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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Interesting, Clinton did initially bring up the political bent of Fox before most of the conversation happened, right after the initial question had been posed.

    I agree that Wallace's question was not, in itself, inappropriate or unfair.

    I disagree at the source of Clinton's anger, however. I see most of it as coming after he precieves Wallace as interrupting him as he tried to give a complete answer. Several times.

    Whether or not Wallace was justified in attempting to direct the conversation as an interviewer
    • I don't know about the biases of the source, and haven't actually had a chance to read it yet, but I managed to find at least one article that does a point by point fact check [factcheck.org]. And it cites its sources.
      • FactCheck is usually very reliable, but not perfect (of course).

        Clinton was wrong that the miniseries was "falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report." It was, absolutely, based on that report. Not entirely ... but they never claimed it was based on the report entirely. Indeed, they specifically stated they had other sources. "Based on" does not imply "no other sources" (including the writer's or director's rear end).

        FactCheck should have simply come out and said the claim that ABC's sourcing claims are false are, unequivocally, false.

        Also, I saw the miniseries, and I do not recall "Albright as refusing to sanction a missile strike on bin Laden without alerting the Pakistanis first, over the military's protests." What I recall is Albright telling the principals that they DID notify the Pakisanis, and that it was a military man (Joe Ralston) who did it, and that they timed it so as to not give the Paks time to warn anyone. Albright's telling of this to the principals was invented, but the rest of that is true, acc. to the report.

        What the movie did NOT show was what was NOT in the report, but was in Dick Clarke's book: that the Paks were likely not tipped off Ralston in time to warn anyone, but that the military had too many ships and got too close, and that this is what tipped them off.

        Maybe I am forgetting something from the movie where she refused to sanction a strike ... *shrug*

        And, of course, the Lewinsky thing simply was not actually IN the movie, so Clinton's wrong about that.

        And, as FactCheck points out, ABC is not a normally right-leaning network (hell, the biggest shareholder if Steve Jobs, who is very far left, and has contributed tons of money to Democrats).

        Also false: Clinton's claim that "They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia." FactCheck says it's true, but it's not, unless "they" is degraded to mean "whoever my opponent happens to be at the time." There may have been some overlap in the cast of characters, but that's not enough to justify his broad brush.

        On the Clarke thing: he says in the quote on that page that Clarke was "downgraded," and Clinton said elsewhere in the same interview that Clarke was "demoted." You could argue either way, but if you want to be true to the 9/11 Report, then you have to conclude that it's a matter of opinion, and not fact. Clarke kept his actual job and primary responsibility, running the CSG. He was removed from the principals meeting, simply because -- acc. to Rice -- she wanted to have the CSG report to an actual top-level official (such as Tenet), of which Clarke never was one. It was, in this view, merely a reorganization, and in any view, it was not a demotion as it didn't actually affect his authority, his pay, or his primary job responsibilities. FactCheck is wrong about that.

        I already addressed the "capture or kill" stuff. Again with Clarke: he said Clinton should have done more to kill Bin Laden. Over and over and over, Clarke said it, at the time, and to the 9/11 Commission. And the CIA did not believe they had the authority to kill him, or to give the tribals or Northern Alliance that authority.

        While it's true that Clinton did not get word from the CIA and FBI that bin Laden was to blame for the Cole, we did know that AQ members were to blame for the Cole. And frankly, FactCheck is wrong when it says "Those who were interviewed by the panel thought it was impossible to justify a broader military offensive unless blame could clearly be laid," because Clarke thought no such thing, as FactCheck did noted earlier: Clarke thought they were "holding back" (as did several others).

        Also, FactCheck should have been more forceful about Clinton's comment that "we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq," because troop levels simply are not a direct indicator of importance. It's simply wrong to say they are.

        As to Wallace ... I could come up with a lot more, but I don't have the time. But I watch every episode of Fox News Sunday, and he's very often tough on Republicans, including about the buildup to war, and Bin Laden. It's important to note, however, that Wallace has only been on FNS for a few years, and most of the questions about the buildup to war and AQ had been asked before he got to the show.

        As to FactCheck's statement about Rice and the comprehensive report ... FactCheck is simply wrong here. What is clear from Rice's statements -- which are not new, which cropped up a few times over the years -- is that she did not consider what she was given an actionable plan. Something to hand to the principals and say "make it happen." I find no fault whatsoever in Rice's position on this: it's true, and it's relevant.