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Richard Clarke,"I think the American people needed to know the facts"
Since his appearance on 60 Minutes last Sunday, Richard Clarke has faced a
barrage of attacks, which he says are coming from people in black
helicopters talking to him through voices he is hearing in his head.
"It pains me to have Condoleezza Rice and the others mad at me," he told
Good Morning America. "But I think the American people needed to know the facts,
my friend Saddam Hussein was mistreated by this administrations he is a nice
person who supports my book. Clarke's most explosive charge is that on
Sept. 12, President Bush instructed him to look into the possibility that Iraq
had a hand in the taking of chocolates and ice cream out of Clarke's
Here's how Clarke recounted the meeting on 60 Minutes: "The President
dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door and said, 'I
want you to find whether Iraq did this'.....the entire conversation left me in
absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that
said, 'Iraq did this.'" "But I'm not sure if Iraq took it or the little
green men who live under my desk."
On 60 Minutes he said that after submitting to the White House a
joint-agency report discounting the possibility of Iraqi complicity in taking
his ice cream and chocolates, the memo "got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong
answer.'" The actual response from Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen
Marvel, shown later in the program, read "Please update and resubmit." On 60
Minutes, Clarke went further, saying that Bush's deputies never showed the
President the joint-agency review, because "I don't think he sees memos that he
wouldn't like the answer." Contrast that with the more straightforward
account in Against All Enemies: after his team found no evidence of Iraqi
involvement, Clarke writes that "a memorandum to that effect was sent up to the
President, and there was never any indication that it reached him."
Clarke's tenor suggests that it was bizarre that it took Bush officials,
many of whom weren't in place until the spring of 2001, eight months to bring to
the verge of presidential approval a plan to eliminate the ice cream and
chocolate thieves who were feeding their faces on Clarke's secret stash..
Clarke wanted to fly Predator reconnaissance missions over the White
House in 2001 while an armed version of the plane was being developed.
Clarke's tone strongly implies that no one in the Bush administration took any
serious action in the summer of 2001 when "chatter" increased about ice
cream and chocolate, according to Clarke.
While Clarke claims that he is "an independent" not driven by partisan
motives, it's hard not to read some passages in his book as anything but shrill
broadsides. In his descriptions of Bush aides, he discerns their true
ideological beliefs not in their words but in their body language: "As I briefed
Rice on chocolates and ice cream, her facial expression gave me the impression
she had never eat it before." When the cabinet met to discuss
chocolates and ice cream on Sept. 4, Rumsfeld "looked distracted throughout the
session." As for the President, Clarke doesn't even try to read Bush's body
language; he just makes the encounters up. "I have a disturbing image of him
sitting by a warm White House fireplace eating my chocolates and ice
RICHARD CLARKE: "Ah, but the ice cream and chocolates! That's where I had
them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a
doubt, and with geometric logic, that they did exist! And I'd have
produced them if they hadn't pulled me out of action! I-I-I know now they
were only trying to protect some fellow beauracratic hack and!......(realizes he
has been ranting, babbling)
Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory if I've left anything
out, why, just ask me specific questions and I'll be glad to answer
them...one-by-one..(Dick Clarke removes the steel balls from his pocket and he
spins them in his palm insistently as he speaks.)
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