Ironically, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice have defended their post-9/11 decisions by appealing for empathy, arguing that only those in charge on that bleak day could understand. “I have little sympathy for this argument,” Richard Clarke, who was there, retorts in a withering piece for the Washington Post, blaming them for ignoring pre-9/11 intel warning of an imminent al-Qaeda attack.
On interrogation techniques, terror suspect detention, and wiretapping, the Bush administration feared new attacks, so they “authorized the most extreme measures available” and prioritized winning a second term above exposing the truth, says Clarke, a counter-terrorism official under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Cheney and Rice “may have been surprised by the attacks, but it was because they had not listened.”
(Read more Richard Clarke stories.)