Yesterday, Senator Frist charged Richard Clarke with perjury, imputing
extremely dishonorable motives to this career public servant. If the Senator is correct, which is certainly possible, then he should produce proof and call for Mr.
Clarke to be prosecuted for perjury. If he is not correct, then Senator Frist’s denunciation reminds me of a famous moment in the US Senate, fifty years ago:
I am equally troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their
former service as a government insider with access to our nation?s most
valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this
nation endured on September 11, 2001. … Mr. President, I do not know
if Mr. Clarke?s motive for these charges is partisan gain, personal profit,
self promotion, or animus because of his failure to win a promotion in
the Bush Administration. … Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories
under oath. In July 2002, in front of the Congressional Joint Inquiry
on the September 11 attacks, Mr. Clarke testified under oath that the
Administration actively sought to address the threat posed by al Qaeda
during its first seven months in office. Mr. President, it is one thing
for Mr. Clarke to dissemble in front of the media. But if he lied under
oath to the United States Congress it is a far more serious matter. As
I mentioned, the intelligence committee is seeking to have Mr. Clarke?s
previous testimony declassified so as to permit an examination of Mr.
Clarke’s two different accounts. … Mr Clarke can and will answer for
his own conduct ? but that is all.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, March 26, 2004
Nov. 9, 1954 was the end of McCarthyism, because on that day the Senate said that a Member could not make unsubsantiated, personal accusations on the official record, based on secret information allegedly in his possession, without bringing dishonor upon himself and the Senate.