Magazine article Insight on the News

Unlike Clinton, Bush Is Meeting the Threat of Terrorism. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Unlike Clinton, Bush Is Meeting the Threat of Terrorism. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

Like three blind mice, House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Democratic political strategist James Carville are running around saying they want their eyes opened as to what's going on in this country about terrorism.

Gephardt wants an investigation into "what the White House knew about the events leading up to 9/11, when they knew it and, most importantly, what was done about it." Hillary, who watched submissively from the White House as Islamists attacked America in 1993, 1996,1998 and 2000, suggests that President George W. Bush is asleep at the switch. Carville, echoing Gephardt, asks: "What did the president know, when did he know it and what did he do about it?"

Let's start with the crimes and then "what did he do about it."

The two attacks on the World Trade Center came early in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, as sort of Islamic welcome wagons. With Bill Clinton, it was only 37 days after his first inauguration when the 12:18 p.m. explosion rocked the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, a blast that blew a crater five stories deep under Tower One. The 1,500-pound fertilizer-based bomb was intended to topple the taller tower of the World Trade Center into its twin tower, killing upward of 40,000 people while simultaneously releasing a cloud of cyanide gas into the sky over Manhattan. Instead, the tower managed to stand and the heat of the explosion incinerated the gas.

Displacing some 6,800 tons of material, the blast killed six people, injured more than 1,000, forced the evacuation of 50,000 and produced $600 million in property damage. It was, at the time, the largest crime scene in New York Police Department history and the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil.

Similarly, on Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists again struck at the World Trade Center, this time when Bush was less than eight months into his presidency. FBI Director Robert Mueller had been in office one week.

In both cases, in 1993 and prior to Sept. 11, mistakes were made by U.S. intelligence. Many signals were missed and a lot of dots, as they're now saying at the FBI and CIA, were left unconnected. No one disputes this.

What's different about the two World Trade Center attacks are the ways Clinton and Bush reacted. Clinton backed off, seeing the attack as an incident that could best be handled in court, like a McDonald's coffee burn. Bush hit back, seeing a war.

Political adviser Dick Morris provides an insider's view of how Clinton reacted to the massive 1993 explosion--an attack, as noted by Kevin Duffy, the U. …

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