During his interview on Fox News, Bill Clinton asked Chris Wallace how many times Wallace asked a Bush administration official, “Why did you fire Dick Clarke?” By all accounts, Clarke was one of the people most concerned about al-Qaeda in any administration. Shortly after taking office, the Bush administration demoted Clarke, eliminated his staff and removed him from the Principals meeting.
Since 2001, Wallace has interview the top national security officials from the Bush administration — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Hadley — 42 times. According to a Lexis-Nexis database search, he never asked any of them why Clarke was demoted.
The one time he brought up Clarke’s name with a Bush administration official — during a March 28, 2004 interview with Rumsfeld — he repeatedly attempted to smear Clarke as political motivated and untrustworthy. Some excerpts:
WALLACE: I think a lot of people in Washington are trying to figure out, to understand Richard Clarke, to make sense of what he has said and of apparent contradictions in his story — is he telling the truth, or is he pushing an agenda.
WALLACE: Let’s switch, if we can, to a different aspect of this. There is a move now by congressional Republican leaders to declassify Clarke’s testimony before one of their panels in 2002 to see whether or not it contradicts what he is telling the commission and what he writes in his book now. As I understand it, the Pentagon has to approve any such declassification. Do you think it’s a good idea?
WALLACE: Do you worry at all that, whether it’s the debate over Dick Clarke’s credibility, his charges, whether it’s the fact that we’re in the political season, that the important work you say the commission could do is going to get caught up in partisanship?
After Clinton brought up the issue, Wallace claimed “we asked” and shot back “Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday, Sir?”