12 October 2010

USS Cole and Clinton Administration

While President Clinton may have balked at retaliation, was it because he didn't have the 'evidence' he wanted, or because he was trying to avoid a "wag the dog" phenomenon in the wake of the Lewinsky scandals.

At 11:15 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2000, the Cole — a billion dollar destroyer armed with the most advanced weapons in the U.S. naval arsenal — was docked off the coast of Yemen for refueling when it was approached by a small skiff packed with explosives and manned by two suicide bombers. The resulting explosion was a chilling precursor to the attacks on Sept. 11. It ripped a 60-by-40-foot hole in the ship’s hull, trapping the bodies of many of the dead crew members in the wreckage.

In the days after the attack, President Clinton vowed retribution against the terrorists. “You will not find a safe harbor,” he proclaimed. “We will find you and justice will prevail.”

But in his final months in office, Clinton never retaliated against al-Qaida, frustrating some of his own counterterrorism advisors. Clinton later told the 9/11 commission he was never shown hard proof that Osama bin Laden’s operatives were behind the attack.

But two senior investigators — one with the FBI and another with the Naval Criminal Investigative Task Force — recently told NBC News there was actually compelling evidence that al-Qaida was responsible for the bombing almost immediately. Two of the Cole bombers arrested by Yemeni security forces confessed their role and told investigators they were working for two top al-Qaida operatives known to U.S. intelligence — information that was quickly made available to FBI and naval investigative agents.

Much more in the full story from the NY Times - go read!

By: Brant

No comments: