When the Bush administration was entering office, outgoing National Security Adviser Samuel Berger told his replacement, Condoleezza Rice, "she'd be spending more time on terrorism and al Qaeda than any other issue," Berger told the panel investigating the attacks Wednesday.
Clarke wrote that Rice appeared never to have heard of al Qaeda until she was warned early in 2001 about the terrorist organization and that she "looked skeptical" about his warnings. "Her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before," Clarke said in the book, going on sale Monday.
Rice disputes that. "We were all very aware of the al Qaeda threat. What I asked Richard Clarke to do was develop ideas that we could use to push forward the strategies against al Qaeda," Rice told the CBS News Early Show. Rice said Clarke's response was a list of ideas that had been around for several years.