Richard A. Clarke

Richard A. Clarke

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name = Richard A. Clarke

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birth_date = 1951
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Richard Alan Clarke [Dobbs, Michael. "An Obscure Chief in U.S. War on Terror". The Washington Post, April 2, 2000.] (born October 1951) was a U.S. government employee for 30 years, 1973 - 2003. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. [ [ Profile: Richard Clarke, BBC] ] Following the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton promoted Clarke to be the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council. Under President George W. Bush Clarke no longer had cabinet-level access, but continued in the same position until his retirement in January 2003, serving as a member of the Senior Executive Service, specializing in intelligence, cyber security and counter-terrorism.Fact|date=March 2008 He was thus a part of the executive branch at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Clarke came to widespread public attention for his role as counter-terrorism czar in the Clinton and Bush Administrations when in March 2004 he appeared on the 60 Minutes television news magazine, his memoir about his service in government, "Against All Enemies" was released, and he testified before the 9/11 Commission. In all three instances, Clarke was sharply critical of the Bush Administration's attitude toward counter-terrorism before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the decision to go to war with Iraq. Clarke has received criticism in turn for various reasons, including his strong disagreements with the Bush Administration.

Richard Clarke is currently Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, a strategic planning and corporate risk management firm, an on-air consultant for ABC News, and a contributor to [] , an online community discussing homeland security, defense, and politics. He has also become an author of fiction, publishing his first novel, "The Scorpion's Gate", in 2005, and a second, "Breakpoint", in 2007.


Richard Clarke was born in 1951, the son of a Boston factory worker. He studied at the Boston Latin School (graduated 1968) and received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972.

Government career

In 1973, he began work in the federal government as an employee in the U.S. Department of Defense. Starting in 1985, Clarke served in the Reagan Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. During the presidential administration of George H.W. Bush, he coordinated diplomatic efforts to support the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the subsequent security arrangements. During the Clinton Administration, Clarke became the counter-terrorism coordinator for the National Security Council. He also advised Madeleine Albright during the Genocide in Rwanda, and directed the authoring of PDD-25 [ [ Text of Presidential Decision Directive 25] ] which outlined a reduced military and economic role for the United States in Rwanda as well as future peacekeeping operations. He remained counter-terrorism coordinator during the first year of the George W. Bush Administration, and later was the Special Advisor to the president on cybersecurity and cyberterrorism. He resigned from the Bush Administration in 2003.

Clarke's positions inside the government have included:
* United States National Security Council, 1992-2003
** Special Advisor 2001-2003
** National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, 1998-2001
** Chair of the Counter-terrorism Security Group, 1992-2003
* United States Department of State 1985-1992
** Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, 1989-1992
** Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence, 1985-1988

9/11 Commission

On March 24, 2004, Clarke testified at the public 9/11 Commission hearings. [ [ Transcript: Wednesday's 9/11 Commission Hearings ( ] ] At the outset of his testimony Clarke offered an apology to the families of 9/11 victims and an acknowledgment that the government had failed: "I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11...", "To the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in this room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness." [] Clarke was the only member of the Clinton or Bush Administrations who provided an apology to the family members of victims along with an acknowledgement of the government's failure. []

Many of the events Clarke recounted during the hearings were also published in his memoir, "Against All Enemies." Among his highly critical statements regarding the Bush Administration, Clarke charged that before and during the 9/11 crisis, many in the administration were distracted from efforts against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization by a pre-occupation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Clarke had written that on September 12, 2001, President Bush pulled him and a couple of aides aside and "testily" asked him to try to find evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected to the terrorist attacks. In response he wrote a report stating there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement and got it signed by all relevant agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA. The paper was quickly returned by a deputy with a note saying "Please update and resubmit". ["Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror--What Really Happened" (ISBN 0-7432-6024-4)] After initially denying that such meeting and request between the President and Clarke took place, the White House later reversed its denial when others present backed Clarke's version of the events. [] []

According to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Clarke gave the final okay for the members of the bin Laden family living in the U.S. to fly to Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14, 2001. Clarke had initially claimed under oath someone in the Bush Administration had asked for the flight and he consulted with the FBI [] ; However, the FBI denied they had a role in approving the flight for bin Laden's family as alleged by Clarke when FBI spokesman John Iannarelli said: "I can say unequivocally that the FBI had no role in facilitating these flights." Later, Clarke admitted that he alone authorized the flight. He told reporters “I take responsibility for it. I don’t think it was a mistake, and I’d do it again.” []

After Clarke appeared before the 911 Commission, his detractors attacked his credibility, suggesting that he was too partisan a figure, and charging that he exaggerated perceived failures in the Bush Administration' counter terrorism policies while exculpating the former Clinton administration from its perceived shortcomings. [,8599,604598,00.html] According to news agency Knight-Ridder, the White House tried to discredit Clarke in a move described as "shooting the messenger." [] New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was more blunt, calling the attacks on Clarke "a campaign of character assassination." []

