The US was aware of Al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, throughout the last decade, especially since it began perpetrating terrorist acts against Americans. Republicans and the Right-wing media, who of course would never play the "Blame Game", were playing something very similar after the 9/11 attacks when they said, This isn't the time to point fingers, but you know, this was all Clinton's fault. Why wasn't he tougher with terrorists?
I'd like everyone to skim through this webpage, created in 1998 to show why Clinton was a war criminal who was unfit to be President and should be impeached. It becomes very obvious that the reason he could not strike at Al-Qaeda with more than just cruise missiles was because the Republican Congress would not allow him, and the increasingly Republican American public did not support him.
Some especially juicy quotes:
"They know the attack on Iraq was planned long before Butler's report and consider it politically motivated." -Robert Novak (The Washington Post, 12/21/98, p. A29)
"As the Constitution makes clear, the President of the United States does have the authority to take defensive action against an aggressor nation, but he has no authority whatsoever to make war against a country which has neither attacked the United States or posed to do so." -Robert Novak (The Washington Post, 12/21/98, p. A29)
"As president, Bill Clinton has...squandered $5.5 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars on containing the Iraqi threat..." -Joe Farah (Between the Lines, 12/18/98)
"Saddam Hussein is not threatening our national security. This is a concocted scheme to pursue bombing for oil interests and other reasons, but it has nothing to do with national security." -Representative Ron Paul (R-Tex) (Congressional Record, 12/17/98, pp. H11722, H11729)
And my favorite:
"A President who uses his duties as Commander in Chief to bomb foreign countries every time he wants to change the subject ought to be removed with alacrity," -Ann Coulter (Human Events, 12/25/98, p. 6)