Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Oh wonderful. This really bodes well:
Condoleezza Rice, who will be named as Colin L. Powell's replacement as early as today, has forged an extraordinarily close relationship with President Bush. But, paradoxically, many experts consider her one of the weakest national security advisers in recent history in terms of managing interagency conflicts.
Powell was considered a hero to the State Department bureaucracy because he won increases in funding and personnel, and many State Department officials are furious that the Bush White House frequently undercut Powell.

"State Department officials dislike her intensely because they love Powell and believe her staff demeaned the State Department," said one former State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he frequently interacts with Rice. (Washington Post)

Rice's "managerial skills were often called into question when running the NSC" and Richard Armitage "privately complained to Rice that the interagency process was dysfunctional," and as if this was not bad enough, now she heads an agency where her underlings apparently do not like her with a passion -- how can we expect anything good to come of this? As it was, Rice already proved her incompetence in her prior position and now she will face new challenges that we can only conclude will be absolutely beyond her capabilities to manage.

As a bonus, the article lists some of the dropped balls by Condi (which alone should've resulted in her dismissal.... instead, Richard Clarke resigns!):
The Sept. 11 commission report was particularly tough on Rice, portraying her as failing to act on repeated warnings in the first part of 2001 about the likelihood of a major terrorist attack on the United States.

For example, it noted that on Jan. 25, 2001, a few days after Bush took office, Richard A. Clarke, who had been held over from the previous administration as the counterterrorism coordinator for the NSC, wrote to Rice stating that "We urgently need . . . a Principals level review on the al Qaeda network." The report noted that Rice did not respond directly to Clarke's memo, and no such meeting of principals, or top officials, was held on terrorism until Sept. 4, 2001, although they met frequently on other issues, such as the Middle East peace process, Russia and the Persian Gulf.

The report also detailed several more specific warnings from Clarke to Rice in the spring and summer of 2001:

• On March 23, he told Rice that he thought terrorists might attack the White House with a truck bomb and also that "he thought there were terrorist cells within the United States, including al Qaeda."

• On May 29, Clarke wrote to Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, about possible assaults by a Palestinian associate of al Qaeda, adding that, "When these attacks occur, as they likely will, we will wonder what more we could have done to stop them."

• On June 25, Clarke informed Rice and Hadley that "six separate intelligence reports showed al Qaeda personnel warning of a pending attack," the report said.

• Three days later, he added that the pattern of al Qaeda activity indicating preparations for an attack "had reached a crescendo."

• On June 30, a briefing was given to top officials titled, "Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile Attacks."

The spike in reported al Qaeda activity ended in July, but senior intelligence analysts continued to be deeply concerned, the report noted, causing them to include in the Aug. 6 "President's Daily Brief" an article titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US."

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