Condoleezza Rice’s Memory Problem

Condoleezza Rice has a tough time remembering all those warnings she received about bin Laden before 9/11, and every time they come up she claims this is something new to her. Think Progress reports that  Condoleezza Rice, appearing on Face the Nation today, was asked about George Tenet’s recommendations from two months before the 9/11 attack. Tenet had advised, “We need to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan now. We need to move to the offensive.”

Rice replied, “The idea of launching preemptive strikes into Afghanistan in July of 2001, this is a new fact.” She subsequently said, “I don’t know what we were supposed to preemptively strike in Afghanistan. Perhaps somebody can ask that.”

This isn’t the first time Rice lied about receiving such recommendations. Mahablog provides evidence that Rice had received these warnings from Tenet before, and was caught lying about it. Rice also lied about warnings received from others. In a column in the Washington Post on March 22, 2004, Condoleezza Rice wrote:

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.

During the transition, President-elect Bush’s national security team was briefed on the Clinton administration’s efforts to deal with al Qaeda. The seriousness of the threat was well understood by the president and his national security principals. In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas, some of which had been around since 1998 but had not been adopted. No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.

Documents obtained from the National Security Archive previously showed that these statements from Rice were untrue. The documents include a January 25, 2001, memo from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and “Tab A December 2000 Paper: Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects,” These documents, along with the testimony of Richard Clarke, contradict the claims of Condoleezza Rice that “No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.”

Rice was warned about the dangers from al Qaeda by both Tenet and Clark. She admits, “the seriousness of the threat was well understood” but did nothing and pretends that she never received advice to take action.  After ignoring such advice, and failing to continue the policy of the Clinton administration of going after bin Laden, Rice has repeatedly made these false claims that these are new ideas she had never heard of before. Something is seriously wrong with her memory, or her ability to speak the truth.

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