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White House lapses led to 9/11, Clark says

Retired Army General Wesley K. Clark yesterday suggested that President Bush bears some responsibility for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying the administration had been warned about the threat of Osama bin Laden but did not act quickly enough to prevent the tragedy. “Now, we know who did 9/11,” Clark told a roomful of business people at a law firm in Portsmouth, saying the Bush administration should be investigated for its actions prior to the attacks. Bush, he said, is “responsible for our preparation, our defense, and that’s the issue. . . . This was a president who was in charge in this country for almost nine months, and failed” to defend the country. Clark’s remarks, among his sharpest critiques of Bush, were delivered as his campaign has stepped up its rhetoric. At other points yesterday, Clark referred to Bush as “a reckless, radical, and heartless leader” and said the war in Iraq “casts doubts on his competence as a commander in chief.” Later, Clark elaborated on his 9/11 criticism, saying that President Clinton’s former national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, had warned the Bush administration about the dangers of bin Laden but that Bush spent his first nine months in office focusing on Russia rather than the Al Qaeda leader. Full Story

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