Center for American Progress

Responses of Condoleezza Rice in the Weeks Before Her Testimony
Article

Responses of Condoleezza Rice in the Weeks Before Her Testimony

Subject Matter Program Date Response by Condoleezza Rice
9/11-Iraq WH Press Briefing 24-Mar The president asked if Iraq was complicit. Anybody should have asked whether Iraq was complicit given our history with Iraq. He was told by George Tenet, by the time we got ready to go to Camp David, there was no evidence of that, and I mean complicit in 9/11. We go to Camp David. It's the map of Afghanistan that we roll out, not the map of Iraq. There are discussions on the side about Iraq, and there are kind of two kinds of discussions that take place about Iraq. One is, it's a global war on terrorism; should we be trying to do something in other places, as well, to demonstrate that it's a global war on terrorism? And after all, we have the threat from Iraq, should we deal with that? Not a single principal at that table recommended to the president that we do Iraq. And the president, in fact, in his directive, says it's Afghanistan.
9/11-Iraq Today Show 22-Mar Yes, he was concerned about who might have done this and it was only a logical question to keep an open mind. Was it just al Qaeda or was it possible that there was some link, for instance, to Iraq with whom we had a history including Iraq's attempt to assassinate former President Bush?
9/11-Iraq Today Show 22-Mar The discussion of Iraq was simply whether or not it made sense in a global war on terrorism to also deal in this period with the threat from Iraq. the president returned to the White House and called me in and said, "I've learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. This is going to be about Afghanistan. Iraq is going to be put to the side."
9/11-Iraq Fox and Friends 19-Mar And the United States was brutally attacked on September 11th in an act of war. This president decided that we were going to have to go on the offensive; we were going to have to do deep into their territory to root out this cancer in the Middle East that is producing the ideologies of hatred that led these people to drive airplanes into American buildings on a beautiful September day.
9/11-Iraq Washington Post 22-Mar Once advised that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11, the president told his National Security Council on Sept. 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda and that the initial U.S. response to Sept. 11 would be to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
9/11-Iraq + al Qaeda threat Lester Holt Live 19-Mar But there's no doubt that we've hurt this organization a lot. First of all, we've taken away their kind of forward operating bases, places like Afghanistan. Their world is getting smaller as states that support terrorism, like Iraq or Libya, which no longer supports terrorism, or Sudan, we're taking away territory that they can no longer use to support their activities, and that's a very important step.
Afghanistan CNN American Morning 22-Mar the president has a broader view, which is that you have to take the fight to the terrorists. We have Eliminated their base in Afghanistan. We have freed 25 million Afghans. In addition, the president believes that you have to go to the center of the Middle East and deal with the threats there.
Afghanistan 60 Minutes 28-Mar It was Afghanistan that became the focus of the American response, and Iraq was put aside with the exception of worrying about whether Iraq might try and take advantage of us in some way.
Afghanistan 60 Minutes 28-Mar the president focused our energies and our attention on winning in Afghanistan and expelling the Taliban and thereby expelling al Qaeda.
Afghanistan Washington Post 22-Mar Only the addition of American air power, with U.S. special forces and intelligence officers on the ground, allowed the Northern Alliance its historic military advances in late 2001. We folded this idea into our broader strategy of arming tribes throughout Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.
Afghanistan Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar They no longer can operate with impunity in Afghanistan, because we've got a friendly government in Afghanistan now that's hutting them down with us. So the sanctuary in Afghanistan is gone.
al Qaeda threat NBC Nightly News 24-Mar He met every morning with his Director of Central Intelligence and some 46 of his daily briefings were about issues related to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. So we were very active in the fight against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and preparing a strategy to become even more active.
al Qaeda threat WH Press Briefing 24-Mar This document was a kind of analytic step-back piece that says we know that al Qaeda has been interested in striking the American homeland, and then it's historical. Most of it is about, he admired the 1993 events at the World Trade Center — the bombing in '93. Some things about '97 and '98. There's mention of hijacking for the purpose of getting the release of prisoners. So it's not in the context of flying airplanes into buildings. It mentions that al Qaeda has tried to infiltrate people into the United States. But it's all kind of things that you've heard before, and it's a compilation of statements about al Qaeda. There's no threat warning information. There's nothing that says, here, here, or here, in this period of time — not even of the kind that we were getting in the June-July time period, where it would say, there's a lot of chatter about the Persian Gulf; or there's a lot of chatter about the G-8 Summit — nothing like that appears in this memo.
