Friday, April 09, 2004


Sept. 22 2000, bin Laden said he would attack U.S. ships - Oct 12 2000 he struck the USS Cole

The Galvin Opinion has compiled a series of resources that recount the events and political repercussions arising out of the Oct 12, 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. There has been some discussion on what the Bush Administration should have done about the Cole despite the fact that the attack occurred during the Clinton Administration. But, the information below shows how Osama bin Laden was identified as the prime suspect, very quickly, after the attack while the Clinton team was still in office.

Despite the fact that bin Laden had declared war on America in 1998 the Clinton Administration never countered that we were at war with terrorists. In a radio address on October 14, two days after the attacks, Bill Clinton said "even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military risk their lives every day." In an October 18 memorial service, Clinton only devoted one small paragraph to the terrorists. He never mentioned any grave threat by name, not even Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. In a "Meet the Press" interview just 3 days after the attack, National Security Advisor Sandy Berger did not even bring up Al Qaeda or the risk it posed to Americans. His neglect to address the subject of our biggest enemy came just one month before the 2000 election. Top officials like Madeleine Albright and William Cohen ignored Richard Clarke's calls for attacking Al Qaeda targets for fear of derailing the Arab-Israeli peace process and creating perceptions that America is indiscriminately bombing Muslims. All of this despite the fact there was a foiled attempt on 3 U.S. targets on January 3, 2000, including an attack on "The Sullivans" in, of all places, the port of Aden, Yemen.

In fact, the Clinton Administration should have had knowledge of bin Laden's desire to carry out attacks on American forces. Osama bin Laden and members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad appeared in a Qatar TV tape on September 22, 2000 making specific threats to attack American ships. Osama bin Laden followed through on his promise on October 12, 2000, killing 17 Americans. . . . .

NYTimes - Oct 13 2000 - Blast Kills Sailors on U.S. Ship in Yemen
In recent weeks, President Saddam Hussein of Iraq has also intensified his threats against the United States, Israel and Arab states like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Even as the Cole was struck, American intelligence officials had detected movement by one of Iraq's Republican Guard divisions west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, though Mr. Cohen suggested the timing could be coincidental.

Oct 12 2000- Attorney General Janet Reno Briefing, "We will do everything we can."

Oct 12 2000 - Transcript of Albright remarks
Q: Madame Secretary, I was reading the description of Yemen in our latest terrorist report, and I'm wondering why this country was ever taken off the terrorist list when there are groups like the Islamic Jihad; Hamas has an office there; Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- all of these apparently still have a presence there. Osama bin Laden has a presence there. Why was this country removed or not put back on the list of terrorist-sponsoring states when a country like North Korea, which has no terrorists, as far as I know, is still on the list?

Sec. Albright: Well, as you know, we're very careful in determining how that list is put together. And there are a variety of considerations in it, and we obviously felt that there was a reason to.

Oct 12 2000 - William Cohen's comments
Several reporters questioned the decision to fuel the ship in Yemen, but [Admiral Vern] Clark said that refueling of U.S. ships in Aden began last year and that there had been three refueling operations since last May. He noted that the United States has been working for some time to improve its relations with Yemen.

Oct 14 - Clinton radio address: "We will do whatever it takes"
"This tragic loss should remind us all that even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military risk their lives every day in places where comforts are few and dangers are many. No one should think for a moment that the strength of our military is less important in times of peace -- because the strength of our military is a major reason we are at peace. History will record our triumphs on the battlefield, but no one can ever write a full account of the wars never fought, the losses never suffered, the tears never shed because the men and women of our military were risking their lives for peace. We should never, ever forget that."

Clinton letter to Congress

Oct 15 - Dennis Ross interview with Fox News
Question: But is it not the case -- it's been well known in the intelligence community, it's been published all over the place -- hat there are a number of terrorist cells operating out of Aden, including one called "The Suicidals," that's operated by Osama bin Ladin[sic]. Correct?

[U.S. Special Middle East Coordinator] Dennis Ross: Well, I think what we have seen over the last several years is that Yemen has done a better job in trying to deal with the terrorist threat, and we've been building a relationship with them. But obviously, we have to get to the bottom of this. We don't know who's responsible, we have to have an investigation, and at that point we can draw the conclusions.

