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Sunday, July 25, 2004

The New York Times > Ex - Counterterrorism Chief Clarke Makes Suggestions

July 24, 2004
Ex - Counterterrorism Chief Clarke Makes SuggestionsBy REUTERS
Filed at 8:14 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Saying that the 9/11 Commission's proposed changes would not have prevented the September 2001 attacks, former U.S. counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke outlined in Sunday's New York Times moves to prevent future attacks.
Clarke, author of a recent book that was critical of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism, wrote in the newspaper that the 9/11 commission's recommendations for a new cabinet-level intelligence director and a National Counterterrorism Center would ``marginally improve our ability to crush the new, decentralized al Qaeda, but there are other changes that would help more.''
He called for an overhaul of hiring and promotion practices within the intelligence community and the recruitment of ``more capable people,'' especially at the FBI and the CIA. He claimed a tradition of agents joining young and working their way up led to an atmosphere of ``uniformity, insularity, risk-aversion, torpidity and often mediocrity.''
Clarke wrote that CIA analysts should be placed ``in an agency that is independent from the one that collects intelligence,'' which he said was the only way to avoid the ``groupthink that hampered the agency's ability to report accurately on Iraq.''
He claimed that the bipartisan 9/11 commission, which he said had softened the edges and pulled its punches, ``failed to admit the obvious: we are less capable of defeating the jihadists because of the Iraq war.''
Addressing the need to defeat Islamic extremism in the arena of ideas as well as armed conflict, Clarke wrote:
``We need to expose the Islamic world to values that are more attractive than those of the jihadists,'' calling for economic development and aiding political openness in Muslim countries as well as efforts to stabilize nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
``Restarting the Israel-Palestinian peace process is also vital,'' he wrote.
Writing that ``we can't do this alone,'' Clarke suggested a need for ``a pan-Islamic council of respected spiritual and secular leaders to coordinate (without United States involvement) the Islamic world's own ideological effort against the new al Qaeda.''
``The jihadist enemy has learned how to spread hate and how to kill -- and it is still doing both very effectively three years after 9/11,'' Clarke wrote.

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