al Qaeda threat Early Show 19-Mar al Qaeda is not just one man. It's a network. And we've already captured or killed two-thirds of their known leadership, their, kind of, field generals, the people who plot and plan their attacks.
al Qaeda threat Fox and Friends 19-Mar Well it is always a good thing to capture a major al Qaeda leader. It does damage to the organization. But we have to be careful. The capture of one man is not going to destroy al Qaeda. We've said it's a network. You have to go after all of its leadership. That's why we've gone after and captured or killed two-thirds of its known leadership.
al Qaeda threat Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar I mean, on the one hand, he says that we did nothing. the president wasn't paying attention. That somehow we didn't understand the al Qaeda threat
al Qaeda threat Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar But the assertion that somehow the Bush administration wasn't paying attention when we came into office is just false.
al Qaeda-Iraq CNN American Morning 19-Mar The al Qaeda are coming into Iraq where the al Qaeda affiliates are coming into Iraq because they know that Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism and they know that when Iraq is peaceful and democratic and more stable and no longer in the hands of a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, that their evil designs are going to be seriously harmed by the emergence of a different kind of Iraq and ultimately a different kind of Middle East.
al Qaeda-Iraq 60 Minutes 28-Mar It was Afghanistan that became the focus of the American response, and Iraq was put aside with the exception of worrying about whether Iraq might try and take advantage of us in some way.
Apologize NBC Nightly News 24-Mar Everybody feels that what happened to us on September 11th was clearly a deep tragedy. the president has encountered a multitude of families and families of the victims. He has talked about their loss being our loss. This was a terrible loss for the country. But we need to recognize that good people in the Clinton administration and in the first 200-plus days of the Bush administration were doing what we knew how to do to try and protect the country. Since September 11th we have been able to do things in an all-out war on terrorism that the president has launched, that we hope will prevent further attacks on the United States. We are safer now, but not yet safe. But the events of September 11th, while tragic, probably could not have been prevented by the kinds of steps that were being discussed today. That's the hard fact.
Apologize 60 Minutes 28-Mar I don't think that there is anyone who is not sorry for the terrible loss that these families endured, and indeed, who doesn't feel the deep tragedy that the country went through on September 11th? I do think it's important that we keep focused on who did this to us because, after all, this was an act of war.
Apologize 60 Minutes 28-Mar We do need to stay focused on what happened to us that day, and the best thing that we can do for the memory of the victims, the best thing that we can do for the future of this country is to focus on those who did this to us.
Clarke NBC Nightly News 24-Mar I just don't think that the record bears out Dick Clarke's assertion. In fact, on January 25th, in response to a question from me to my staff to tell me what we should be worrying about, what we should be doing, he sent us a set of ideas that would perhaps help to roll back al Qaeda over a three-to-five-year period. We acted on those ideas very quickly. And what's very interesting is that, while Dick Clarke now says that we ignored his ideas, or we didn't follow them up, in August of 2002, in a press interview, he said that we had, in fact, acted on those ideas. So he can't have it both ways. We were acting on issues like arming the Predator, so that we could have a reconnaissance plane that could also strike the target, cutting down the time between sighting a target and being able to hit it. the president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold in order to be more aggressive.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar I have no idea what he's talking about. He says, when Condi Rice came back from that meeting, called me and related what the president requested, and I said, well, you know we've had this strategy ready since before you were inaugurated. I just want to, again, refer you to the August 2002 interview in which he says, no, we didn't give them a plan. Either he gave us a plan, or he didn't give us a plan. But he doesn't have it both ways. In the August 2002 interview, he didn't give us a plan. In the book, apparently, he did give us a plan. Today, in the testimony, I'm told he says, well, the plan was from 1998 — the Delenda plan, which was there, but that was from 1998. I thought this plan was supposedly developed in 2000. This story has so many twists and turns now that I think he needs to get this story straight.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar I would not use the word out of the loop. He was in every meeting about terrorism. He was not in the president's daily briefing with George Tenet. What the president did was to reestablish his principal conduit for intelligence information on everything, including terrorism, to be his DCI. But he was not — he was in every meeting that was held on terrorism, all the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held, and so forth — the early meetings after September 11th. When the president went to Camp David, he went with his closest advisers on September 15th. It was a time when he wanted people in the room with whom he had a particular relationship…
