NBC Evening News for Wednesday, Mar 24, 2004
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(Studio: Tom Brokaw) Former counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke’s appearance before the 9/11 Commission to defend his indictment of President Bush’s handling of terrorism and to apologize to families of victims of September 11 noted.
(White House: David Gregory) Clarke’s dramatic testimony reviewed; details given about a 2002 briefing by Clarke in which he described the administration’s efforts to eliminate Al Qaeda. [CLARKE – tells victims’ families that the government failed them; notes the terror threat was not treated as an urgent problem; relates his plan to weaken Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan; denies political motives.]
(Studio: Tom Brokaw) Report introduced.
(Washington: Andrea Mitchell) The day’s other testimonies about missed opportunities to kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden reviewed. [Former National Security Advisor Samuel BERGER- comments on the CIA’s failure to produce intelligence on bin Laden’s location.] [CIA director George TENET – explains his agency’s reluctance to strike.] [9/11 Commission Chris KOJM- relates the opposition of two CIA officers to be involved in an assassination.] [Former CIA station chief in Afghanistan Gary SCHROEN- comments on the challenge in getting local Afghans to go after bin Laden.] [9/11 widow Kristen BREITWEISER- says it’s just lame excuses.]
(Studio: Tom Brokaw) Live interview held with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice about her reaction to Clarke’s accusations. [In Washington, RICE – says good people in President Bill Clinton’s and Bush’s administrations were doing what we knew how to do to protect the country before September 11; states we are safer now but not yet safe; comments on executive privilege and why she will not testify publicly; responds to Clarke’s claim that terrorism was not the highest priority; outlines what was done to fight terrorism.]