This was an interesting exchange upon terrorism experts. Besides the emotions that are honestly visible in this video clip, this is an incredibly complex issue. Remember the atmosphere which President Bill Clinton was operating in. You have an incredibly divisive Congress. President Clinton could not go to the restroom without criticism from Republican leadership. Although Newt Gingrich praised President Clinton’s missile strikes on suspected Al Qaeda targets, many other Republicans were highly critical. Therefore, it’s hard to imagine how Clinton could have been more aggressive in going after bin Laden under such criticism. There was no way, let me repeat, there was no way that President Clinton could have sent in troops without a complete and total revolt in the Republican-led Congress. If a missile strike was “Wag the Dog,” then what would a commando raid have been called.
Remember, the 9/11 commission was designed to quell angst and the American public. It was not designed to enter questions. Although, they did answer some questions, others were left completely untouched. Recall, that the 9/11 commission did not have access to all of the information. The administration stonewalled some of the “highly sensitive” information was only seen by a couple of the 9/11 commissioners. The executive director of the 9/11 commission, somebody almost completely invisible to the public, was a Bush insider. He had a lot of say on what went into the final report.
I was not terribly critical of the Bush administration lack of focus on Al Qaeda until, they tried to convince the public that there were always on the ball. When President Bush began saying that we were always on top of terrorism, this when I began very critical. This is not true. When the Bush administration came into office they were focused on Iraq and missile defense.
Finally, Michael Sheuer, who led the bin Laden unit in the CIA for many years, he lived, breathed and slept bin Laden. He is about to come unglued during this interview. He mentions that there were 10 instances when we had an opportunity to take out bin Laden. I believe that he is a thoughtful man. I believe that he has a single-mindedness that unfortunately a president cannot have.