RealNews

Ex-Bush Aide Says Threat of Qaeda Was Not Priority

President Bush’s former counterterrorism chief, Richard A. Clarke, testified on Wednesday to the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks that the Bush administration had largely ignored the threat from Al Qaeda prior to the attacks. That prompted members of the commission to divide along sharply partisan lines as they questioned Mr. Clarke. As Republican members openly questioned Mr. Clarke’s truthfulness and Democrats defended an official who helped direct the nation’s counterterrorism strategy for nearly a decade, Mr. Clarke testified that the Bush administration had not treated counterterrorism as an “urgent issue” before the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Clarke used a different tone in starting his testimony in a hushed Senate hearing room, saying he wanted to apologize to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, including the scores of victims’ relatives in the audience. “Your government failed you,” he said. “Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard. But that doesn’t matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.” Full Story

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