How much of a warning did Bill Clinton give incoming President George W. Bush that Osama bin Laden posed a grave danger? It depends on which President you ask. In his interview with the 9/11 commission last week, sources tell Time, Bush testified that Clinton appeared far more passionate about the dangers of North Korea’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to sources, Bush said Clinton “probably mentioned” terrorism as a national-security threat “but did not make it a point of emphasis.” Clinton earlier told the panel that he had ranked bin Laden as the No. 1 problem the new Administration would face; he made the same point in a speech in New York City last October.
It’s a he-said/he-said argument, although I’m slightly more likely to give Bush the benefit of the doubt here, knowing what we know about Clinton’s legalistic approach to dealing with al Qaeda.