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar He wasn't demoted. We had a different organizational structure. Dick was still the national coordinator. He was still doing all of the things he had been doing. He had the CSG. He had — by the way, he had daily access to me through a staff meeting that I hold every day, that is — by the way — quite operational. It's not to sit down and debate the fine points of American security policy. It's for the person to say — who does Africa to say, the president really needs to call the president of Sudan today because the peace treaty is going off track. Or Condi you need to call Secretary Powell, there's a mix-up here. We're not sure what's going on. Or can you get the — the president needs to have a meeting on this. It's very operational. That's how I do business. I don't use e-mail for business. I think it's intemperate, and I don't communicate by e-mail. So the staff meeting was, to me, the central thing. I did have to send Dick two e-mails telling him, come to my staff meetings, because he kept being too busy. I finally told him that it was important that he not be too busy. So he was not demoted. When people met, he was there. But, yes, we had a somewhat different structure. We were a new team. It is usually the case that when you transition into a new team, you sort of adjust to that structure.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar Well, I never thought — I didn't think of it as demotion. I thought of it as reorganization. Perhaps Dick felt that he had less — he didn't sit with Powell and Rumsfeld and so forth. It's just not the way we operated. I did sit with Powell and Rumsfeld and Tenet, and those people. He had access to me
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar No, I wouldn't have kept him on if I hadn't both trusted and thought he was competent. But the restructuring was because the organization had to work with this president, and for this National Security Adviser, not for the last one.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar And, frankly, when Dick Clarke is asked which of his stories is he going to stand by, I think it will be very obvious to the American people that there's a real problem in saying the things that he's said about the president of the United States on "60 Minutes," when he's got a record of having said something very different just a little while ago.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar The fact is that I have heard that Dick Clarke has apparently said that he thought the attack was coming in the United States. He never communicated that to anyone. We all said that all of the intelligence pointed to an overseas attack, Persian Gulf, perhaps the Genoa — G-8 leaders conference. There was information about a potential attack against Israel. When Dick Clarke's counterterrorism strategy group — which was the crisis management group — met, the entire series of recommendations were about buttoning down the troops abroad, buttoning down the embassies abroad. It was all where the threat reporting was. It's not to blame anybody that nobody was — that people weren't looking inside, but the threat reporting was abroad.
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar But Dick Clarke — the notion that somehow nobody was doing anything during this June, July period of time is just fal
Clarke WH Press Briefing 24-Mar He had a very different view when he came and sat right there, and asked me to go to Tom Ridge and support him for Deputy Homeland Secretary, because he supported what the president was doing. He seemed to have a very different view when we had lunch right at that table three weeks before the war in Iraq. And he didn't say a word about Iraq being a potential disaster for the war on terrorism.
Clarke Today Show 22-Mar Dick Clarke was kept on because he was an experienced counterterrorism person. He had been on the NSC staff since 1993. He had been the counterterrorism czar when the embassies were bombed in 1998. He was the counterterrorism czar when the Cole was bombed in 2000. He was the counterterrorism czar for the entire period in which the al Qaeda plot was being hatched that ended up in September 11th, 2001.
Clarke CNN American Morning 22-Mar We did ask Dick Clarke for a more comprehensive strategy, one that would not just seek to roll back al Qaeda, but would seek to Eliminate al Qaeda. That would have real military options, not just options of pinprick strikes against training camps that had already been abandoned. We asked for a strategy that could be effectively funded. We increased intelligence activities by factor of three in the strategy that was developed. So that's what Dick Clarke was supposed to be doing. At the same time, he was to continue the Clinton administration strategy until we got a new strategy in place.
Clarke CNN American Morning 22-Mar But I'll tell you this: Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction. And he chose not to.
Clarke CNN American Morning 22-Mar He has a different view of how to fight the war on terrorism. It is a narrow view. It has to do with killing bin Laden and dealing with Afghanistan.
Clarke Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar I do things a little bit differently. And so for instance, it was really important that Dick Clarke, who was one of the special assistants for the president, actually show up for my staff meetings so that he could have daily access to me. I have a very flat organization. He could see me any time. So in fact, he wasn't demoted. But later on, because he wanted to move into the area of cybersecurity, an area in which, really, he had done a great deal to prepare the country better for this new kind of threat, he did become the director of cybersecurity somewhat later. But at the time of the 9/11 attacks, he was the counterterrorism person.
Clarke Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar And by the way, just a few weeks before we went into Iraq, he never mentioned any of his concerns about Iraq or that we might be going off course in the war on terrorism.
Clarke – Bush 60 Minutes 28-Mar I have never seen the president say anything to people in an intimidating way to try to get a particular answer out of them. I know this president very well and the president doesn't talk to his staff in an intimidating way to ask them to produce information that is false.
