More Evidence Supporting Clarke

This from a lengthy NYT piece:

… The warnings during the summer [of 2001] were more dire and more specific than generally recognized. Descriptions of the threat were communicated repeatedly to the highest levels within the White House. In more than 40 briefings, Mr. Bush was told by George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, of threats involving Al Qaeda.

The review suggests that the government never collected in one place all the information that was flowing into Washington about Al Qaeda and its interest in using commercial aircraft to carry out attacks, and about extremist groups’ interest in pilot training. A Congressional inquiry into intelligence activities before Sept. 11 found 12 reports over a seven-year period suggesting that terrorists might use airplanes as weapons.

The story does detail a number of anti-terrorism measures that the Administration initiated — or talked about initiating — before 9/11, but there was little follow-through. For example, this:

Mr. Bush proposed a 7 percent increase in overall spending on counterterrorism programs, a larger increase than was proposed for any cabinet department or agency other than education.

… The report also called for a $6.6 million program to improve intelligence collection at ports of entry; an additional $10 million, for a total of $76.7 million, to help state and local authorities learn to detect biological warfare agents; and a $17.3 million increase for a program to help purchase special equipment for fire departments, emergency medical services and law enforcement agencies, bringing the cost to $126.7 million.

But on Capitol Hill, the administration put relatively little political capital behind its proposals, choosing instead to emphasize its plan for a missile defense system.

When Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who was then chairman of the Armed Services Committee, sought to transfer money to counterterrorism from the missile defense program, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent a letter on Sept. 6 2001, saying he would urge Mr. Bush to veto the measure. Mr. Levin nonetheless pushed the measure through the next day on a party-line vote.