Daniel Drezner offers an explanation of the character of Richard Clarke, that of the perfect bureaucrat. Here’s the money paragraph:
That’s not bad. I’d make it simpler — Richard Clarke is the perfect bureaucrat. I mean that in the best and worst senses of the word. In the best sense, it’s clear that Clarke was adept at maximizing the available resources and authority required to do his job, given the organizational rivalries and cultures that made such a pursuit difficult. In the worst sense, Clarke was a monomaniacal martinet whose focus on his bailiwick to the exclusion of everything else is phenomenal.
I actually think it’s complimentary and accurate. I think that explains why he wrote the book as well — Clarke is a proud (or, if you prefer, arrogant) man. He feels like if he had been in the same position he was in under the Clinton administration during the first 8 months of the Bush administration, he could have sussed out the plans for 9/11 and put a stop to them. He’s probably wrong, but you’d have a hard time convincing him of that. He reminds me a lot of the kind of star athlete who wants the ball with the game on the line, because they have supreme confidence that they’ll do what it takes for their team to win. If the coach doesn’t draw up a play for them, then they’re liable to gripe about it to reporters in the postgame interview. The griping is unpleasant, but you want such a player on your team, because someone has to make those crucial shots if you’re going to win.