Clinton admin WH Press Briefing 24-Mar Well, I think it just says that September 11th was a life- changing event for the United States. It was life-changing for Americans. It was life-changing for the country, for the strategic direction of the country. We did think that there were other ways to deal with the threat than just using cruise missile strikes against — against al Qaeda. We really thought that using again, for instance, in response to the Cole, using cruise missile strikes again against training camps that probably would have already been abandoned would have sent exactly the wrong message. And so one of the things that the new strategy looked at was actually to have the Defense Department do contingency plans that would allow us to go after the Taliban, not just after al Qaeda training camps. And that was written into the new strategy because we were worried that you didn't want to be in the position of just all-out invasion of Afghanistan, or cruise missile strikes, there had to be something in between. And what was in between was to, first, put more pressure on the Taliban, for a short time diplomatically; then put pressure on them by arming not just the Northern Alliance, but southern tribes, as well, so that you put real pressure on them. If you couldn't them that way, think about using military force against their targets. But I found consistency in the views of the two that an all-out invasion of Afghanistan would probably have been…
Clinton admin NBC News 17-Mar And the Clinton administration, to its credit, gave us very good transition briefings about al Qaeda and Saddam — al Qaeda and the threat of Osama bin Laden.
Clinton admin Lou Dobbs Tonight 18-Mar Well, we're going to have an interesting debate in this country about whether the right response to the act of war that was committed against this country on September 11th, when they went after the twin towers and the Pentagon and perhaps the Capitol and the White House were on the list — whether that act of war is going to be answered by an American strategy that is bold and decisive and takes the fight to them or whether we're going to go back to days when we thought that principally this was a law enforcement action and we would use kind of minimal military force once in a while. That's what led to September 11th. It was the fact that the country was not really mobilized to take on the war that had been launched against us.
Clinton admin CNN American Morning 22-Mar We did ask Dick Clarke for a more comprehensive strategy, one that would not just seek to roll back al Qaeda, but would seek to Eliminate al Qaeda. That would have real military options, not just options of pinprick strikes against training camps that had already been abandoned. We asked for a strategy that could be effectively funded. We increased intelligence activities by factor of three in the strategy that was developed. So that's what Dick Clarke was supposed to be doing. At the same time, he was to continue the Clinton administration strategy until we got a new strategy in place.
Clinton admin 60 Minutes 28-Mar We were looking for a more comprehensive plan to eliminate al Qaeda, but we weren't sitting still while that plan was developing. We were continuing to pursue the policies that the Clinton administration had pursued.
Clinton admin Washington Post 22-Mar No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.
Eliminate terrorism WH Press Briefing 24-Mar I think, Elisabeth, the American people do not believe that the president of the United States is pursuing a folly in the war on terrorism. He's pursuing a coherent, aggressive strategy that takes the fight to the terrorists. It's the first such strategy in American history against terrorism after a long period of time in which the terrorists — really going back to '80s — thought they'd gained the upper hand, in which they'd thought their victory was inevitable. We've killed or captured two-thirds of the al Qaeda leadership. We've got a worldwide coalition fighting this terrorism.
Eliminate terrorism NBC Nightly News 24-Mar And most importantly, the president set out a new direction for American policy in the war on terrorism, to give us stronger, more coherent policies, and policies that were more robust, to Eliminate al Qaeda, not just to roll it back. That strategy really did not take very long. In the interim, the administration was pursuing all of the avenues that the Clinton administration had been pursuing before. So it's just not right to say that this president was not focused on terrorism.
Eliminate terrorism WH Press Briefing 24-Mar But at the same time that we were pursuing what the Clinton administration had been doing, we were developing a more robust strategy to try and Eliminate al Qaeda. And by Dick's calculation, as well as that of George Tenet, this was still going to be multi-year. You couldn't do it overnight. I was impressed with some of the testimony by several people who said, it would have been difficult to just invade Afghanistan. I happen to agree with that view
Eliminate terrorism Today Show 22-Mar The key here was not to have a meeting. The key was to have a strategy. We needed a broad and comprehensive strategy that would not roll back al Qaeda, which had been the strategy of the past, but would Eliminate al Qaeda. And we knew that even that was going to take three to five years. This was not a strategy that was going to affect what happened on 9/11.
Eliminate terrorism NBC News 17-Mar But we did pursue the Clinton administration policy and pursue it actively, until we could get in place a more comprehensive policy — not to roll back al Qaeda — but to Eliminate al Qaeda.
Eliminate terrorism NBC News 17-Mar We tripled the funding for the intelligence aspects for taking down al Qaeda.
Eliminate terrorism NBC News 17-Mar And what we were able to do is, first of all, to continue the Clinton administration policy so that there was no gap in what we were doing to deal with the al Qaeda problem.
