. . . Thursday April 1, 2004

Sergio Leone Directs Hardball

Hardball spent the full hour on an interview between Chris Matthews and Richard Clarke on Wednesday. Matthews (note: I am addicted viewer), looking to play, well, Hardball, came out swinging. But as the interview progressed he was reduced to the role of small child asking daddy to tell more stories about what things are like at his office. By the end of the interview, the biggest scoop that could be announced by the host was that some proceeds will go to charity if there is ever a movie based on Clarke’s experiences.

I like some things about Clarke and I am a critic of others. As I’ve mentioned before, I think he is way late with this book and any notion that it had to be delayed (thus robbing the public of important opinions regarding the decision to go to Iraq until after the fact) because of Clarke’s determination to complete his report on cyberterrorism is absurd.

But this is the kind of person we don’t see come around much in politics or media. Richard Clarke is a friggin’ rock. On Hardball, he managed to almost recline (he was sitting on a stool) as he crossed his legs and calmly defused all attacks. You can almost hear Clint’s theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly everytime this guy walks onto a set.

Among the most interesting exchanges came during a discussion of the potentially crucial 9-11 related intel that didn’t make it up the chain of command.

Clarke: “Information came in to CIA that two terrorists who had been involved in the USS Cole attack were entering the United States. Some low-level person in CIA was supposed to …to take that information and move it into another communication system so it was distributed to the FBI, and the State Department, and potentially my office. That person didn’t do that, and most of the year went by. Over a year went by. I still don’t understand because no one has ever explained to me, not for blame game, but who was that person? Why was the system reliant on one person?”

Here’s a transcript of the interview.

Concentration is important!