11 thoughts on “Shays on Clarke”

  1. Sounds like Shays. He has a LOT of substance, and when he speaks on security he’s extremely credible.

    In particular, no member of Congress or the Senate has done more to warn and prepare America re: the issue of bioterrorism.

  2. I’ve met Shays, and like him.

    I would raise two issues.

    1. It sounds like he wanted to cut Clarke’s budget.

    2. Clarke did develop what Shays wanted in the wake of the Cole bombing.

  3. They are genuine. They can be downloaded from his website. As of yesterday they were still acessible on his homepage. The letter to Clarke was followed up by a letter to Condi Rice in January 2001 expressing their concerns with Richard Clarke. This is also available on his website.

  4. This letter is interesting, but I feel I need some context.

    To me, this sounds like a communication breakdown. Apparently, what Shays really wanted was a systematic method for dividing up antiterrorism funds. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for. But by phrasing his question as “give me a comprehensive strategy for battling terror,” I think he came across as if he were asking for an attack strategy that works against the IRA, the Tamil Tigers, and Hezbollah. Clarke would naturally have thought this was silly. His natural response would be to provide a list of groups and to point out how divergent they are from each other, and that no one strategy will work for all of them. Shays would probably have been irritated at having been so badly misinterpreted. He would then point out that he’s a congressman, and that as a congressman, his responsibility is to allocate funds, and that he needed the sort of information that would help him allocate funds.

    Sounds like they eventually hashed it out.

    Now I don’t know if that’s really what happened, but like I said, I think we need some context to know if this is anything more than a squabble.

    – Josh

  5. Since neither the Tamil Tigers nor the IRA had attacked America’s interests at home or abroad, then it is quite clear that Shays wanted a strategy for addressing Islamic terrorism on a global, rather than local, scale. Shays sounds very serious about the disbursement of taxpayer funds. Having spending priorities speak to a concern for the proper utilization of taxpayer monies.

    Clarke, on the other hand, didn’t give a damn. He had no strategy and no vision for how to cope with the problem; therefore, spending priorities were not an issue with him. The disdain he shows for Congress and the taxpayer is also demonstrated in his book and in the testimony before the 9/11 Commission. The man who had no regard for the need for anti-terror strategy is also the man who saw nothing in lying about a NSC advisor and president who did.

  6. Hold on pratike,

    How do you justify those conclusions? You pulled those out of the air.

    Shays asked how to prioritize spending. That is not not a cut. If you are spending 12.9 billion, then you want to know it is being spent appropriately. He has the right to ask what bang for what buck.

    Are you on this committee? How do you know Shays concerns were answered? Shays published this after Clarkes testimony. This directly implies that it was NOT.

  7. Sorry, Helen, but the last I saw, it was the White House backpedaling full speed on the question of the Bush/Clark 9/12 meeting. And Condi Rice’s explanations are so all-over-the-map they don’t even agree with the rest of the Administration. (LINK, can supply others.) The question of who is lying is very, very open.

  8. Capt. Joe:

    You’re right, I pulled those out of my ass. But the fact remains that Clarke did develop priorities in the wake of the Cole bombing, and the fact remains that it sounds to me like Shays wanted to cut funding. Is that last part true or not? I don’t know. Maybe you could look it up. But my own characterization about my own reaction to the memo is no doubt true.

  9. When you’re thinking of expanding the budget for the “war on terrorism” is is good to know just what you are spending the money for. That is what Shays is responsible for doing here.
    Did I miss it, but did Clarke every generate a comprehensive plan to combat terrorism ?
    Or is he just another bereaucrat setting up an empire with no plan to accomplish real goals (sounds like the business plan of one of those dot.coms) ?

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