Feb. 12, 2005

'01 Memo to Rice Warned of Qaeda and Offered Plan

'01 Memo to Rice Warned of Qaeda and Offered Plan
By SCOTT SHANE

Published: February 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 - A strategy document outlining proposals for eliminating the threat from Al Qaeda, given to Condoleezza Rice as she assumed the post of national security adviser in January 2001, warned that the terror network had cells in the United States and 40 other countries and sought unconventional weapons, according to a declassified version of the document.

The 13-page proposal presented to Dr. Rice by her top counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, laid out ways to step up the fight against Al Qaeda, focusing on Osama bin Laden's headquarters in Afghanistan. The ideas included giving "massive support" to anti-Taliban groups "to keep Islamic extremist fighters tied down"; destroying terrorist training camps "while classes are in session" and then sending in teams to gather intelligence on terrorist cells; deploying armed drone aircraft against known terrorists; more aggressively tracking Qaeda money; and accelerating the F.B.I.'s translation and analysis of material from surveillance of terrorism suspects in American cities.

Mr. Clarke was seeking a high-level meeting to decide on a plan of action. Dr. Rice and other administration officials have said that Mr. Clarke's ideas did not constitute an adequate plan, but they took them into consideration as they worked toward a more effective strategy against the terrorist threat.

The proposal and an accompanying three-page memorandum given to Dr. Rice by Mr. Clarke on Jan. 25, 2001, were discussed and quoted in brief by the independent commission studying the Sept. 11 attacks and in news reports and books last year. They were obtained by the private National Security Archive, which published the full versions, with minor deletions at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency, on its Web site late Thursday.

Under the heading "the next three to five years," Mr. Clarke spelled out a series of steps building on groundwork that he said had already been laid, adding that "success can only be achieved if the pace and resource levels of the programs continue to grow as planned."

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