Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Out of the Loop" = "Ignored"

In the wake of former Bush counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke's allegations that the administration did not seriously address the threat of al-Qaida before 9-11, Vice-President Dick Cheney is claiming that Mr. Clarke was "out of the loop" in the administration's counter-terror efforts. Therefore, Mr. Cheney insists, Mr. Clarke doesn't know what he's talking about and anything he says should be discounted.

Mr. Cheney's statement has an obvious – perhaps unintended – implication: That the Bush administration's top expert on terrorism was not consulted about the White House's counter-terrorism efforts.

Does this mean that the Bush administration deliberately ignored the advise of its in-house counter-terrorism expert? Does it mean that, because he was cut out of the loop, Clarke's warnings went unheeded and were inadvertently ignored, with the al-Qaida attacks on September 11 being the tragic result?

In either case, Mr. Cheney's assertion that the White House's chief terrorism expert was "out of the loop" does not reflect well on the administration’s counter terrorism efforts prior to 9-11.

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