5,531. 12/18/2003

While testifying before the 9/11 Commission on December 18, 2003, counterterrorism czar Richard “Clarke claimed that [Condoleezza] Rice, in her early briefings as national security adviser in 2001, had given him the impression that she had never heard the term al-Qaeda before (something she would later strenuously and effectively deny). He said he told her directly that al-Qaeda had cells within the United States. Perhaps most startling of all, Clarke would also reveal that President Bush had been determined within hours of the 9/11 attacks to try to link them to Saddam Hussein. Clarke recalled being in the Situation Room on the evening of September 12 when Bush approached him.”

 – Philip Shenon, The Commission, Page 198

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