- The Washington Times - Monday, April 12, 2004

Grandstanding?

Washington lawyer Frank Duggan, until last year the chairman of the National Mediation Board, offers a sharp critique of former White House counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke’s new book, “Against All Enemies.”

“This is a crock,” says Mr. Duggan, who served on the 1989 to 1990 Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism.

Mr. Clarke, who thrust himself into the spotlight with his March 24 testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by saying President Bush did not take the terrorism threat seriously, recalls in his book his role in the aftermath of the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“We met with the families. We heard their stories, and we put pictures of their fallen children on our desks,” Mr. Clarke writes of the December 1988 bombing. “The town [of Lockerbie] had opened its hearts to the families of all of the victims. Lockerbie had donated stones for a cairn, a Scottish memorial rock pile, one rock for every victim. Joined by my colleague Randy Beers, we drove to the cemetery and selected a site for the cairn.”

“He is a phony,” Mr. Duggan says. “I know something about this, and no family member ever dealt with Clarke. We dealt with Randy Beers long after the cairn was built. The NSC staffer assigned to the Pan Am families was Richard Canas.

“Clark and Beers never ‘selected the site’ — I did, and attached my site drawings to the legislation the families were proposing to erect the cairn,” Mr. Duggan tells Inside the Beltway.

The counsel adds: “The Pan Am 103 cairn in Arlington Cemetery is not a ‘rock pile,’ but a monument of 270 large stones, carefully cut so they fit together to memorialize each of the victims. He obviously never even saw a photo of the cairn, nor did he have photos of the victims’ children on his desk.”

Reached yesterday, Mr. Clarke told Inside the Beltway: “Mr. Beers and Mr. Canas worked for me, as did Mr. Timothy Atkin. They all worked with the Pan Am 103 families, as did I. I met often with the families.”

As for the memorial site, Mr. Clarke, now an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, stated: “Mr. Beers and I went personally to Arlington Cemetery to review the several alternative sites for the memorial that the Army was offering and decided that the site the [Pan Am 103] family wanted was the one we would choose.”

As pro bono representative for nearly 15 years of numerous families of the doomed Pan Am flight (he’s busy today negotiating a settlement for the families as tied to the lifting of economic sanctions against Libya), Mr. Duggan says he considers Mr. Clarke’s recollection of terrorism-related events — then and now — “self-serving, immodest and wrong.”

As for Mr. Clarke’s emotional televised “apology” March 24 to the families of September 11 victims, Mr. Duggan labels it “grandstanding.”

Web we weaved

It’s a well-known fact that the Internet was created by an untold number of Americans — yes, Al Gore among them.

The question now is whether the United States will concede majority control of the Web it weaved to an international body appointed by the United Nations.

There’s a big push in the international community to assume responsibility of the Internet, taking over tasks now handled by the U.S. Congress-established Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), based in Los Angeles.

One of ICANN’s primary roles is to oversee the Internet’s domain-name addressing system, including country codes. Now, a U.N. task force has been impaneled to propose that a world body govern the Internet.

“In managing, promoting and protecting [the Internet’s] presence in our lives, we need to be no less creative than those who invented it,” U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was quoted as saying. “Clearly, there is a need for governance, but that does not necessarily mean that it has to be done in the traditional way, for something that is so very different.”

One Internet insider with ties to Capitol Hill says it would behoove those whose livelihoods depend on the Internet to pay close attention.

“The average Internet user should be concerned with what’s happening and who is running the Internet because it ultimately impacts the way the Internet works,” says the analyst, equating the future of the Internet as ranking in importance with other election-year issues.

The International Telecommunications Union will hold preparatory meetings in Tunisia in June to discuss Internet governance.

Stella scoop

Because practically everybody in Washington knows PR mogul Stella Harrison, we thought we’d be first to announce she’s been retained by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

“I am pleased to have someone with Stella’s experience in both public relations and broadcast media joining our team,” says Duane Parde, ALEC’s executive director.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]


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