The USS Cole was bombed on October 12, 2000. As Clinton noted in his interview with Fox, “The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible” until early 2001 which foreclosed the possibility of a full response during his administration.
The Bush administration, on the other hand, had 8 months prior to 9/11/01 to respond to the USS bombing and did nothing.
In an interview to air Sunday, Fox News Host Chris Wallace asked Bill Clinton why he didn’t respond to the USS Cole. Clinton said it was a “legitimate question” but challenged Wallace: “I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked why didn’t you do anything about the Cole.” First, Wallace responded, “we asked.” When pressed further by Clinton, Wallace demurred: “I — with Iraq and Afghanistan there’s plenty of stuff to ask.”
Neither Chris Wallace, nor his predecessor, Tony Snow ever asked anyone in the Bush administration why they failed to respond to the bombing of the USS Cole, according to a Lexis-Nexis database search. Wallace and Snow have had plenty of opportunities:
– Vice President Dick Cheney has been on Fox News Sunday 6 times.
– Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been on Fox News Sunday 9 times.
– Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been on Fox News Sunday 23 times.
– National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley has been on Fox News Sunday 4 times.
For the record, this was Bill Clinton’s first solo appearance on Fox News Sunday.