Eliminate terrorism NBC News 17-Mar And even if we had been able to do it in 190 days, or 150 days, it was a policy that our counterterrorism people told us was going to Eliminate al Qaeda over three to five years. This was not something that was going to stop September 11th. The Northern Alliance was not going to sweep through Afghanistan, defeat the Taliban and defeat al Qaeda in a period of six months. It simply wasn't going to happen.
Eliminate terrorism Meet The Press 14-Mar And the best news is that he is on the run, because we have real allies now in the war on terrorism that we did not have prior to September 11th.
Eliminate terrorism Lou Dobbs Tonight 18-Mar Well, we're going to have an interesting debate in this country about whether the right response to the act of war that was committed against this country on September 11th, when they went after the twin towers and the Pentagon and perhaps the Capitol and the White House were on the list — whether that act of war is going to be answered by an American strategy that is bold and decisive and takes the fight to them or whether we're going to go back to days when we thought that principally this was a law enforcement action and we would use kind of minimal military force once in a while. That's what led to September 11th. It was the fact that the country was not really mobilized to take on the war that had been launched against us.
Eliminate terrorism Lou Dobbs Tonight 18-Mar I think that the terrorists, who are really worried that when we win in Iraq and finally really develop a prosperous and peaceful and democratic Iraq, that their sense of inevitable victory, that their sense of having the Middle East as their forward base of operations, that that's going to be undone. I think they think it's a disaster.
Eliminate terrorism Lou Dobbs Tonight 18-Mar It wasn't our military force that brought al Qaeda to attack us. It wasn't the military force of Moroccans or Russians or people in Turkey. It is the fact that these terrorists do have a political design, and it is one that is 180 degrees from the political design of the free world. And so I just don't understand the notion that it's somehow military power that's causing terrorism.
Eliminate terrorism 60 Minutes 28-Mar We were looking for a more comprehensive plan to eliminate al Qaeda, but we weren't sitting still while that plan was developing. We were continuing to pursue the policies that the Clinton administration had pursued.
Eliminate terrorism 60 Minutes 28-Mar They're going to succeed sometimes, but they are going to be defeated, and as the president said, you cannot fight this war on the defensive.
Eliminate terrorism Washington Post 22-Mar the president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or "roll back" the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to "eliminate" the al Qaeda network.
Eliminate terrorism Washington Post 22-Mar Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda — which was expected to take years. Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets — taking the fight to the enemy where he lived. It focused on the crucial link between al Qaeda and the Taliban. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al Qaeda sanctuary — and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime.
Eliminate terrorism Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar We're winning this war on terrorism because this president is there to be bold and comprehensive and aggressive in going after these terrorists. When we have the debate, the American people are going to have to ask, is that the right strategy for going after the people who committed an act of war against us on September 11. And I think their answer will be yes.
Eliminate terrorism Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar We have to have a policy that is not just comprehensive, using law enforcement and using the ability to track terrorists financing and all of that. But we really have to have a strategy that is going to go after the terrorists where they live. We're going to have to go on the offense.
Eliminate terrorism + Intl support Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar Thanks to cooperation with the international community, we've frozen about $200 million in assets.
Eliminate terrorism + Iraq Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar And when Iraq is successful — and by the way, the terrorists understand this — when Iraq is successful, their sense of inevitability, more of their territory is going to be gone. You're going to have a place in the Middle East that's democratizing and a different kind of place in the Middle East.
Eliminate terrorism + Iraq + Clarke Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar And by the way, just a few weeks before we went into Iraq, he never mentioned any of his concerns about Iraq or that we might be going off course in the war on terrorism.
Eliminate terrorism + USS Cole NBC News 17-Mar Our response to the USS Cole was to get a strategy in place that could finally Eliminate the threat of al Qaeda to the United States.
Funding terrorism NBC Nightly News 24-Mar I just don't think that the record bears out Dick Clarke's assertion. In fact, on January 25th, in response to a question from me to my staff to tell me what we should be worrying about, what we should be doing, he sent us a set of ideas that would perhaps help to roll back al Qaeda over a three-to-five-year period. We acted on those ideas very quickly. And what's very interesting is that, while Dick Clarke now says that we ignored his ideas, or we didn't follow them up, in August of 2002, in a press interview, he said that we had, in fact, acted on those ideas. So he can't have it both ways. We were acting on issues like arming the Predator, so that we could have a reconnaissance plane that could also strike the target, cutting down the time between sighting a target and being able to hit it. the president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold in order to be more aggressive.
