From: Otis Willie
Subject: In anti-terror war, Pentagon, FBI little help to Clinton, book says
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 16:50:36 EST
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 21:50:36 GMT
In anti-terror war, Pentagon, FBI little help to Clinton, book says
(EXCERPT) Wed Nov 13, 2:19 AM ET, by GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The high school textbooks say the president of the United
States runs the executive branch of government and rides herd on a
vast bureaucracy assigned to carry out his directives.
Well, that's not quite the way it works, say Daniel Benjamin and
Steven Simon, who describe the travails of President Bill Clinton in
trying, often unsuccessfully, to get the Pentagon (news - web sites)
and the FBI (news - web sites) to pursue Osama bin Laden (news - web
sites)'s al-Qaida terrorist network.
The two authors, both Clinton-era National Security Council experts on
terrorism, share their thoughts in a new book, "The Age of Sacred
They say Clinton wanted to do something about al-Qaida operations in
Afghanistan (news - web sites) late in his second term, his cruise
missile attacks on the group's facilities in August 1998 having
He approached Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and said, according to the book, "It would scare the
(expletive) out of al-Qaida if suddenly a bunch of black ninjas
rappelled out of helicopters in to the middle of their camp. It would
get us an enormous deterrence and show those guys we're not afraid."
The Pentagon feared a debacle similar to April 1980 when President
Jimmy Carter dispatched helicopters to Iran in hopes of rescuing 52
American hostages. The result was the incineration of two helicopters
and the deaths of eight servicemen.
The authors suspect that Pentagon reservations about the Clinton plan
ran deeper. The Pentagon, they point out, had an uneasy relationship
with Clinton virtually from Day 1, when the White House began pushing
to end discrimination against homosexuals by the military.
They quoted a senior political appointee at the Pentagon as saying
that Defense was "particularly unwilling to go out on a limb for
Also, the authors say, Thomas Pickering, No. 3 at the State Department
under Clinton, worried that someone at Defense would put out the story
that the Clinton plan would "hazard the lives of young Americans in a
wild goose chase. The Pentagon has a great capacity to let things leak
to keep from doing them."
Clinton's "black ninja" plan never got off the ground.
Lee Edwards, who follows presidential politics at the Heritage
Foundation, says all presidents have had difficulty with balky
He recalled th......
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