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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

GAO Study Found Gaping Holes in Clinton Anti-Terrorism Prep, Massive Walls of Red Tape

PoliPundit's DJ Drummond is a blogger after my own heart because he (or she?) recognizes the vital truth that the most important information in government reports is often hidden in plain sight.

And that's why Drummond was able to dig out of a 1997 Government Accountability Office report some very important but previously unknown facts about how horrifyingly unprepared was the U.S. government for a 9/11-style terrorist attack during the Clinton years.

For example, guess who would have been in charge had 9/11 happenned on the Clinton watch? Would you believe Secretary of State Madeline Albright? Here's Drummond's summary on the point:

"The Report explains that terrorist incidents would be addressed by the assignment of a 'lead agency' in each case. For Domestic events, the FBI is the lead agency, and for foreign events, the State Department takes charge. Got that? The Embassy bombings would warrant a diplomatic protest and 9/11 would mean hoping for extradition after a grand jury heard the case. A less pragmatic response is hard to imagine."

And speaking of who would have been in charge, it might not have much mattered because they wouldn't have been able to penetrate the bureaucracy established by the Clinton government's anti-terrorism preparation:

"The Report has a flow chart of command authority on page 21. It’s worth noting that there are six layers of people between those making a decision and those who would carry it out, and that this Report puts the National Security Agency, CIA, Secret Service, ATF, and Customs at bottom rung of the ladder, with no authority of their own in a crisis or direct access to the President or the National Security Advisor, who is not even listed on the chart as a source or recipient of information in a terrorist crisis.

"In addition, none of the Working Groups, regardless of their experience or skills, is given direct access to the NSC or the White House, but are required to submit their advice through a bureaucratic channel (page 23)."

There is so much more in Drummond's analysis, so let me just give you his summary:

"The Report is a masterpiece of bureaucratic falderol and political garbage. Nowhere is terrorism plainly recognized for what it is, an act of war against the United States which demands an immediate and effective deterrence, and failing that unlimited response potential.

"When pirates raided U.S. freighters, President Jefferson sent in Marines to Tripoli. When Mexican bandits raided American territory, President Polk sent the Army in. With that in mind, Bush’s response to 9/11 was not only effective and constitutional, but historically consistent, morally sound and necessary. This Report shows us that Clinton/Gore were neither serious nor competent to address the peril."

Thank the Lord those people weren't in the White House when 9/11 actually came.

Go here for Drummond's full post.