Iraq Today Show 19-Mar There are a lot of people who would like to unravel that progress because they are fighting as if Iraq was a central front on the war on terrorism; it is.
Iraq 60 Minutes 28-Mar The war on terrorism is a broad war, not a narrow war, and Iraq – one of the most dangerous regimes – I think the most dangerous regime in the world's most dangerous region – in the Middle East, is a big reason, or was under Saddam Hussein a big reason for instability in the region, for threats to the United States.
Pakistan Today Show 19-Mar Well, we have certainly a very cooperative relationship with Pakistan, and if and when they need assistance, we would be prepared to give it.
Pakistan CNN American Morning 19-Mar The Pakistanis have been terrific= Many of the al Qaeda leaders that we have rounded up have been thanks to the Pakistanis and so they are not hyping their activities.They've been one of the best of our allies on the war on terrorism. It's just that the situation is of course uncertain because there is no way to verify precisely who they've got pinned down.
Pakistan Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar We have taken away their bases in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, because those states are now active fighters in the war on terrorism.
Patriot Act Lester Holt Live 19-Mar It's important to support the reforms that were taken here at home, things like the Patriot Act, which allowed for sharing and collection of intelligence that finally allowed, totally aware of and completely in the balance of civil liberties, the FBI and the CIA to cooperate much more fully.
Patriot Act Meet The Press 14-Mar But if we're going to roll back the Patriot Act, the people of America are going to have to know that they're taking an enormous risk that we could go back to the days when that kind of collection and sharing activity is not permitted.
Patriot Act Washington Post 22-Mar the president and Congress, through the USA Patriot Act, have broken down the legal and bureaucratic walls that prior to Sept. 11 hampered intelligence and law enforcement agencies from collecting and sharing vital threat information. Those who now argue for rolling back the Patriot Act's changes invite us to forget the important lesson we learned on Sept. 11.
Post 9/11 world Lester Holt Live 19-Mar We wake up every day trying to prevent something from happening in the United States. The truth of the matter is, we are safer than we were on September 12th. There is no doubt about that.
Post 9/11 world Lester Holt Live 19-Mar But the fact is, we have to take this war to them. They brought the war to us on September 11th, when they launched the vicious attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and had in mind other important places, like perhaps the Capitol or the White House. So we have to take this war to them. And the real issue is: Are we going to use all of the aspects of American power — yes, our law enforcement capability, but also our military capability — to fight this war on the offensive.
Post 9/11 world Meet The Press 14-Mar When the al Qaeda committed an act of war against the United States on September 11th, what was the appropriate response? Was it an appropriate response to not just rely on law enforcement to try and bring them to justice, but to also mobilize the military power of the United States to take down their base in Afghanistan and to begin to make their world smaller by dealing with the long-time problem that had been there in Iraq?
Post 9/11 world Washington Post 22-Mar Because of President Bush's vision and leadership, our nation is safer. We have won battles in the war on terror, but the war is far from over. However long it takes, this great nation will prevail.
Safety NBC Nightly News 24-Mar Everybody feels that what happened to us on September 11th was clearly a deep tragedy. the president has encountered a multitude of families and families of the victims. He has talked about their loss being our loss. This was a terrible loss for the country. But we need to recognize that good people in the Clinton administration and in the first 200-plus days of the Bush administration were doing what we knew how to do to try and protect the country. Since September 11th we have been able to do things in an all-out war on terrorism that the president has launched, that we hope will prevent further attacks on the United States. We are safer now, but not yet safe. But the events of September 11th, while tragic, probably could not have been prevented by the kinds of steps that were being discussed today. That's the hard fact.
Safety Lester Holt Live 19-Mar We wake up every day trying to prevent something from happening in the United States. The truth of the matter is, we are safer than we were on September 12th. There is no doubt about that.
Saudi Arabia Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar We have taken away their bases in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, because those states are now active fighters in the war on terrorism.
Suspect 9/11 WH Press Briefing 24-Mar The fact is that I have heard that Dick Clarke has apparently said that he thought the attack was coming in the United States. He never communicated that to anyone. We all said that all of the intelligence pointed to an overseas attack, Persian Gulf, perhaps the Genoa — G-8 leaders conference. There was information about a potential attack against Israel. When Dick Clarke's counterterrorism strategy group — which was the crisis management group — met, the entire series of recommendations were about buttoning down the troops abroad, buttoning down the embassies abroad. It was all where the threat reporting was. It's not to blame anybody that nobody was — that people weren't looking inside, but the threat reporting was abroad.
