It seems like Bill Clinton might end up being best remembered for two things: being the second president to be impeached, and doing nothing. He presided over a rising economy and did nothing to thwart it (and certainly nothing to cause it), and he did nothing to thwart the ascension of worldwide terror, particularly terror aimed at America. Drudge links to two New York Times articles from today that highlight exactly what the Clinton administration didn't do to prevent 9/11. The first article is about Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Able Danger's failed attempts to share information with the FBI.

A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.

The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.

Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.

But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned. ...

He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.

Does fault lie with the military lawyers, or the administration more concerned with appeasing "civil liberties" groups than with protecting Americans? I'm all for civil liberties (being nearly a libertarian myself), but the line between freedom and safety has to be drawn somewhere. The second article is about ignored State Department warnings about Osama Bin Laden.

State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam "well beyond the Middle East," but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show.

In what would prove a prescient warning, the State Department intelligence analysts said in a top-secret assessment on Mr. bin Laden that summer that "his prolonged stay in Afghanistan - where hundreds of 'Arab mujahedeen' receive terrorist training and key extremist leaders often congregate - could prove more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long run than his three-year liaison with Khartoum," in Sudan. ...

Critics of the Clinton administration have accused it of ignoring the threat posed by Mr. bin Laden in the mid-1990's while he was still in Sudan, and they point to claims by some Sudanese officials that they offered to turn him over to the Americans before ultimately expelling him in 1996 under international pressure. But Clinton administration diplomats have adamantly denied that they received such an offer, and the Sept. 11 commission concluded in one of its staff reports that it had "not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim."

The newly declassified documents do not directly address the question of whether Sudan ever offered to turn over Mr. bin Laden. But the documents go well beyond previous news and historical accounts in detailing the Clinton administration's active monitoring of Mr. bin Laden's movements and the realization that his move to Afghanistan could make him an even greater national security threat.

This isn't new news, but the revelations of these previously classified documents are yet more evidence of the Clinton administration's incompetence. If the Clinton administration had been less distracted by adultery, shipping children to Communist dictatorships, and incinerating religious weirdos, they could have prevented not only 9/11, but potentially the other dozen terrorist attacks against America in the 1990s that went essentially unanswered.



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