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Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2003 / 27 Shevat, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah | When Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) complains that it is a "myth" that the Bush administration is enhancing homeland security, and her husband says that he is the reason North Korea does not now have 50 nuclear weapons, they enter realms of hypocrisy and chutzpah new even by their exalted standards. Both of their comments smack of killing your parents and then pleading for clemency on the ground of your orphanhood.

Just why is our homeland security, in particular our air security system, flawed and vulnerable to terrorists? Because in 1996, her husband, the president, refused to take tough measures to strengthen it. Instead he punted by appointing a commission, under Vice President Al Gore, to make recommendations.

They make pathetic reading after Sept.11. As Sean Hannity notes in his book "Let Freedom Ring," the failure of this commission to embrace truly important air security measures left America vulnerable and exposed.

The Gore Commission's focus was on making sure that all luggage put onboard a plane be matched to passengers actually on the flight, a step which would enhance security only if terrorists were obliging enough never to commit suicide in their attacks.

Indeed, its only recommendation that might have helped avert Sept.11 was for "automated passenger profiling" which would identify "a small minority of passengers who merit additional attention. based on information that is already in computer databases." After civil liberties groups raised hell and called the idea "racial profiling," it was dropped by the politically correct administration.

After the ValuJet crash in Florida and after TWA 800 plunged into the Atlantic, there was a clamor for a tough crackdown on air terrorism. I polled the issue on Aug. 1, 1996, and advised the Clintons and Gore that voters supported X-ray of luggage by a 90-to-7 margin, federalizing security personnel by 92-to-6, and requiring photo IDs for all passengers by 92-to-6. Yet, despite these wide margins of public approval, none of these key recommendations made their way into the Gore report.

Both Hillary and Bill have also stepped way over the line on their criticism of Bush on North Korea. Hillary said Bush had "mishandled" the matter. President Clinton said that it was his policies that stopped the rogue nation from having "50" nuclear weapons.

Wait a minute: It was Clinton who negotiated the 1994 Framework Agreement with Pyongyang in which North Korea agreed to stop diverting plutonium from its nuclear plant in Yongbyon in return for the delivery of 500,000 metric tons of fuel annually and the construction of two light water nuclear power plants costing $4 billion.

By mid-August of 1998, newspaper reports indicated that the U.S. intelligence agencies had detected a "huge secret underground complex in North Korea" that they suspected was "the centerpiece of an effort to revive the country's nuclear weapons program. The United States asked to inspect the underground caverns. North Korea demanded a cash payment of $300 million to permit the inspectors to go there and the matter was dropped.

Now, intelligence sources estimate that North Korea has one or two nuclear weapons and has had them since the mid-'90s. So why didn't Clinton demand that North Korea disarm? Why didn't he insist on access to the caverns? Why did he keep funding, fuel and food flowing while Pyongyang broke its word?

At the time, Clinton assured Congress that North Korea wasn't violating the deal because the Yongbyon plant had not been reactivated, whatever was happening in the caverns. In fact, the administration insisted that the 1994 deal wasn't an agreement at all, but an "agreed framework that does not bind any party to specific actions or hold parties in noncompliance if given objectives are not met. Failure of the [so-called] agreed framework, consequently, is very much in the mind of the beholder." Presumably the two atomic bombs North Korea is thought to have are in our minds as well.

When the Senate voted, 80-11, in late 1998 "to condition funding [of the '94 deal] on a presidential certification that North Korea has halted all nuclear activities," Clinton continued to wink at North Korean noncompliance.

And now, Bill and Hillary are attacking Bush for the twin legacies they left him: inadequate air security and a broken deal with North Korea.

It's a good thing those two are sociopaths. Otherwise their consciences might bother them when they say things like that.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.


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11/08/02 I have egg on my face
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10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
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10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
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05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
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01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
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11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris