Krauthammer Clarke is self-serving, manipulative and was ultimately responsible because he was the counter-terror chief.
What he convieniently forgets is that while Clarke can recommend all the policy he wants, he is an advisor. The President is ultimately responsible for enacting policy. If the administration is focused on missile defense and rogue nations and treating the terrorism threat as important but not urgent, then no matter how many excellent plans the Counterterrorism Strategy Group came up with they don't get put in place. Clarke's argument has never been that the specific attack on 9/11 was preventable, but that overall the administration did not rank terrorism as an urgent priority.
The second half of his argument is that the administration immediately looked in the wrong direction, at Iraq, instead of the dissasociated network that is Al Qaeda.
There have been a number of other government officials coming out and saying the same thing Clarke has been asserting including Clarke's successor, Rand Beers, who resigned a month after taking over.
Frontline did href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/">a report on FBI Deputy Director John O'neill who had gathered together a great deal of evidence that Al Qaeda was going to attack the U.S. and very soon. O'neill understood the immense threat Al Qaeda presented and had spent years tracking down the links between the disparate groups and individuals that made up the nexus of the network. Unfortunately, O'neill was too much of a maverick and made a number of enemies, including the Director of the FBI, and they stopped listening.
O'neil left the FBI in the summer of 2001 and went to work at the World Trade Center as head of security. He died in the attack.
There was plenty of evidence, and many experienced individuals working on tracking down Al Qaeda. But the Bush administration was more concerned with missile defense and Iraq.
The point of the 9/11 commission is not to assign blame, but to understand how to improve our attempts to take down the Al Qaeda network.
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