Richard Clarke launches new 9/11 charge at CIA

Former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke waits for the beginning of a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee Jan. 27, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
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A former White House adviser who has long criticized President George W. Bush on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks will reportedly be featured in a documentary advancing an admittedly unsupported theory that the Central Intelligence Agency tried to turn two of the 9/11 hijackers into double agents while they resided in the United States in the years leading up to the attacks.

The top counterterrorism adviser to President Clinton and Mr. Bush, Richard Clarke details his baseless accusation of the CIA recruitment -- and subsequent cover-up upon its failure -- in a radio documentary planned for the upcoming 10th anniversary of the attacks, according to a report in The Daily Beast Thursday.

"I've thought a lot about this," Clarke says in the documentary being produced by FF4 Films, in which he describes his theory as "the only conceivable reason that I've been able to come up with" to explain why the White House wasn't informed of the terrorists' presence in the country, the Beast reports.

During the 9/11 Commission's investigation of the attacks, the CIA said it didn't know the location of the hijackers Clarke refers to, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, the Beast reports.

In the documentary, Clarke says his theory, which he says he has no proof to support, concludes that the CIA director at the time, George Tenet, ordered the cover-up after the recruitment effort failed, the Beast reports. In response to that accusation, Tenet released a written statement saying that Clarke has "suddenly invented baseless allegations which are belied by the record and unworthy of serious consideration."

Clarke's accusation against Tenet represents a dramatic shift from the way he praised the CIA chief during a 2004 interview with CBS' "60 Minutes."

Clarke's take on terror
Video: Richard Clarke speaks out
Video: Bush White House reacts to Clarke's interview

"George Tenet was saying to the White House, saying to the president - because he briefed him every morning - a major al Qaeda attack is going to happen against the United States somewhere in the world in the weeks and months ahead," Clarke told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl about the months leading up to the attacks. "He said that in June, July, August."

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com