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Dick Morris opines on the Clintons

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted September 1, 2003

Personally, I think Dick Morris is among the better political pundits on the scene. He's extremely bright, likable, and largely accurate in his assessments. And, he will be forever linked to Hillary and Bill in the zeitgeist of the Clinton years.

Dick Morris

It's too bad that some people can't get beyond Dick Morris' bad boy image, forged during the Clinton years when he generated a short-lived sex scandal that hit the tabloids and ended his White House consulting gig. However, to his credit, Morris adeptly moved beyond his fling with a call girl and pesky toe-fetish to reinvent himself as a prominent political analyst for the Fox News Channel, columnist for the New York Post and notable book author. In his latest opus entitled Off With Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists in American Politics, Media & Business, Morris thrashes a number of power-elites, including his former employer Bill Clinton whose ineptitude made America ripe for the September 11th terror attacks.

When Morris discusses the Clintons, he proffers an informed opinion. Hillary Clinton had brought Morris into the White House as campaign consultant/pollster to reelect her husband to his second presidential term. Dick Morris, who also worked for Bill Clinton in a prior gubernatorial race, is somewhat of an authority on how the Clinton couple thinks and operates politically. And that's why Republicans' ears perk up when Morris mentions Bill or Hillary's name.

Dick Morris continues to opine on Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations. It's no secret that Hillary Clinton, now the darling of her party, is being urged by fellow Democrats to challenge President Bush in the 2004 election. But, according to recent Associated Press reports, Hillary claims that she is "absolutely ruling it out." Well, despite Hillary's seemingly definitive remarks, will she make a 2004 White House bid anyway? The short answer is "maybe", and only if she perceives Bush to be exceedingly vulnerable. Morris contemplates the issue at hand, and states, "Would she (Hillary) run? It would depend on how low and how fast Bush sinks. If he remains in free fall until September and October and his ratings drop below 50 percent, Hillary will be itching to go."

Certainly, Hillary would have no qualms about shoving aside the current cast of Democratic presidential hopefuls in the same manner that she unceremoniously tossed Representative Nina Lowey to the sidelines for the New York Senate seat. Morris maintains that Hillary cannot allow another Democrat to win the presidency in 2004, because she would then have to postpone her White House bid until 2012. Frankly, she doesn't want to wait that long -- and the probability of waning political cache over time must be factored into consideration. Morris asserts: "The lower Bush drops, the more likely it is that Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2004. She and her husband cannot permit a Democrat not named Clinton to beat Bush in '04. If one does, she can't run in '08 against an incumbent Democratic president. She'd have to wait until 2012, by which time she would be 65 and out of the White House for 12 years."

Dick Morris is no apologist for the Clintons. You almost get the feeling that Morris' blunt and often critical remarks about the former first couple are a form of penance for having helped Bill Clinton garner another four years in the oval office. Morris particularly snipes at Bill Clinton's failure to adequately address terrorism, which was a major dereliction of his responsibilities.

In a terrific interview with Dick Morris in the September 2nd edition of Insight magazine, Morris suggests that "Clinton passed the threat of terrorism to the Bush administration like a 'ticking time bomb'…Even if Bush had known that 9/11 was going to happen, there is no way he could have prevented it because, for one, he lacked the necessary security infrastructure at the airport." Morris notes that Clinton, who succumbed to pressures from the airline industry, refused "to impose those air-safety measures federalizing the security personnel, X-raying baggage, (and) requiring photo ID's for passengers."

Moreover, Dick Morris lambastes Clinton for dropping the ball in the aftermath of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, a significant misstep that had dire consequences. He states, "Then there was Clinton's inability to investigate aggressively the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which meant that it wasn't until 1996 that we learned it was a bin Laden operation. So when the Sudan offered us bin Laden in 1995, we had no grounds to hold him, so we said basically, 'Osama who?' Had the first World Trade Center bombing been a fast-tracked investigation as it should have been, we would have known who and what he was by then." However, Morris presents a stilted picture. It's been reported that Sudan offered up Osama bin Laden on a few occasions, even after 1995. Intelligence expert Mansoor Ijaz avers that the US was afforded opportunities to grab bin Laden with Sudan's help between 1996 and 1998.

And the following is salient background information: According to Harvard educated Dr. Laurie Mylroie, an internationally recognized authority on Iraq and terrorism, the FBI initially believed that the 1993 WTC attack was ordered by Saddam Hussein in retribution for the Gulf War. In retrospect, we can see that this theory was only partially accurate. True, Ramzi Yousef orchestrated the 1993 WTC terror bombing and was a known Iraqi agent. However, he was also strongly linked with bin Laden's al-Qaeda group. And subsequent events are even more fascinating. Yousef's uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, dubbed "the Kingpin of Al Qaeda", masterminded the September 11th strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He, too, had connections with Iraq. Both Ramzi Yousef and his uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are of Pakistani Baluch ethnicity, a group that had "long standing ties to Iraqi intelligence" according to Dr. Mylroie, who was also an advisor to former President Clinton. Mylroie refers to this as the "Baluch connection"

Furthermore, uncle and nephew had worked together in the Philippines, where they were involved in bomb-making and interaction with other al-Qaeda operatives, such as those found in the Abu Sayyaf organization, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. In short, both Ramzi Yousef and his uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammad were "quite plausibly" agents of Iraq and Osama bin Laden as well. Dr. Laurie Mylroie believes that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad represents a smoking gun of sorts that links Saddam Hussein's regime to al-Qaeda and possibly even the September 11th attacks. Sure, linkage may be established, but hard evidence of Saddam's entanglement with a 9/11 plot still remains to be seen. However, the modus operandi of the terror network is significant. US intelligence has come to understand that terrormeisters engage in cooperative efforts and joint operations with a variety of terror groups and rogue regimes offering financial support and safe-haven. These bad guys aid and abet each other.

But I digress. To continue, Dick Morris also makes the point that President Clinton should have listened to FBI Director Louis Freeh, who wanted more latitude to investigate members of terror organizations in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. Unfortunately, the FBI was denied the flexibility that it really needed to defend this nation. Morris explains to Insight magazine that Freeh sought "to loosen the rules of engagement so that we can investigate anyone who's a member of a terrorist group even if we can't tell a judge about some imminent act of violence. Clinton and Reno said 'No'. Then we arrested Zacarias Moussaoui, and we could not access his computer because those rules had not been changed. His computer had a lot of the 9/11 plans on it." I don't think there's any question that Clinton made a monumental blunder in refusing Freeh's reasonable request.

Lastly, Dick Morris unabashedly advises Insight magazine that "Bill Clinton is the brightest single human being that I've ever met…But there are many different kinds of intellect, and I'm not sure that Clinton's is always the best one to have."

Hhhmmmm. That's intriguing. I really wish Dick Morris would have elaborated further on that statement.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

Buy Off with Their Heads : Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists in American Politics, Media & Business at Amazon.com for only $17.47 (30% off)

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