WASHINGTON – Former President Clinton took four years to react to a 1994 intelligence briefing detailing “the devastation AIDS was causing in Africa,” a U.S. intelligence official told WorldNetDaily.
Clinton lists fighting the African AIDS epidemic among the “accomplishments” posted on his presidential library website. And earlier this month, he gathered reporters at his Harlem office to spotlight his continuing efforts to help African nations battle the disease.
The White House briefing, called a National Intelligence Estimate, was prepared by the National Foreign Intelligence Board during former CIA Director James Woolsey’s tenure.
“The NIE we did detailed the devastation AIDS was
causing in Africa,” the official said.
Yet it wasn’t until December 1998 that Clinton directed his Office of National AIDS Policy chief to go on a “fact-finding mission” to assess the AIDS crisis in Africa. And it wasn’t until July 1999 that he and Vice President Al Gore declared it “the worst infectious disease catastrophe in the history of modern medicine.”
“It was interesting to us to see Clinton’s feigned surprise at the problem,” said the U.S. intelligence official, who helped prepare the 1994 NIE briefing.
The official said such briefings are “supposed to be read by the president, and certainly by the NSC,” or National Security Council, which advises the president on such matters.
A spokeswoman for the former president says it would be difficult to determine whether he actually received the warning.
“There were many NIEs issued during his administration,” said Tammy Sun, associate director of communications and research in Clinton’s Harlem office. “And this one would be difficult to track down.”
In a report titled “A Record of Accomplishment,” Clinton boasts he “led global fight against HIV/AIDS.”
“Under President Clinton, the U.S. tripled funding for international AIDS programs in just two years – to $466 million in FY 2001 – for prevention, care and treatment, and health infrastructure,” says the report on his website. Prevention included buying a billion condoms to distribute in Africa and other countries hit hard by the disease.
“The Peace Corps began training of all 2,400 volunteers in Africa as AIDS educators,” it adds.
The Clinton Foundation, moreover, says it has dispatched nearly 50 volunteers to work in Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda and other countries seriously affected by AIDS.
“President Clinton continues to invest a large portion of his time and resources into combating the burgeoning global HIV/AIDS crisis,” according to the June newsletter of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.
Clinton confided in a June 16 interview with reporters that “we didn’t appreciate the explosive growth of the epidemic around the world” during his first term, focusing instead on the domestic spread of AIDS, even though it was peaking.
But the National Foreign Intelligence Board official argues that the intelligence community clearly warned the White House of the mushrooming crisis in Africa as early as 1994.