Oct 15 2000 - Sandy Berger interview with Tim Russert of NBC's "Meet the Press"
Mr. Russert: What is concerning to many Americans is why this ship refueled in Yemen. The State Department -- I'll show you here on our screen -- last year put out advisories saying, "Lax and inefficient enforcement of security procedures and the government's inability to exercise authority over remote areas of Yemen continue to make the country a safe haven for terrorist groups." Why would we refuel a U.S. Navy ship in a country that the State Department says is a safe haven for terrorists?

Mr. Berger: Well, first, there's a geography element here. As you take ships from the Mediterranean to the Gulf, they have to refuel. There are a limited number of places where they can refuel. This entire area is a high threat area. The military has taken substantial steps in this area. Twenty-five ships refueled here in the last 18 months without incident. Obviously we'll have to find out what, if anything, happened in this particular case. But this entire area is an area I think would be described as a high threat, high risk area.

Oct 18 2000 - Clinton Vows "No Safe Harbor" for USS Cole Attackers: "The Wars we never fought"
"Their tragic loss reminds us that even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military still risk their lives for peace. I am quite sure history will record in great detail our triumphs in battle, but I regret that no one will ever be able to write a full account of the wars we never fought, the losses we never suffered, the tears we never shed because men and women like those who were on the USS Cole were standing guard for peace. We should never, ever forget that."

Pentagon Briefing
Q: On September 22nd, Osama bin Laden and members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad went on Qatar TV -- it was probably a tape, not a live shot -- but there was a tape played of Osama bin Laden and Egyptian Islamic Jihad officials making pretty specific threats against American forces, and specifically threatening attacks on ships. Now, there are some within the administration who said they were unaware of these bin Laden threats. Did the Pentagon, did CENTCOM, did the U.S. Navy, did the Cole, get any kind of threat assessment or warning as to the threats being made Osama bin Laden and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad?

Bacon: Well, that's precisely the type of question that the various panels will look at. And I think rather than rifle shoot at questions like that, it's better to look at the whole pattern.

NYTimes - October 28 2000 - How a Mighty Power Was Humbled by a Little Skiff
As the Federal Bureau of Investigation completed its examination today of the Cole and shore sites possibly used by the bombers and began sending home some agents, American officials here and in Washington continued to say that they were not yet certain that the prime suspect in the case was Osama bin Laden, son of a billionaire Saudi Arabian construction magnate, who is accused of inspiring and directing a worldwide "holy war" against the United States. But the officials remained cautious, saying proof had yet to be found.

But after Mr. Saleh's statement, there has been speculation that the F.B.I. might be closer to identifying the culprits than it has announced.

NY Times - Nov 5 2000 - Bin Laden Is Reported 'Satisfied' by Cole Hit

Cnn - November 11 2000 - Yemeni sources cite at least 3 failed plots prior to Cole bombing - terrorists linked to UBL

NYTimes - Nov 12 2000 - Cole Inquiry Provokes Bitter U.S. Dispute

CNN - NOV 24 2000 - Yemen president: Boat used in Cole attack bought in Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday, Yemeni Prime Minister Abdel Karim al-Iriyani told CNN that one of the bombers had been identified as a Saudi citizen with Yemeni family ties who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He said both suicide bombers were from Yemeni families from the province of Hadhramaut, which borders Saudi Arabia.

The province is also the home of the family of fugitive Saudi Osama bin Laden, an accused terrorist suspected by U.S. officials to have ordered the bombing of the Cole. Officials admit, however, they have no proof of a bin Laden connection to the bombing.

Yemen Times - Nov 20 2000 - A USS Cole Suspect Involved in US Embassy Blast In Nairobi

CNN - DEC 7 2000 - U.S. finds link between bin Laden and Cole bombing
Since the October bombing in the port of Aden, U.S. and Yemeni investigators have said they suspect the attack might have been orchestrated by Al Qaeda, the organization headed by bin Laden dedicated to driving Americans and other Westerners out of the Persian Gulf region.