Clarke has also exchanged criticism with Michael Scheuer, former chief of the bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA. When asked to respond to Clarke's claim that Scheuer was "a hothead, a middle manager who really didn't go to any of the cabinet meetings," Scheuer returned the criticism as follows: "I certainly agree with the fact that I didn't go to the cabinet meetings. But I'm certainly also aware that I'm much better informed than Mr. Clarke ever was about the nature of the intelligence that was available against Osama bin Laden and which was consistently denigrated by himself and Mr. Tenet." [] Matthew Continetti writes: "Scheuer believes that Clarke’s risk aversion and politicking negatively impacted the hunt for Bin Laden prior to September 11, 2001. Scheuer stated that his unit, codename 'Alec,' had provided information that could have led to the capture and or killing of Osama bin Laden on ten different occasions, only to have his recommendations for action turned down by senior intelligence officials, including Clarke. " []

Pre-9/11 memo about Al Qaeda threat

Clarke and his communications with the Bush administration regarding Osama bin Laden and associated terrorist plots targeting the United States were mentioned frequently in National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's public interview by the 9/11 investigatory commission on April 8, 2004. Of particular significance was a memo [] from January 25, 2001 that Clarke had authored and sent to Rice.

Along with making an urgent request for a meeting of the National Security Council's Principals Committee to discuss the growing al-Qaeda threat in the greater Middle East, the memo also suggests strategies for combating al-Qaeda that might be adopted by the new Bush Administration. []


Just before and after Clarke appeared before the 9/11 Commission, defenders of the Bush Administration tried to attack his credibility. They charged that he exaggerated perceived failures in the Bush Administration's counterterrorism policies while exculpating the former Clinton administration from its perceived shortcomings. [,8599,604598,00.html]

According to some reports, the White House tried to discredit Clarke in a move described as "shooting the messenger." [] New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was more blunt, calling the attacks on Clarke "a campaign of character assassination." []

Conservatives inside and outside the Bush Administration vigorously attacked both Clarke's testimony and his tenure during the hearings. In the furor over Clarke's revelations before the 9/11 Commission, Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist immediately took to the Senate floor to make a speech accusing Clarke of telling "two entirely different stories under oath", pointing to congressional hearing testimony Clarke gave in 2002, but Frist later admitted to reporters that he was unaware of any actual discrepancies in Clarke's testimony. [] Some White House attempts to discredit Clarke were inconsistent, specifically, the day after Clarke's revelations Vice President Dick Cheney went on the Rush Limbaugh radio program to claim that Clarke's account of the events leading to the 9/11 attacks was not credible because Clarke "wasn't in the loop" on pre-9/11 counter-terrorism planning, while at the same time National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was telling reporters that Clarke was the center of all counter-terrorism efforts. [Bumiller, Elizabeth, "Threats and Responses: Was an Official 'In the Loop?' It all Depends", The New York Times, March 25, 2004 [] ]

Clarke has also been criticized by conservatives for suggesting the possibility of a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda but then, after investigation, concluding that no link had been established.

Specifically, in February 1999 Clarke wrote the Deputy National Security Advisor that one reliable source reported Iraqi officials had met with Bin Ladin and may have offered him asylum. [The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 134. [] ] Therefore, Clarke advised against surveillance flights to track Bin Laden in Afghanistan: Anticipating an attack, “old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad” [The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 134. [] ] , where he would be impossible to find.

Clarke also made statements that year to the press linking Hussein and al-Qaeda to an alleged joint chemical weapons development effort at the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. []

Since 1999, however, the United States government has admitted that its evidence regarding Al Shifa is inconclusive, and Clarke has concluded that there was no Iraq-al Qaeda link. In "Against All Enemies" he writes, "It is certainly possible that Iraqi agents dangled the possibility of asylum in Iraq before bin Laden at some point when everyone knew that the U.S. was pressuring the Taliban to arrest him. If that dangle happened, bin Laden's accepting asylum clearly did not," (p. 270). In an interview on March 21, 2004, Clarke made the statement: "There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda, ever." Clarke makes clear in his book that he came to his more recent conclusion as a result of several investigations, prompted by the Bush Administration, specifically into the possibility of an Iraqi connection to September 11.

