Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
An excellent investigative report in The Washington Post today about President Clinton's policy towards the terrorists. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.
Mr. Clinton told me a couple of weeks ago that he believes he did all he could to combat the threat caused by Usama bin Laden and other terrorists, and indeed Mr. Clinton almost doubled the amount of money spent on gathering information about terrorists.
But according to "The Post," when it came time for concrete action against terrorist networks, the Clinton administration shied away. The Treasury Department, for example, declined to track bin Laden's money, citing privacy concerns, if you can believe it. And once again Janet Reno's incredible incompetence hurt the nation. As attorney general, she ordered the FBI not to investigate American charities that funnel money to the terrorists for fear that such an investigation would be seen as profiling Islamic charities.
Once again, political correctness damages the country.
As Talking Points has mentioned before, the incredibly dumb Torricelli principle that prevented CIA station chiefs from paying shady informers was OK by President Clinton. And that gutted America's street intelligence.
All in all, while the Clinton administration recognized the threat caused by bin Laden and other fanatics, and was keeping an eye on them, there was no sense of urgency.
Clinton Assistant Secretary of State for Counter-Terrorism, Michael Sheehan, is quoted by "The Post" as saying, "It has to be said that it was the collective judgment of the American people, not the Clinton administration, that the impact of terrorism was at a level that was acceptable."
Well, after reading that, we immediately called Mr. Sheehan, who declined our invitation to appear, and I think I know why. That is one of the most brainless statements I've ever heard of in my life. The American people are at fault here? Hold it. We don't have top-secret information, we can't monitor what the terrorists are doing. And we elect leaders who are supposed to protect us.
With all due respect, Mr. Sheehan and the other counterterrorism experts, including President Clinton, are at fault here. They didn't protect America aggressively enough, period.
We were attacked several times, and the Clinton administration handled it as a police action, not a national security situation. President was distracted, of course, by the Lewinsky situation and was primarily interested in protecting the surging economy. A showdown with Muslim nations would have been very bad for business.
In the end, nobody could have predicted 9/11, and nobody is directly at fault. But our government is being strangled by politically correct thought and a general malaise towards solving problems.
Many politicians are far more interested in themselves and their power than doing right by us.
And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."
It was a big bash last night at the White House. And your humble correspondent, that's me, was on the scene, along with most of the national press corp. It was the annual Christmas party for the press. So nearly everyone was invited, including Alan Colmes. And that impressed me.
The Bush administration seemingly doesn't hold grudges the way the Clintons did. Al's no fan of Mr. Bush, but there he was munching shrimp cocktail alongside Matt Lauer and Wolf Blitzer. If I had tried to crash the Clinton Christmas party, I'd be in Leavenworth right now, doing a strong time. And that, of course, would be ridiculous.
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