US envoy says Clarke terror claims are false

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The Independent US

The Bush administration has moved to discredit claims by the former counter-terrorism aide Richard Clarke that the President ignored warnings about the threat posed by al-Qa'ida prior to 11 September 2001.

The Bush administration has moved to discredit claims by the former counter-terrorism aide Richard Clarke that the President ignored warnings about the threat posed by al-Qa'ida prior to 11 September 2001.

Writing today in The Independent, William Farish, the US ambassador in London, rejects the allegations. "Clarke's interviews may lead one to conclude his advice was ignored. This is simply untrue," he says. In fact, the ambassador claims, Mr Clarke requested to brief the President only once, in June 2001, "And then he asked to brief the President not on al-Qa'ida, but cyber-security."

President Bush was aware from the outset of the threat posed by al-Qa'ida, Mr Farish says. Immediately after taking office, the administration's national security team started to develop a strategy "to destroy" the network. Mr Clarke, by contrast, claims the ambassador, advocated no action to address al-Qa'ida's presence within the United States. Mr Farish adds that it would have been "irresponsible" not to consider the possibility of Iraqi involvement in the 11 September attacks.

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