[ISN] Anti-Terror Pioneer Turns In the Badge

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 13 2003 - 00:52:26 PST

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    Forwarded from: William Knowles <wkat_private>
    By Barton Gellman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, March 13, 2003; Page A21 
    On Feb. 21, the last day of an 11-year White House marathon, Richard
    A. Clarke walked into his office and turned in a gear bag fit for a
    Hollywood spook. From pockets and cases he shed an encrypted mobile
    phone, a satellite phone, a "priority service" mobile phone, a secure
    home phone and still another government cell phone.
    Then came a .357 Magnum SIG-Sauer semiautomatic with jacketed
    hollow-points, and the special deputy U.S. marshal's badge that went
    with it.
    Clarke was one of only three White House officials -- in any recent
    administration -- known to have packed a pistol for protection. There
    were times, friends joked, when he could have used it in interagency
    combat. The Secret Service authorized the gun for another reason:  
    Until last year, Clarke coordinated U.S. efforts to hunt and kill al
    Qaeda's senior leaders, and there was evidence that al Qaeda preferred
    to reverse the transaction. In 1999, in an episode not disclosed
    before, Clarke abandoned his house for a month and acquired a
    temporary Secret Service detail when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
    passed urgent (and ultimately uncorroborated) word that an al Qaeda
    hit team had been dispatched for him.
    Clarke's departure is a milestone of sorts in the war on terrorism --
    not only the one that dates from Sept. 11, 2001, but the one that
    began in earnest five years earlier. And it tells government-watchers
    something about the decisionmaking style of the national security
    cabinet under President Bush.
    Clarke, 52, reached the peak of his influence under President Bill
    Clinton, after serving presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush
    as deputy assistant and assistant secretary of state. The present
    commander-in-chief is said to like Clarke -- he sent him a warm,
    handwritten note and invited him to the Oval Office on Feb. 19 for a
    goodbye chat -- but Clarke's bulldozing style did not fit as well with
    the quiet consensus that the White House looks for now.
    He submitted his resignation two months after White House foes blocked
    his selection as deputy secretary, under Tom Ridge, of the new
    Homeland Security Department. Clarke had made it clear he would not
    accept a lesser position.
    According to available records and memories, no one has served longer
    continuously on the senior White House staff. The average stint is
    about two years. Clarke reached that mark in 1994.
    In New York recently, he made the rounds of a new world of
    opportunities -- at a brokerage house, a television network, two think
    tanks and a publisher who wants to commission a pair of books.  
    Stopping for coffee and cheesecake between meetings, a man long seen
    as a lifer in the Senior Executive Service described himself as
    relieved that he did not get the Homeland Security job.
    "I already don't miss it," he said of Washington. Asked to elaborate,
    he replied: "You know that great feeling you get when you stop banging
    your head against a wall?"
    Clarke was the government's first counterterrorism czar -- formally
    from 1998 to 2002, but in practice beginning in 1995. Security
    officials, friends and foes alike, said no one rivaled him as a spur
    to action. He was the first to draw effective attention to the risk
    that terrorists would acquire nuclear, biological and chemical
    weapons, the first to force concrete steps to protect critical
    information networks from cyberattack, and a dominant voice for
    spending money and covert resources against terrorists at a time when
    government was inclined to perceive them as a minor threat.
    His style was seldom delicate.
    "Clarke is a bully, but he has an absolute talent for making the
    government move," said the chief of one U.S. intelligence agency, who
    clashed with him in a previous post. "Dick wanted to see everybody put
    their parochial interests aside, and people didn't always do that."
    Widely respected, Clarke was also widely disliked. Some rivals
    admitted privately, in interviews, to celebrating his departure.
    "If you don't have enemies in the interagency, then you're not doing
    the job," said Roger Cressey, Clarke's deputy at the National Security
    Council and chief of staff more recently at the President's Critical
    Infrastructure Protection Board. "There are a lot of people in
    government who believe a consensus-based approach is the only way to
    get things done. There are some issues on which consensus is never
    going to happen. Dick was a master at rejecting the
    least-common-denominator approach and demanding more."
