The White House has just released the letter Richard Clarke wrote to President Bush upon his resignation from the administration. (Read the whole thing after the jump.) It reads, in part:
- I will always remember the courage, determination, calm and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th, first on the video link from STRATCOM and later that day in the PEOC and the Situation Room.
Sure, this clashes somewhat with the depiction of Bush in Clarke's book, in which, as he told "60 Minutes": "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.'" And later, Bush "came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way."
But they're not exactly contradictory. One is just the edited version. We can imagine, for instance, the first draft of Clarke's resignation letter:
- I will always remember the courage, determination, leadership and out-of-control bloodlust you demonstrated on September 11th, first on the video link from STRATCOM and later that day in the PEOC and the Situation Room, when you accosted me and humiliated me. I sort of got off on that.
Clarke may be a hypocrite, but who doesn't kiss a little ass on the way out the door? We've written these sorts of first drafts ourselves. Of course, they also wind up being our final drafts. Which is how we wound up here. . .
UPDATE: I actually saw a post on another blog that said, "I don't see [the WH letter] on Drudge. . . Let's see a link." He wouldn't believe me because the news wasn't on Drudge. That's where I stand with you people. Well, thank God, it's there now. And there's an AP story, too.
The White House
January 30, 2003
Dear Mr. President,
With the coming of 2003, I am now in my eleventh year of continuous White House service and the 30th year since I began my Government service. While there is never a good time to end an assignment, I believe now may be an appropriate point to move on.
First, with the stand up of the Department of Homeland Security, some of the operational responsibility for cyber security can now shift there. Second, you have signed the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace and it will be publicly released shortly.
Thus, with your permission, I plan to depart the White House and resign as Special Advisor. It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months.
I will always remember the courage, determination, calm and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th, first on the video link from STRATCOM and later that day in the PEOC and the Situation Room. I will also have fond memories of our briefings for you on cyber security and the intuitive understanding of its importance that you showed. You had prescience in creating the position of Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace Security and I urge you to maintain that role in the White House.
I thank you again for the opportunity to serve you have provided me and wish you good fortune as you lead our country through the continuing threats.
Richard A. Clarke