ABC Expert: Reminder of How, Unlike Nazis, al-Qaeda Unbeaten After 5 Years

In a seeming shot at the Bush administration's priorities and competence, on Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson on ABC, Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism chief in the Clinton White House who left and then denounced the Bush White House, asserted the plot against airplanes uncovered in Britain shows al-Qaeda is still going after five years while the U.S. “eliminated” Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in four years.

Anchor Charles Gibson asked Clarke about how President Bush blamed “Islamic fascists,” but the leader of the plot “has links to al-Qaeda. So is this al-Qaeda?" Clarke, now an ABC News consultant, replied by proposing that “what today's plot reminds us is that five years after 9/11, the United States has not eliminated al-Qaeda. We eliminated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in under four years, but five years into this war against al-Qaeda, they're out there still plotting major attacks against the United States." (Transcript of the exchange follows)

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the exchange on the August 10 World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson: "Richard, the President called them 'Islamic fascists,' but Brian [Ross] pointed out that the alleged mastermind of all this has links to al-Qaeda. So is this al-Qaeda?"

Richard Clarke: "Charlie, it's al-Qaeda or a variation of al-Qaeda. And what today's plot reminds us is that five years after 9/11, the United States has not eliminated al-Qaeda. We eliminated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in under four years, but five years into this war against al-Qaeda, they're out there still plotting major attacks against the United States."

Clarke's 2004 book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, generated a ton of media publicity for his attacks on President Bush and the administration's reaction to 9/11.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center