Rohrabacher's short memory

Geraldine Sealey
June 2, 2004 9:56PM (UTC)

From the Progress Report:

On CNN's Crossfire last week, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to blame Al Gore for failing to reign in the Taliban before 9/11. He said, "Of course it's Al Gore, who knows a lot about incompetence, I might add, that got us into this mess; 9/11 was on the way; 9/11 was on the way by the time President Bush was inaugurated." But according to federal documents reviewed by the Orange County Weekly, it was Rohrabacher who "maintained a cordial, behind-the-scenes relationship with Osama bin Laden's associates in the Middle Easteven while he mouthed his most severe anti-Taliban comments at public forums across the U.S." According to the report, Rohrabacher "lobbied shamelessly for the Taliban" throughout the 1990s, with a 1996 Washington newsletter pointing out his belief that the "Taliban could provide stability," that its leaders were "not terrorists or revolutionaries," and that it would develop a "disciplined, moral society" that did not harbor terrorists. Ignoring an explicit federal law banning unauthorized individual attempts to conduct American foreign policy, Rohrabacher in April of 2001 "opened negotiations with the Taliban at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar," meeting with Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, an advisor to Mullah Omar.


The O.C. Weekly piece began with this quote from a 1996 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: "[Rohrabacher] says the Taliban are devout traditionalists -- not terrorists or revolutionaries. He believes a Taliban takeover [of Afghanistan] would be a positive development."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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