INS agents confirm errors in Clarke book

April 12, 2004 at 12:31 PM
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SEATTLE, April 12 (UPI) -- The insider memoir of former counter-terrorist expert Richard Clarke that accuses the White House of unconcern over terrorism reportedly contains errors.

Many of the mistakes concern the 1999 arrest of now-convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam at a Port Angeles, Wash., ferry terminal, the Seattle Times reported Monday.

Clarke's memoir plus his Congressional testimony blamed the White House for failing to be vigilant against terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001.

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who publicly has contradicted Clarke, says there was no alert, and now agents who arrested Ressam confirm Rice's statements.

Clarke, who worked for both Clinton and Bush, said his office sent warnings both overseas and to local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies around the country to be on heightened alert for suspicious activity. "And then we waited," he wrote.

"The break came in an unlikely location," Clarke wrote, describing Ressam's arrest by customs agents during a "routine screening."

Another customs agent who was involved also agreed with Rice.

"No," was the terse reply of Michael Chapman, one of the customs agents who arrested Ressam, when asked if he was aware of a security alert.

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