Suspect 9/11 WH Press Briefing 24-Mar September 15th, 2001, so three days after the — four days after the attack. "Note to CDR." That's me. "When the era of national unity begins to crack in the near future, it is possible that some will start asking questions like, did the White House do a good job of making sure that intelligence about terrorist threats got to the FAA and other domestic law-enforcement authorities." He then attaches the paper, which he sent to me in July, reporting on his meeting. The last line here is, "Thus, the White House did ensure that domestic law enforcement, including FAA, knew that the CSG believed that a major al Qaeda attack was coming, and it could be in the U.S., and we did ask special measures be taken."
Suspect 9/11 NBC News 17-Mar Probably, the only thing that in retrospect when you look back and you ask, what was really the problem, you look at the fact that most of this plot was hatched early in 2001, that by the time we got to the summer of 2001, at least 16 of 19 of the hijackers were already in the United States for the final time. That's the FBI assessment. These people were ready to carry out the attack. The problem was that we were, as a country, somewhat blind to what was happening inside the country because we had had a very big wall between domestic intelligence, domestic collection and information, and what the CIA did. It was only after September 11th that the country came to terms with the fact that the FBI and the CIA needed to be able to coordinate on collection and on sharing of intelligence in a way that would let us know what was going on in the country.
Suspect 9/11 60 Minutes 28-Mar I don't know what a sense of urgency any greater than the one that we had would have caused us to do differently.
Suspect 9/11 Washington Post 22-Mar Through the summer increasing intelligence "chatter" focused almost exclusively on potential attacks overseas. Nonetheless, we asked for any indication of domestic threats and directed our counterterrorism team to coordinate with domestic agencies to adopt protective measures. The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration alerted airlines, airports and local authorities, warning of potential attacks on Americans.
Suspect 9/11 Washington Post 22-Mar Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists.
Suspect 9/11 – Unpreventable Washington Post 22-Mar Even if we had known exactly where Osama bin Laden was, and the armed Predator had been available to strike him, the Sept. 11 hijackers almost certainly would have carried out their plan.
Suspect 9/11 – Unpreventable Washington Post 22-Mar So, too, if the Northern Alliance had somehow managed to topple the Taliban, the Sept. 11 hijackers were here in America — not in Afghanistan.
Terrorism not a priority NBC Nightly News 24-Mar I just don't think that the record bears out Dick Clarke's assertion. In fact, on January 25th, in response to a question from me to my staff to tell me what we should be worrying about, what we should be doing, he sent us a set of ideas that would perhaps help to roll back al Qaeda over a three-to-five-year period. We acted on those ideas very quickly. And what's very interesting is that, while Dick Clarke now says that we ignored his ideas, or we didn't follow them up, in August of 2002, in a press interview, he said that we had, in fact, acted on those ideas. So he can't have it both ways. We were acting on issues like arming the Predator, so that we could have a reconnaissance plane that could also strike the target, cutting down the time between sighting a target and being able to hit it. the president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold in order to be more aggressive.
Terrorism not a priority WH Press Briefing 24-Mar I don't know what it means. I thought we weren't interested in it at all. According to the "60 Minutes" interview, I thought we ignored it. So now it was important, but not urgent. I really don't know what to make of this, what is a kind of shifting story. I will say that what we did suggests that we thought it both important and urgent. We kept in place an experienced team of counterterrorism experts from the Clinton administration, whose responsibility it was to keep the Clinton administration strategy going. We did everything during that period of time that we could. The intelligence agencies had the authorities that had been there in the Clinton administration. Nothing unraveled those authorities so they were still acting on those authorities.
Terrorism not a priority WH Press Briefing 24-Mar Now, was it the only priority? Of course not. There were other things that had to be done, as well, including the crisis with China around the EP-3 shoot-down; trying to build a relationship with Russia, China.
Terrorism not a priority NBC News 17-Mar Terrorism was a high priority for this administration
Terrorism not a priority NBC News 17-Mar That plan to Eliminate al Qaeda was going to take three to five years prior to September 11th. Now, what we did when we came into office was to keep in place the Clinton administration policy, which had been a policy to try to roll back al Qaeda. We continued to pursue that policy. We thought that we needed a more robust policy. And so we did create a major comprehensive policy that would bring all the elements of national power to eliminating al Qaeda.
Terrorism not a priority NBC News 17-Mar We increased counterterrorism funding and intelligence funding in the president's first budget request. We put more than a dozen new people at the Treasury to deal with terrorist financing. We increased counterterrorism support to our friend and ally in Uzbekistan, who became, by the way, a major player after September 11th. There were some things that we had to take some time to look at: How should you think about arming the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, when, in fact, the Northern Alliance was in less than 10 percent of the country in Afghanistan? They weren't going to sweep through Afghanistan prior to September 11th.
