trader who managed Salim's bank accounts and whose assets are frozen.Important data on each had been compiled by the Sudanese.But U.S. authorities repeatedly turned the data away, first in February 1996; then again that August, when at my suggestion Sudan's religious ideologue, Hassan Turabi, wrote directly to Clinton; then again in April 1997, when I persuaded Bashir to invite the FBI to come to Sudan and view the data; and finally in February 1998, when Sudan's intelligence chief, Gutbi al-Mahdi, wrote directly to the FBI.
Please, if you're going to attack this administration on the topic of not capturing OBL, start with the previous administration and work your way up from the seven years that first attack against the Towers in NYC took place. Morons! Hate Mail and classless comments forthcoming!
And while we're pointing fingers I'll post the following:
President Clinton led the fight against terrorism over strong opposition from Republicans in Congress and the pro-Republican Media. Here's a partial - yet incredibly long - list of accomplishments against terrorism for which the Clinton Administration gets almost no credit or even recognition. President Clinton:
-- sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 911) The legislation was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the airlines.
-- sent legislation to Congress to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF TERRORIST FUNDING. It was defeated by Republicans in the Senate because of opposition from banking interests.
-- sent legislation to Congress to add tagents to explosives, to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF EXPLOSIVES USED BY TERRORISTS. It was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the NRA.
When Republicans couldn't prevent executive action, President Clinton:
-- Developed the nation's first anti-terrorism policy, and appointed first national coordinator.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners simultaneously.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up UN Headquarters.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up FBI Headquarters.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Boston airport.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in NY.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the George Washington Bridge.
-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the US Embassy in Albania.
-- Tried to kill Osama bin Laden and disrupt Al Qaeda through preemptive strikes (efforts denounced by the G.O.P.).
-- Brought perpetrators of first World Trade Center bombing and CIA killings to justice.
-- Did not blame Bush I administration for first World Trade Center bombing even though it occurred 38 days after they had left office. Instead, worked hard, even obsessively -- and successfully -- to stop future terrorist attacks.
-- Named the Hart-Rudman commission to report on nature of terrorist threats and major steps to be taken to combat terrorism.
-- Tripled the budget of the FBI for counterterrorism and doubled overall funding for counterterrorism.
-- Detected and destroyed cells of Al Qaeda in over 20 countries
-- Created a national stockpile of drugs and vaccines including 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.
-- Robert Oakley, Reagan Counterterrorism Czar says of Clinton's efforts "Overall, I give them very high marks" and "The only major criticism I have is the obsession with Osama"
-- Paul Bremer, Bush's Administrator of Iraq disagrees slightly with Robert Oakley saying he believed the Clinton Administration had "correctly focused on bin Laden. "
-- Barton Gellman of the Washington Post put it best, "By any measure available, Clinton left office having given greater priority to terrorism than any president before him" and was the "first administration to undertake a systematic anti-terrorist effort."
Here, in stark contrast, is part of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism record before September 11, 2001:
-- Backed off Clinton administration's anti-terrorism efforts.
-- Shelved the Hart-Rudman report.
-- Appointed new anti-terrorism task force under Dick Cheney. Group did not even meet before 9/11.
-- Called for cuts in anti-terrorism efforts by the Department of Defense.
-- Gave no priority to anti-terrorism efforts by Justice Department.
-- Ignored warnings from Sandy Berger, Louis Freeh, George Tennant, Paul Bremer, and Richard Clarke about the urgency of terrorist threats.
-- Halted Predator drone tracking of Osama bin Laden.
-- Did nothing in wake of August 6 C.I.A. report to president saying Al Qaeda attack by hijack of an airliner almost certain.
Let's see...Los Alamos, USS Cole, Khobar Towers, etc...we were at War with terror all the way back to the first tower hits on his watch and the Clintonistas did nothing, nothing. Serbs were saved, maybe, but even OBL told ABC he could care less about those Muslims. It's not news to me you want to defend Clinton. But in the wake of 9/11 in a speech at Georgetown University while we were still counting our dead, Clinton chided US citizens who were descended "from various European lineages" that they were "not blameless," and that America’s past involvement in slavery should humble them as they confronted their attackers. Nice try...you lose!
If you ever see a copy of the book by Buzz Patterson "Dereliction of Duty" buy it:
Buzz was the guy carrying the nuclear football, always at Clinton's side. He describes one Clinton visit to a Virginia golf tournament. Sandy "stuff your socks" Berger tried to get him on the phone for 15 minutes to get authority to strike bin Laden. Clinton waved off the call. When he finally did get around to it, it was too late.
Seriously, this is a very thorough article that discusses both the valid attempts and the failures of the clinton administration with relationship to Bin-Laden.
"In August 1998, President Clinton ordered missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan in an effort to hit Osama bin Laden, who had been linked to the embassy bombings in Africa (and was later connected to the attack on the USS Cole). The missiles reportedly missed bin Laden by a few hours, and Clinton was widely criticized by many who claimed he had ordered the strikes primarily to draw attention away from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. '
Ijaz goes on and on about how Clinton was "offered" bin Laden. At the time Ijaz had a lot of money invested in oil in Sudan. Ijaz basically lied to the the Clinton administration and claimed he could turn over bin Laden. Half the administration laughed at him because he knew he was full of shit. In reality, he just didn't want Clinton to bomb Sudan (as he did after the African embassy attacks) because it would hurt his pocketbook.
That is a pretty impressive list from the Clinton years. Do you have any links to substantiate it (other than the Washington Post one you put in the previous post)? I'm not trying to be ugly about it, just genuinely curious. I've only heard a few of those things you cited. And given Clinton's penchant for fluffing up his legacy, I'm surprised we're not hearing much more about that list.
Here are some links:
what my post was based on: http://www.mikehersh.com/Clinton_vs_Terror_Republicans_vs_Clinton.shtml
The Clinton Plan passed on to Bush - http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/001120
How Republican Lawmakers sabotaged anti-terror efforts -
Do some research on the hearing that were held in the senate today (that link is to a personal diary so take it with a grain of salt) regarding Able Danger and intelligence on the 9/11 terrorists prior to 9/11. I'm not one to go for conspiracy theories but this is a little creepy, especially after the DoD called a halt the hearings in an unprecedented obstruction to the investigation.
Specifically it came out that they had Mohammad Atta dead to rights but were told to ignore him. They even went as far as to put post it's over his picture. It's bizarre but worth a read.
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