- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Clarke vs. Clarke

Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism official promoting a book critical of the Bush administration, insists Saddam Hussein had no connection to al Qaeda. But in 1999, he defended President Clinton’s attack on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant by revealing that the United States was “sure” it manufactured chemical-warfare materials produced by Iraqi experts in cooperation with Osama bin Laden, WorldNetDaily.com reports.

Mr. Clarke told The Washington Post in a Jan. 23, 1999, story that U.S. intelligence officials had obtained a soil sample from the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, which was hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles in retaliation for bin Laden’s role in the Aug. 7, 1998, embassy bombings in Africa.

The sample contained a precursor of VX nerve gas, which when mixed with bleach and water, would have become fully active VX nerve gas, Mr. Clarke said.

Mr. Clarke told the newspaper that the United States did not know how much of the substance was produced at El Shifa or what happened to it.

“But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa’s current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve-gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan,” the newspaper reported.

Heroic imagination

“Some might suggest that [Richard Clarke’s] book is a distorted, false, sour-grapes account from a demoted government official who wants to settle scores …” New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

“But that’s because they simply don’t comprehend the power and the glory that is Dick Clarke,” Mr. Podhoretz said.

“He is the man who took charge of America on 9/11 by ‘putting together a secure teleconference to manage the crisis,’ he writes on page 2.

“A secure teleconference! Wow!

“If you knew anything about Washington, you would surely think that a staffer on the National Security Council — traditionally a role without a great deal of authority — wouldn’t be a major decision-maker during the day of and the days following the attack on this country.

“That’s because You Don’t Know Dick Clarke.

“Clarke says he all but ordered the president of the United States not to return to Washington on that day. …

“By his own account, it was Clarke who gave the order to ‘authorize the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft … that looks like it is threatening to attack.’

“You thought it was Dick Cheney who gave that order? You were wrong.

“Oh, and Clarke took command of the Air Force, too. (‘Roger, find out where the fighter planes are. I want Combat Air Patrol over every major city in this county. Now.’)”

Kerry ‘misspeaks’

“CBS and ABC on Monday night ran full stories on how the FBI trailed antiwar activist John Kerry in the early 1970s, but only ABC’s Dan Harris pointed out what CBS’s Byron Pitts missed, how the FBI ‘documents do show that some of Kerry’s recent statements about his antiwar activism are inaccurate,’” the Media Research Center reports.

“Both March 22 stories were prompted by an article in that day’s Los Angeles Times about the FBI documents obtained a few years ago by a book author,” Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Harris explained on ‘World News Tonight’: ‘While the FBI ultimately concluded that Kerry had no link to any violent activity, these documents do show that some of Kerry’s recent statements about his antiwar activism are inaccurate. Two weeks ago, Kerry was asked about Al Hubbard, an activist with whom he had appeared on national TV in April 1971. Shortly after that appearance, Hubbard was exposed for having lied about his service record.’

“Kerry in his Senate hallway press conference a couple of weeks ago: ‘I haven’t talked to Al Hubbard since that week.’

“Harris: ‘But the documents show that Kerry was with Hubbard at many subsequent meetings. Also, Kerry has repeatedly denied being at a November 1971 meeting where this man [photo of man with long hair], Scott Camil , proposed a plan to assassinate members of Congress who supported the war. That plan was quickly voted down. The FBI documents show Kerry was, in fact, at that meeting. A Kerry spokesman said today that these events happened 30 years ago and the senator simply misspoke.’”

Whitewater ends

The Independent Counsel’s Office for the Whitewater matter officially ended operations yesterday, United Press International reports.

The office was established in 1994, and occupied mostly by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Mr. Starr started out investigating purported financial improprieties at the Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan in Little Rock, Ark., and ended up recommending the impeachment of President Clinton for lying in a sworn deposition about an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate, and Congress allowed the Independent Counsel Act to expire.

Mr. Starr’s last successor, Julie F. Thomas, said in a statement yesterday, “The Office of the Independent Counsel … terminated all operations today pursuant to [federal law] and the [three-judge] Special Division’s Order of Nov. 4, 2003.”

The office completed its last open investigation on Jan. 19, 2001, when Mr. Clinton agreed to a law-license suspension to end his legal vulnerability.”

‘Marriage’ adviser

Former National Organization for Women (NOW) head Patricia Ireland is now advising two groups fighting against a constitutional ban on homosexual marriage.

DontAmend.com and the Equality Campaign announced Monday that Mrs. Ireland, who served longer than any other woman as head of NOW, was joining their effort as a senior adviser. Calling Mrs. Ireland a “terrific addition” to their efforts, DontAmend.com co-founder John Aravosis called Mrs. Ireland “a politically knowledgeable hard-hitter who’s going to make a world of difference on this issue,” United Press International reports.

“Equal marriage rights will be one of the most explosive issues of the 2004 elections,” said Mrs. Ireland, most recently the manager of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun’s failed presidential bid. “This is also an incredible opportunity to make a quantum leap forward, and for me, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.”

Hillary’s plea

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, yesterday launched a fund-raising appeal for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

“You and I share a strong interest to put John Kerry in the White House,” the former first lady said in a prepared statement.

“By contributing to this great cause, you can make sure that John Kerry’s message of hope, promise and opportunity isn’t drowned out in a sea of Republican attacks,” she said.

She said nearly 75,000 donors from across the United States had contributed almost $7 million to Mr. Kerry’s election bid in the past five days, Agence France-Presse reports.

Her appeal yesterday was part of a 10-day fund-raising marathon launched by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]m.

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