Terrorism not a priority Washington Post 22-Mar The al Qaeda terrorist network posed a threat to the United States for almost a decade before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Throughout that period — during the eight years of the Clinton administration and the first eight months of the Bush administration prior to Sept. 11 — the U.S. government worked hard to counter the al Qaeda threat.
United Nations Fox and Friends 19-Mar We are absolutely determined to help the United Nations pursue an investigation of what happened in the oil-for-food program. In fact, Kofi Annan said yesterday that he wants U.N. Security Council support for a comprehensive look at what happened in the oil-for-food program. And he will get the support of the United States, because we need to know, the Iraqi people need to know. The Coalition Provisional Authority is trying to preserve records so that there will be records from Baghdad on what happened there.
War on terror Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar But people have a very narrow view on what the war on terrorism is about. They believe it's about bin Laden, al Qaeda and law enforcement. That's not what the war on terrorism is about.
Willingness to testify NBC Nightly News 24-Mar I would like nothing better than to be able to testify before the commission. I have spent more than four hours with the commission. I'm prepared to go and talk to them again, anywhere, any time, anyplace, privately. But I have to be responsible and to uphold the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. It is a matter of whether the president can count on good confidential advice from his staff. Over time, there have been cases, mostly related to — they've been related to allegations of wrongdoing of one kind or another. This is not that kind of case. It would set a bad precedent. But I want the American people to know the story. That's why I'm here. After all, this President has a very good story to tell about the first 230-plus days of his administration and what he did in the war on terrorism, and certainly since September 11th, the war on terrorism that he has launched since they launched war on us on that terrible day.
Willingness to testify WH Press Briefing 24-Mar I would like to be very clear that this is not a matter of preference. I would like nothing better in a sense than to be able to go up and do this. But I have a responsibility to maintain what is a longstanding separation — constitutional separation between the executive and the legislative branch. This body is — the commission is a body under Article II of the legislature, and so I have to maintain that separation. I also have a responsibility to make sure that the commission knows everything that I know, and that's why I spent four hours with them, and I'm prepared to spend longer with them anywhere they want, any time they want, answer as many questions as they have. And I hope we'll have an opportunity to do that. But I just have to maintain the separation.
Willingness to testify WH Press Briefing 24-Mar The fact is, it's not a matter of personal preference. But this — I did, after all, spend four-plus hours with the commission in a setting that preserved the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. I'm happy to spend more time, wherever they like, whenever they like, however much time they'd like. The problem is that there is a legal and a constitutional problem, and my testifying before what is basically a congressional body, because it was constituted under Article II. So I accept that it's my responsibility to get as much information to them as I possibly can, but it's also my responsibility to protect the precedence of this office.
Willingness to testify Today Show 22-Mar This is not just a matter of tradition. It's a matter of constitutional separation as well, Matt. And it's not a matter of personal preference. And I spent more than four hours with the commission. I'm more than happy to spend more time with the commission. I've given them answers to all of their questions. To the degree that classification permits, they can make those answers known publicly. This is not an effort to do anything but get the full story out. But there are just certain walls between the executive and the Congress that should not be breached.
Willingness to testify Meet The Press 14-Mar the president, of course, is the president, and he does have a schedule to keep. But he has said that he will sit with the chairman and with the co-chairman, and that he will answer whatever questions they have. And I'm quite certain he will take as long as they need to answer those questions.
Willingness to testify Meet The Press 14-Mar Tim, this is not a matter of preference, this is a matter of principle. It has long been a legal and constitutional principle that assistants to the president, presidential staff, do not testify before legislative bodies. But this is not a matter of preference. I have spent more than four hours with the commission going through the details about 9/11. I'm prepared to spend more time with the commission in discussion about whatever they'd like to know about September 11th. But as a matter of principle, we cannot breach this wall between the legislature and the executive.
Willingness to testify 60 Minutes 28-Mar Nothing would be better from my point of view than to be able to testify. I would really like to do that, but there's an important principle involved here: it is a longstanding principle that sitting national security advisors do not testify before the Congress
Willingness to testify Hannity & Colmes 24-Mar Well, I had a private meeting with the commission for, I think, four-plus hours of and, Sean, I'm happy to go back anytime, any place, anywhere for however long they would like, because I would really like to have an opportunity to answer some of the really scurrilous charges that Dick Clarke has made against this president and against this administration.

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