Thursday, September 07, 2006

Clintonistas, Forget The TV Fiction...

What you should be worried about are the facts.

Some of the most sensitive language concerned the specific authorization to use deadly force. Clinton's national security aides said they wanted to encourage the CIA to carry out an effective operation against bin Laden, not to burden the agency with constraints or doubts. Yet Clinton's aides did not want authorizations that could be interpreted by Afghan agents as an unrestricted license to kill. For one thing, the Justice Department signaled that it would oppose such language if it was proposed for Clinton's signature.

The compromise wording, in a succession of bin Laden-focused memos, always expressed some ambiguity about how and when deadly force could be used in an operation designed to take bin Laden into custody. Typical language, recalled one official involved, instructed the CIA to "apprehend with lethal force as authorized." ...Clinton's covert policy against bin Laden pursued two goals at the same time. He ordered submarines equipped with cruise missiles to patrol secretly in waters off Pakistan in the hope that CIA spotters would one day identify bin Laden's location confidently enough to warrant a deadly missile strike.

But Clinton also authorized the CIA to carry out operations that legally required the agency's officers to plan in almost every instance to capture bin Laden alive and bring him to the United States to face trial. This meant the CIA officers had to arrange in advance for detention facilities, extraction flights and other contingencies -- even if they expected that bin Laden would probably die in the arrest attempt. These requirements made operational planning much more cumbersome, the CIA officers contended...
The CIA received "no written word nor verbal order to conduct a lethal action" against bin Laden before Sept. 11, one official involved recalled. "The objective was to render this guy to law enforcement." In these operations, the CIA had to recruit agents "to grab [bin Laden] and bring him to a secure place where we can turn him over to the FBI. . . . If they had said 'lethal action' it would have been a whole different kettle of fish, and much easier."

That's from the Washington Post, by the way, not the Right-Wing Wanker. Steve Coll, now with that other right-wing rag, the New Yorker, also reported:

" the three years before September 11, the United States had multiple opportunities to try to attack Bin Laden directly in Afghanistan, it looked too daunting. There was no will, no context to go after him in a serious way, and so he continued to thrive and operate until he struck on September 11."

And who was president during the "three years before September 11?" Here's a hint: NOT Ross Perot.

Democrats, trust me on this one. If the choice is between the story as reported by the Washington Post and ABC--no matter how bad--and the truth...your team is better off sticking with ABC.