WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld almost immediately urged President Bush to consider bombing Iraq after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington, says a former senior administration counterterrorism aide.
"Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said. "We all said, 'But no, no, al-Qaida is in Afghanistan."
Clarke, who is expected to testify Tuesday before a federal panel reviewing the attacks, said Rumsfeld complained in the meeting that "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."
"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection" between Iraq and the al-Qaida attacks in the United States, Clarke said in an interview segment that CBS broadcast Friday evening. "There's just no connection. There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaida."
"Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism," Clarke told CBS. "He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something."