Political Failures


From the AP:

The Clinton and Bush administrations' failure to pursue military action against al-Qaida operatives allowed the Sept. 11 terrorists to elude capture despite warning signs years before the attacks, a federal panel said Tuesday.

The Clinton administration had early indications of terrorist links to Osama bin Laden and future Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as early as 1995, but let years pass as it pursued criminal indictments and diplomatic solutions to subduing them abroad, it found.

Bush officials, meanwhile, failed to act immediately on increasing intelligence chatter and urgent warnings in early 2001 by its counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, to take out al-Qaida targets, according to preliminary findings by the commission reviewing the attacks.

"We found that the CIA and the FBI tended to be careful in discussing the attribution for terrorist attacks," the bipartisan report said. "The time lag between terrorist act and any definitive attribution grew to months, then years, as the evidence was compiled."