WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — President Bush's national security adviser said on Thursday that the Clinton and other past administrations had ignored evidence of growing terrorist threats and that despite repeated attacks on American interests, "until Sept. 11, the terrorists faced no sustained, systematic and global response" from the United States.
"They became emboldened," the adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said of Al Qaeda, "and the result was more terror and more victims."
It's interesting. A Nexis search of all major papers for "bush" and "al qaeda" before 9/11/01 reveals not one news report of Bush ever mentioning them. I did find this however - I wonder why this is never mentioned alongside the "Sudan Bin Laden offer" that Clinton was supposed to have turned down;
The Ottawa Citizen
February 5, 2001 Monday FINAL EDITION
The Taliban authorities will consider sending Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born terrorist behind the World Trade Center bombing, to a third country if the West will recognize them as Afghanistan's legitimate government.
"We hope the new American administration will be more flexible and engage with us," said Abdul Wakil Muttawakil, the Taliban foreign minister, as new UN sanctions begin to squeeze the hardline group.
Mr. Muttawakil has written to President George W. Bush saying his administration is prepared to resolve the Bin Laden issue through negotiations.
General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, said the suggestion of sending Bin Laden abroad appeared workable. He added it was not clear which country might provide sanctuary to the world's most wanted terrorist but Yemen had been mentioned.Pakistan is the closest ally of the conservative administration.
I have no idea if there was a reasonable workable deal or if officially recognizing the Taliban in exchange for it would have been a good idea, but all those basic caveats apply to the bogus "Clinton could have had Bin Laden" nonsense we always hear.