Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"How Clinton and Gore Turned a Blind Eye to Terrorism", Part 4 of 4

Executive Summary

Book: "Let Freedom Ring"
Chapter: "Civilization in the Balance"
Section: "How Clinton and Gore Turned a Blind Eye to Terrorism"

Accusation 1: Liberals resisted investigating the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 because they knew it would expose dereliction of duty on the part of Clinton and Gore.

Here's an excerpt:

"[L]iberal Democrats...showed little interest in an investigation of the roots of this massive intelligence failure. (It was only after they smelled political advantage that they began to jump on the bandwagon.)...What might [Democrats]... fear that the American people might learn?...Maybe this: that the Clinton-Gore administration - starting with the president and the vice president themselves - had turned a blind eye to the growing threat posed to Americans by global terrorist networks. And it cost us. Big time." ("Let Freedom Ring" page 13-14)

Reality: A quick check of the New York Times uncovered an article which showed that rather than Democrats, it was the Republicans who initially resisted an investigation.

Accusation 2: A New York Times article details Clinton's failings in dealing with terrorism.

Reality: This is true. But it also detailed his successes and efforts to combat the growing terror threat. Whether Clinton did enough or not can be debated, but saying that he turned a blind eye to terrorism when they had done such things as authorize the killing of bin Laden and other al-Qaeda chiefs is inaccurate. The article also goes on to detail the Bush administration's failings, as well, saying at one point that "until Sept. 11, the people at the top levels of the Bush administration may, if anything, have been less preoccupied by terrorism than the Clinton aides."

Hannity cherry-picked the article for quotes that supported his pre-ordained conclusion.

Accusation 3: Dick Morris says Clinton didn't make terrorism a priority.

Reality: Dick Morris is described by Hannity as "[s]mart, clever, and now a Fox News consultant." Other people aren't so charitable.

Joe Conason of Salon and The New York Observer calls Morris "the political consultant and commentator who has ceaselessly prostituted himself to Fox News and other right-wing outlets for several years now."

Slate editor Jacob Weisberg refers to Morris as a "'trained seal'--a glib source who can be counted on to deliver an apposite quote to substantiate the thesis of any story."

More to the point, Weisberg goes on to say that "Morris' views are almost always totally worthless, because he obviously will say anything, to anybody."

Morris' lack of credibility is made worse by the fact that it was only after 9/11 that he started claiming to have warned Clinton about terrorism during his time at the White House (pretty much setting himself up as the lone voice of reason). Before 9/11, it was something he scarcely mentioned.

Hannity insinuates that Morris is one of several past Clinton advisors to have come forward with criticisms of how terrorism was handled. If that is truly the case, he should have quoted someone else.


The whole idea that liberals and Democrats resisted a 9/11 investigation is shown to be the opposite of what happened. The attempt to prove that Clinton turned a blind eye to terror falls flat, too, because there are examples given in the very sources Hannity cites that describe his and Gore's efforts to fight terrorism.

Hannity's assertions are false.