She gave an interview to the NYPost editorial staff. First the news story written about her interview and then the editiorial. She debunks two of his lies; no comprehensive plan was turned over to the new administration and Richard Clarke was not fired. Clinton is a piece of work. It's worth pointing out that Clinton has given plenty of interviews with the media on his global initiative and after all the publicity of his efforts to kill the ABC movie Chris Wallace was the only talking head to ask him about the war or terrorism. All else was typical puffball questions.
September 25, 2006 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making "flatly false" claims that the Bush administration didn't lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks.
Rice hammered Clinton, who leveled his charges in a contentious weekend interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel, for his claims that the Bush administration "did not try" to kill Osama bin Laden in the eight months they controlled the White House before the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.
The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clinton's claim that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.
"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice responded during the hourlong session.
Her strong rebuttal was the Bush administration's first response to Clinton's headline-grabbing interview on Fox on Sunday in which he launched into an over-the-top defense of his handling of terrorism - wagging his finger in the air, leaning forward in his chair and getting red-faced, and even attacking Wallace for improper questioning.
The "Fox News Sunday" show had its best ratings since the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, according to Nielsen Media Research. Two versions of the interview were the two most-watched clips on YouTube yesterday, totaling more than 800,000 views.
After Clinton got angry during the questioning, Wallace said Clinton aide Jay Carson tried to get his producer to stop the interview. Carson said he was concerned that time was running out and that little of the philanthropy efforts of the former president had been addressed.
At The Post, Rice also touched on hot spots around the globe:
* On Iran: "There isn't a particularly good, direct way to neutralize the Iranian threat."
* On Iraq: "You're never going to have a just Sunni-Shia reconciliation if you don't have a political system in which the interests of all can be represented - and that's what Iraq represents."
* On Pakistan: "The future of Pakistan, as [President Pervez] Musharraf and his people fully understand, is to de-radicalize elements of the population."
* On the Middle East conflict: "It would help to have a moderate force in the Palestinian territories and to have the beginnings of rapprochement with Israel and the rest of its neighbors."
* On the Far East: "I would like to see an improvement in Japanese-China relations."
In her pointed rebuttal of Clinton's inflammatory claims about the war on terror, Rice maintained the Bush White House did the best it could to defend against an attack - and expanded on the tools and intelligence it inherited.
"I would just suggest that you go back and read the 9/11 commission report on the efforts of the Bush administration in the eight months - things like working to get an armed Predator [drone] that actually turned out to be extraordinarily important," Rice added.
She also said Clinton's claims that Richard Clarke - the White House anti-terror guru hyped by Clinton as the country's "best guy" - had been demoted by Bush were bogus.
"Richard Clarke was the counterterrorism czar when 9/11 happened. And he left when he did not become deputy director of homeland security, some several months later," she said.
Rice noted that the world changed after 9/11.
"I would make the divide Sept. 11, 2001, when the attack on this country mobilized us to fight the war on terror in a very different way," Rice said.
Rice cited the final 9/11 commission report to substantiate her claims, while Clinton relied on Clarke's book as the basis for many of his rehashing the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I think this is not a very fruitful discussion. We've been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said," she added.
Transitioning to the global war on terror, an animated Rice questioned, "When are we going to stop blaming ourselves for the rise of terrorism?"
Asked about recently leaked internal U.S. intelligence estimates that claimed the Iraq war was fueling terrorist recruiting, Rice said: "Now that we're fighting back, of course they are fighting back, too."
"I find it just extraordinary that the argument is, all right, so they're using the fact they're being challenged in the Middle East and challenged in Iraq to recruit, therefore you've made the war on terrorism worse.
"It's as if we were in a good place on Sept. 11. Clearly, we weren't," she added.
"These are people who want to fight against us, and they're going to find a reason. And yes, they will recruit, but it doesn't mean you stop pursuing strategies that are ultimately going to stop them," Rice said.
She insisted U.S. forces must finish the job in Iraq and the wider Middle East to wipe out the "root cause" of violent extremism - not just the terror thugs who carry out the attacks.
"It's a longer-term strategy, and it may even have some short-term down side, but if you don't look at the longer term, you're just leaving the problem to somebody else," she said.
She also said Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have a "major educational reform" effort under way to root out propaganda literature and extremist brainwashing.
In Latin America, home to outrageous Venezuelan bomb thrower Hugo Chavez, Rice said the U.S. approach is to "spend as little time possible in talking about Chavez and more time talking about our positive agenda in Latin America," including several trade agreements.
September 26, 2006 -- Condoleezza Rice begs to differ with Bill Clinton.
The secretary of state says the for mer president was basically full of beans when he lashed out at Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday - wagging his finger and bitterly accusing the Bush administration of abandoning the search for Osama bin Laden before 9/11.
"They had eight months to try, [and] they did not try," Clinton shouted. "I got closer to killing him than anybody's gotten since."
Clinton railed at "all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now" and denounced Wallace's "conservative hit job," demanding to know "how many people in the Bush administration you asked . . . 'Why did you fire Dick Clarke,' " the anti-terrorism chief.
But was Clinton telling the truth? (Remember the last time he wagged his finger in public?)
Secretary of State Rice suggests not.
"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there . . . is just flatly false," the former national security adviser told The Post's editorial board yesterday. "What we did in eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding [eight] years,"
Firing Clarke? Far from it, she noted: He "was the counter-terrorism czar when 9/11 happened, and he left [in 2003] when he did not become deputy director of homeland security," as he wanted.
That's a critical point.
Clinton insisted that his version is backed both by Clarke's book and public testimony before the 9/11 Commission.
In fact, Clarke told the commission a very different story during hours of private testimony behind closed doors - one that jibed with a 2002 background briefing he gave to reporters.
Back then, he said: "There was no plan on al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. . . . [a] plan, strategy - there was no, nothing new."
Indeed, Clarke said, the Bush team in 2001 "changed the [Clinton] strategy from one of rollback [of] al Qaeda over five years to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline."
Bush, he added, took action on several "issues that had been on the table for a couple of years," such as instituting a new policy in Pakistan that convinced Islamabad "to break away from the Taliban" and boosting "CIA resources . . . for covert action five-fold to go after al Qaeda."
In fact, a 1999 Clarke after-action memo - the one top Clinton aide Sandy Berger later stole from the National Archives - identified national-security weaknesses so "glaring" that only sheer "luck" prevented a cataclysmic attack back then.
And, as Clarke told the 9/11 Commission publicly, there was nothing the Bush administration could have done that would have prevented the attacks.
Sure, he tells a different story now. But that, he admitted, is because of his opposition to the Iraq war, which he believes distracted from the War on Terror.
Secretary Rice was a lot more honest, explaining yesterday that there was no full-scale War on Terror "the way that we're fighting it now" - by either administration - before 9/11: "We just weren't organized as a country, either domestically or as a leader internationally."
The blame for 9/11 goes back fully 25 years, and includes both Democratic and Republican presidents.
At the same time, the Clinton years were bookended by al Qaeda bombings - the 1993 attack World Trade Center attack, and the October 2000 suicide assault on USS Cole - with plenty of blood spilled in between.
Clinton effectively slept through it all - and now he's trying to rewrite history.