In response to Clarke's charges against the Bush administration, Fox News, with the Administration's consent, identified and released a background briefing that Clarke gave in August 2002, at the Administration's request, to minimize the fallout from a Time Magazine story about the President's failure to take certain actions before 9/11. [] In that briefing on behalf of the White House, Clarke stated "there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration," and that after taking office President Bush decided to "add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, fivefold, to go after Al Qaeda." [,2933,115085,00.html] At the next day's hearing, 9/11 Commission member Thompson challenged Clarke with the 2002 account, and Clarke explained: "I was asked to make that case to the press. I was a special assistant to the president, and I made the case I was asked to make....I was asked to highlight the positive aspects of what the administration had done and to minimize the negative aspects of what the administration had done. And as a special assistant to the president, one is frequently asked to do that kind of thing. I've done it for several presidents." []

In his book, Clarke wrote that that when he first briefed Rice on Al Qaeda, in a January 2001 meeting, "her facial expression gave me the impression she had never heard the term before." Rice, however, discussed the threat of Bin Laden striking U.S. territory in an Oct. 2000 radio interview. [] []

Cyberterrorism and Cybersecurity

Clarke, as Special Advisor to the President on Cybersecurity, spent his last year in the Bush Administration focusing on cybersecurity and the threat of terrorism against the critical infrastructure of the United States. At a security conference in 2002, after citing statistics that indicate that less than 0.0025 percent of corporate revenue on average is spent on information-technology security, Clarke was famously heard to say, "If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, then you will be hacked. What's more, you deserve to be hacked." [ ["Security Guru: Let's Secure the Net", ZDNet, February 20, 2002,14179,5103462,00.html] ]

Book: "Against All Enemies"

On March 22, 2004, Clarke's book, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror--What Really Happened" (ISBN 0-7432-6024-4), was published. The book was critical of past and present presidential administrations for the way they handled the war on terror both before and after September 11, 2001 but focused much of its criticism on Bush for failing to take sufficient action to protect the country in the elevated-threat period before the September 11, 2001 attacks and for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Clarke feels greatly hampered the war on terror, and was a distraction from the real terrorists. Clarke's 2004 views on Iraq were strikingly different from those offered in an October 1998 speech in which he spoke of the dangers of a rogue state such as Iraq, which had been designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" by the State Department, providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups:

"I frequently get accused of wasting the taxpayers' money on an extravagant program of chem-bio defense that is unnecessary, that is a pork barrel, that is an overreaction to one incident by a religious cult in Japan. Let me try to tell those who say that, why they are wrong. There are two lists that I want to talk about. One is the list of state sponsors of terrorism that the Secretary of State issues every year, by law. You know who is on that list. It is a public document.

"There is another list that the Director of Central Intelligence issues on a classified basis every year, and that is the list of states that have chemical or biological weapons. There is almost a one-for-one copy of the terrorist state sponsors list resident within the list of states that have chemical and biological weapons. What does it mean to be a state sponsor of terrorism? It means that you have trained, equipped, financed, provided sanctuary to, provided leadership for, provided intelligence to, and armed terrorist groups.

"Now if these state sponsors of terrorism have done all of that, do we want to bet the security of our people here at home that those state sponsors will not go the additional step of providing terrorist groups with the chemical and biological weapons that are already in the inventory of the state sponsors of terrorism? I don't want to. The president doesn't want to." []

Iraq was on both of those lists in 1998 and 2003.

Additional works

*"Defeating the Jihadists: A Blueprint for Action", 2004. In this book Clarke outlines his idea of a more effective U.S. counterterrorism policy. (ISBN 0-87078-491-9)
*"The Scorpion's Gate", 2005 (novel). (ISBN 0-399-15294-6)
*"Breakpoint", 2007 (novel). (ISBN 0-399-15378-0).
*"Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters", 2008. (ISBN 9780061474620)


* Chairman, [ Good Harbor Consulting, LLC] , a strategic planning and corporate risk management firm.
* Contributor, [] , an online resource for homeland security, defense and political issues, operated by Good Harbor Consulting, LLC.
* Advisory Board Member, Civitas Group, LLC []
*On-air consultant, ABC News.


External links

* "Profile: [ Richard Clarke] ". BBC.
* [ Richard Clarke Bio at Harvard Kennedy School]
* "Attacks on Richard Clarke [,11209,1179088,00.html] " Guardian UK.
* Field, Chris, " [ On Richard Clarke] ". March 22, 2004
* [ NPR: Richard Clarke Book Reaction]
* [,8599,604598,00.html Richard Clarke, at War With Himself] from Time magazine
* [ Clarke's Take on Terror from CBS News]
* [ frontline the man who knew interviews richard a. clarke PBS]
* Richard Clarke's [ 911 Commission Testimony] (24 March 2004).
* [ "Richard Clarke Talks Cybersecurity and JELL-O," an exclusive interview with IEEE Security & Privacy magazine after the 9/11 testimony]
* [ "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror" Streaming video of Richard Clarke talk at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign on March 8, 2005]
* [ "A Dick Clarke Top Seven" by Mansoor Ijaz]
* [ Articles, essays, and reports written by Richard Clarke]
*imdb name|id=1807652|name=Richard Clarke

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