Stephanopoulos Says He Should Have Pressed Giuliani On His Claim Of No Attacks Under Bush
George Stephanopoulos says he should have pressed Rudy Giuliani on his comment, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush, we’ve had one under Obama” (via TV Newser). Giuliani also said President Obama was making a mistake to try the Christmas day bombing suspect in civilian court.
The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which helped catapult Giuliani to national prominence, occurred during the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency. That same year, five people were killed when anthrax was mailed to a variety of government and private offices. And that December, Richard Reid was stopped during an attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with a bomb in his shoe.
Media Matters details the list of terror attacks during the Bush administration.
2001 anthrax attacks. A March 2004 State Department report on “Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003” quotes then-Attorney General John Ashcroft saying of the letters containing anthrax mailed to various targets: “When people send anthrax through the mail to hurt people and invoke terror, it’s a terrorist act.” Five people were killed as a result of those letters in the autumn of 2001.
2001 shoe bomber attempted attack. In June 2008, then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described Reid’s December 2001 attempt “to blow up a trans-Atlantic plane with a shoe bomb” as an attempt to “carry out terrorist operations for Al-Qaeda.”
2002 attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX. In July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport killing two people and wounding four others before being shot dead. A 2004 Justice Department report stated that Hadayet’s case had been “officially designated as an act of international terrorism.”
2002 DC-area sniper. The state of Virginia indicted Washington, D.C.-area sniper John Allen Muhammad — along with his accomplice, a minor at the time — on “an act of terrorism” for one of the murders he committed during a three-week shooting spree across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Muhammad was convicted, sentenced to death, and subsequently executed for the crime.
2006 UNC SUV attack. In March 2006, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV into an area of campus, striking nine pedestrians. According to reports, Taheri-azar said he acted because he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” Taheri-azar also reportedly stated in a letter: “I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree.”
Giuliani’s office is backtracking.
The Mayor’s spokesman says that the remark “didn’t come across as it was intended” and that Giuliani was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”
Of course even that is not true, given the attacks listed above.
Whatever the Mayor meant, it’s not what he said. All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right. My mistake, my responsibility.
As to the criticism of Obama for using the courts to try terror suspects, they were regularly tried in civilian court during the Bush administration, and Giuliani praised the decision to put convicted Sept. 11 accomplice Zacarias Moussaoui on trial in Alexandria in 2002. Four suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were tried and convicted in federal court. One of the plotters, Ramzi Yousef, and two co-conspirators, were convicted in a plot to blow up airplanes and assassinate the Pope.Click here for reuse options!
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