Atrios has the transcript up of Bill Clinton’s interview with putative journalist Chris Wallace. Go read it here.
Clinton: Let’s see what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?
Wallace: Yes, I do.
Clinton: You do, don’t you?
Wallace: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes. (CROSS TALK)
Clinton: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties now, but let’s look at the facts: he worked for Ronald Reagan, he was loyal with him; he worked for George H.W. Bush, he was loyal to him; he worked for me, and he was loyal to me; he worked for President Bush, he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.
Now, look what he said — read his book and read his factual assertions — not opinions, assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies, we probably nearly got bin Laden …
Wallace: But what …
Clinton: Now, wait a minute — wait, wait, wait. (CROSS TALK)
No, no — I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet that President (Bush) gave the medal of freedom to, and he said he did a good job setting up all these counter terrorism things. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.
Now if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan — which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible. While I was there, they refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in in helicopters, refuel at night. Even the 9/11 commission didn’t do that.
To which Allahpundit writes:
He did try. Cruise missiles count as â€œtrying.â€
He just didnâ€™t try hard enough.
Watch those eyes bulge. Thereâ€™s a Legacy at stake here, and no one, least of all Chris Wallace, is going to jeopardize that.
And he’s right, there is a legacy at stake here, but that legacy belongs to President George W. Bush who ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. His National Security Advisor was warned about bin Laden, Richard Clarke was right there. And… they… did… nothing.
They went on a one month vacation after only eight months in office.
They failed. They didn’t do their job.
Here you go:
This is George Bush’s Legacy. Suck on it.