Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 2005 / 17 Tishrei, 5766

Why Clinton wouldn't call

By Dick Morris


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Former FBI Director Louis Freeh writes movingly of his disappointment that President Bill Clinton did little or nothing to intervene with the Saudi monarchy to let his agents question the accused perpetrators of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. But he is at a loss to understand the president's conduct.

In an earlier terror attack, the Saudis had cut off the heads of the suspected terrorists before the FBI could question them. To avoid a repeat, Freeh went to the president and emphasized the importance of intervening with the Saudis to allow questioning.

The Saudis, of course, didn't want the FBI interrogating their suspects for fear that the depth of the al Qaeda network that had grown in Saudi Arabia might be exposed to American — and world — view. But why did Clinton do nothing in the face of the appeals of his FBI chief?

Freeh implies that lust for donations to his Presidential Library might have entered into the equation, but the Khobar attack materialized long before Clinton was focused on his retirement. His gaze was, instead, squarely fixed on the next election — and the soaring gas prices that represented a mortal peril to his chances.

Because his 1993 deficit-reduction package (sounds quaint now, doesn't it?) had raised the gas tax a nickel, Clinton was worried that he'd get blamed for any price spike.

A nominal increase in car-licensing fees had cost him the Arkansas governorship in 1980, and the lesson he drew — don't mess with people's cars — resonated deeply in his political worldview.

Originally, Clinton had resisted raising gas prices and tried instead to pass Al Gore's well-nigh-incomprehensible plan to tax energy based on its BTU output. But nobody understood the tax and Congress, reverting to the tried and true, raised gas taxes instead. Ever since, Clinton had watched gas prices intently. "If gas goes down or stays the same, I'll be OK," he told me. "But if it goes up, I'm cooked."

And in the spring of 1996, as the summer driving season approached, gas prices were spiking. Republicans, eager to tie the prices to the Clinton tax hike, introduced legislation to repeal the nickel increase and forced Clinton to defend it even as prices rose.

Clinton was obsessed with gas prices. We would talk about them all the time. Every poll probed the issue and measured the level of popular animosity over their increase and the extent to which Clinton himself was blamed. When we were alone in the White House, after the staff had been put to bed, Clinton would ask my advice on the issue and we would discuss the need to get the Saudis to increase petroleum production.

In direct and indirect ways, Clinton sent messages to the Saudi monarchy: If you want to help me, you'll increase oil production and hold down prices. When oil production rose and the price began to level off as the summer faded and then return to normal, the president was very relieved.

Until Freeh spoke out, I didn't know that Clinton had failed to press the Saudis to let in the FBI. But his reasons for not doing so are quite clear. For him to have picked up the phone and demanded that the Saudis let the FBI question their suspects would have risked annoying them by implying skepticism about their toughness on terrorism. And Clinton could not risk alienating Riyadh.

So even as Clinton was mouthing his determination to find those responsible for the Khobar Towers bombing, he was sending the Saudis a message, by his refusal to make the phone call, that Freeh's demands were not his top priority, gas prices were.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



JWR contributor Dick Morris is author, most recently, of "Because He Could". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.



Dick Morris Archives


© 2005, Dick Morris

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles