One of the most poignant moments of President Clinton’s interview with Fox News was when he called out Chris Wallace for giving the right a free pass on terrorism. An excerpt:
WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked: Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many you asked: Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know…
WALLACE: We asked…Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday sir?
CLINTON: I don’t believe you ask them that.
WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…
CLINTON: You didn’t ask that did you? Tell the truth.
WALLACE: About the USS Cole?
CLINTON: Tell the truth.
WALLACE: I…with Iraq and Afghanistan there’s plenty of stuff to ask.
Chris Wallace interviewed then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on April 18, 2004, just days after she testified before the 9/11 Commission. Wallace didn’t ask her about the USS Cole or the decision to demote Richard Clarke. He also didn’t ask Rice about the notorious August 6 Presidential Daily Brief entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.”
Instead Wallace perpetuated a smear against 9/11 Commissioner and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, falsely claiming she was responsible for creating a “wall” between the F.B.I. and the CIA:
WALLACE: When commission member Jaime Gorelick was questioning you about that, did you know that when she was the deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, that she had issued an order that, in fact, helped build the so-called wall even higher?
RICE: I did not know that, Chris. I did know, of course, that she’d been deputy attorney general. I did know that there were responsibilities there for issues concerning counterterrorism, but no, I did not know.
This smear was rebutted by 9/11 Commission member Slade Gorton (R) who called the charge “ridiculous.” Gordon wrote the Washington Times, “She had nothing to do with any ‘wall’ between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies.”
Wallace has been a source of right-wing misinformation about 9/11 for years. Bill Clinton finally called him on it.