    Under Clinton, Clarke had carte blanche from national security
    advisers Anthony Lake and Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger to blow past
    bureaucratic turf lines and assume operating and budgetary powers that
    were nowhere specified by statute or executive order. Berger said he
    regularly turned down demands that he fire Clarke.
    Clarke had the political cover to roll two Treasury secretaries on
    funding for a terrorist-asset tracking center -- Robert E. Rubin and
    Lawrence H. Summers both opposed it, but Clarke pushed the money
    through Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. When the FBI
    and State Department clashed in Yemen after the 2000 bombing of the
    USS Cole, it was Clarke who brought together the secretary of state
    and the attorney general to decide lines of command.
    His biggest loss came when a technology he championed, the armed
    Predator drone, proved five months before the Sept. 11 attacks that it
    could find and kill individuals. Clarke wanted to set it loose on
    Osama bin Laden. "Usually the CIA supported him, but on this one the
    directorate of operations resisted," said Michael Sheehan, State's
    former counterterrorism coordinator.
    "Probably no one before or no one after is likely to exert such
    influence over these agencies that traditionally resist White House
    interference," Sheehan said. "They had a symbiotic relationship. Dick
    got them money from OMB . . . and political clearance for sensitive
    issues. In return, they worked with him . . . sometimes begrudgingly."
    One close friend in government said, "Dick would just get into a foul
    mood sometimes and say things that made enemies of people forever,
    because he belittled them publicly," the friend said. "That used to be
    one of my jobs: to close the doors and go and yell at him." In the
    end, though, Lake and Berger "were prepared to clean up after him
    because he got things done."
    The Bush White House works differently, valuing consensus and
    rewarding longtime loyalists. Clarke earned the confidence of Ridge
    and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, but neither encouraged
    him to break crockery if his proposals stalled. Some Bush partisans
    suspected him as a Clinton holdover. And Clarke had uneven
    relationships with Bush Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., White House
    Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and Lawrence Lindsey, Bush's former top
    economic adviser.
    Clarke consented to a goodbye party at the Army and Navy Club. "Only
    my friends -- it was a small group," he said. He delivered the line
    ironically, but not altogether in jest. Ridge turned up, but no other
    Bush appointee outside the career security establishment.
    Attrition diminished Clarke's closest cohort of allies. They included
    Charles E. Allen, the CIA's assistant director for collection, and
    Cofer Black, its former counterterrorism chief; Dale Watson and the
    late John O'Neill, who ran the FBI's counterterrorism operations; and
    Sheehan at the State Department. More recently he relied on Cressey,
    FBI cyberwarrior Ronald Dick and John Tritak, chief of the Commerce
    Department's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office. All but Allen
    and Black are gone now.
    Some of them have said privately the White House gutted the central
    project of Clarke's final year, a strategy to protect cyberspace from
    terrorists. He wanted, for example, a presidential call to Internet
    service providers to integrate security measures into every account,
    but was rebuffed by opponents hostile to any hint of regulation.
    Clarke, in the interview, maintained that the core of his strategy
    remained intact. "I'm enormously proud of it, and want to be
    associated with it," he said.
    Among friends, Clarke is skeptical that the coming war with Iraq is
    integral to the war on terrorism, as the White House maintains. He
    describes it as a diversion of scarce resources and a wedge between
    Washington and critical allies in destroying al Qaeda. Until late last
    year, he has said, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would not have been
    among the top suspects should al Qaeda manage to acquire a weapon of
    mass destruction. Now, with Hussein's regime on the brink of falling,
    he will.
    If and when the next attack comes, somebody else will get to cancel
    his plans and sleep on an office couch. No one schedules Clarke's
    travels now but Clarke. His first trip after he resigned was to the
    British Virgin Islands.
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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