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Sean Hannity Still Trying To Blame Clinton For 9/11

Reported by Ellen - May 3, 2010 -

What does it say about Sean Hannity, Oliver North and Fox News that they were willing to use a second-hand account from a former Bin Laden associate as an excuse to attack the Clinton administration and suggest that their handling of terrorism emboldened Al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks? Not only that, Hannity and North also developed a case of amnesia about the Bush administration which had about nine months before the attacks during which they could have adopted a different strategy. Blaming Clinton for 9/11 is an old Hannity canard. With video.

Hannity began the segment on his April 29, 2010 show by announcing, “A former Bin Laden associate has come forward with shocking allegations about the 9/11 terror attacks.” The so-called “shocking allegations” were that Bin Laden did not expect the U.S. to retaliate after the 9/11 attacks. According to Hannity, who got the information from WTOP, Bin Laden drew that conclusion because of Clinton’s lack of retaliation for previous Al Qaeda attacks.

Hannity and the rest of the “we report, you decide” network apparently felt it unnecessary to tell their viewers why Clinton did not retaliate. For example, P. 195 of the 9/11 Commission Report notes that Clinton said he did not strike back after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in October, 2000 because he did not have conclusive evidence Al Qaeda was responsible. His advisors agreed, saying that a military action might inflame the Islamic world and increase support for the Taliban.

Nor did anyone connected with the show seem to think it important to reveal that when the Bush administration came in, just a few months later, as Condoleezza Rice reported to the 9/11 Commission (P. 202), it was decided that “Tit-for-tat responses were likely to be counterproductive.”

Also, that same Bin Laden associate whom Hannity and North found so authoritative claims he advised that the U.S. would strike back. Also overlooked? WTOP’s report included the dissenting views of Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit – and someone usually given great credibility on Fox News. WTOP quoted Scheuer as saying, “"I would like to believe that bin Laden was shocked and dismayed by what we did after 9/11, but I come hard up against an awful lot of evidence that that's exactly what he wanted."

Instead of telling his viewers any of that, Hannity reported that the Bin Laden associate “did not expect George W. Bush to retaliate the way he did” because he was “anticipating the same weak reaction to terrorism that we saw throughout the Clinton administration.”

Hannity’s lack of interest in what really happened was belied by his choice of Oliver North as a guest. It’s not as though North has any inside knowledge about 9/11, Bin Laden or the counter-terrorism operations of either the George W. Bush administration or the Clinton administration. As we have come to expect, Hannity and North once again failed to address the questions that have arisen about North’s charity and how much money from Hannity’s Freedom Concerts actually goes to the scholarships that are supposedly the concerts’ beneficiaries.

“He claims that he was there during the planning of the 9/11 attack,” Hannity said, as if that were all the proof he needed.

North jumped right on the bandwagon. “Bill Clinton was a child of the 60’s… Of course, he was an anti-war resister back in the 60’s. And I don’t think anybody should have expected Bill Clinton to respond any differently than what he did… George W. Bush was not cut from the same bolt of cloth as William Jefferson Blythe Clinton.”

Oh, that’s right. Bush didn’t protest. He got into the Texas Air National Guard which just happened to keep him from going to Viet Nam and, at best, he squeaked by with barely enough credits to meet the minimum requirements. As Eric Boehlert noted in Salon, “(Bush's) public records paint a portrait of a Guardsman who, with the cooperation of his Texas Air National Guard superiors, simply flouted regulation after regulation (more than 30 by Salon's count) indifferent to his signed obligation to serve.”

Bush also had about nine months before 9/11 to launch a retaliation of his own, had he deemed it necessary. Perhaps Bush’s decision not to do so was Clinton’s fault, too. Or maybe Obama’s.