Saturday, March 27, 2004

# Posted 2:06 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WaPo CLIMB DOWN: Without admitting they ever got the story wrong, the WaPo correspondents on the Clarke beat are backing down from their initial assessment of Clarke's criticism. In a News Analysis column entitled "Bush, Clinton Varied Little on Terrorism", Dana Milbank and Dan Eggen (with an assist from Walter Pincus) write that the
[9/11] commission's determination that the two policies were roughly the same calls into question claims made by Bush officials that they were developing a superior terrorism policy. The findings also put into perspective the criticism of President Bush's approach to terrorism by Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief: For all his harsh complaints about Bush administration's lack of urgency in regard to terrorism, he had no serious quarrel with the actual policy Bush was pursuing before the 2001 attacks.

Clarke did not respond to efforts to reach him for comment yesterday.
Ouch. Anyhow, compare that passage from the WaPo to the Eggen/Pincus front pager from Thursday which reports that "The two [9/11 commission] staff reports issued yesterday appeared to confirm many of Clarke's key allegations and criticisms." Also on Thursday's front page, Dana Milbank wrote that even "Though more prominent personalities testified in the commission's two-day public hearings, the longtime foreign policy bureaucrat [i.e. Clarke] stole the show." And you thought John Kerry was prone to flip-flops...
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