NYTimes - NOV 23 2000 - 2 Saudis, With Ties to bin Laden, Linked to Cole Attack
Yemen's prime minister said today that the investigation into the attack on the American destroyer last month had identified the bombers as two Saudi citizens with Yemeni family roots who fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

The two men have personal profiles so closely parallel to that of Osama bin Laden, whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking on terror charges, that Yemeni investigators have concluded that Mr. bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian whose family also hails from Yemen, was at least indirectly involved in the attack. So far, though, they have no proof.

Mr. bin Laden has been in hiding in Afghanistan for several years. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan for his role in the embassy bombings, and the United States has offered a $5 million reward for his capture.

Yemeni officials and West European diplomats say that Mr. bin Laden was spotted in Sana in April 1998, two years after he had fled Saudi Arabia for Sudan and, later, Afghanistan.

The report of Mr. bin Laden's trip to Sana could not be confirmed with F.B.I. officials, and Clinton administration officials have denied it. But if the trip occurred, it appears that Mr. bin Laden traveled about 1,350 miles to Yemen from his hiding place in Afghanistan without stumbling on any of the international tripwires set up to apprehend him.

Washington Post, Dec 24 2000, Planned Jan. 2000 Attacks Failed or Were Thwarted Plot Targeted U.S., Jordan, American Warship, Official -- Richard Clarke interview

Yemen Gateway - DEC 12, 2001 - Bin Laden planned attacking ships since 1997
According to the New York Times, the letter, written in late 1997, is not addressed to anyone by name, but includes general instructions for an attack on American ships off the coast of Aden. Its existence and contents have not been confirmed by the FBI.

The 1997 date suggests that Bin Laden had been planning an attack before American warships began visiting Aden and before the US switched its refuelling from Djibouti to Aden. If true, this would suggest that the bombing of USS Cole was not motivated specifically by the American military presence in Yemen (see Yemen and the US).

Yemen Gateway's USS Cole Roundup

Washington Times - SEP 2 2003 - Richard Miniter is the author of "Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror." The excerpts are from that book
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was also against a counterstrike; but for diplomatic reasons. "We're desperately trying to halt the fighting that has broken out between Israel and the Palestinians," Albright said. [Richard] Clarke recalls her saying, "Bombing Muslims wouldn't be helpful at this time." Some two weeks earlier, Ariel Sharon had visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which touched off a wave of violence known as the "second Intifada" and threatened to completely destroy the Clinton Administration's hopes for Middle East peace settlement.

In the end, for a variety of reasons, the principals were against Mr. Clarke's retaliation plan by a margin of seven to one against. Mr. Clarke was the sole one in favor. Bin Laden would get away, again.

Attack on USS Cole: IIP Archives

Incredible images of the USS Cole

Update: Others dicussing terrorism issues include, HobbsOnline, Citizen Smash has one post, and another, Winds of Change, Professor Bainbridge, Blackfive, Daniel Drezner's here and here, Wizbang, Powerline, Joshua Claybourn, Balloon Juice, Watcher of Weasels, and SISU.

Update II: There's more; CaliforniaYankee, Patriots for Bush, Kalblog, Mark Kilmer's Political Annotation, DailyNewsBrief, Blogs for Bush points out AP article, 9/11 panel member faults Clinton for inaction on USS Cole, AlphaPatriot, and Right Wing News. Check out interesting info at Outside the Beltway and Backcountry Conservative.

Sunday Update: Many thanks to Daily News Brief, Bill Hobbs, PoliBlog, interested members of Free Republic, California Yankee, Mark Kilmer, Sisu, Presto Pundit for taking the time to direct their readers toward this posting, Ryne McLaren, TT Boy's Place, RantingProfs.

Sunday Night Update: Here's an article in the NYTimes concerning the USS Cole attack. Others remarking on that article include, The Agonist, Counterspin, RantingProfs, Washington Oculus, King of Zembla, Praire Pundit, Just a Bump in the Beltway.

And Instapundit has information about Iraq, terrorists and Iranian influence. While Kevin Drum thinks Saddam Hussein should have stayed in power and Atrios says our troops haven't met his expectations.

JULY 1, 2004 UPDATE: Check out BASEBALL CRANK'S great in-depth analysis



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