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Al Qaeda Was Allowed to Threaten Us Too Long

September 13, 2002

Re "Bin Laden: a Known Monster Before 9/11," Commentary, Sept. 10: Robert Scheer correctly observes that Al Qaeda's "bloody track record in attacking U.S. targets overseas and even the exact location of its base of operations were all known by both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations." He fails to note that Bush was president for only eight months prior to 9/11.

President Clinton had 96 months to deal with Al Qaeda and other terrorists. There was the first bombing of the World Trade Center with the resulting deaths. The bombing of the Khobar Towers killed many Americans. Al Qaeda killed hundreds with the bombings of two U.S. embassies. It struck again with the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole--17 Americans were murdered. Unfortunately, Clinton did precious little to discourage Al Qaeda.

Devon Showley

Cypress

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Do I detect a contradiction in Scheer's column? He faults the Clinton and Bush administrations, the FBI and CIA for failing to recognize obvious signs leading to 9/11. Then he concludes by criticizing the Bush administration for wanting to take preemptive action against Iraq.

Louis Neumark

Tarzana

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I have one question to add to Scheer's Bin Laden piece. Wasn't it odd that the administration was able to identify the 19 terrorists so quickly after 9/11, less than 10 days later?

Harriet Dean

Palm Springs

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Scheer referenced the Monica Lewinsky scandal and it reminded me of the anger I felt then, and feel now, that when Linda Tripp opened her trap, we listened as if there were nothing more important in the universe. When our own agencies were warned about the many flight students from the Middle East, our universe collapsed in their trap.

Amelia R. Pedrazzi

Hacienda Heights

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